When I began to blog about chickens, I had no chickens – no chickens, no chicks, no eggs, no incubators. Still, I wanted to be able to discuss my ideas and share images to illustrate my thoughts. On some poultry forums, people discuss breeds they do not own or want to compare individual traits using images as common examples. To be able to collaborate and discuss in these online arenas is important to many modern chicken owners but of even greater import to those working on heritage breeds or newly introduced landraces working in a rarefied group of fanciers.
Wikimedia Commons is a collection of media, including images, donated by individuals who created the image and who allow the image to become freely licensed for educational purposes. This means that images on Wikimedia Commons can be used without violating copyrights, unlike the results of your basic image search. However, there is a dearth of usable chicken images and even fewer images of rare breeds. For example, the Marraduna Basque cock image used in my “Basque Hens” button in the right-hand column is the only Marraduna Basque image on Wikimedia Commons. He’s not ideal, but he’s all we’ve had for a while. Now that I am raising my own Marraduna Basques, I will be contributing images as I go so that people can have access to images for educational purposes like 4H presentations, blog posts, and forum discussions.
For me, the choice is easy: I have a blog, so most of my images are searchable anyway and will probably be used without my consent. I’m not that fussed about it, but some people are. If you don’t have a blog, you can still contribute to the “visual discussion,” if you will, by contributing your images to such a data bank. They do require you to set up a login, like everything else, but there is no fee, no spam emails, and no downside as far as I can see.
I hope that the bank of poultry-related images, especially those of heritage chickens, landraces, and quality stock, soon grows so that the images can be used to teach, learn, and discuss the world over. Contribute if your can!