How can they possibly see scratch seeds in pine shavings?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rocklobster, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. rocklobster

    rocklobster Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 21, 2009
    I've never had chickens before now. They are 8 weeks old this week.

    People mention that they throw a hand full of "scratch" into the coop at night to keep the girls busy digging for food.

    Can someone tell me how it's possible for a chicken to see small little seeds randomly thrown into pine shavings that are 3" deep. Doesn't this seem impossible? Another example is oatmeal flakes (pre-cooked) in pine shavings. It seems like it would be impossible to tell them apart since they look so similar.

    Am I underestimating their visual capabilities? Do they use smell instead or something?

  2. Keene's coop

    Keene's coop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2010
    neenah, wisconsin
    i don't just through mine in. i put mine in small piles so the are visible. but i'm sure they will find them. they will scratch the shavings to find things. so don't worry.
  3. BlackBart

    BlackBart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    Am I underestimating their visual capabilities?

    Yes they are hot wired into recognizing the food they eat
  4. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    It's pretty amazing how well chickens can see.
    The other day one of mine was sitting in the nest box and it kept pecking at something that obviously was moving about. I could NOT see what it was. They also find the tiniest of bugs in the dirt.
    Very amazing, their eyesight.
    But now at night, they can not see a thing.
    They go to bed before it gets dark.
  5. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Central Iowa
    Chickens have a different focal length than we do. It has also been explained to me, but I do not have personal knowledge of this, birds see twice as fast as humans. for example, we see 60 images a second, birds see 120 images a second.

    I can relate a story; I had a cockatiel that was allowed to fly around in the house. We had a ceiling fan in the kitchen and the bird would fly from below the fan between the blades and land on top of one of the blades. Now I know that sounds hard to believe, but it is true. Unfortunately it was before video cameras on phones. [​IMG] He would only do this when the fan was on the 1st or 2d setting. I relayed the story to a vet and she told me about the ability of birds to see better than us. I guess it is also how hawks can spot mice from on wing.
  6. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Birds, including chickens, tend to have much more acute eyesight than humans. Add to that the fact that they're only a foot or two tall (meaning they aren't more than about a foot or two away from the scratch they're looking for) and it seems a little less incredible. I bet if you threw a handful of scratch onto a pile of shavings and then went looking for it from only a foot away you would find that it wasn't as difficult as you would think to see the grains.
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Chickens have very good vision, as well as shape recognition. But they are also hard-wired to scratch, which moves stuff around. Then they see little things.
  8. Tdub4chiks

    Tdub4chiks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2010
    Constantia, NY
    Bluebirds can see a tiny bug on the ground from a telephone pole. It must be that most birds have great eye sight.
  9. BeccaB00

    BeccaB00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 16, 2010
    [​IMG] <--- Thats first [​IMG]

    Second, Yes they'll find them. You'll often notice your birds scratching the ground with their feet.

    They do this to look for food, and they'll do this to the bedding and find anything that may be hiding

    under the pine shavings. Chickens can also see anything that moves [​IMG] Put a tiny worm on a far side

    of the coop, away from the chickens. You'll see them all RACING for it shortly after. [​IMG]

    In other words, if your really worried just keep it in a bowl [​IMG]

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  10. tennesseeckn

    tennesseeckn Real or not real?

    Jul 11, 2010
    Knoxville Area
    I've noticed that mine will pick up bits of shavings, roll it around on their tongues, then spit it out once they determine that it's not food. They have to try EVERYTHING, just to be on the safe side, because they just can't take the chance that there is food uneaten in their vicinity.

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