Do Chickens have Night Vision?


13 Years
Jul 28, 2010
Ripley, WV
I'm wondering ... I watch them with an infrared camera at night. They move around a lot and seem to have some degree of night vision. I mean - it's pitch black out there. And they certainly have good aim peckin' at the 2 juveniles! Poor things... the older birds make life miserable for them .... even in the pitch dark of night....
I dont think so. Some might though, maybe yours have super powers.
Chickens don't have much night vision. Ours come in just before dark and go to their perch for the night. There is a lot of animated discussion and wiggling around. I don't know what they talk about, maybe who gets to roost where? They stay together and the one at the end is rather squished between a chicken and a wall. It's not that there isn't room; they take up about 1/3 of the perch. They've just been close since they were babies.
From what I have observed, their night vision is poorly developed. On other hand they can recognize each as individuals based on voice alone.

Over last two days one of my game pullets was blinded by an eye infection. None-the-less, she could stay with her flock and could tell by sounds her family members made an peck where the feed piles were located. She was also able to at least peck correct direction when father held mealworm in his beak for her and made tidbit call.
I have been starting to wonder.

I open the coop door at 6 am and since the days are getting shorter, it's dark when I leave for work. They have been coming right on out of the coop in the dark. They are off the roosts when they hear me fumbling around with the scratch bin.

But in the evening they are on the roost before dark.

Just saying.....
No, they do not have night vision. If they fall off the perch, no outdoor light outside to shine in the coop, then they stay there on the spot until dawn arrives. Yes they do have good hearing.
Here is an interesting experiment you can do to get an idea of how poorly chickens see at night. Wait until it is pitch dark, and head out to the coop with a flashlight and treats. Approach the chickens on the roost, and shine the flash light so they can see what you are offering. While they are eating, turn off the flashlight. In my experience, they stop eating, as they cannot see at all. Good question!
I was looking this up because our chickens have taken to biting us in the evening-not hard. It's like they are trying to figure out what is touching them. One always wants to be perched on my shoulder just before going in to roost. Lately, now that the days are getting shorter, she is now doing that. Anyone else have that happen? I do love my chickens...

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