Do Ducks Have Night Vision???

Salixx

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
119
211
106
Central Vermont
From my sample size of 5, I don’t think they see particularly well.

I recently started a new job that has me leaving for work at dawn. The ducks and chickens are let out when it’s still twilight. I can pet and easily pick up the ducks during this time.

On weekends, I make it out later, after the sun is fully up. The ducks shriek and run from me - I certainly can’t pet them.

The only real difference is the amount of light available. They can see me much better an hour after dawn than 20 minutes before. I otherwise talk to them and move the same and the routine is otherwise the same.

The chickens do seem to be worse though. The ducks can still see the pellets I throw on the ground at their feet while the chickens seem more obvious.
 

shawluvsbirds

🦆Lord luv a Duck!
Apr 17, 2017
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Missouri
I don't think my ducks see well in the dark. If I wait too long to put them up and it's dark it's a pita to get them herded in. They get spooked easily, they run into stuff, they miss the door...
 

Wafflecat

Chirping
Sep 5, 2020
19
67
59
Our group WANTS to be put up in the coop when it starts to get dark. They'll line up and wait for us to come let them in. They act much more nervous and their behavior makes me think their night vision is no better than a human's. At the very least, they demonstrate an understanding of greater vulnerability when visibility is low.
 

shawluvsbirds

🦆Lord luv a Duck!
Apr 17, 2017
25,960
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Missouri
Our group WANTS to be put up in the coop when it starts to get dark. They'll line up and wait for us to come let them in. They act much more nervous and their behavior makes me think their night vision is no better than a human's. At the very least, they demonstrate an understanding of greater vulnerability when visibility is low.
Yes! I think they do realise they are more vulnerable.
I think that's part of why they act so stupid once it's dark.
You'd think they would just put themselves inside at dusk and wait for me. But noooo... They start yelling SNACK SNACK SNACK when it starts getting dark and if I miss the window of opportunity to put them in they just go hide outside in a corner somewhere.
 

sowNreap

Songster
Aug 16, 2021
107
245
106
TN
I just asked about duck night vision in another thread.

Human night vision takes some time to adapt to darkness. It's not instant, it can take, I dunno, 10-15 mins maybe more before your eyes adjust to the darkness. And then any bright light will ruin that night vision & you have to start the process all over again. That's the type of night vision I'm wondering if ducks have. Not just how good they can see at night.

I've gotten into the probably bad habit of going out around 11pm to cricket hunt with my ducks ( I can't help it I love being with my ducks & my ducks love cricket hunting, lol). I walk along the grass & stir up the crickets & the ducks gobble them up. They do jump making it easier for ducks to see them but they are able to chase them down most of the time. Or see other crawling bugs in the grass.

Sometimes I use the red or green light on my headlamp which helps retain night vision but it's usually still too dark for me to see the crickets jumping. The ducks usually can though. So sometimes I use the white spotlight so I can see if there's any crickets but wondered if that might ruin the ducks night vision if they have something similar to humans.

I do have a spotlight that throws a wee bit of light in the area we cricket hunt but not enough to do any good. It really only helps with my camera's night mode to kinda see what's going on.
 

shawluvsbirds

🦆Lord luv a Duck!
Apr 17, 2017
25,960
165,353
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Missouri
I just asked about duck night vision in another thread.

Human night vision takes some time to adapt to darkness. It's not instant, it can take, I dunno, 10-15 mins maybe more before your eyes adjust to the darkness. And then any bright light will ruin that night vision & you have to start the process all over again. That's the type of night vision I'm wondering if ducks have. Not just how good they can see at night.

I've gotten into the probably bad habit of going out around 11pm to cricket hunt with my ducks ( I can't help it I love being with my ducks & my ducks love cricket hunting, lol). I walk along the grass & stir up the crickets & the ducks gobble them up. They do jump making it easier for ducks to see them but they are able to chase them down most of the time. Or see other crawling bugs in the grass.

Sometimes I use the red or green light on my headlamp which helps retain night vision but it's usually still too dark for me to see the crickets jumping. The ducks usually can though. So sometimes I use the white spotlight so I can see if there's any crickets but wondered if that might ruin the ducks night vision if they have something similar to humans.

I do have a spotlight that throws a wee bit of light in the area we cricket hunt but not enough to do any good. It really only helps with my camera's night mode to kinda see what's going on.
Ah, I see what your getting at.
Yeah idk 🤷‍♀️
I'm betting your right about the flashlight messing up their vision though because if it gets dark enough I have to use a flashlight to put mine in their barns,
I have to set it down and just aim the beam towards the duck run and let them get used to that for a minute. If I go in there just shining a flash light around it's complete and total pandemonium.
 

sowNreap

Songster
Aug 16, 2021
107
245
106
TN
I'm betting your right about the flashlight messing up their vision though because if it gets dark enough I have to use a flashlight to put mine in their barns,
I have to set it down and just aim the beam towards the duck run and let them get used to that for a minute. If I go in there just shining a flash light around it's complete and total pandemonium.

That's interesting about your ducks reaction to the flashlight.

I'll have to do more "testing" to see if I can determine if or how the light affects their vision. It will have to wait a few days though because we're approaching full moon & that might throw it off.
 

shawluvsbirds

🦆Lord luv a Duck!
Apr 17, 2017
25,960
165,353
1,592
Missouri
That's interesting about your ducks reaction to the flashlight.

I'll have to do more "testing" to see if I can determine if or how the light affects their vision. It will have to wait a few days though because we're approaching full moon & that might throw it off.
I don't really know though if it's that the light throws their vision off that freaks them out or if it's more the movement of the light creating shadows and such that scares them..
 

Beth42

Chirping
Jul 28, 2020
65
62
71
Cornwall, UK
My runner ducks don't have good night vision - like others, if I miss the dusk and put them away a bit too late, they cower in the corner of their duck house and don't even come out for their bedtime peas!!
 

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