>> Monday, October 4, 2010
Mental Floss recently did a post with weird facts about chickens and, since we're nominally chicken wranglers, I thought I'd pass along some of the strangest chicken facts:
3. What is pasty butt, and how do I prevent it?Chickens have a multipurpose hole for excrement, eggs, and mating called the cloacal vent. If this hole becomes clogged with excrement—a condition known as pasty butt—a young chicken can get backed up and die. Without a mother hen to clean them, baby chicks raised by humans are particularly susceptible to pasty butt. That’s why chicken keepers must be vigilant in monitoring and cleaning their brood’s bottoms.
6. How do I hypnotize a chicken?The chicken mind is an easy thing to control, and chicken handlers have found several ways of hypnotizing the birds. Here are three surefire ways to make a chicken very, very sleepy:
• Hold a chicken’s head under its wing and gently rock its body.
• Hold a chicken upside down and wiggle a finger in circles around its beak.
• Stare intently into a chicken’s eyes.
Generally, they’ll stay spellbound for several minutes, or even hours, until a loud noise snaps them out of their trance. Scientists think this state is a form of tonic immobility, a defense mechanism in which animals “play dead” in order to shake off a predator. Hypnotized chickens can be pretty useful, though. Former Vice President Al Gore recalls using them as doorstops during his childhood days on his family’s farm.
Ten Provocative Questions About Raising Chickens...Answered!