Skip to Content

Do Chickens Blink and Close Their Eyes?

Do Chickens Blink and Close Their Eyes?

Sharing is caring!

Do Chickens Blink and Close Their Eyes? If you are a chicken keeper and you kept close attention to chickens’ eyes at some point, you could have noticed something very unusual about them. Their eyelids usually do not move. Chickens can keep their eyes clean of dirt and debris.

You could be asking yourself several questions about the eyes of chickens. Do they blink? How do chickens keep their eyes clean? Can chickens move their eyelids?

If you have been asking yourself these questions, worry no more! In this article, we are going to provide you with important information about chicken eyes. Keep reading to learn more.

Do Chickens Blink?

From a technical point of view, chickens do not blink. A blink is where one shuts their eyes and then opens them immediately. Generally, birds do not close and open their eyelids quickly. Therefore, chickens do not blink. 

The main reason why humans blink is to keep their eyes safe and clean from debris and dirt. Blinking also helps to spread mucous secretions and oils across the surface of the eyes.

Like human beings, chickens, too, require a way to keep their eyes protected and clean. However, they can do this without necessarily blinking.

Do Chickens Have Eyelids?

Yes, chickens do have eyelids. They are located at the bottom and top of each eye. Their eyelids do not open and close. However, when chickens sleep, they usually close their eyelids.

Their lower eyelid will move up to close their eyes. On the other hand, the upper eyelid does not move much.

The Anatomy of a Chicken’s Eyes

Chickens typically have a third eyelid which is also referred to as a translucent nictitating membrane. Nearly all birds have it as well as most other pets such as cats. The third eyelid is meant to clean their eyes; just the same way humans clean theirs.

The third eyelid will be tucked away in the corner of the chicken’s eye when it is not being used. When the eyelid is needed, it will slip out quickly to wipe the surface of the eyes. The eyelid will do back out of sight again.

The chicken eyes have a better vision than those of human beings. They can be able to bring objects that are far away into sharp focus. They are also able to realize any slight color differences. Even at a young age, after being hatched, baby chicks can see ultraviolet light. 

Chicken eyes come in different colors. Mostly, it depends on the breed as other breeds have different eye colors. The most common color of eyes in chickens is reddish-brown. 

Do Chickens Close Their Eyes When Sleeping?

Interestingly, chickens can be both asleep and awake at the same time. The right side of the chicken’s brain is responsible for controlling her left eye. This means that chickens can operate either of their eyes independently.

Therefore, if you have noticed one of your chickens in the flock with one eye closed and the other one open, there is nothing significant to worry about. They are just trying to sleep while at the same time, literary keeping an eye out.

The main reason why chickens are able to have one of their eyes closed while at the same time the other one open is always to keep an eye on any possible predator.

When roosting, the bird on top of the pecking order usually sleeps in the middle of the roost. She will get some quality sleep by sleeping with all her eyes closed.

On the other hand, the other members of the flock will sleep with either of the eyes open to watch on any possible threat.

Facts About Chicken Eyes That You Should Know

There are several facts that you should know about chicken eyes. Although they see just the same way as humans, their eyesight is much better than ours.

They have the ability to see more different colors as compared to human beings. Besides, they have a larger vision field and can detect movements better than people.

Below are some of the facts that you should know about chicken eyes.

Chickens Have Three Eyelids

Chickens usually have a third eyelid which is also known as the nictitating membrane. It is a semi-transparent and thin membrane that slides across the chicken’s eye to protect it from debris and dirt.

Chickens can also close the third eyelid to clear any debris or dirt that may have gotten into their eyes.

Chickens Blink Differently

It can be challenging to capture a chicken blinking. Typically, chickens do not blink very often as human beings do. When they blink their eyes, the nictitating membrane will move outward from the side closest to the beak. 

Backyard chickens do not use the other two eyelids like human beings. They close their eyelids when preening through or when they are sleeping. Humans usually blink by moving down their upper eyelids.

On the other hand, when chickens close their eyelids, their bottom eyelids will come up to close the eyes. The top eyelids move very little.

Chickens Use Their Eyes Independently

A chicken’s eyes are located on either side of her head, and they use each one of them independently. It gives them a field of vision of 300 degrees. Human beings have a field of vision of up to 180 degrees. 

Chickens have one eye that is far-sighted and another one that is nearsighted. This is brought about by the positioning of the chick in the shell. Their head is usually tucked under their right wings.

This exposes their eyes to the light shining through the eggshell. The rights eyes, on the other hand, are not exposed to any light. 

Because of the positioning of the chick a few days before hatching, the left eye becomes far-sighted while the right eye becomes nearsighted. The left eye is mostly used to spot any predators from above, while the right eye is mostly used to catch tiny bugs.

Chickens See More Colors than Human Beings

Human beings see greens, reds, and blues. Chickens also these colors and ultraviolet too. They have four different types of cones, thus making them tetrachromats.

Hens have the ability to see eggs that are not viable and not going to hatch. She is likely to remove these eggs from the clutch. 

Chickens Can Not See Well in the Dark

Rods help one to see better in the dark, while cons usually allow us to see color. Chickens do not see very well in the dark because they have very few rods.

Because of the poor eyesight at night, they are more likely to be victims of attacks from predators at night. This is the main reason why they prefer perching at the highest areas at night.

If you allow your chickens to free-range, you will realize that they will make their way back to the coop before sundown.

It is important to ensure that those who are not used to it come back as early as possible. If it gets late, they might not find their way back home because of their poor eyesight.

Baby Chicks Prefer Orange and Red

Studies have shown that baby chicks prefer orange and red over green and blue. This is the reason why there are several red-colored waterers and feeders on the market.

Mature chickens, on the other hand, are likely to go crazy whenever they see blood. They will tend to peck at it all the time. It is advisable to separate chickens that are injured in the flock with blood signs because other flock members may peck her to death.

Baby Chicks Have a Better Eyesight than Human Babies

Baby chicks can see objects very clearly within their first 48 hours. They can see tiny objects like grains of food to eat as well as water.

They can also differentiate between deep and shallow surfaces. On the other hand, human babies may not be able to see objects for several weeks after birth.

The Chicken Eyeballs Move Very Little

The eyeballs of chickens typically move very little in the socket. To look at objects, chickens will move their heads from one side to the other. They are not able to scan an area by moving their eyeballs.

They move their heads side by side, up and down. Chickens move their heads constantly to keep aware of their surroundings. 

Chickens Can Remember Faces

If you are a chicken keeper, you might have realized that your chickens can recognize you easily. They can also recognize other pets, especially those that are friendly.

This is the reason why your chickens may not run away when they see a dog or cat that is friendly to them.


Technically, chickens do not blink. They can not move their lower and upper eyelids like human beings. Instead, they have a third eyelid that is meant to wipe their eyes clean. Backyard chickens also have better eyesight as compared to human beings. As a poultry enthusiast, it is vital to understand the chicken eye anatomy.

Sharing is caring!