At first glance, the Cold War design of the Blue Peacock doesn’t seem too strange. A massive nuclear mine, it was designed to be buried by British forces in West Germany and detonated to stop a hypothetical Soviet invasion of Western Europe.
However, the design suffered from a major flaw. Buried deep underground, the device would inevitably get cold, and if it got too chilly, the detonator might not be able to set off a nuclear explosion.
The proposed solution is where things take a turn for the weird. The scientists in charge of the project suggested that chickens be buried inside the casing of the bomb with enough food to keep them alive for a week. The body heat produced by the chickens would be enough to keep the device functional.[
Perhaps the oddest part of the whole story is that wrapping a nuclear bomb in chickens isn’t what got the project shelved. In fact, it was fully accepted as a sensible solution to a peculiar problem.
The problem wasn’t the political tangle of burying nuclear bombs in an allied nation, either. It was simply that the British decided that the amount of nuclear fallout that would be produced by the Blue Peacock’s detonation would be unacceptably high.