Posts Tagged ‘Weird chicken stuff’

This weird ability of chickens will surprise you!

A while back, Mercedes-Benz came out with an ad campaign designed to emphasize the stability of its vehicles, featuring chickens:

Magic Body Control!

The weird “dance” that the chickens are doing in this video is based on their ability to stabilize their heads. In other words, chickens like to keep their heads in one place as they move around. This enables them to focus better on one area, so they are more likely to see the movement of predators or small, tasty bugs in their line of vision.

According to Mercedes Benz, this mesmerizing ability of chickens is similar to the “magic” ability of their vehicle to absorb bumps in the pavement and give a smoother riding sensation to the human passengers.

Jaguar responded to this ad campaign with their own chicken commercial, in which the magic dancing chicken meets a bad end:

Jaguar vs. Chicken

Although the focus of these commercials is supposed to be luxury cars, we at Home to Roost feel that the dancing chickens are the real stars!

The ability of chickens to keep their heads in one place has been the subject of scientific study in Cell and other academic publications, as well as a host of less scientific but quite entertaining articles. When you see a flock of chickens bobbing their heads while they walk, you will now know what they are up to!

Five Fascinating Facts about Eggs

Chicken eggs are a great source of nutrition. But there is much more to know about the humble egg, often considered nature’s perfect food:

  1. When a young hen first starts laying eggs, they may be strange shapes or sizes until the hen adjusts to the laying process. Eggs may be smaller or larger than normal, have soft shells, or even no shells at all. Tiny eggs may have no yolks, while giant eggs may have two or even three yolks.

  2. Chicken eggs are not just white or brown, like the eggs commonly sold in grocery stores. Some breeds lay copper-colored eggs, others light blue eggs, and some even lay green eggs. So Dr. Seuss’ book Green Eggs and Ham was not so far-fetched after all! Contrary to popular belief, egg color does not affect the taste of the eggs.

  3. Female chicks are born with all the eggs they will eventually lay. These eggs, or ova, look like a cluster of tiny grapes in the bird’s ovary. Only a small number of the existing ova will be laid as eggs.

  4. Hens lay eggs regardless of whether a rooster is present to fertilize them. Laying an egg is equivalent to ovulation. It is not the same as having a baby!

  5. Stressed-out hens are not good layers. Some common sources of stress include extremely hot or cold weather, predators, unfamiliar food, new living quarters, a new chicken in the flock, or loud noises. So tone down the party music near the coop! Your ladies need some peace and quiet while they are engaged in the very important process of laying eggs.

Spooky Chicken Tales, Part I: Rooster Burned at the Stake

In 1474, the townspeople of Basel, Switzerland gathered to watch a bizarre sight: a rooster being burned at the stake, with all the solemn ceremony usually reserved for a human transgressor.

The rooster was sentenced to this terrible fate “for the heinous and unnatural crime of laying an egg,” according to Johann Gross, who wrote an account of the incident in 1624. Witchcraft was suspected, and the magistrates of Basel sentenced the cock to the same punishment usually reserved for witches.

Folks back then were especially afraid of an egg laid by a rooster, because of the superstition that this egg could hatch a basilisk or cockatrice, a terrifying, winged creature with the head of a cock and tail of a serpent. This creature could kill with a glance.

Beware of eggs laid by roosters: people used to believe they could hatch a cockatrice!

The good people of Basel had no idea that such gender-bending can happen in chickens, and it’s a perfectly natural occurrence. I wrote a blog post about this rare phenomenon: “It’s a Hen… or Maybe Not! Gender-Bending Chickens.” In rare cases, roosters can start laying eggs, and hens can begin to crow… and it’s not the result of witchcraft.


Learn more about the trials of animals accused of witchcraft:

“Nature on Trial: The Case of the Rooster that Laid an Egg,” by E. V. Walter

The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals
By Edward Payson Evans