can chickens see in the dark

Have you ever wondered about the weird actions of chickens at night, for example, they do not go into their coop or even become a panicking mess when the sun goes down?

When you first raise your flock, there are tons of things about these little birds that you should not miss. Chickens are endlessly captivating, so today let’s have a discussion about the question “can chicken see in the dark?”

Can chickens see in the dark?

The answer is no and chickens are blind at night. To get a deep understanding of the way animals can see in the dark, researchers have studied the cell structure of the eyeball. From what they have gained from the study, the eyeballs of vertebrates such as reptiles and birds comprise two types of light receptor cells that are called rods and cones.

Rods are activated in low light and at night when there is not much light which means that animals use them to see in the dark. While cones are activated in bright light during the day which enables animals to see everything in color.

When studying the structure and ratio of these two kinds of cells in a chicken’s eyes, scientists have found out that chickens can see in color during the daylight, while their eyes turn out to be poor vision at night.

When the night comes, chickens need to find a safe place as it cannot protect themselves from potential threats. While most animals have both good day and night vision, birds mostly have bad night vision except for the ones that are used to find food at the low light condition like owls, whippoorwills, and other birds-of-prey.

Habitat of chickens’ ancestry

Red jungle fowl is the primary ancestor of the domestic chicken raging across much of Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia.

As we all know, chickens are omnivorous which inherits from their ancestor. Normally, the jungle fowl spend their day seeking food mainly from seeds, plants, and insects. When the sun goes down, they will find their own places to hide, for example, tree branches normally are the best ideal shelter for them.

As a result, chickens nowadays have excellent daytime and color vision but bad night vision.

Besides, domestic chickens undergo genetic adaptations that form their unique lifestyle.

How to keep chickens safe at night?

Chickens are afraid of the dark since they hardly see anything at night. When the dark cover everything, even the safest coops can become a nightmare to them. Therefore, it is essential to make them feel secure. You can protect your flock by following some rules below:

  • Bury chicken wire can keep your chickens stay in a safe place.
  • If your area has lots of hawks or owls living nearby, you need to cover over chickens’ shelter with a tarp sheet. This will stop air-bound predators from attacking your birds.
  • Be sure to cut down all tall grasses or bushes to increase visibility. This enables your chickens to be aware of their dangerous potentials and hide immediately.
  • Be alert for snakes. It is necessary to check your coop daily and before you when to bed at night.
  • Make sure you lock the coop’s door every night in case your chicken can sneak out.
  • Set a nightlight to make your flock feel safe so that they can go into the dark coop.

Read more: Best Chicken Pluckers on the Market

Interesting things about chicken eyesight

chicken eye

There are some true facts about chickens vision that you might not know:

  • Chickens are tetrachromatic. There are 4 types of cones that let them see red, blue, green light, and ultraviolet light (UV). Therefore, they see many more colors and shades than humans do.
  • A chicken’s eyes are about 10% of the entire mass of its head (while human’s eyes are only 1%) which enables them to have better vision.
  • Chickens have a 300-degree field of vision which means that their eyes could barely cover everything (while human only has a 180-degree field of vision).
  • Depending on different situations, chickens can use each eye flexibly to support them.
  • Chickens can sense the presence or absence of light through the pineal gland in their head, thanks to this, even an entirely blind bird can sense daylight or seasonal change.
  • The UV cones enable chickens to find shiny bugs, seeds, berries, and fruits easily.
  • Chickens have full-color vision and can recognize around 100 different faces.


Now you know that chickens are blind at night and that is why they have some odd behaviors. It is a must to keep your flock in their coop at night, you might not know that there are always predators around. So please keep them safe and secure. There are a thousand things to know about the social life of chickens, follow us for more useful information about this animal’s life.

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