Can Chickens See in The Dark? : Are They Afraid of Night?

Can chickens see in the dark? It is a common question by most of the newbie chicken raisers.

In this guide, we will find whether chickens can see at night or dark. Moreover, we will discuss how night vision affects chickens’ lives.

Let’s find out the answer, whether chickens are afraid of night or it’s just a myth?

The Anatomy of Chicken Eye

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The anatomy of a chicken’s eye is different from humans, that’s why they face difficulty in night vision. Chicken eyes structure is similar to humans when we talk about the retina.

The light-sensitive cone is located in the retina’s center and is called the fovea. The rod cells are located in a region called the parafovea.  

Chickens can see red, blue, green light and ultraviolet light using their 4 cones. Because of this, they can see many more colors and shades than humans.

Rods have a single point of sensitivity and cones have several points called photoreceptors which are sensitive to light.

When chickens are exposed to light during the day, they will move their eyes to keep their retinas from getting burnt out by bright light, as humans do when we receive sun rays.

Chickens have a bad night vision because they evolved from dinosaurs, and never spent millennia hiding in the dark.

So, when it comes to low light sensitivity, their retina is not developed for that. So, they aren’t able to see in the dark or low light.

Also read: Can chickens fly?

Are Chickens Blind at Night?

Are Chickens Blind at Night?
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Usually, chickens cannot see at night and use their sense of smell, hearing, and other senses to stay safe. They also have reactions to different wavelengths of light.

Their body clock also changes, and they become less active as the sky becomes darker. Chicken flocks everyday evening return to their coop before its go dark outside.

At night, they can’t see anything, but if you hang a bulb inside the coop, they can see things inside the coop. They can still not see the outside.

However, most free-range chickens do not need a bulb at night because they roost and sleep during the night.

Are Chickens Afraid of The Dark?

No chickens are not afraid of the dark but yes darkness is uncomfortable for them. They can’t see at night, so they return to their coop before it gets dark outside in the evening.

If they aren’t able to reach their destination or coop before it gets dark outside, they stop and sleep at the place where they reach. 

Sometimes, chickens sleep on free branches if the darkness comes faster than expected. So, it is recommended to keep watching your flocks in the evening time and try to move them near their coop in the late evening.

Other FAQs

Do all chickens require light at night?

No, all the free-range chickens do not need light at night. During the night, they rest and Sleep after foraging in the daytime. Roosting and sleeping at night help chickens to digest their food and body growth.

In some Cornish Rock and other broiler chickens, you need to provide continuous light during the day as well as night. It is because they eat and drink water all day and night. 

If you stop feeding Cornish Rock Broilers at night, you will see growth retardation and health issues in them.

What do chickens do at night?

Chickens are less active during the night, meaning they don’t move around and eat. During the day, chickens forage and do various activities like brooding, mating, roosting, lay eggs, fighting, fly but at night chickens only sleep and roost on perches.

Why do farmers keep the light on at night for Cornish Rock Broiler chickens?

Cornish Rock Broiler chickens are commercial meat chickens. They need to eat, feed and drink water all day and night. 

If they are not provided with feed and water at night, they will develop retardation and other health issues. That’s why farmers keep lights on at night for Cornish Rock Broilers.

Can I hang a light in the chicken coop?

Yes, you can hang a light inside and outside the chicken coop. But you don’t need to switch on the inside light because they don’t need it. They require darkness to rest at night.

You can hang a light outside the coop so that they can recognize their coop in the evening and get back inside.

10 Amazing facts About Chicken’s Vision

10 Amazing facts About Chicken's Vision
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There are many interesting facts about chicken vision. Below are a few facts to make you more knowledgeable about chicken sight.

  1. The weight of a chicken eye contributes to 10% of its head’s weight.
  2. A chicken eye can see up to 300 degrees without turning heads. It is due to the placement of its eyes.
  3. Chicken eyes can see simultaneously or in synchrony, which means that their two eyes can see at the same time.
  4. They have a third eyelid for protection from dust and debris.
  5. Chicken is mono-sighted. This means that they cannot see in 3D, unlike humans.
  6. Although chickens have night vision, they do not see well in the dark or at night, so they rely on their other senses such as smell to stay safe.
  7. The eyes have a pineal gland used for sensing the presence and lights when exposed to light.
  8. The chicken’s eye is tetrachromatic. This is because they have 4 types of cone cells that help them see colors.
  9. They have a double-cone structure for tracking movements
  10. The eyes are very sensitive to light and are more sensitive than humans.

Conclusion: (Can Chickens See in The Dark?)

No, chickens can’t see in the dark and night. They do not have good vision in the dark. During darkness, they depend upon their smelling and hearing sense.

In the dark, they do not become fully blind, it’s just their eye anatomy that does not allow them to see in low light. 

We can say they have a built-in night-blindness. Chickens become less active, and love to roost and sleep during the night.

I hope you got your answer for the question: Can chickens see in the dark or night?

Bijaya Kumar
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