[This series is a diary of our experience raising chickens for our home flock. To see all articles in this series, please visit Home Flock Series.]

 

Rare/Exotic Chick

Our chickens are about eight weeks old. Most of their adult feathers have grown in.  The chickens appear to be about one third the size that they will reach as adults. They are about the size of bantams.

Distinguishing Males and Females

The difference between the male and female Buff Rocks is becoming obvious.

Buff Rock (Male)

The combs of the males are larger and redder than those of the females.

Buff Rock (female)

The Third Eyelid

When reviewing the photos I had taken today, I noticed that in many of them the chicken’s eyes had a hazy appearance, slightly gray.  This is because chickens have an inner eyelid, known as the third eyelid or the nictitating membrane, and in many of the photos, it was closed or partly closed.

Chickens have three eyelids for each eye, the upper lid, the lower lid, and the nictitating membrane. During the day, when they are awake, chickens usually keep their upper and lower lids open, but they frequently blink the nictitating membrane closed momentarily.  It is a transparent lid that the chickens can see through, and it helps clean, moisten, and protect the eye.

The red arrow in the photo below points to the partially closed nictitating membrane. (It is a little hard to see in the thumbnail photo, but you can click on the thumbnail photo to see a larger view).  In the photo on the right, the nictitating membrane is completely open and not visible.

Nictitating Membrane (Third Eyelid)

The Turken below has a hazy looking eye in the photo because the nictitating membrane is closed over his eye.

Turken, showing nictitating membrane

In the photo below, the Turken’s third eyelid is about halfway closed.  As you can see from the photo, when closing, the membrane slides from front to back.

Turken, showing nictitating membrane

Photo Gallery

Below is a gallery of photos. Click on any photo to see a larger view.