What's that, it’s the chicken not the rooster... oh, but you know roosters lay eggs too don’t you, it’s not just chickens? And one thing you should know is that if a rooster does lay an egg then you’d be wise not to have it for breakfast, as it would most certainly be a bad egg… a really bad egg… the baddest of bad eggs… a dreaded Cockatrice!
A cockatrice is a mythical beast that has the head of a rooster, but with the body of a dragon, and yes, it hatches from a rooster’s egg; that's a rooster’s egg incubated by a toad - say whaaaaat!
Beware, this creature is highly dangerous - "the death-darting eye of Cockatrice” - just one look from it can kill you. And if their deathly stare doesn’t get you, just touching them or having them breath on you can do the trick; according to late-medieval bestiaries the only animal immune to the cockatrice’s death-stare is a weasel - good to know!
Don’t worry though, if you’re living ‘The Good Life’ and your demonic backyard rooster lays an egg, you can thwart the coming of a cockatrice by hurling the rooster egg over your house. If you’re too late and it hatches, you can also kill it by showing the beast its own reflection in a mirror.
I imagine you’re finding all this a bit hard to believe, and yes, you’re probably right, there “probably” isn’t such a thing as a cockatrice. Although many a sane chicken owner has been alarmed to find that their once believed to be rooster has laid an egg, so what’s happening here then? [here’s the science bit]
What’s occurring is a medical phenomenon that can happen to chickens who are experiencing a problem with their reproductive system - such as an ovary infection. This can cause an imbalance of hormones, which in turn can cause the hen to visibly morph into the appearance of a rooster, and she can even start to crow and act like one too.
If your trans-chicken recovers and her hormonal balance is resumed, she could well start laying eggs again whilst still in the guise of a rooster; hence a rooster seemingly laying an egg - and the possible birth of the cockatrice myth.
Please note, Daniel has firmly assured that all of his chickens will stay as they are, as chickens.
Images © Daniel Mackie
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It seems that wherever man has been, and a cat of some sort, you’ll find tales of people shapeshifting into felines. In fact the only places on earth where it’s safe from the werecat are Australia and Antartica; two continents which don't have a native cat - I hear they have their hands full with werekangeroo’s and werepenguine’s as it is!