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Huh. Well, tompfrompv wasn’t kidding with the link: chicken glasses were a thing. You can tell from the tone of the article at right that they were always a subject of fun.

They sold millions of them, though, under several patents. One of them had rose-tinted lenses on a hinge, so when the chicken looked down, the lenses swung away and her vision was normal, but when she raised her head the tinted ones fell into place. A complex solution to a simple problem.

Not pecking each other’s eyes out. Jesus. I never heard of such a thing.

Feather pecking and cannibalism. Chickens go a little coocoo at the sight of blood and can peck at a wounded chook, sometimes unto death. These days, you either separate the injured bird until it’s all better again, or you spray an antiseptic on the wound that also hides the color.

As for feather pecking, that’s an odd one. They taught me in Chikken School that feather pecking is never a hostile act, it’s a displacement activity. If a chicken can’t scratch and forage, it’ll peck at the feathers of other chickens instead.

But that’s a problem of big factory flocks in overcrowded barns, and that’s a phenomenon that began in the Fifties. Back when these things were invented — the patent in the article is from 1903 — all chickens were more or less free range. So I dunno.

They fight feather pecking with beak trimming these days. Beaks aren’t quite like toenails; they do have a blood supply and feeling. Some of the methods used in the past to trim beaks were pretty ghastly. These days, at least in Britain, trained chikken technicians swiftly run a laser across the end of their beaks when the birds are quite tiny. This kills the blood vessels, painlessly they think, and the tip of the beak just falls off later. Losing the pointy end is enough to discourage bad beak behavior.

Brits are so soft about animals, I’m happy to say, I really did feel much better about commercial chicken practices after learning more. Even the big cage operations aren’t as awful as you might think from that YouTube your cousin linked you to on FaceBook.

And to expand on my announcement below, Jenny has indeed laid her first egg. And then angrily attacked it. It frightened her. I think it’s a case of this weird object just came out of my bottom and it hurt. None of the little girls like being handled, but she let me pick her up and stroke her for a while after this most upsetting experience.

And then she did it again today. Two days, two eggs. I guess we know who the superstar is going to be.

August 1, 2016 — 8:27 pm
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