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Can chickens see well in the dark?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by medtec113, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. medtec113

    medtec113 Songster

    Feb 14, 2010
    Ive been running a lamp in my coop over the last month to serve several purposes. (egg production, heat for the chickens, and to keep the water thawed) I noticed now that when I turn the light off they stay in the run all night. Its like darkness caught them off gaurd and they couldnt find the coop. Tonight, I waited until they were inside and then I turned off the light. I checked on them a hour later and they were all sleeping in the floor. Not on the roost where they normally stay. Will I have to re- teach them to roost before dark like I did when they were young? They are 11 months now.

  2. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    No, chickens, & most birds in general, have terrible night vision.
  3. Pinky

    Pinky Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    I don't think they see well at night.Sometimes I have to go outside in the dark with a flashlight when a chicken falls off it's roost. I shine the light at the roost so the chicken can see where to go, otherwise they would stay on the ground and I don't want anything to eat my chickens.
  4. BantamoftheOpera

    BantamoftheOpera Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Southern Maine
    I always put them up on their rooosts at night, but my boyfriend insists they can see in the dark and make it to their roosts just fine.
  5. MTopPA_18707

    MTopPA_18707 Songster

    I heard that artificial light should be added at the beginning of the day rather than the end of the day.

    That way the end of the day gets dark gradually so the birds have time to roost, etc.

  6. Kaceyx73

    Kaceyx73 Chirping

    Dec 14, 2010
    Welcome to the club medtec!

    I notice several silly issues that others on here complain about regularly were corrected in my flock with lighting.

    Hens sleeping in the nest box: If a tussle erupts over roosting spots after it gets too dark, a hen might get knocked off. Their poor night vision makes it near impossible to find their way back up, with the nest box being the safest place to go. If I find one when I go to lock them up in the nest box, I shine my flashlight just enough to show them the way. They go right up on their own.

    Chickens in the run after dark: Same basic issue. I have a couple that are usually the last to go in at night. Sometimes the first in get a little cranky, and the coop gets a little heated. The ones that go in last like to wait until the others settle down a bit, sometimes it gets dark first. Give them a little light and up they go.

    I try not to keep too much light in the coop. However, a big issue with mine was that the windows on the coop are on the north side. As it colder, I stopped opening the windows at all unless it was a little warmer. In the winter time, it gets dark much faster. So far I have started leaving the windows open until I go out to lock them up. Sometimes I turn on a tap light that I can reach through the nest box. That little extra light plus having more natural light from the windows has corrected most of my issues. The other thing was when I first started keeping the windows closed. The adult roo would walk into the coop and then walk back out, look up at the sky, then walk in. Poke his head back out, look up at the sky. After watching this, I realized just how dark the coop was. It didn't take him long to re-adjust his roosting time, and get the hens inline.
  7. medtec113

    medtec113 Songster

    Feb 14, 2010
    I really not sure what to do now. I would like to get them back to the routine of no light but I also need to keep the water from freezing. Maybe I should do like was mentioned and put the light on a timer to come on early in the morning and cut off after daylight. Whatcha think?

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