How to Hypnotize a Chicken: Two Easy Ways to Calm Birds

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A relaxed chicken is a happy chicken; try chicken hypnosis!

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Photo by 4028mdk09-Wikimedia Commons

Chicken Hypnosis Works!


Wondering how to hypnotize a chicken? Learn to calm a high-strung bird with the oscillating finger method or sternum stroke method.

Oscillating Finger Method

1) Place the chicken on its side with a wing under its body. Hold it down gently with one hand. Note: You will want to make sure its head is flat on the table.

2) Using a finger from your other free hand, move your finger back and forth in front of the bird's beak. The key is to go from the tip of its beak (without actually touching the beak) to a point that is about four inches from the beak.

3) Keeping the finger in a parallel line to the beak, repeat the motion until the bird is out.

Sternum Stroke Method

1) Place the bird gently on its back. Note: You may have to use an item to keep the bird from rolling to its side.

2) Hold the bird down with one hand.

3) With your free hand, lightly massage the bird's sternum with your thumb and index finger slightly spread out.

4) Repeat until the bird is out.

See more about chickens in our Raising Chickens 101 blog!

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. (not verified)

3 years 8 months ago

I believe this to be a prey response similar to a possum playing dead. Birds have stiff lungs that are supplied air via air sacs, so it shouldn't restrict breathing much, if any. Still, I have noted open mouth breathing when birds are on their backs, so I tend to restrict use of their tendency to go limp like this to things like treating SLM or trimming toenails. Holding a bird by the legs also produces a similar trance like state where they can be hung for slaughter or (in the case of a flighty bird) moved easily. Be careful of the possibility of regurgitation and aspiration.
Sources: personal experience with my flock (~200 birds to date) plus research into the anatomy of chickens.

Melinda (not verified)

5 years 5 months ago

Aren't you cutting oxygen supply by rolling them on their backs!? That's where the lungs are located. So they are basically passing out.

It seems to be more of a "freeze" reaction, not suffocation. Perhaps one of life's mysteries. Let us know if you decide to do some research!

David Criley (not verified)

8 years 2 months ago

How do you wake the chicken back up?

You say "When I count to 3 and snap my fingers, you'll wake up and not remember a thing. You will be nicer and not mean. You will obey my every command." (Okay, the last part is stretching it a bit). haha Also, you can do it by laying a chicken on its side and draw a line in front of its beak. The chicken has to be looking at it as you mark a line with a stick or your finger in the dirt. The chickens eyes can see 360 degrees and it sees it and it'll get confused and will stay until you pick up the chicken or wipe the line away. That's what they said on "Outrageous Acts of Science".