Do chickens go to roost during a total eclipse? We set out to discover the truth!


Carhenge at dusk. Photo credit: Edie French

Like people all across America, took a ‘detour’ this week from our busy August to enjoy the Great American Eclipse. Seasoned eclipse chasers Paul and Edie identified Alliance, Nebraska (and more specifically Carhenge–which is exactly what it sounds like) as the ideal location to experience their fifth total solar eclipse together since 1979. Not one’s to miss an opportunity for a video adventure, Paul and Edie packed multiple cameras in order to totally capture the experience. While a short documentary–featuring some truly colorful characters–is still in the works, Paul’s pet project is ready for public consumption. Watch the video and his investigative findings as we put this question to roost! Plus, continue on for some bonus content from Matt Dixon of the Omaha World-Herald in which our favorite eclipse chasing filmmakers step in front of the camera.

Do Chickens go to roost during a total eclipse? We set out to discover the truth!

Our chicken coop is located at Dale Jeske’s farm in Alliance, Nebraska—right next to Carhenge where we viewed the eclipse. 11 hens and two roosters are featured in this video, recorded with a covertly placed GoPro Hero during the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017.

The actual length of the video in the yard was 10 minutes. Here, we have increased the speed by 600 percent — creating a time lapse of 1:42 in length.

(00:00 to 0:30) Normal chicken behavior

(00:45) The chickens begin to group at edge of yard, gathering outside the frame

(00:54) Totality begins, darkness descends, last rooster leaves frame, you can hear the Carhenge crowds roar

(1:22) Eclipse ends

(1:25) The chickens and roosters make a triumphant return to yard and continue normal behavior

Three young chicken observers reported the chickens did not go to sleep but grouped at the edge of yard out of frame.

Our conclusion is that for these Nebraska chickens, they did not return to roost in their coop. However, they did cluster together for the duration of the eclipse.

So there you have it! Not being experts in chicken behavior ourselves, we can only speculate as to why these chickens did what they did–but feel free to let your imagination run wild.


BONUS Eclipse Content:

Paul and Edie arrived in Alliance several days early to stake out an ideal viewing spot–and were featured in this video for the Omaha World-Herald.