On the not infrequent occasions when someone asks me 'what is the best way to hypnotize a chicken', I always give this advice. Although you can find several methods in the Old Farmers Almanac, I would go with the method my father taught me in Iowa around 1966. Start by catching a chicken. This is easier said than done. One has to be a bit spry to corner it, and typically grab a leg. The upside down chicken is not a happy chicken, so much flapping and carrying on will occur. Best to use a second hand to upright the bird, and end up holding it with two hands, keeping the wings clamped to its side. Then lower the kind bird to the ground, gently resting it as though it wanted to sit. Now continue to press gently down with one hand, keeping the wings constrained. With your free hand, reach forward in front of its head and draw a line in the dirt, extending from directly in front of its break, straight down its line of sight, about 12 inches. Then gently remote the wing constraining hand. That bird will set there, staring at the line for many seconds, even a minute or so. It is just fascinated to watch that line. A sudden noise or movement will startle the bird and it will jump up and run away. This activity can provide much amusement for children and adults alike.
Rich Altmaier, IA, entered 2005-03-28