2014-04-11

Co.Exist

Nice Cocks: In These Malaysian Beauty Pageants, The Models Are Poultry

These posing and strutting birds prove that chickens are good for more than just eating.

They might seem like unlikely runway models, but in villages across Malaysia, some chickens spend their lives competing in beauty pageants. Bred for good looks and the ability to strut, Serama cocks are displayed on small stages and judged for their feathers and poses while their owners cheer them on. It turns out that the chickens are good print models as well: In a new book and series of prints called Cocks, Malaysian photographer Ernest Goh traveled around the country taking closeups of the birds.

“I wanted to explore working with animals that are so common that they are often overlooked,” Goh says. "The chickens were perfect candidates."

About once a week, a chicken pageant happens somewhere in the country. Several things make a particular cock pretty enough for the pageant circuit. "The colors of their feathers, their behavior, and their grooming all play a part," Goh explains. Once on a judging platform, the birds just do what they naturally do. "The chickens are not trained in any way," he says. "They instinctively pose and strut when on a table."

Goh hopes the photographs might help more people start to see the bird as something more than just dinner. "I want to simply offer a different view on what animals are," he says. "That they have more character and personality than we know."

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Kara Mumea

    I absolutely love the perspective of this article! My very first pet was a little chick our neighbor brought me on Easter, and I then had chickens as pets all through my childhood after falling in love with their little personalities. They are far more intelligent and beautiful than people seem to give them credit for.