How to Hypnotize a Chicken

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Hypnotized chicken.

Hypnotized chicken.

Hypnotized chicken.

Fear not. No harm has befallen this chicken. Flat on her back, feet in the air, she may seem like she’s ready for the stew pot, but this chicken is merely in a deep trance, overcome by the power of my superior mind. At least superior to that of a chicken.

Chickens have pretty good instincts and certainly display distinct personalities. Let's face it though, with a brain about the size of the tip of your thumb, your chicken isn’t going to win a MacArthur Genius Grant. We love them just the same and that little brain makes it a little easier to manage behavior modification. Some folks leave the light on in the coop a little longer to trick them into maintaining the laying cycles experienced in the summer when days are longer. You can place golf balls in their nesting boxes to placate a broody hen without having to leave eggs in the nest or to show new birds where they should lay their eggs. 

Also? It makes them very easy to hypnotize.

If there’s a practical use for chicken hypnosis I have yet to find it, but if you’re looking for a fun party trick when the neighbors are over for a barbeque, look no further than your backyard chicken coop.

The general principle behind chicken hypnosis seems to be a matter of focused stimulation. Getting that two-cycle brain tuned into a specific motion, action or feature, the overload will place a chicken in a trance-like state that can last seconds or minutes.

Chick-nosis can be achieved by holding a bird steady on her side and slowly drawing a line on the ground in front of her using chalk or even a stick in the dirt to draw her focus. Holding a bird firmly in your hands and swaying her back and forth will also achieve a trance-like state. I’m fairly new to the art of chicken hypnosis, but a "feet up" strategy was shockingly effective.

Holding her wings against her body, turn the chicken on her back and rest her on a flat surface. She will settle down quickly. Then stroke her belly with slow even strokes. In less than a minute, the chicken will become completely still and she will stay that way. Yes, it is as freaky as it sounds.

I’m told they may stay entranced on their own as long as 30 minutes before the spell is broken and they go about their chickenly business. The longest I’ve managed so far is 6 minutes, but I’m getting better. It’s surprisingly addictive and the chickens don’t seem to mind. It is also possible I have too much time on my hands. I am already considering expanding my poultry sideshow by teaching them to play tic-tac-toe. I’ll keep you posted. 

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