Chickens are interesting animals. One of the things that may interest you is their eyes. If you look at their eyes, you may wonder why your chicken is not blinking like us humans do.
So, do chickens blink? Chickens don’t blink as humans do. We use our eyelids to blink. For chickens, they too have eyelids, but they don’t use them for blinking. Instead, they have a third eyelid known as the nictitating membrane. It’s translucent and when chickens need to keep their eyes clean, it will slip out to wipe their eyes.
Do Chickens Have Eyelids?
Yes, chickens do have eyelids. It’s located at the top and bottom of each eye. Their eyelids don’t close and open.
However, when they sleep, the chickens will close their eyelids. The lower eyelid will move up to close the eye. The upper eyelid doesn’t move much.
The Anatomy of a Chicken’s Eye
When it comes to chicken eyes, they have a far better vision than people. They have the ability to bring objects in the distance into sharp focus.
Also, they are able to notice very small differences in colors. Chickens can even see ultraviolet light, even when they are newly hatched chicks.
As to the color of their eyes, they come in many colors, but the most common chicken eye color is reddish-brown.
A chicken has three eyelids. They have an upper, lower, and nictitating membrane, which is the third eyelid.
The upper and lower eyelids aren’t used for blinking as humans do. Instead, these eyelids are used when the chickens are sleeping.
The third eyelid is stowed in the corner of the eye near the beak. These act like a windshield wiper when there’s debris. A chicken reflexively will pull the third eyelid over the eye in a back and forth motion until the debris is cleared.
Also, the third eyelid act as safety goggles. When the chicken is fighting another chicken or defending themselves from a predator, the nictitating membrane will cover their entire eye to protect it.
For their third eyelid, it will move from the front to the back. It moves sideways in a fast motion that you won’t be able to notice it. As you can see in the video below, it’s been slowed down enough to where you can see it in action.
As for the lower and upper eyelids, the lower one will move up, while the upper one will move down. For the most part, the upper eyelid will be stationary. Only the lower eyelid will move.
Do Chickens Close Their Eyes When They Sleep?
Chickens are very interesting animals when it comes to sleeping. This bird is able to be both asleep and awake at the same time.
Chickens are able to keep one side of their brain awake while the other side is asleep. This results in one eye closing and one eye open. This is an evolutionary adaption that allows them to keep watch for predators while they are asleep.
So the simple answer to the question of whether chickens can blink is, no. They don’t blink with their eyelids.
Their eyelids are only used to close their eyes when they sleep. Other than that, the nictitating membrane is what is used most of the time when they are awake. It will move sideways to remove any debris from their eyes or cover it to prevent injury.