More Chickens….

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Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 04-21-2016 12:54 PM 1182 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Q: “Why did the FROG cross the road?”

A: “He was tied to the chicken….”

OK, OK…, I’ll stop with the cereal box jokes.

Back in 2013, Mrs. handsawgeek and I passed through this strange phase of building chicken-themed action devices.

This week’s post features our rendition of the classic ‘pecking chickens’ toy. If none of you have ever seen one of these before, they are quite ingenious.

The neck and head of each chicken figure is hinged to the body so that it can swing freely up and down. These are collectively attached by strings to a weight that hangs underneath the paddle. As the paddle is moved in a circular motion, the weight swings around, pulling on each chicken’s string in succession. One after another, the chickens appear to be feeding from the center ‘grain’ pile.

I recall seeing Roy Underhill build one of these on an episode of The WoodWright’s Shop back in one of the earlier seasons.

Delightfully amusing.

Again, this is one of those cool wood toys that everyone who sees it is compelled to pick it up and play.

Mrs. ‘geek’ and I spent a week’s worth of evenings building about a dozen of these toys, production line style. Her job was to cut out all of the platforms and chicken parts on the scroll saw, and I did all the stock layout, drilling, and assembly at the workbench. We shared the painting duties.

Most of them were gifted away to family and friends.

I did recently find the parts to an unfinished one stashed in a box buried deep within the handsawgeek workshop. Its completion is now on my official tuh-doo list…and this one I’m keeping!

I hadn’t posted any of these on this blog until now because I didn’t have any completed units on hand to photograph.

This all changed recently when my daughter presented me with a box containing virtually all of the wood toys I had built for the grand-kiddoes over the past few years. Every single one was broken in some way!

“They’re pretty hard on their toys”, she said.

Two of these old pecking chicken toys were in that lot, so this week I got back into ‘poultry mode’ and facilitated all the necessary repairs and paint touch-ups.

Good as new!

If anyone out there is interested in making one of your own, I can put up a basic building guide on a future blog post.

These toys definitely make good stocking stuffers, and would likely sell well at craft fairs.

As well as being a definite highly prized item at those Christmas party “White Elephant” gift exchanges!


-- Ed

7 comments so far

View PhilBello's profile


411 posts in 2768 days

#1 posted 04-21-2016 01:29 PM

Memories…! I had one of these as a child, no idea what happened to it, I guess my Mother passed it on to someone else, which was what happened in my day. I think she used to snatch them before I took them to bits to see how they worked, and had a handful of parts and nothing worked when they were ‘put back together’!! Nice job

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View htl's profile


5164 posts in 1960 days

#2 posted 04-21-2016 01:55 PM

Just love any wooden toy with moving parts.
Looks like a really fun build too!

I worked in Chicken houses for 12 years with thousands of chickens around me all day, me right eye is starting to twitchhhhhh!!!

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View Pieter's profile


46 posts in 2694 days

#3 posted 04-21-2016 04:22 PM

Ed, a basic building guide would be greatly appreciated; I think I have a few neighborhood kids that would enjoy this. Thank you.

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2840 posts in 1864 days

#4 posted 04-21-2016 08:53 PM

Beware, Ed. There’s a guy who started, years ago, with his wife, making kinetic toys. It became huge.
I’ve never seen one of these “pecking chicken” things. But then, I was raised by wolves.

-- Mark

View clieb91's profile


3967 posts in 4736 days

#5 posted 04-23-2016 11:20 AM

Ed, These are great. A few years ago my wife bought me a set of boxing bears that works a similar way. Would love to see a basic build for these.



-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3667 days

#6 posted 04-23-2016 03:27 PM

This project looks like lots of fun.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View retired_guru's profile


838 posts in 2160 days

#7 posted 05-16-2016 11:13 AM

Add me to the list of interested parties. I think I would find making toys to be fun.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

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