Posing With Chickens

Before the invention of the Brownie camera, before there were snapshots, you had to go to the studio of a professional photographer. It was expensive. You wore your finest clothes. Having a photographic portrait taken was a big deal.

Some proud parents dressed their sons in Lord Fauntleroy outfits.

And they brought chickens.

(unmarked photograph dating from the early 1890s)


  1. WOW! The collar and cuffs were not made for anything but looking good. Picture clothes only. I know he was out of those clothes before he hit the dirt. Love the chickens in this precious photo.

    • I’m not sure what those pullets are. Perhaps not a known breed. Amazing that they’re not a blur as they did have to hold still. Back then, children wore wool stockings well into the summer – it was considered healthful, so for that little boy the collar was only part of the experience.

  2. I love old photagraphs. The clothes, the furniture, the props and the background scenes. Before my husband and I were married we had our picture taken at one of those old time photo places and we had it made into our wedding invitation. I have a pair of very old boots like the boy is wearing but they are much smaller. I also have an old buttonhook which I display with the boots. I too wonder how they got those chickens to stand so still. Maybe they were clicker trained!. Terry I stopped in an indie store today to see if they had Tillie Lays An Egg. They didn’t have it but they ordered it for me. It will be in next week, I can’t wait. When the clerk looked it up on the computer she said she needed to get one because she loves chickens. She lives on a chicken farm. I told her all about the hencam and the school and library visits you do with your chicken.

  3. Wow, totally impressive!

    Based on my couple of attempts, I know how challenging it is (and learned that chickens aren’t fans of people dressed in tulle) but now can console myself with distinguished history – which has surely included lots of ruined shots. Thanks, Terry.

  4. What a handsome little boy–and chickens, too! He looks very proud. (As I experienced these posed photos in my best duds, I recall the photographer had a lot to do with what you finally looked like in the photo. Great photographer!!!)