A chicken can be hypnotized, or put into a trance, with its head down near the ground, and drawing a line along the ground with a stick or a finger, starting at the beak and extending straight outward in front of the chicken. If the chicken is hypnotized in this manner, it will continue to stare at the line, remaining immobile for as long as 30 minutes. Other methods of inducing this state are also known. Ethologists refer to this state as ‘tonic immobility’ i.e. a natural state of semi-paralysis that some animals enter when presented with a threat, which is probably a defensive mechanism intended to feign death, albeit rather poorly.
One technique of hypnosis is to hold the chicken face up with its back on the ground, and then run a finger downwards from the chicken’s wattles to just above its vent. The chicken’s feet are exposed, which allows easy application of medication for foot mites, etc. Clapping hands or giving the chicken a gentle shove will waken it.
One can also hypnotize a chicken by mimicking how it sleeps – with its head under its wing. In this method, hold the bird firmly, placing its head under its wing, then, gently rock the chicken back and forth and set it very carefully on the ground. It should stay in the same position for about 30 seconds. H.B. Gibson, in his book Hypnosis – its Nature and Therapeutic Uses, states that the record period for a chicken remaining under hypnosis is 3 hours, 47 minutes.