Do chickens go brain dead at night?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mamachicken888, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. mamachicken888

    mamachicken888 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Honestly, 4 of my hens went to sleep outside the coop because the door accidentally shut and I tried to get them to go in after dark - and they acted like "are YOU KIDDING ME?" We are not moving from right here, right now. I'm just wondering if they go into a deeper state of sleep than most humans do - or do they just go into a state of stupid?
     
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    They do go into a deeper state of sleep, that is why a lot of people recommend picking up hard to catch chickens off of the roost at night rather than chasing them around during the day. Its also why they are so extra vulnerable to attack at night. They also have worse night vision than us, I have found.
     
  3. ontimeborzoi

    ontimeborzoi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, they do. LOL
    Seriously, it does seem that way, doesn't it? I don't think simply being unable to see in the dark explains it either! I don't care how dead dark it is, if something grabs ME I will be screaming and flailing. Chickens just sit there. What IS up with that?
     
  4. Bentley

    Bentley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Actually, as a preventive measure most birds go into less of a deep sleep as compared to most mammals as a means to avoid predators. The fight or flight mechanism will kick in if scared and I have had birds flee aimlessly from the perch if startled. The reason birds act lethargic at night is because they are not designed to see well in the dark With the exception of owls, birds in general do not see well at night at all and therefore they generally get on the perches before it gets dark and settle in for the night. If you observe them at night they are actually not in a deep sleep but open their eyes periodically to 'check things out'.
     
  5. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I call them "Zombie Chickens." It's weird how they just go limp.
     
  6. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Actually, as a preventive measure most birds go into less of a deep sleep as compared to most mammals as a means to avoid predators. The fight or flight mechanism will kick in if scared and I have had birds flee aimlessly from the perch if startled. The reason birds act lethargic at night is because they are not designed to see well in the dark With the exception of owls, birds in general do not see well at night at all and therefore they generally get on the perches before it gets dark and settle in for the night. If you observe them at night they are actually not in a deep sleep but open their eyes periodically to 'check things out'.

    This is an interesting point. But I don't think this light sleep state is true of all birds all the time. Here is an good link if you want to learn more about partial awareness during sleep: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc99/2_6_99/fob5.htm

    I
    have noticed that the my ducks and geese seem easier to wake than roosting chickens (the water fowl also have better night vision than chickens). But I have noticed when chickens can be woken they can startle and flap and run off. I have read that other birds like the hummingbird actually do go into a stupor and their body temp falls a lot, so I guess it depends on the type of bird.
     
  7. anderson8505

    anderson8505 Peace, Love & Happy Chickens

    They're also nearly blind in the dark.
     
  8. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have no idea what kind of sleep they go into but after years of keeping fairly wild guineas, peafowl and chickens, I've learned that it's incredibly easy to pluck them off the roost or out of a tree once it's completely dark outside. Even the wild ones will let me go right up to them and grab them. The wilder ones will squawk like they've been caught by a predator once I've caught them so they do wake up. I usually use a flashlight but keep the light pointing downwards.
    I recently had to catch a bunch of my chciken's who had decided they wanted to roost high up in the lemon and pine trees. I used this method and climbed up with a ladder. The Egyptians, silver leghorns and Hamburgs were not getting caught any other way. I locked them all in the coop and clipped their wings so they would have to relearn where their roost is.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  9. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. coopdetat

    coopdetat Out Of The Brooder

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    I was just thinking about the same thing. My polish hen has taken to roosting on the fence between our yard and the run, and when it comes time to move her into the coop she seems practically comatose and I have to kind of balance her on the roost.
    She's exceptionally gifted in the crest department, so I guess it makes sense that she just can't see well enough to figure out the roost by herself.
     

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