The correct question is "How can I be a part of this grand experiment?" The answer, my friends, is contained herein.
First, a video demonstration:
Step 1: Gather Materials
To explore this bizarre phenomenon, you will need:
- A chicken
- A stick
- Some help, as this is a two person job
- Some drinks wouldn't hurt, and would probably add to your enjoyment of the next step.
Step 2: Catch a Chicken
My brother keeps a few hens, but this turned out to be more difficult than I imagined. After spending half an hour alternately running and sneaking around his yard, making weird little cooing noises at these ridiculous birds, we were flummoxed. Eventually, Ted lured them back into the coop with food and then reached in through the back door to grab one by the legs. Why didn't he do this the first time, before releasing them? I do not know.
Step 3: Lay the Chicken on Its Side
Hold the chicken on its side in a bare patch of dirt. The important part here is to hold its head down to the ground.
Step 4: Draw a Line
Making quick movements with a small twig, draw a line about a foot long away from the chicken's head.
Step 5: Observe in Awe!
If all has gone well, the chicken will remain staring at the line for 15-30 seconds! Voila, you have hypnotized a chicken!
Step 6: Wait, What Just Happened?
Well, I'm not exactly sure. I am no biologist. According to the wikipedia page on chicken hypnotism, this is a similar phenomenon to a deer freezing when hit by a strong beam of light; it's an attempt to avoid a predator by pretending to be dead. I suspect that's right, chickens are both extremely stupid and very skittish, so this sort of massive overreaction just seems in line with my (admittedly limited) experience with chickens.
Step 7: Final Thoughts
Thanks for taking the time to read about my exploits.
I had seen a video about this on youtube about a year ago, and my brother and I have been talking about seeing if it is real ever since. We took the time this weekend to find out, and lo and behold, it was true!
Have you ever hypnotized a chicken? If so, post a video link in the comments below so we can see, and I'll send you an electronic patch for your profile!
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**** Update 4/6/12: Thanks to everyone who's mentioned in the comments that this brings back fond memories of childhood or farm life! I'm glad my humble little instructable could spark recollections of good times.