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Chicken Glasses

Why Did Chickens Need to Wear Eyeglasses?

Poultry farming is a form of animal husbandry that focuses on raising domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese for eggs or meat. Each poultry farm follows its own set of protocols and guidelines to ensure the safety of the fowl, but did you know that chickens wear glasses to avoid cannibalism?

To prevent eye-pecking and cannibalism, chickens were fitted with tiny glasses. These rose-colored glasses were especially popular because they were thought to keep chickens from becoming enraged when they saw blood.

Why Do Chickens Peck Each Other?

There are various reasons why chickens end up attacking each other. The most common reasons are; they are stressed, they are bored, they are living in bad conditions, they are sick, they are scared, or they see or smell blood. Over the years, farmers have come up with ingenious ways to address this behavior but one of the most interesting solutions is the invention of the chicken eyeglasses. (Source: Country Family Homestead)

Who Started the Chicken Eyeglasses?

Andrew Jackson Jr. of Munich, Tennessee, patented a type of chicken eyeglasses in 1903 as an eye-protector for chickens. They were available in the United States for a few cents through the mail-order company Sears-Roebuck or at chicken feed stores. The National Band & Tag Company no longer manufactures the eyeglasses, but they are sought after as collector’s items.

In 1973, a report in Illinois’ The Hawk-Eye newspaper stated that a farmer had fitted 8,000 chickens with the rose-colored variety. In Kansas, one of the glasses’ inventors proposed legislation requiring all chickens in the state to wear glasses, but his campaign was unsuccessful. (Source: Creative Colorado)

How Did These Eyeglasses Work?

Chicken eyeglasses were made of celluloid or aluminum and typically consisted of two oval panels that fit over the upper beak of the chicken, with a pin inserted through the nostril to hold the oval pieces in place. 

Several designs were produced that attached to the chicken’s head in different ways. Some were secured with a strap, others with small hooks inserted into the nares, and still others by piercing the bone septum between the nostrils with a cotter pin. This last type of design is illegal in some countries due to tissue piercing.

Some versions of the devices had semi-transparent or fully transparent lenses. Others were tinted, oftentimes in red or rose colors. Other designs included blinders, which are completely opaque and prevent forward vision.

Beak trimming, which is the removal of approximately one-third of the beak with a cold or heated blade or an infrared beam, is an alternative to chicken eyeglasses. This is frequently effective in reducing pecking injuries, but it causes pain and harms chicken welfare. (Source: Orlando Sentinel)

How Many Pairs of Chicken Eyeglasses Were Sold When they Were First Made Available to the Public?

Sam Nadler of the National Farm Equipment Company of Brooklyn appeared on CBS’ popular primetime television show, What’s My Line? on January 16, 1955. The show took the form of a guessing game, with a panel attempting to predict the line of contestants. 
Mr. Nadler’s occupation was listed for the audience as sells ‘eyeglasses’ for chickens by show officials. Mr. Nadler’s identity was revealed after the panel failed to guess his occupation, and he stated that his company sold 2–3 million pairs of chicken eyeglasses per year.

(Source: Orlando Sentinel)

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