How to hypnotize a chicken

How are your peeps coming along?

The winner of our Puffy (and Poopless) Peeps Give Away is Mike!

For the rest of you who received a box of real chicks in the mail, here’s a few more things you may want to ruminate on.

How to hypnotize a chicken

Blondes (Leghorns) and redheads (Rhode Island Reds) are the usual backyard choices for laying hens.

They will start laying small “pullet” eggs around six months old, unless they start crowing, which sounds like a dying carburetor or maybe a moose with the hiccups.

Separate those. They are turning into roosters. Roosters are boys. Boys don’t lay eggs. Boys have cooties and attitudes. They must go.

I once had a hen that crowed though, so pay attention.

She laid an egg in the morning and crowed in the afternoon and the other hens decided she could stick around, but she had to be the one in charge of crossing the road.

Your hen will lay an egg a day for the next three years or so. You will protect it, feed it, water it, admire it, and clean the coop. You will tend the nest boxes every day and remove the eggs as fast as they’re laid so that when the hen returns to the nest and wonders, “That’s weird. I’m pretty sure it was here a minute ago,” she will shrug, go outside to play, and lay a new one in the morning.

Over and over and over.

Unless she’s a naughty hen, or maybe another breed like a Light Brahma or Polish, and decides to get “broody”. Then you have to crowbar her butt off the nest and steal the egg without getting your hand removed by the angry mama.

How to hypnotize a chicken

Who’re you calling broody?

This hen may get so broody that she decides to start her own nest somewhere you can’t find it, like our Bantams did once – on the roof.

You may discover how Easter Egg Hunts were invented and why.

You may discover, all by yourself because you’re very clever, your own special collection of rotten eggs, in case of emergencies.

Like a zombie attack.

So when the nest boxes are suddenly empty every day, you have to ask yourself: “Are eggs about to roll off the roof onto my head and cause a zombie apocalypse or are my biddies turning the corner to henopause?”

This is important because you have been getting some amazing eggs. They have more nutrients and better flavor and brighter yolks and sometimes TWO yolks because you have some seriously happy hens. They get to run around and eat bugs. They get to poop on your patio. They like to roost on the swing set and take dust baths in the side yard.

Maybe all the ladies need is a nice massage, maybe a nap.

It’s time to learn how to properly hypnotize a chicken.

If Clark Gable can do it*, so can you.

How to hypnotize a chicken

Our model today is a bearded Araucana rooster named Blackbeard. This tough guy keeps his harem on the straight and narrow.

  • Find your chicken. Lure it over with a bread crust. Say “chick, chick, chick”
  • Pick it up like a big cuddly feathery teddy bear

How to hypnotize a chicken

Blackbeard demonstrates how to hold a chicken who has attitude: by the legs.

  • It will wiggle. That’s okay. It doesn’t know how much fun it’s about to have
  • Gently lay it on its side, on the ground, like it’s nap time for chickys
  • With your finger, draw a line in the dust, from the chicken’s beak out and away, along it’s line of vision

How to hypnotize a chicken

  • When the chicken focusses on this line, it will go quiet and limp

How to hypnotize a chicken

  • Time the time-outs with your buddies to see whose chook takes the longest nap
  • This, my friends, is how they make boneless chickens

How to hypnotize a chicken

The hens are laughing at me….aren’t they?

*Clark Gable made a black and white movie in 1945, “Adventure”, that was pretty much a bomb. Not even the love scenes were any good. But the man had chicken skills, and I will never see Rhett Butler the same way again.

Comment (2)

Trevor | May 1, 2016

Nice idea and it makes a pleasant change from a stage hypnotist getting a human to cluck like a chicken.

Most of the chickens I encounter are no longer in a state to be hypnotised but I’ll keep this in mind 🙂

The strange act of “hypnotizing” chickens was first described in the 1600s.

  • Dan Evon
  • Published 26 July 2019

How to hypnotize a chicken



How to hypnotize a chicken


In April 2019, a video supposedly showing a chicken being hypnotized went viral on social media:

This is a genuine, unaltered video of a chicken reacting to a line being drawn in the sand directly in front of it. However, while this practice is often described as “hypnosis,” Dimitrios Beredimas, an agronomist and blogger at Strange Animals, noted that it would be more accurate to say that this chicken is in a state of “tonic immobility.”

This video appears to have originated on the Insane Monkey YouTube page. That version was accompanied by the following description:

This video shows you how it really works by drawing a single line in front of a chicken or a rooster and they become hypnotized almost instantly and will not move until the line is gone. This really works and i have done it many times and so have all my neighbors and family who have chickens and roosters.

While many people may be seeing this chicken hypnotism video for the first time, this behavior has been acknowledged since at least 1648, when it was mentioned in “Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae” (“The Great Art of Light and Shadow”) by Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit scholar:

How to hypnotize a chicken

So what’s happening here? The video shows a chicken entering a catatonic-type state after experiencing a “fear-potentiated response” to a line drawn in the sand. This animal behavior is called “‘tonic immobility,” but readers may be more familiar with the colloquial terms “playing dead” or “playing possum.” While this is typically a defensive mechanism, Beredimas notes that the chicken isn’t particularly good at pretending to be dead:

This strange animal behaviour is officially called ‘tonic immobility’, a natural state of semi-paralysis that many animals exhibit when under threat. Commonly known as apparent death, playing dead and playing possum, this state serves as a defensive mechanism as most predators prefer live prey.

In chickens, this is most probably a vestigial trait as it doesn’t seem to have a useful purpose. The chicken doesn’t make a good job hiding the fact it’s still alive. Its obvious that is breathing and we can see some eye movement and blinking.

Since this phenomenon may be new to city folk, let’s take a look at a few other videos showcasing this technique:

If you have access to a chicken and want to try this, the Strange Animals blog provided the following instructions:

The trick is quite simple. All you have to do is hold the chicken’s head down against the ground, and draw a straight line using a stick, your finger, a piece of chalk or whatever.

The line should start at the beak and extend straight outwards, in front of the chicken. If done properly, the chicken — or rooster — will be put into a state of trance and lie still for anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes! To de-hypnotize the chicken, just clap your hands or give it a gentle push. It may take a few tries to awaken the bird.

This isn’t the only way to hypnotize a chicken. Other methods include swirling your finger in a circle around the birds head or tucking its head underneath its wing. The latter method was briefly mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s posthumous 1985 book, “The Dangerous Summer“:

You can lay the chicken down with its head still under its wing and it will lie, hypnotized, for an hour or more or until you wake it. It was a parlor trick that had much success in East Africa. Sometimes I would have a dozen chickens lying asleep in a row on the porch of some native hut in a village under Kilimanjaro when we needed something badly and it was necessary to make magic to obtain it.

While Hemingway may be taking some artistic license with his “an hour or more” sentence, and although this trick isn’t guaranteed to work on all breeds of chicken, the above-displayed viral video showcases a technique to “hypnotize” chickens that has been used for centuries.

  • Dan Evon
  • Published 26 July 2019

Strange Animals. “How to Hypnotize a Chicken.”
27 February 2014.

Kircher, Athanasius. “Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae.”
Waesberge, 1671.

Eveleth, Rose. “Can You Hypnotize a Chicken?”
Smithsonian Magazine. 3 March 2014.

How to hypnotize a chicken

How to hypnotize a chickenYou are getting sleeeeeepyyyyy. LachieB1

Hypnotism is a pretty neat party trick—but is it a peculiarly human vulnerability? This video claims to show people hypnotizing a chicken:

This trick often is often called “animal hypnosis,” but, a ccording to Dimitrios Beredimas, an agronomist and blogger at Strange Animals, it’s actually called “tonic immobility” and is quite different from the kind of hypnosis that most of us think of. (No one has yet been able to make the chickens do embarrassing things once they wake up.)

All you have to do is hold the chicken’s head down against the ground, and draw a straight line using a stick, a finger, chalk or whatever.

The line should start at the beak and extend straight outward in front of the chicken. If done properly, the chicken -or rooster- will be put into a state of trance and lie still for anywhere between 30 seconds to 30 minutes! To de-hypnotize the chicken just clap your hands or give it a gentle push. It may take a few tries to awaken the bird.

Tonic immobility is what researchers call “a fear-potentiated response” to being restrained. In other words, the chicken (or any other animal that exhibits this response) is convinced that it is going to die and goes into a kind of cationic state. According to Beredimas, farmers have known about this trick at least since 1646, when Athanasius Kircher published “Mirabile Experimentum de Imaginatione Gallinae.” The reaction seems to be most commonly reported in domesticated birds like chickens and quail, but other species seem to demonstrate tonic immobility as well. One study from 1928 looked at the response in lizards. Another watched the brains of rabbits during movement, rest, sleep and tonic immobility.

It’s possible that we’re susceptible to this reaction, too. Some researchers have suggested that tonic immobility responses might happen during traumatic events like rape. One study looked at whether PTSD patients experience tonic immobility, by asking two groups of patients, one with PTSD and one without, to listen to a script in which they experienced a traumatic event. The researchers watched the patients’ posture and brain during the whole thing. It was a small study, but the researchers found that the script did cause the participants some immobility, often at the same time their heart rates sped up, “implying that tonic immobility is preserved in humans as an involuntary defensive strategy.”

So, it’s not quite right to call this hypnosis—it’s not about getting sleeeeepy but about feeling scared.

How to hypnotize a chicken

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a tome which has been forecasting weather and dispensing folk wisdom since 1792, hits the newsstands Tuesday with its last edition of the millennium.

The venerable publication includes advice on how to hypnotize a chicken and other tidbits in addition to its regional weather forecasts.

Abe Weatherwise, the almanac’s collective name for its weather forecasters, says:

  • Northeast and Northwest: Winter will be colder than usual, with above-normal snowfall. Summer will be more typical with “a fairly active hurricane season.”
  • Southeast: A dry summer and wet autumn.
  • South: Another blistering summer
  • Midwest: A bitterly cold winter
  • Southwest: A warm, dry summer

“My first job was to drive a truck filled with trash to the dump,” recalls the 12th editor of the venerable almanac, the nation’s oldest continuously published periodical.

During the four decades that followed – a fraction of the almanac’s 207 years – Hale has dispensed a ragout of information: Everything from how to tell the temperature without a thermometer to when to plant tomatoes and how to roast a tender turkey.

His favorite is advice on three ways to hypnotize a chicken.

Hypnotize a chicken? Why would anyone want to hypnotize a chicken?

“Because you might get the chicken to do what it normally wouldn’t do, maybe fetch the newspaper from the porch,” Hale says.

The almanac should be “useful with a pleasant degree of humor,” says Hale. He and executive editor Tim Clark say they want to set a folksy-yet-urbane tone for the almanac.

Clark says he and Hale decided to call the 1999 edition the last of the millennium “despite the right and correctness of mathematicians to point out that the millennium properly ends rather than starts with the year 2000.”

The almanac is the legal document for tides, sunrises and sunsets in most states. Federal authorities confiscated all copies between 1943 and 1945 after a German spy was caught in New York using the almanac’s weather and tide tables. (It comes in Canadian, western and southern editions with regional tables)

Hale likes to gently point out to editors that the proper name of the almanac is the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

“Please don’t forget the Old,” he says, so as to not confuse it with the Farmer’s Almanac, a relative baby only 181 years old that is published in neighboring Maine.

The newsstand edition sells for $3.99; a bookshop edition with 48 extra pages for $4.95.

Written by Adolphe V. Bernotas

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First published on September 15, 1998 / 10:41 AM

© 1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

How to Hypnotize a Chicken

(Okay, this has nothing to do with parenting, but it’s an old article I wrote that makes me giggle. I thought it might make you giggle too. I assure you it’s meant purely tongue in cheek. Or beak. )

I was cruising Themestream a few minutes ago and happened upon an article about useless information. The author was bemoaning all the nonsense that was poured into her head at the expense of really important things over the years. She had a point. Really, we do learn an awful lot of junk as time goes by.

But nonetheless, I’m here to argue on behalf of useless information.

I recently learned how to hypnotize a chicken. And admit it–you saw the title and you wanted to know how to hypnotize a chicken too! Because deep down, not only is useless information more fun than the practical stuff, it also . well, maybe that’s the only reason it’s better. But it’s enough!

Okay, now I have a confession. I *mostly* know how to hypnotize a chicken but I didn’t pay that close of attention. I didn’t know I’d be teaching it later, so parts may be a bit rusty. You may have to experiment on your chicken several times to get it just right. Try to find a mellow chicken for this. Perhaps you should get it some treats for after. That’s fair.

So. you get your chicken and you hold it upside down and put it on its back on the ground. Then you draw a line from its beak out in the sand, and that will get its attention focused on your finger and the line. It will go into a trance, I swear. I saw it on the Discovery Channel and they don’t make this stuff up. It has something to do with eagles flying overhead and playing dead. But I’m not sure what because I was making supper while watching. Sorry.

I really wanted to teach you better how to hypnotize a chicken, so I even dashed downstairs and hollered to my husband “Okay! How exactly do you hypnotize a chicken again? How long do you have to draw the line? What does it have to do with eagles again? Do you remember?”.

My husband gave me the fish-eye and half grinned. He told me, “Days. You hold them on their backs for days and eventually they’ll just stay there.” He’s no help at all.

And of course you wouldn’t do that because you absolutely cannot use anything I say to harm any poor chickens. This must be done absolutely nicely! No harming of chickens, do you hear me? You be nice.

Anyway, I’m afraid I only half told you how to hypnotize a chicken, and there will probably be dazed but fully conscious chickens wandering around backyards all over the US thanks to me. Or maybe one. I doubt too many people are going to reading this, after all.

But the point is, you should! Yeah, we need to know who wrote the Declaration of Independence and when to use an apostrophe in its, but more than that we need to know how to love to learn and how to totally entertain people at cocktail parties. Do you think folks who use apostrophes right are the hit of cocktail parties? Nope. It’s those of us who can hypnotize chickens, every time.

And those of us with cleavage. But that’s another story.

All works on this site Alicia Bayer unless otherwise noted.
Don’t take it – that would be rude.

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Riseley, MFA. Stephanie Riseley is a Hypnotherapist, Life, and Spiritual Coach based in Los Angeles, California. Stephanie merges neuroscience with spirituality to help people discover their own power and their soul purpose. Certified in Past Life Regression Therapy by the psychiatrist, Brian Weiss, MD, and the Brian Weiss Institute, she also uses Cognitive Behavior Modification and Awareness Therapy to help people heal. With over 30 years of experience, Stephanie conducted research for the DSM III (R), the manual of psychiatric disorders, at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. She earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles.

This article has been viewed 403,809 times.

Have you ever been to a magic show where the performer hypnotizes members of the audience? These types of shows can be very entertaining! Think how fun it could be to see your own friends squawk like a chicken or do a silly dance. By learning to perform simple hypnosis, you can have this experience yourself. Using some easy techniques, you can hypnotize your friends to do silly things. Just remember, there are also safety precautions that you should take. It’s also important to know that some people are very resistant to hypnosis. So if your subject isn’t doing what you want, it’s likely that their mind is not susceptible to hypnosis. This is very common, and even professional hypnotists can struggle with these individuals.

They always seem to get the raw end of the deal when it comes to hypnosis.

Not only have stage hypnotists long made fun of their clucky ways by hypnotizing subjects into behaving like them, it seems the link between our feathered friends and hypnosis runs a lot deeper than this stereotype.

As in a recent article published by Wired Magazine called “Can You Hypnotize A Shark?,” it explains how chickens are prone to something called “tonic immobility,” which is a type of hypnosis caused by fear:

“Tonic immobility in chickens is thought to be a defensive mechanism caused by fear. It’s been used by scientists studying farm animal welfare to determine when chickens are most fearful; for instance, hens in cages are more fearful than those in pens, and hens on the top tier of battery cages are more fearful than those on the lower levels.

“… There are several ways to ‘mesmerize’ a chicken. You can lay it on its side, tuck its head under its wing and gently rock it, or put it on its back and stroke its sternum. You can wave your finger in front of its face – starting with your finger close to its beak and then pulling your finger slowly straight back. The chicken will focus on your finger.”

In addition to this hypnotic behavior documented in chickens, the article also outlines other interesting hypnotic happenings in the animal kingdom:

“Tonic immobility has been induced in many species of sharks and rays by inverting the animal. Sharks usually enter a tonic state within a minute and can remain like that for up to 15 minutes before righting themselves and swimming away. During tonic immobility, the breathing and muscle contractions become steadier and more relaxed.

“Tonic immobility is used as an aid in shark husbandry in aquariums and when handling wild sharks to minimize struggling by the animal and reduce the possibility of injury to all parties.”

However, rather interestingly, it’s not just humans who have used this technique…

“…. In 1997, eyewitnesses watched a female orca off the coast of California seemingly induce tonic immobility purposely in a great white shark. The orca held the shark upside down, inducing tonic immobility, and kept the shark still for 15 minutes, which caused it to suffocate to death.”

Intrigued to see exactly how a shark can be inverted using this technique? Check out this incredible video:

Pretty amazing, right?

While it’s not recommended that you try any of these induction techniques on your human subjects at home, it certainly makes you wonder whether when it comes to understanding the full power of hypnosis, that so far only the tip of the iceberg has been touched.

So next time you come across a doubtful subject or hypnosis critic, share this article with them and challenge their surprise!


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How to hypnotize a rooster

Who the hell was the first person to do this shit

Farmer’s kid? I mean aside from this I don’t know how you can get entertained

Werner Herzog on hypnotizing chickens is one of my favorite clips of all time.

I wanna know what question led up to this chicken comment. Brilliant interviewer

I need to learn simple editing skills so I can make this about Raiders fans

Does anyone know how or why this works?

While we can't "know why", it's probably a defense mechanism to feign death from a snake-like predator.

It can't figure out which direction to go in order to cross what it thinks is a very tiny road.

You see, the chicken is in another dimension

The chicken works for CDPR so when it sees a looming dead LINE, it faces paralysis.

Chicken goes poke when you "Cross the line"

I wonder if this would work on humans

Yeah. Just post a tweet about how mail-ballots aren't safe and you suddenly have half the US hypnotized.

Fun fact my grandpa did this to a whole field of chicken in the dark

Fun fact my grandpa

Did this to a whole field of

Chicken in the dark

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