Are chickens blind at night?

It is easy to see that when we approach chickens during the day, whether from the front or the back, chickens are always startled and run away quickly. However, what is surprising is that it is the opposite when we approach chickens at night. Many chicken keepers have admitted and affirmed this interesting fact. Are chickens blind at night? Read on to find answers, and do not miss out on valuable, interesting information.

Are chickens blind at night?     

Right! Chickens are almost completely blind at night. They almost lose their eyesight when in the dark. In other words, the bird’s eyesight at night is very poor. They are not able to determine whether or not someone is approaching them.

Direction at night for chickens is also becoming more challenging than ever. The image of a chicken standing still and motionless in the evening is not unfamiliar. That is because they cannot know the location or direction where their barn is or any other safe place where they can dwell.

Have you ever heard of night blindness? Night blindness in medicine is called hemeralopia. The name of this disease stems from an interesting chicken fact: it is impossible to see everything clearly at night. Night blindness has similar symptoms.

Further reading: Do chickens sleep with their eyes open?

Why are chickens blind at night?      

There is a lot of research done, and conclusions are drawn for night blindness in chickens. Here are some reasons why chickens go blind at night:

From an animal origin perspective

Chickens are birds belonging to the bird family. The bird is one of the animal families with good vision and excellent color vision. That is because a few hundred million years ago, birds did not have to undergo dark evolution in prehistoric times.

Birds, reptiles, and mammals all share a common ancestor. However, during the dinosaurs, most reptiles and mammals became nocturnal animals, and birds did not. Therefore, the eyes of birds in general and chickens, in particular, do not develop the ability to see at night.

Why are chickens blind at night?
Why are chickens blind at night?

From a scientific perspective of the cells in the eye

Eye vision may be different in environments with or without light. That is because of the domination of two types of cells made up in the eye to collect and divide light (also known as photoreceptors): rod cells and cone cells.

Rod-shaped receptors regulate night vision. In chickens, the amount of rod-shaped receptors are way fewer than in humans.

Although we cannot see everything clearly at night, we can feel and gradually adapt to darkness with the inherent number of rod-shaped receptors to identify most objects and directions. In chickens, that does not happen.

Chicken eyesight during the day

Chickens are blind at night. But during the day, the bird’s vision is not only good, but it can also see things many times more clearly than a human can.

Chickens eyes are very clear during the day
Chickens eyes are very clear during the day


According to scientific studies, humans have three different types of cones in their eyes. They help people recognize red, blue, and green colors. Meanwhile, the chicken eye has up to five light receptors (it means there are many cone receptors). Furthermore, those sensory cords develop interwoven, maximizing the bird’s vision.

The structure that perceives light in the back of the eye (eyeball) is also so that it captures more colors, instead of just three colors as in a human. According to Dr. Joseph Corbo, head of the research group in the clinical, immunological and genetic research department and concluded: “…birds have higher color vision than we humans. The organization of color receptors in chicken eyeballs helps them excel … “.

In addition, the chicken’s eyeballs also have other cone cells that can sense and distinguish violet and ultraviolet wavelengths (especially in sunlight). Not only that, but the double cone cells also appear in the chicken eyeballs, allowing the chicken to see more clearly at many angles and detect even small, different movements.

One notable point is the distribution of cone cells in the eyeballs of chicken eyes. Some researchers have found that two cone cells of the same type never align in the organization of the color receptors. The colored areas in the visual field of the chickens follow that more diversely. That is why the eye can see more rays/types of light and color than the human eye.

Not only that, the intertwining of cone cells makes the light receptors in the chicken eye more active. That means chicken eyes are sensitive to light. So you should be able to understand why it is not yet morning, but your rooster crows. It can see sunlight before humans in time (about an hour ahead) because of its exceptional sensitivity.

Worry about your flocks when it gets dark

Do not worry! Chickens know that their chances of being in danger during the night are very high because of their poor eyesight. All animals need safety.

Therefore, if you keep chickens in a cage regularly, you may be preventing the chickens from growing naturally or causing a state of confusion and discomfort. It will be very bad when you cannot predict what will happen to chickens in that case.

Let chickens freely during the day with adequate food and water. Also, you should surround your flocks and put them in a safe cage before dark.


Through this article, you have found yourself the answer to the question: “Are chickens blind at night?“.

The chicken’s eyesight is not good enough to protect itself in the dark. But for humans, they are pretty independent animals. So, you do not need to worry too much about the journey your chickens go through during the day, except providing food and water and being alert to the dangers of large predators.

Instead of, what you need to care about is their safety when the sun goes down. Lousy night vision can put them in difficult or dangerous situations. To not leave any chickens out of the flock after a day, always check the correct number of gas flocks and promptly lock them safely in the cage before night falls.


Image credits – Photo by Emils Plinte, Bárbara Tapia on