Fancy Chickens

Such a fine pullet ought to go
All coiffured to a winter show,
And be exhibited, and win.
The answer is this one has been--

And come with all her honors home.
Her golden leg, her coral comb,
Her fluff of plumage, white as chalk,
Her style, were all the fancy's talk

--Robert Frost, 1937, Excerpt from "A Blue Ribbon at Amesbury"

This exhibit includes materials about raising chickens to show in exhibitions--what was often called "The Fancy."

Although it was more common for chickens to be raised for exhibition than for food at the beginning of the 20th century, this is now a niche hobby. The final section of this exhibit includes a small set of articles describing recent USDA research on exotic chicken breeds.

(Click any image in this exhibit to get more information, including access to full text)