Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to trick a chicken, part two

The chickens have a red lightbulb in their house that comes on at dusk--4:30 p.m.--and goes off again at 9:30 p.m. During those hours, lurid scarlet light spills from every window and splashes out across the snow. The chicken house looks like The Chicken House...OF HORROR!

The light tricks the hens into laying eggs during fall and winter's shorter days (...OF HORROR!). I kind of remember from a behavioral endocrinology seminar I took many, many years ago that the light actually penetrates through birds' thin little birdie skulls and does its tricking directly on some surface area of the brain. Meaning a bird's actual brain has some kind of light receptors. Could this be true??

1. Go look it up.
2. Forget about it.
3. Design an experiment on egg production using a control group of birds and a group of birds that has to wear a thick bonnet (...OF HORROR!). (also: Design a thick bonnet, of horror, for birds.)

I think I will ultimately choose option one. I will look it up in my old college textbook...OF ENDOCRINOLOGY!

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