How to Hypnotize a Chicken




About: depotdevoid is short for The Depot Devoid of Thought, the place where you go when you lo...

Why, you may ask, would one WANT to hypnotize a chicken?  You, sir or madam, are asking the wrong question.  The answer to that one is of course, "Why wouldn't you want to hypnotize a chicken!?"  The interrobang is required in that sentence.

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:
  1. A chicken
  2. A stick
  3. Some help, as this is a two person job
  4. 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!

Please take a minute to rate, subscribe, comment and follow me on facebook, I love hearing back from people and I've always got lots more in the works!

**** 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.



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    68 Discussions

    Jayden S.B

    3 years ago

    I understand that this was made forever ago, but I would like to point out that you were slightly cruel to the chicken. I am not criticizing, but I love animals. Chickens are fairly dumb, and that is the way they are usually treated. Very nice instructable!

    curly gurly

    4 years ago

    I've done it before, but you don't need a stick, you can just use your finger.


    try flip their head between one of their wings...
    then hold your chicken by both hands in both side of their wings which still flip their head, and move it gently around...

    sorry for bad english :D

    1 reply

    6 years ago

    well il be blanged, you actually can hypnotize a chicken!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I use to do some thing like this as kid, its not hard, we flip the chicken over then take finger point at the chicken and move it in and out, you want chicken to look at it, move in so it cross its eyes this seems short something out in its head and it start closing its eyes if get your finger in right spot for bit ( that sounds bad) it will fall a sleep, lay it on ground and it stay for some time or someone or something make loud sound or moves it


    7 years ago on Step 6

    I just wanted to say that I have chickens and they're actually pretty smart. I don't know if it's the particular breeds that I have (Modern Game BBs, Americaunas, Cochins, Buttercups, Silkies), but they all know their names, come when you call them, and go into the coops when you tell them it's "time for bed."

    Of course, we DID hand raise them with tons of human interaction, so maybe that's it. And please don't flame me, I'm sure there are some really stupid ones, too. I'm just saying that they aren't all idiots. :)

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 6

    no it's true, they are smart indeed! a friend of mine used to keep one as a pet and the hen acted just like a dog, waiting for him, calling for him and following him around, responsively playing and constantly interacting with him and his family! the chicken could even find its way home from non-familiar premises: it used to follow the guy around when he was walking around the block and when the chicken got tired he made its way home alone, ha! :D i have no idea which breed could that chicken belong to though.


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    I believe the varieties my brother keeps are Leghorns and Americanas, I don't know how they stack up as far as smarts.

    I bet you're right though, all that human interaction must make a big difference. Ted's chickens are out in the yard with the family all the time, but they don't interact with them like pets or anything. They do chase the cat a lot, he's terrified of them!

    And hey, no flames here! Expressing your opinion rationally, reasonably, and politely (as you've done) is always encouraged in my comments sections. My personal experience with chickens is pretty limited, I only have my brother's chickens and hearsay to go on.


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    I did the same thing with a Guinea baby not to be confused with guinea pigs


    7 years ago on Step 5

    What you're actually doing is sending the poor thing into a panic. It thinks it's going to die, so its body begins producing stress chemicals to dull the impending pain. This is a really horrible Instructable. Not funny at all.

    4 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    No, but what on earth does that have to do with anything? I just don't think scaring innocent animals to the point that they think they are going to die is something that should be featured on Instructables. Chickens are really fun to have around for a lot of reasons, but scaring them half to death shouldn't be one of them.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, this is one of a number of chicken hypnotism techniques used to calm a chicken prior to killing it--this causes the chicken to calm down, which both prevents the release of stress hormones that can cause the meat to have a bad texture or taste, and makes it easier to have a quick, clean kill without undue pain to the bird in question.

    Here's a link, all you've ever wanted to know about calming, killing, and butchering a chicken:

    sdhardie, believe me when I say I looked into this before I released it into the wilds of the internet.  If I thought I was putting out something that would cause a lot of pain and suffering, I never would have posted it.

    Also, Hangfire, just because someone objects to what they perceive as cruelty to animals, it doesn't mean they're a vegetarian.  I eat plenty of meat but I don't like the idea of causing another living being to suffer more then required to get it onto my plate.  It's one of those stereotypes that holds true just often enough to keep it alive, and makes it difficult for those of us who hold a middle ground position to engage in polite discourse on the subject.


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    Just by reading your comment I can tell you are a force of positivity in the world, keep it up brotha!