Hypnotizing Chickens

A friend told me that when he was a child, he hypnotized chickens for fun. This was a new one to me. In fact, I had to wonder if he was telling the truth.

I hate to be suckered by a tall tale, but I couldn’t help but get sucked in by this one. So, I asked him how he does it.

He told me it was easy. First, lay the chicken on its side. Next, draw a straight line in the dirt, starting at the chicken’s eyes and moving away from its head.

He claims the chicken will lay there all day, staring at the line. He said that one time he had 10 chickens laid out in a row this way.

I raised chickens for years, but my chicken tractor is empty now. Otherwise, I’d go home and try it in a minute. My grandfather raised chickens, and he never told me anything like this. True or false, you tell me?

UPDATE! Click here to see it happen!

Galen Lehman

About Galen Lehman

Lehman's CEO and son of founder Jay Lehman. Homesteads on five acres. Believes in a Simpler Life...rewarding relationships, fresh, local (preferably homegown) food and the gratification of hard work. Plant a tree!

17 thoughts on “Hypnotizing Chickens

  1. The same thought crossed my mind. I also have a question about how you catch the chicken in the first place!

    When I raised chickens, I could catch the “friendly ones” but I could have never caught ten at a time.

  2. I had heard this but have never tried it myself. I might, someday. You catch a chicken by snnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeking up on it! And move fast to grab! But it doesn’t always work!

  3. You never used a chicken catcher? It’s a long handled “hook” that you can reach under a chicken with and catch a leg or foot, then it’s an easy matter to pick up the chicken.

    I have another question, though. What do you do with a hypnotized chicken?

  4. Very funny … someone once gave me an antique chicken catcher as a gift. We used it around the office for when certain co-workers got out of hand. Thanks for jogging my memory Pat! I echo your question, too…maybe it’s for some much-needed entertainment in the quiet rural areas? Ha ha!

  5. Yes, I have actually seen this done. Someone caught the chicken (but how they did that I don’t remember!) and held it’s head down close to the ground, as though forcing it to squat down rather than laying it on it’s side. He then took his finger and drew a line in the dirt away from the chicken’s beak, just as you describe. When he removed his hand from the chicken’s neck, the chicken didn’t move. It just stayed there, very much hyptonized. We all stood there staring at it. No one had ever seen anything like it. As we stared, the fellow who hyptonized it took his hatchet and quickly chopped off it’s head. What a shock! We were all grossed out, but we all enjoyed the chicken stew that night.

  6. PaPaw used to get to the chickens later in the day, when they were ready to roost.. then he had a way of putting them in a trance while he held them.. They would go limp and appear to be dead. Great entertainment for us kids.. PaPaw could do the same thing with a cat. But don’t ask me how.. Barn yard magic I guess. None of the rest of us could ever do it..

  7. I have heard of this too. But for turkeys. Apparently you put their beak to the ground, draw a line (a white line I may have heard, chalk?) and then you can chop of their heads while they are standing their calmly and the meat is supposed to be better because they aren’t all pumped up with adrenaline.

  8. If you don’t have a chicken catcher another way we use to catch those that tried to set up shop in the barn rather than the chicken coop was to wait until it was dark. When you walk in you shine a light directly into their eyes they can’t see you when you pick them up they don’t even struggle.

    In Australia I saw them catch a chicken hold it down on the ground while drawing a circle around it. It sat in the circle until he clapped 3 times. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I told my dad about it after coming back to the states and he said that his dad use to do the same but with a handful of flour for the circle and the chicken would sit there until the flour either blew away or was covered up.

  9. I’m not sure why you would want to “hypnotize” a chicken, but you can effect the same result (stillness) by holding the bird upside down for 10 seconds, give or take. Then, guess what, you can lay it down on its side. This is especially helpful when training chickens to go in at night. The offenders are brought inverted into the coop and laid down (on their sides). Seconds later, in front of very curious roommates, the hen springs up, embarassed. Chickens hate to be humiliated in this way and never miss dinner call again.

  10. I never saw ours lay still after being upside down. When we had to bring those couple dozen back to the coop that every summer would make a roost in the barn. We would hold them upside down by their legs so we could carry more back after we got the 1500 feet or so back to the coop and sat them down then they’d jump around clucking and trying to get away. Though I don’t think we laid them on their side.

  11. Actually the line should be drawn parallel the chicken’s head, not away from it. To catch said chicken we always used a long sturdy wire about 4 to 5 feet with a hook at the end, as the bird would try to run away (I don’t know why) the user just hooks it around the foot and picks them right up. To lay the chicken on it’s side you kind of have to get your hands down over their flapping wings and just lay them down on their side. The tricky part is holding the fowl down with one hand and drawing the line with the other, as the chicken will want to bolt. You might want to consider this a two man job, one to hold the chicken, the other to draw the line. I only ever hypnotized hens, never tried on a rooster as grandpa’s rooster (his name was Napoleon) was a bit malicious and would try to peck at us whenever approached.

  12. You’re absolutely right. It doesn’t work at all when carrying multiple chickens by their feet. They tend to keep their heads up and eyes on each other. The lone chicken, however, after realizing that flapping and squawking are futile, drops its head and goes limp. I’ve only had two birds (both roosters) defy my logic and slash my arm instead. No one’s said yet just why you would want to hypnotize chickens. Is this the poultry version of cow tipping?

  13. Not FAIR! Lol I nearly lost my coffee out my nose reading “Is this the poultry version of cow tipping?” Thanks for the laugh! When I saw it in Oz it was a way they where getting the chickens to sit still for inspection as someone was coming over to buy most of their flock since they where older and downsizing not for entertainment purposes. Though sadly I must admit, I went cow tipping once… For me it was easy I was 6’8″ 380 I didn’t see the sport or fun in it like my other friends *though they where much smaller than I*.

  14. I have lived in country all my life (75 year) and contracted growing chickens for 27 years. In all these years I have never heard of hypnotizing a chicken. lol We produced about 245,000 head per year. But, I live in Texas and guess we do things different here. Too busy in taking care of the business instead of trying to put one to sleep unless he needed to be put out of his misery and that was a quick knock with the chicken catcher. Must be interesting to have time to try to hypnotize one. Bo Pilgrim may be interested in learning that since he has a stuffed chicken called Heneritta. Just thought I would give comment from a past poultry farmer.

  15. When I was a kid, My father told me about hypnotizung chickens. He told me when he was a kid he would sneak over to his neighbors chicken pen and hypnotize them by drawing a chalk line on the sidewalk, then grabbing a chicken and sticking its head under its wing. Then he would move the whole chicken around in a big circle a few times. Then he would set it on the ground, pull its head out from under its wing and aim it at the chalk line. He said that that chicken would stare at that line for a long long time. His neighbor would get mad at him whenever he did this.
    I always took this story with a grain of salt until one day one of our next door neighbor’s chickens got loose and wandered into our yard where we were having a cookout with several friends. I cornered that chicken and tried my father’s hypnotizing trick. Much to my surprise and the amazement of all our frriends, it worked like a charm. I guess the old man wasn’t feeding me a line.

  16. Having been raised on a farm where we had many chickens amongst other animals I can appreciate and believe in the ability to hypnotize a chicken by the method described. I had not heard of doing it so never tried but certainly would have. I do know that if you chase after a chicken as with any other creature it will run from you. If I wanted to catch a chicken while it was not roosting I would draw it close with feed then grab it. On a number of occassions I have got a chicken to lay still for a bit by holding it down on its side and petting it along the neck and side. It would stay that way for a little while after I let it go without startling it. As for the question of what would I do with a hypnotized chicken? I would tell it that whenever I clicked my fingers it would walk and act like a human. lol