The Scoop On Chicken Sleep

The way chickens sleep makes you wonder if your chickens even do sleep at all. They sleep with their heads tilted and sometimes with yes, one eye open! I’ve seen it so many times and couldn’t help wondering if there was something wrong with their eyes, but turns out they were only sleeping. Chickens sleep similar to us, so here’s the scoop on chicken sleep and why it’s important.


How is Chicken Sleep Similar to People Sleep?

Just like people, chickens need sleep to carry out normal functions, but don’t need to nap to catch up on lost sleep, they can rather sleep more deeply later. Studies have been done on chickens and humans sleeping, showing that we are much alike. Chickens can go into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the type of sleep where you dream. Though it only lasts for seconds, chickens dream to, though most chicken dreams are probably filled with mealworms and bugs, but you never know! Chickens also go into SW (Slow-wave) sleep, which is deep sleep. People have a hard time being woken from this sleep that can last for hours, while in chickens it can only last for minutes. They could fall into a deep sleep for seconds and get the amount of sleep we get in hours! Impressive, right?

Slow-Wave Sleep in Chickens

Like I mentioned, chickens go into SW sleep just like humans do, but it’s a little different. Humans go into SW sleep for hours, and is hard to be roused from. Chickens go into SW sleep as well, but it last for minutes to seconds at a time. Crazy! Also, they can enter this  sleep whenever they feel to sleep, but chickens never show signs of sleep deprivation. They can simply sleep deeper rather than nap like humans, even though chickens don’t mind napping! Mine love to nap by a tree or bush by themselves or other flock mates for a few minutes, then wake up and eat again!


Unihemispheric Sleep in Chickens

This is how chickens have that uncanny ability of sleeping with on eye open and one eye closed. I’ve had my mom walk over to the coop and say “Look at her sleeping, how cute!”, and I said, “Her eye is open! How is she asleep?” I’m still amazed! Turns out, chickens do this quite frequently, and I’ve noticed that the chickens that sleep on the outside sleep with one eye open to watch for predators, while the chickens on the inside sleep soundly. I would defiantly want to be on the inside! A chickens brain is divided into two parts, so they can still sleep sound;y with one eye open. I’ve also noticed that chickens will close both eyes when they sleep in my lap, showing their trust in me. It must be because I give them treats…

Wrap on Chicken Sleep

Just like us, chickens need sleep, and it’s important to make sure they have a safe place to sleep so they can rest assured. Chickens like to perch, and if you don’t provide a place, they will seek out a tree or on top of a fence post. Chickens are picky though and won’t perch on things like wooden dowels because they don’t like to wrap their feet around things while they sleep. It’s like people and not liking certain beds! Making sure your chickens have the right amount of sleep is important, so be sure to provide everything necessary to make sure your chickens can sleep soundly at night!

Dancing with Chickens

© Dancing with Chickens, 2018.


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