Three Ways to Hypnotize a Chicken

One of the most important articles ever written appears in the The 1985 Old Farmer's Almanac entitled "Three Ways to Hypnotize a Chicken." Thanks for the links Eamon!

Dr. White shows her audiences two methods of hypnotizing chickens. The Oscillating Finger Method is probably the easier of the two. Place the bird on its side with a wing under its body and hold it down gently. Make sure its head is flat on the table. To hypnotize the bird, use one finger of the free hand, moving the finger back and forth in front of the bird's beak from its tip (without touching it) to a point that is about four inches from the beak. Keep the finger in a line parallel to the beak.

The second technique is the Sternum Stroke Method. Gently put the bird on its back. It may be necessary to use a book, purse, or other item to keep the bird from rolling onto its side. Hold the bird down. Lightly massage the bird's sternum, using the slightly spread thumb and index finger of one hand to do the stroking.

(Editor's Note: A third technique, discovered buried in the files of The Old Farmer's Almanac, is the Chalk Line Method. Draw a straight chalk mark about a foot long. Hold the chicken with its beak on one end of the line, staring straight out at the chalk mark. In a few seconds, the chicken will be hypnotized.)

See a You Tube video of this happening below the fold.

I wonder if these methods work on roosters as well? Or perhaps this picture might do the trick - mmm...curvy chicken with hot tan lines!


More like this

Daniel Zwerdling has an excellent article on the chicken slaughter industry in the latest Gourmet. I had no idea that Americans consumed more than 9 billion broiler chickens every year. Or that, thanks to newfangled forms of feed, it only takes a broiler chicken six weeks to reach market weight. (…
Let's say you have a table. This table is better than your average table. It's perfectly level, absolutely flat to within the thickness of an atom over its entire surface. In fact, this table isn't even made of atoms. You called up Plato and ordered the platonic ideal of a flat table. Now you…
It is pouring down rain - Tropical Storm Nicole is dumping 5 inches on us - and the dogs are barking out of control. I can't see a thing in the storm, but I suddenly realize what they must be barking at - I forgot to put Blackberry in the barn. Blackberry, you see, is our pet rooster. He's so…
tags: Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus, birds, mystery bird, bird ID quiz [Mystery bird] Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus, photographed at Sabine Woods and Sabine Pass area, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow] Image: Joseph Kennedy, 28 April 2008 […

The bigger issue is how and why these were discovered.

you know... that IS the bigger issue! hahaha

I can't imagine it's all that useful in killing them since just breaking their neck can't be too hard.

A variation on the 3rd method is to hold the chicken's head down near the ground, beak pointing forward, and draw a line in the soil with your finger. Just start the line near the beak and run it out to ~30cm.
It's a useful method when you have multiple chickens running loose and you don't want them getting too far afield.

Is it known why, neurologically speaking, these techniques work? It's hard to imagine what function this could serve in the wild, although the article suggests there could be some benefit for the birds.

BTW, this ad: appeared in your sidebar. Given the general attitude in these parts toward altie medicine, I found this kind of startling.

Hey Kurt - as I'm sure you'll come to realize, I enjoy posting these uhh... questionable links on my site. They are all a complete and utter joke ;) don't worry :)

I wonder if the Bush admin has tried these techniques on Jose Padilla yet.

Iggy Pop talks about hypnotizing chickens, in his song "Lust for Life":

Iggy Pop - Lust For Life Lyrics

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And a flesh machine
He's gonna do another strip tease

Hey man, where'd you get that lotion?
I've been hurting since I bought the gimmick
About something called love
Yeah, something called love
Well, that's like hypnotising chickens

Well, I'm just a modern guy
Of course, I've had it in the ear before
'Cause of a lust for life
'Cause of a lust for life

It's hard to imagine what function this could serve in the wild

Why does something have to be functional to exist? Why can't it simply be a by-product of another function?

It doesn't have to have a good function. I don't see how this could be selected against. Unless there is a breed of fox magicians lurking at county fairs waiting to hypnotize and devour unwitting chickens... :shifty eyes: