These tobacco cards were printed right at the time when fancy chickens were a fad. Extravagant birds were at the height of their popularity. Like this chicken:
This bantam chicken was first developed in Japan in the 1600s, so it is a very, very old breed. As you can see, today’s poultry fanciers aren’t the first to create extremes in body stature and build. This bird is all about looks – wings on the ground, short legs, and a massive upright tail. Not cold or damp hardy, they can only go outside in good weather. Not a hen I’d want in my flock.