I have a few egg heads at the laboratory, so was delighted to be approached by the Happy Egg Company. The phone call went something like this “Hello Thrill Laboratory, I know you test the effects of horror and fear on human subjects, but can you do something similar with chickens?”. Live physiological monitoring was out of the question – hooking these beautiful creatures to a monitor would be stressful enough! Neurological monitoring? A chicken’s brain is smaller than the size of pea. I advised a collaboration with chicken experts at the Lincoln University in an independent study of stress levels found in free range hens.
It turns out that the perfect scientific test, which is usually carried out in a research laboratory, involves the collection and baking of individual hen poops that are then tested using chemical reagents. So poop it had to be. For various reasons (I think there may have been a photographer involved c/o Cirkle) Happy Egg Co. wanted our tests to be conducted literally ‘in the field’. And so, Thrill Laboratory went about designing a mobile poop laboratory, to house the required avian-based scatalogical and scientific processes. Stand back Chris Packham, this is territory for experts [insert link to Chris Packham fan page here]
I’m just waiting for a horror film festival to invite me to use this technique to analyse a human audience. But I think by the time they’ve reached first stage, the fear-induced stress response will already be quite evident.