SNEAK PEEK #1: The Truth about Chickens

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Our ninth annual 10 Issue hits newsstands next Tuesday, and to celebrate we'll be previewing it here all week. This year's 10 issue includes a whole range of wonderful lists from 10 ways Video Games will Change Your Life (they can make you rich and help you find love!), to 10 Things You Definitely Don't Know about Afghanistan, to 10 Ridiculous Feats of Literature. Plus, we've got stories on outsider artists, the wild wild west, and so much more.

Here's a sneak peek at one of my favorite stories from the issue by author Megan Wilde: 10 Provocative Questions about Chickens... Answered!

How do I hypnotize a chicken?

Screen shot 2010-02-24 at 2.48.04 AMThe chicken mind is easy to control, and chicken handlers have found several ways of hypnotizing chickens. Three methods known to make a chicken very, very sleepy are: 1) holding a chicken's head under its wing and gently rocking its body, 2) holding a chicken upside down and wiggling a finger in circles around its beak, and 3) staring intently into a chickens' eyes. Chickens will stay spellbound for several minutes, or even hours, until a loud noise snaps them out of their trance. Scientists think this state is a form of tonic immobility, a defense mechanism in which animals "play dead" in order to shake off a predator. Hypnotized chickens can so resemble inanimate objects that Vice President Al Gore recalled using them as paperweights and doorstops during his childhood days on the farm.

I've heard roosters don't have penises. Is that true?

For all our talk of the birds and the bees, this answer somehow tends to get glossed over. It's true that roosters don't actually have penises. Instead, a rooster's reproductive organs are neatly packed inside its cloacal vent. When he's ready to mate, the rooster grabs hold of a hen's neck and jumps on her back. When their vents touch in what's called a cloacal kiss, the rooster deposits sperm into the hen. Hens release about one egg a a day, and one mating can fertilize her eggs for up to a week. Even if there isn't a rooster around, however, hens will still lay eggs.

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Of course, that just scratches the surface! We also cover whether chickens like the taste of chicken, whether chickens are magical (they are in some cultures) and what exactly is a gizzard. For the rest of the story, pick up a magazine on newsstands this Tuesday. Or better yet, pick up a subscription and a t-shirt when you order the magazine right here.

February 24, 2010 - 5:00am
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