Cocktail Party Primer — All Poultry Edition

It’s happening. Right now, folks are dusting the cheese trays and reaching into the high cupboard for the cocktail shakers in preparation of holiday parties — but are you ready with winsome conversational small talk?

No worries, Locally Laid has you covered with interesting poultry chitchat which will surely be the social lubricant of any good fete.


PARTY TIDBIT 1: The term rose-colored Glasses comes from chickens and their penchant toward “picking” on each other. Picking is when a chicken hardcore pecks on something – often another chicken and trust me, bird-on-bird violence, is REAL

So it was the early 1900s, tiny eyeglasses were invented, even patented, for hens to wear to diminish peer damage. The December 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics has a sidebar about these red-tinted aluminum spectacles. The article claimed that they “stopped the fighting  instantly” because they cut the chickens’ ability to see blood. They were latter deemed ineffective.

Chicken glasses, prevented chickens from fighting, in overall good condition


PARTY TIDBIT 2: Used to be, eggs were a only a seasonal treat and not at all the daily staple of today. Come the short days of fall, laying hens were in the stewpot as winter egg production wouldn’t even pay the cost of feed.

It wasn’t until 1928 that research published by the University of Minnesota, changed everything. Discoveries out of the small town of Crookston centered on the use of selective breeding and cod liver oil—an extract chock-full of vitamin D—mixed into the mash and supplemented with electric light. Hens would lay right through the dark months. This was a seismic shift for the dairy case!



PARTY TIDBIT 3: Chickens sleep hard and are rather like malleable drunks at night — I’m pretty sure most chickens wearing a sweater were dressed while sleeping. And woke up pissed.



PARTY TIDBIT 4: Chickens are omnivores. For all the bucolic imagery of pecking corn thrown by gingham-aproned farm women, chickens are not vegetarians. Should a wrong-place-wrong-time frog hop into the paddock, they’ll completely void it into change purse in a matter of minutes.


PARTY TIDBIT 5: There’s a reason JUMBO eggs are fragile — Chickens produce the same the amount of shell covering no matter the egg size, so it’s like blowing up a balloon. Larger eggs are thinner. Also egg size correlates to age meaning that young birds lay small (called pullet eggs) and the older statesgals give you the biggest ones. Our JUMBO cartons say “OUCH!” on them given how loud the chickens cluck when they lay them.
PARTY TIDBIT 6: Warning – Do NOT use this tidbit until at least the second round of drinks
Despite our referring to the male of the species as a cock, they don’t have one. What they do have is more like a nubbin, called the papilla, located just inside their vent which is the one stop shop of orifices.
Bereft of a functional copulatory organ, there’s no penetration in chicken sex, more of an aligning of vents during a piggyback-style mounting, called treading, during which the roosters spray their sperm.
locallylaidbookThese pearls of wisdom were gleaned from Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Sustainable Egg Farm — from Scratch,  2016 Midwest Choice Award in Nonfiction winner. Available anywhere books are sold, but we encourage you to visit your  local bookseller.