Ernest Goh is a Singaporean photographer who enjoys spending as much time as possible photographing animals. On a trip to Malaysia an interesting local competition caught his eye: chicken pageants. So he decided to investigate.
It turns out that in Malaysia chicken pageants are held almost every week. They’re incredibly popular and considered a big deal with plenty of cash prizes at stake. These chicken beauty shows seem to be the Malaysian equivalent of dog shows. And to be fair, it’s definitely not any stranger than some of the things that go down at Crufts.
The chickens are scored on their general appearance and specifically how soldier-like and ‘brave’ they appear; how large they puff out their chest and how dragon-like they look etc.
The chickens involved in these competitions are of the serama breed. Serama chickens are not bred for food, they are purely bred for decorative and show purposes. During the bird flu epidemic in 2004 great swathes of the poor seramas were slaughtered, but thankfully they’re on the rise again.
In order to snap the amazing images below, Goh visited one of the top serama breeders in Malaysia and various chicken pageants in rural areas. Click through the following slides and make sure you check out the video at the end. It’s a short documentary showing the chickens strutting their stuff, they are some funny looking birds. Beautiful too, of course, but defo funny looking: