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Tall Twister Tales

posted 18 Feb 2013, 13:45 by Mpelembe   [ updated 18 Feb 2013, 13:45 ]
Mr. Prepared Has the Truth About Tornado Chickens!

Violent tornadoes can hit suddenly without warning - and
they can also cause some very strange things to happen!

I'm Mr. Prepared and no one knows better than me that

twisters are no laughing matter!

You can't help but shake your head, however, at some of the
strange side effects tornadoes can cause with their
combination of incredible speed and super-strong winds!

There are stories of horses being lifted up and put down
safely two miles away - and houses being picked up so
gently that the person inside the house didn't even know he
was airborne - and ended up walking outside and finding the
step off his porch was a lot steeper than it had been!

Those may or may not be tall tales, but one bizarre ability
a tornado has been proven to have is to cleanly take all
the feathers off a chicken, with the bird remaining intact.
 Some would-be experts used to think the feathers literally
exploded off the bald bird - but I don't know that many of
us have ever witnessed a feather that spontaneously

Back in 1842, though, a man named Elias Loomis got so
obsessed with finding out how a tornado managed to pluck a
chicken in seconds flat that he decided to devise his own
verrrrrry unusual experiment.   This comes under the
heading of "Kids, don't try this at home.  Or you Grown-ups

Loomis took a dead chicken - which could have been utilized
more successfully for dinner than for this stunt - loaded a
cannon with gunpowder and used the poor clucker for a
cannonball.  He fired the chicken straight up into the air
at an estimated 341 miles per hour.

Results?  About what you'd expect.  Yes, the feathers came
off - but the rest came down as diced chicken.  Loomis
decided it might have worked correctly if he had shot the
chicken at around 100 mph.  But apparently he had had
enough poultry target practice for awhile.   So he tried
something else.  He put chickens under vacuum jars to see
if their feathers would explode.  Again, the feathers
refused to cooperate.

There is an answer to the chicken-feather conundrum,
however.  Scientists now believe tornadoes take the
feathers off cleanly because of a protective poultry
instinct called "Flight Molt."

Chickens use Flight Molt to escape their enemies.  For
instance, when a predator like a wolf clamps its jaw down
on a chicken, it's sometimes left with only a mouthful of
feathers - the bird is able to actually discard the
feathers in order to escape.  Since the tornado is
obviously a stressful situation for all animals, both two
and four-legged, the chicken reacts by instantly shedding
its plumage - even though it's not a real big help.  Just
think how stressful it is for humans during a tornado even
if they are prepared.  Let alone not being prepared.

What separates us from chickens - besides our inability to
lay eggs! - is that we can react to tornadoes in ways that
can genuinely be life-savers.  And more importantly, since
tornadoes strike so quickly, we can prepare in advance to
make sure we're as ready as can be.  Having the knowledge
of what to do when a tornado is coming could be the
difference between life and death.

Until next time, Be Smart!  Be Safe!  Be Prepared! This is
Mr. Prepared, bringing Awareness to Preparedness!

About the Author:

Mr. Prepared is the alter ego of Larry Frank, a
self-described, "preparedness junkie." is a
website dedicated to teaching people of all ages how to be
better prepared and serves as a central outlet where
visitors can get all of the supplies they need to stay safe
and prepared. For more information and to download a copy
of Mr. Prepared's Top 10 Facts for Hurricane Preparedness
visit .