Mesmerizing chickens

I am fascinated by this idea of mesmerizing a chicken (see Sara’s comment, previous post) and I have heard of this before but had forgotten all about it. One method is to hold the chicken down with her beak pressed firmly on the ground (now see, already this is sounding tricky), and slowly draw a line in the dirt with your finger straight away from her beak, 2 or 3 feet. When you release her, the chicken will lie there with her eyes open, not moving, from 15 seconds to several hours, if undisturbed.

Or you can tuck the chicken’s head under her wing and rock her gently for several seconds. Then you set her down very carefully, and she will stay that way.

See, what bothers me about this is having this level of control over the bird and not really understanding why or how it works. Kind of like–oh, I don’t know, what would it be like?–having the authority to send your military into war without really understanding the gestalt of the thing. (or knowing what “gestalt” means. or “mesmerize,” for that matter.)

I digress. The point is that it’s a lot of power to wield over a little bird. What if I send her off into avian la-la land and she never comes back? Or what if she’s not quite right ever again after that?

There’s also the practical matter of forcing her head into any position at all. They are big, sturdy birds (Dolley weighed four pounds at the vet, by the way), but their heads are surprisingly small little things, like little walnut shells only more fragile, and their necks are hardly anything at all, just feathers and one skinny column of bone. I just hate to push too hard.

Dang, I wish I’d just insisted on watching the vet do it. Should’ve brought my camera, too. I thought the vet wouldn’t have approved, but hey, it’s my money, right? Might as well get something out of it!

I do like the use of the word “mesmerize.” It’s a lovely word. Not “stun,” not “stupefy,” not “sedate,” but “mesmerize.” As if she’ll be fascinated. Spellbound. That’s a nice thought.

Has anyone else ever tried it?