Counterculture smarty-pants magazine Mental Floss gets in on the chicken-raising zeitgeist with an article in its March/April issue, “10 Provocative Questions About Raising Chickens” (not online, sorry). For instance, did you know that:

“Mating can also be deadly for a chicken. Occasionally, a cock will mount a hen too vigorously, leaving bald spots and claw marks on her back, known as ‘rooster tracks.’ The injured hens then become subject to cannibalism. To avoid this, farmers strap little aprons, called hen saddles, to their hens’ backs, which allow the chickens to have protected sex.”

This is not a lie! You can buy such things at agricultural supply shops, or, naturally, on eBay. There does not seem to yet be a market for handmade hen saddles yet on Etsy, but we bet it’s coming soon.

Another fascinating, yet much more nauseating fact:

“Chickens have a multipurpose hole for excrement, eggs, and mating called the cloacal vent. If this hole becomes clogged with excrement–a condition known as pasty butt–a young chicken can get backed up and die. Without a mother hen to clean them, baby chicks raised by humans are particularly susceptible to pasty butt.”

Funny, “pasty butt” sounds like a good thing.

Image source: Flickr member nukeit1 under Creative Commons

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