Poultry Vision

Poultry Vision

How Poultry See

Animals see colors differently than humans do.  By understanding how a particular animal sees colors, we can produce a better quality of light for that particular species.  This can result in more desirable behaviors and enhanced productivity.  Here is a brief description about how poultry vision is different from human vision.

Lighting products for humans are typically categorized on a white scale.  But remember white light, particularly sunlight is made of all the colors.  Think of a prism and how it separates white light into all of its inherent colors.  If the individual colors are mixed differently, the color of the light we perceive changes.  As humans, we all have the same types of photoreceptors in our eyes and will perceive the same colors.  When an animal like a chicken or pig sees the same light, they perceive something totally different because they have an entirely different set of photoreceptors.  In the next few paragraphs, we walk you through the way different animals “see”.

 Human Spectrum

The graph below shows the typical color sensitivity of a human. It is the smooth white line curve.  The large hill in the center of the curve is showing that humans see Green and Yellow colors better than they see Blue and Red.   The higher the white line is on a particular color, the more sensitive the human eye is to that color.  Looking more closely, you can see the height of the curve in both the Red and Blue spectrums are much lower than the height at Green which is indicating the human eye is not as sensitive to Blue light or Red light


Domestic Fowl Spectrum

Domestic fowl have a similar Green sensitivity as humans do but Blue and Red are very different.  The graph below is shows the sensitivity of a typical chicken eye.  You can see there are 4 (four) distinct color peaks.  The highest sensitivities are to Green, Blue and Red light but you can see another one in the UV spectrum (far left bump on the curve). 


Here is an example of what a butterfly may look like compared between human and domestic fowl views.


For more information read: The Science of Poultry Lighting. This is a technical white paper from ONCE.

Download the White Paper.


Links to other interesting articles about animal vision:


Properties of LED light can boost poultry production and profits

LEDs Magazine published an article discussing how the properties of LED light can boost poultry production and profits. Read the full article.

How birds really see the world

How birds really see the world a fun review of bird vision from SciShow

Poultry and Colored Light

A scientific discussion on poultry vision and how color of light affects poultry production. (fee required for download). View the article.