There has never been a shortage of people prepared to tell you their predictions – particularly around election time – but it doesn’t happen often that a chicken gets taken seriously as a prophet. However in 1806 in Leeds, England, when a hen started laying eggs with the words ‘Christ is coming’ her fame quickly grew as word of the miracle spread, and quite a lot of the locals believed that doomsday was nearly upon them. Of course it turned out to be a hoax. Unfortunately for the hen her ‘predictions’ had been written on the egg in acid by her owner Mary Bateman (an alleged witch and professional fortune teller) and then pushed back up into her vent for her to lay again. Ouch!
That hen was not the first to find herself thrust into the world of showbiz, the oldest trick in the book (quite literally) is commonly performed with a chicken and involves the magician appearing to separate the head and body and then join them back together again.
Please do not try that on your own chickens! Most are not as resilient as another famous chicken called ‘Mike’ who managed to make his living touring sideshows for 18 months after his head had been chopped off and is still quite the celebrity in Fruita, Colorado where there is an annual “Mike the Headless Chicken Day” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_the_Headless_Chicken)
It seems that a life in the spotlight can be good for a chickens health. The oldest living chicken of a few years ago lived to the ripe old age of 16 years and had been a magicians assistant for most of her life – as well as having enjoyed the ocassional tv appearance.