They say you learn something new every day, but what I saw with the chickens this week rates up there on my "Holy S#*!" list. We were all in the chickens pen feeding and admiring the new feather growth on the fowl when husband Mike casually asks me if I ever saw a chicken put to sleep. I think I gave a brief scowl of disbelief with a dash of contempt since I figured it was one more whopper on his Top Ten list of ridiculous statements. But alas, how wrong I was; and I am not embarrassed to admit it, for the spectacle that I beheld was almost as unbelievable as flying pigs, reindeer with glowing red noses, and bunnies that lay chocolate eggs, but wait, those aren't real. Well anyhow, putting a chicken to sleep was real and the only fitting description for what I saw is "Chicken Whispering."
So Mike proceeded to wrangle a chicken and grab it carefully in his strong mandibles. Then he knelt using one knee to hold the chicken while placing its head firmly on the ground. Next Mike petted the chicken softly on its head and neck for about 20 or 30 seconds and quietly removed his restraints from the birds back. And as he moved away from the bird it remained laying stiffly on the ground and stayed frozen there for about a minute. Was it taking a nap or in a trance? I was not sure. Is this a hillbilly initiation ceremony or what?? This chicken whispering is new territory for me. The chickens seem to bring out the country bumpkin in everybody, but this must be what separates the true rednecks from the wannabes. At this point I was all amazement, and with wide eyed shock I asked why the chickens do this. "I duh know," was Mikes immediate reply. I could not settle for his meagre answer, so upon my quizzing him further he came up with something about the hens going into a frozen state when the roosters mount them for breeding and such. It sounded like he was pulling this out of his a** at that point so I gave up.
I would have to go to a higher authority for the answers to my question. Obviously this was the vast and expansive resource known as the Internet. There I was enlightened by so called experts on the subject. And by experts I really mean idiots... During my research, I found numerous video clips of chicken whispering since people have figured out many techniques to torture chickens in this manner. In fact, there is a whole section on YouTube where morons from all walks of life show their unique and special talent in chicken hypnotism. Some advise folding the head under the wing, holding the chicken tightly and spinning it in circles, others demonstrate a spiral hand movement over the chickens head while pressing its body on the ground, and another drew lines in the dirt in front the chicken's beady eye. Then there are the warnings like "Do not use a rooster," and my only reaction was "DUH!!!" That's attempted suicide in our chicken society. Our glorious Mr.D would scratch and peck your eyes out in 2.87 seconds. I could instantly figure that roosters are immune to chicken whispering. From my personal observations, roosters would not submit to hypnosis, they're too damned busy trying to rake the sh** out of someone with their spurs.
There is actually an entry in Wickipedia, that gives historical references for the use of the chicken-in-a-trance like state which is scientifically identified as "tonic immobility." Remember, one must say "tonic immobility" in the geeky voice to counteract all of the hillbilly in everything preceding it. In fact, these techniques were developed by farmers who needed to kill a chicken alone. They could subdue it with the hypnosis then chop-chop without cutting off their hand in the process.
There was some slight irony that on one site with videos it had "How to put a chicken to sleep" right next to "How to make beer can chicken." At least it made me laugh. I can just imagine all these dumb ass people just like us chasing their hens around and doing sleep experiments on them. Poor ladies. The one thing of note that I did discover is that Mike's technique for tonic immobility was unique to him as I could not find any others using his same method. The only reason "why" the chickens go into the hypnotic state was explained as their attempt at feigning dead, aka, playin' possum, in reaction to their torture. This is not such a successful strategy at my house. Those animals that lay around get
So not being able to convince my dear and loving husband to demonstrate his chicken whispering techniques for all the world to see I had to make the effort and thus complete this portion of my hillbilly training: