chickens are underrated
March 7, 2018 1:41 PM   Subscribe

WHY ARE THESE CHICKENS SO BEAUTIFUL?

Portraits of “Most Beautiful Chickens on the Planet” Capture Their Underrated Beauty.
posted by maxsparber (61 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
When I had chickens (just a little urban flock) one of my favorite pastimes was sitting quietly in a lawn chair and watching them just be chickens. They are surprisingly funny, and I found watching them to be equivalent to what other people claim they experience watching a fish tank. I miss my beautiful chickens!
posted by lextex at 1:47 PM on March 7 [14 favorites]


the answer to the rhetorical question is because the photos omit the bountiful chicken shit they produce and leave everywhere.
posted by GuyZero at 1:49 PM on March 7 [12 favorites]


That said, for a bunch of birds that shit everywhere and live in a coop with a dirt floor, chickens keep themselves amazingly clean and although people bathe them for county fair shows they're seemingly never dirty.
posted by GuyZero at 1:50 PM on March 7 [6 favorites]


I was kind of hoping for captions with tasting notes.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:54 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]


that shit everywhere and live in a coop with a dirt floor,

I mean, you described the average Brooklynite here.
posted by maxsparber at 1:54 PM on March 7 [12 favorites]




Why do these pictures not tell us what breed these beauties are?!?
(A+++ post!)
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:54 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]


If you ever have a chance, take a good look at their eyes. Chicken eyes are simply amazing.
posted by tommasz at 1:57 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Here's rundown of some rarebreeds from Meyer Hatchery.
posted by slipthought at 1:58 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Every so often I see a picture of a bird that reminds me at a gut level that "oh, right, these are the descendants of the dinosaurs."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:06 PM on March 7 [12 favorites]


These are some good-looking chickens. The fourth one along (silver-gray, with reddish head and neck) is the only chicken I have ever seen whom I would describe as noble.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:11 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


I just knew a Sebright had to be amongst them. A Sebright rooster is the essence of the phrase “cocky little bastard” (even tho some's gonna well-actually me about them being hen-feathered). The dino is strong in them.

This is kind-of a link to an active Kickstarter, tho.
posted by scruss at 2:11 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


They are beautiful. They are also frequently assholes. Roosters especially. They’re like the Johnny Depps of birds.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:14 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


Cluck yeah
posted by Cash4Lead at 2:24 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]


[Re: kickstarter - It looks like their campaign has exceeded its funding goal, and I can't see the closing date, but the link is to a large body of content, so on balance I think it's ok.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:25 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


Sent to my chicken tender daughter for future reference
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 2:26 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Every so often I see a picture of a bird that reminds me at a gut level that "oh, right, these are the descendants of the dinosaurs."

Or indeed a bird in person. City boy as I am, I always considered chickens to be round, flumphy, faintly comical things. It was not until I went to Indonesia and saw chickens much like working scale-model velociraptors that I changed my view. They would stare you down, moving their heads from side to side as if to get some parallax and work out just how far they would have to leapfly to remove one of your eyeballs.

I had been vegetarian for more than a decade until then. Afterwards, I went back to eating poultry on occasion.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:27 PM on March 7 [14 favorites]


See also Beautiful Chickens. The series also includes Beautiful Sheep (I think this was the first in the series), Cows, Goats, Ducks, Cats, Dogs and Owls. Probably more.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:28 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


and you can swing them apparently
posted by philip-random at 2:31 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


and you can swing them apparently

That's a Jewish thing, and a bit controversial.
posted by maxsparber at 2:38 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos, I have a friend who has a scarlet macaw. Every single time I see pictures of her I get that same feeling.
posted by twilightlost at 2:38 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


That's a Jewish thing, and a bit controversial.

thanks, Max. I know Geoff Berner, whose video that links to. Trust that he finds the whole thing profoundly absurd ... and thus the song.
posted by philip-random at 2:41 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


I'd wave a chicken around just to try it.
posted by maxsparber at 2:58 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Those are some primo gorgeous boids there! Our pet hen Daisy was a plain old White Leghorn (think Camilla from The Muppet Show) but she was still pretty cute, and always spotlessly white. The neighbor boy used to dig worms for her and carry her around on his shoulder, but the dog and cats gave her a wide berth.

The best thing about chickens is that they're not ducks, geese, or swans.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:17 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


This fluffy-footed little breed is my favorite. There's a local public park with a tiny farmlet on site that had a rooster of this type for awhile. He was smaller than all of the hens, and had these hilarious fluffs on his feet that would flap when the hens would bully him out of the way.

There was also a tom turkey there for a little while who shared a pen with three dwarf sheep, and would strut along after them like part of the herd
posted by Existential Dread at 3:20 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]


🐓
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:12 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]



***This chicken's name should be Carol Channing.
posted by gladly at 1:54 PM on March 7
[3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]****

Personally I think that chicken looks more like Bernie Sanders
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:14 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Chicken: Andy Warhol, but like deeper
Barber: Say no more fam
posted by numaner at 4:34 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]






I saw the link text and felt a strong, but brief, rush of skepticism. I clicked through, and.... well, here we are. Those are some beautiful chickens, alright.
posted by tclark at 4:46 PM on March 7


> Those are some beautiful chickens, alright.

They're all good chickens, fclark
posted by klarck at 4:49 PM on March 7 [9 favorites]


My main exposure to live chickens was as a child visiting my uncle's 'egg ranch' near Wooster, Ohio, which was two massive metal buildings that when you entered them would overwhelm you with the smell of ... chickenshit. The hens generally looked all alike and it was impractical to touch them because of the cages they were in and their tendency to peck. The cages were well-designed so that the eggs laid would roll down to the front where they were usually clear of the chickenshit and easy to gather. Still, it contributed to a reluctance for years to eat chicken with the skin on or eggs that were not pre-scrambled.

Still, 30+ comments and no reference to Gonzo the Muppet? Now THERE is someone who appreciates the beauty of chickens.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:04 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


My wife teaches fourth grade kids, and on the first day this year, one girl told the class her name and then added, "I'm a chicken."

My wife: Oh, a chicken? What makes you think you're like a chicken?

Girl: Not like a chicken. I am a chicken.

My wife: A literal chicken?

Girl: [nods]

My wife: [...nods]
posted by Beardman at 5:05 PM on March 7 [9 favorites]


(also, my uncle's egg ranch was near to and often downwind from the original Smuckers preserves factory, so emerging from the chickenshitty barns was usually a great sensory relief because the smell of strawberry jam was potent and pleasant... years later, when McDonalds first introduced the Egg McMuffin, they gave out a little packet of jelly with each... even today, I like to spread some strawberry jam on any breakfast sandwich I'm given to consume, and for the longest time I didn't realize why)
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:11 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


Girl: Not like a chicken. I am a chicken.

Her family won’t send her for counseling because they need the eggs.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:12 PM on March 7 [24 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I've told this story before, but when I worked for the curriculum materials service at an agricultural college, one of my first projects was to do some light updates for a reissue of a publication called The Poultry Waste Management Handbook. I asked my boss if I could add the subtitle "For When You Don't Know Chickenshit," and she honestly couldn't tell if I was joking.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:20 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


I feel like I’m at the State Fair! I like the last photo before the one with the caption and the hand reaching toward the chicken. Now there’s a chicken who’s been taking some tips from an eagle. Plus I love the feathery feet.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:36 PM on March 7


General query, how does a domestic species acquire such diverse appearance? Wild animals have their niches and sexual selection, dog breeds seem to fit into cultural-functional roles (hunting, shepherd, etc), but I would think that chickens simply have the purpose of turning feed into meat and eggs. Are the differences simply because of long running separate populations and divergent development? Have the human breeders been selecting for appearance (this makes sense, except that a strictly rational chicken farmer would only select for meat and egg production)?
posted by abcanthur at 5:40 PM on March 7


People absolutely breed chickens for beauty, as well as for size, meat distribution, and egg size and color. We've kept them for 1000s of years and been meddling with them pretty much the whole time.
posted by emjaybee at 5:46 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: I'd wave a chicken around just to try it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:48 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I have Easter Eggers so they're not all that attractive, but their eggs are gorgeous. Beautiful pale blue and light green.

Whenever I enter the yard, they think I have treats and come charging at me and it's like a scene from Jurassic Park. The most velociraptor chickens ever get is when they're teenagers and they're transitioning from their chick down to adult feathers. So ugly and awkward.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:52 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]




***This chicken's name should be Carol Channing.
posted by gladly at 1:54 PM on March 7
[3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]****

Personally I think that chicken looks more like Bernie Sanders
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:14 PM on March 7 [+] [!]


My first thought: Peter Gabriel coulda rocked those feathers during the Genesis years.
posted by jaruwaan at 5:59 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


but I would think that chickens simply have the purpose of turning feed into meat and eggs
Nah, you also look for broodiness, weather tolerance, foraging capabilities, toughness against predators, that sort of thing. Not all chickens can do these things--some are just pretty AND make nice meat and eggs, but there are dozens of breeds with traits that make them more suitable for certain climates and farming styles.
posted by xyzzy at 6:11 PM on March 7 [9 favorites]


I had two lovely chickens, Patsy and Eddie. A hawk got Eddie yesterday. Fuck hawks.
posted by Cocodrillo at 6:25 PM on March 7 [6 favorites]


I'm amazed at how sculptural the chickens look in the photographs.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 6:51 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I grew up with chickens, and have a very love/hate relationship with them, partially due to both having been attacked by and myself murdering, plucking, and cooking more than a few. I have far more chicken stories than are really worth recounting here.

My mother has had a regular procession of bantams for the last decade or so. They are pretty awesome critters and decent layers. But god forbid you end up with a rooster.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:38 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


My mom's a retired elementary school teacher. She used to hatch chicken eggs in her classroom so her student could see the whole egg-to-chick process, then she'd bring them home.

When it came time to put them in their coop, the best way to catch them was to chase them until they ran into something, like a tree. It was fun to have them around.

Until a fox got in the coop. The horror...the horror.

We also had two geese, Phil and Don, the Everly Geese. Their shit was everywhere.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:47 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]


I miss my beautiful chickens!

Me too!
posted by Meatbomb at 2:19 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


For anybody wanting a little more chicken content, me and the toddler used to watch this documentary about chickens when he woke up cranky from naps.

The clucking is very soothing.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:04 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: The clucking is very soothing.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:17 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


We've kept them for 1000s of years and been meddling with them pretty much the whole time.

This week on Theodoric of York: Medieval Chicken Meddler...

My mom's a retired elementary school teacher. She used to hatch chicken eggs in her classroom so her student could see the whole egg-to-chick process, then she'd bring them home.

That's how we ended up with Daisy the Hen; none of my sister's classmates nor her teacher wanted her after The Great Hatchening.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:30 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


For anyone who enjoys this, I recommend the delightful documentary Chicken People. It's about people who breed and groom show chickens. The people are all interesting and it has lots of pretty chickens to look at.
posted by heatvision at 8:25 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Our ag ed program also included mini-grants and educational materials for starting gardens at elementary schools. We included some literature about Integrated Pest Management, and one topic it covered was keeping chikkins in the garden to eat potential insect pests. (It was important to create awareness of alternatives to chemical pesticides - relevant policies differ from school to school, parents don't all agree on what's safe or appropriate, and in some cases it would come down to a choice between a no-pesticide garden or no garden at all. We didn't want anyone to not try because they thought there were no options.)

Anyway, at a conference in SoCal, I got to visit a school garden established through a similar program in California. There I saw two of the biggest, loveliest, most speckledy grey-and-white chikkins I've ever seen, hen and rooster. Their coop was one of those little prefab Amish sheds, painted up like a kids' playhouse with windowboxes, wee green shutters, and shingles resembling Necco Wafers.

Then I thought I saw a third chikkin come out from behind the cornstalks. It was kind of short, and squat, and WHOA, THAT AIN'T NO CHIKKIN! It was some kind of large, crested lizard that performed the same bug-eating function as the chooks. One of the kids picked him up and let me hold and pet him; I was amazed at how soft his scales were. Apparently the lizard and the chikkins were all best buddies, and slept in the shed together during cool weather.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:46 AM on March 8 [7 favorites]


Seconding "Chicken People," which is really an incredible movie. Think "Best In Show" in terms of ridiculousness, but it's actually real and so heartwarming.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:04 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


It was kind of short, and squat, and WHOA, THAT AIN'T NO CHIKKIN! It was some kind of large, crested lizard that performed the same bug-eating function as the chooks.

Do you know what kind of lizard it was? My chickens are maybe kinda lonely...
posted by GuyZero at 11:02 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Do you know what kind of lizard it was? My chickens are maybe kinda lonely...

Not a clue, sorry! I just went and looked at a bunch of lizard pictures to see if anything ring a bell, but it was 10 years ago and nothing is looking familiar.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:27 AM on March 8


i heard the photographers interviewed on the radio earlier tonight but wasn't paying much attention and thought the pictures were of like .. glammed-up chickens .. i imagined them wearing jewellery and like a coat with fur trim ..
the pictures are very beautiful !
posted by LeviQayin at 10:52 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


We saw The Natural History of Chickens (previously) once about a decade ago, and we still quote lines from it.

Yes, we should get out more.
posted by scruss at 2:49 PM on March 9


Having backyard chickens is legal in my city, so I know 4 or 5 families with chickens. Occasionally lost or found chickens will be posted on our neighborhood listserv.

I like it when the big Ace hardware store gets all their chicks. They're so cute to watch. I'm periodically tempted myself, but we have a dog who loves to kill birds, so it's not an option for us. And there's also the hawks, owl, coyotes, and bobcats to contend with.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:32 PM on March 9


« Older Will you have one set of friends with kids, or...   |   SHOCK TACTICS Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments