Chicken hypnotism is pretty mind boggling. We were enthralled when young Ciaran hypnotized a chicken with his infectious little boy charm (and more importantly, the gentle back-and-forth sway of his arms). There are a wealth of videos on YouTube depicting the process—a bonafide practice tried and true among both farmers and scientists. So, what is the why and how-to behind the art of fowl hypnosis?
First, the why: Scientists believe that while the chicken appears to be clinically hypnotized, it is more likely an example of tonic mobility—a self-induced, natural state of paralysis that animals enter when they feel threatened. But regardless of why it works, it does indeed work—and quite well (author H.B. Gibson, in his book Hypnosis - its Nature and Therapeutic Uses, claims that the record period for a chicken remaining in hypnosis is 3 hours 47 minutes.)
So, that leaves the How-To. Below, four simple methods for inducing chicken hypnosis—if you can get your hands on a victim.
1. Hold the chicken's head down against the ground.
2. Continuously draw a line along the ground directly in front of the chicken using a stick, finger, piece of chalk or string.
1. Hold your chicken firmly and tuck its head under its wing (this mimics the natural way the chicken sleeps).
2. Gently rock the chicken back and forth, and rest it on the ground.
1. Hold your chicken with its back against the ground.
2. Run your finger vertically downwards from the chicken wattles to above its vent.
1. Lie the chicken on its side with the wing under its body. Hold down gently, and make sure the head is flat on the table.
2. Move one finger back and forth in front of the bird's beak from its tip to a point approximately four inches from the beak. Do NOT touch the beak, and make sure your finger stays in a line parallel to the beak.