Somebody asked me about hypnotizing chickens recently, having heard that you can hypnotise a chicken by dragging your finger down its forehead, down its beak and onto the ground, so that the chicken gets fixated on that spot and is hypnotised.
Well, I’m afraid it’s bad news for Iggy Pop and any other chicken fanciers out there – you can’t hypnotise a chicken.
What is actually happening here is something called Tonic Immobility, the state of semi-paralyis that most of us would know as “playing dead”. Basically, your chicken is threatened, not hypnotised, and so starts to play dead. This can, apparently, be put to the test by performing the same process on a more domesticated chicken that is used to being handled by people. If it does not perceive a threat, it will not exhibit any signs of tonic immobility.
Personally I’d recommend you don’t put this to the test at all though – not all chickens will enter an immobile state and those that don’t (if they are not used to being handled by humans) may choose to attack instead. Guess Iggy Pop better watch himself…