Glasses For Chickens

Chicken glasses- National Band & Tag company

Chicken glasses - National Band & Tag companyRecently while enjoying a day off and watching a rerun of one of my favorite shows, Storage Wars, I learned that chickens used to wear glasses.

Wait, chickens used to wear glasses? Really? Yep, believe it or not, it’s true!

I’m sure that serious poultry farmers are already well aware of the fact that at one time chickens wore glasses. For me it was an interesting piece of history that I wasn’t aware of. I’m sure that some of you other urban farmers will also find it interesting as well so I’ll share what I’ve learned.

What are chicken glasses all about?

Chicken glasses date back to at least the early 1900’s. In fact, United States patent 730,918 was granted to Andrew Jackson Jr. on June 16, 1903. Andrew’s patented chicken glasses were basically an early version of safety glasses for poultry. They were meant to help protect chickens from getting their eyes pecked by other birds in the flock.

Drawing for US patent 730918 - Chicken Glasses
Patented safety glasses for chickens were used to help prevent their eyes from being pecked by other birds.

In an effort to improve the functionality of chicken glasses, in 1939, National Band & Tag Company founder Joseph Haas created “Anti-Pix”. Anti-Pix were small aluminum framed glasses with heavy gauge red plastic lenses mounted on hinges. Small stainless steel pins, inserted through the nostrils, held the glasses on the top of the chickens beak. When the chickens held their heads upright the red lenses rendered the birds color-blind, eliminating their ability to detect raw flesh and blood. You see, chickens are instinctively cannibalistic and have a natural tendency to peck one another. Pecking is the chickens way of establishing hierarchy within the flock. This is where the term “pecking order” comes from. Also, being that the red lenses were mounted on hinges, the chickens had clear and unobstructed vision while lowering their heads to feed.

Anti-Pix advertisement from the National Band & Tag Company catalog circa 1940
National Band & Tag Company advertisement circa 1940

Here is a great newsreel from 1947 about chicken glasses.

If you’re having trouble viewing the embedded video while using Internet Explorer, you can either try viewing this page with a different browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, or you can view the video directly on YouTube.

Where can I buy chicken glasses for my birds?

Unfortunately, it seems that you can no longer buy those fancy hinged chicken glasses. It also seems that they are pretty rare these days. If you happen to stumble upon any while picking through an old barn or an antique shop, make sure to get them appraised! Some chicken glasses are quite valuable and could put a few extra dollars in your pocket.

While good old chicken glasses are no longer available for purchase, blinders are still produced and used on chickens to help prevent pecking. If you’re in the market, you’ll find that some blinders have pins and others are pin-less.

Do your chickens have a pecking problem? Would you ever accessorize your poultry with fancy rose colored glasses for chickens? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts!

46 thoughts on “Glasses For Chickens

    1. Hello….I am looking to purchase a pair of these glass…please let me know if you decide to sell them…I want to actually use them….all the new ones are more of a blinder type that only allows a chicken to see down at their food which I don’t think can be a great idea…..thanks

      1. Thanks for commenting Judi. I totally agree with you. The blinders may serve the same purpose but the hinged chicken glasses are a much better design. I too wish I had a pair. Several people have contact me about selling their glasses so hopefully you’ll be able to find a seller.

  1. Thanks for the comment Gary. It sounds like you have some great pieces of history there. I’d start with checking your local antique dealers. If they are not able to supply you with a fair appraisal, then maybe contact Barry Weiss of Storage Wars and see if he can advise you as he is a collector and he has a ton of great connections. According to Storage Wars, Barry had about 3 pair of chicken glasses and they were appraised at about $500 for all 3 pair. I’d love to see photos of your glasses. Email me!

    1. Thanks for commenting Justin. I’m with you, I think it would be really nostalgic to own a pair. I bet you that out there somewhere, forgotten in an old barn, rests an old dusty box full of shiny new chicken glasses!

    1. Geneva, Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure why the chicken glasses pictured in this article were discontinued. I tried to get that same answer from the original manufacturers, National Band & Tag Co., abut they never game me an answer. You may know, but they do still make blinders and Pinless Peepers, which help facilitate the same pecking problems.

  2. I enjoyed you compilation on the subject of chicken glasses. I’ve been researching the same thing for a possible article for kids. I’m taking a writing course and have a lot to learn. How did you obtain the pictures for your article?
    Did you have to get individual copywrite permissions?

    1. Diane, thanks so much. The subject of these chicken glasses absolutely fascinated me since the very moment that I first learned about them. If I had a pair, I’d take some seriously cool photos of my own chickens sporting them! As for the pictures in my blog, I found them during research and have tried to make sure they all link back to the source where I found them.

      1. I am currently putting together an exhibit on chicken farmers and have been trying to find these chicken glasses. If you would be so kiind as to lend us a few for displaly it would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I would love to buy them from you! Please let me know! I would buy them today! My hubby has chickens and its his birthday in 3 weeks! I would love to buy them for his birthday! Thanks so much!

    2. Richard Allendorf, let me know if you still have them and I’ll give you my e-mail to discuss buying them!

  3. Hello, I have a beautiful rooster and 4 small grandchildren and the rooster is constantly attacking all of us. I hate keeping him locked up and would love to try the glasses if I could find a pair. Or does anyone have any other suggestions? Where could I purchase the blinders if you think they would work. Betsy

    1. Betsy, thanks for the comment. I wish I could say that I have first hand experience with the chicken glasses, but like you, I don’t have a pair of my own. I’m also pretty lucky that most of my chickens are pretty friendly. I’m sure of our more experienced readers will have some great advice for you and your aggressive rooster.

    2. I have several different types, but only one that swing the lens like the one in the photo. Did I mention that I have the chicken head with the glasses shown? If desired, I can send you a photo of my chicken head with the goggles attached. my chicken head is red, not white. I believe that they were used as a counter display in poultry feed stores . ……………. Barry

    1. Wow cool! There has been a lot of people interested in buying chicken glasses so I’m sure they will sell quickly. Thanks for posting at The Pioneer Way Jennifer!

  4. do you have a diagram or a plan on how to make chicken sunglasses. i will try to make one for me

  5. This article is awesome and has served a memorable purpose! Found the link for this article on Bing…… GREAT Job Mr. Bryan! I too learned of these glasses while watching Storage Wars (love the program). My fiance’ raised Roosters and Chickens for years, he recently mentioned his interest in wanting to do this again someday! His mentioning this triggered the memory of Barry’s find. When I told him of the sunglasses he seriously doubted what I was describing as accurate information. He questioned the early 1900 invention date, he even went as far as saying it was probably a “Gag” item that had no real use also, conjured up some other cockamamie (*pun intended) explanation for what I saw. Like the Cock of the Roost (*PI) he confidently shared his knowledge about blinders currently used and their purpose. No doubt he felt as if he had corrected and educated the love of his life in one fell swoop (*PI). NOT!!!!!! Now in all my GLORY I am laughing, not at his ignorance nor confidence, but the priceless look upon his face thanks to your article! You have peeked his interest and given me the gift of laughter! Thank You Mr Bryan! 🙂

    P.S. I’m waiting for the moment when he asks me to order him a pair or two, only then will I disclose, based on several replies above, the unlikelihood of that happening.

    1. Priss Sugar,

      Thank you so much for the comment and for the wonderful story. That is the best read I’ve had in a while! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and that you were able to use it to persuade your fiance’.

      As for getting your hands on some of those chicken glasses, there are plenty of them out there and people seem willing to sell them. I get emails all of the time regarding buying/selling of said chicken glasses. Now how much they might cost is a whole different discussion!

  6. I have three different types of chicken glasses. I would like to find out the value if possible. They are all in mint condition.If you could help me or suggest who I could talk to about these glasses I would appreciate it very much. Thank you for your time.

    1. Oh that is so cool Jane! I would love to see photos! I’m not sure what part of the country you are in, but I would look for an antique dealer and make sure you let them know up front that you are NOT looking to sell them, and you are only interested in appraising their value. A lot of times, people will come back with a statement like, “I’d give you around $$$ for that.” Always respond with, “I didn’t ask you what you’d give me, I asked you what they were worth.” Then, obviously you can consider selling them once they are appraised!
      Todd Bryan recently posted..Made in USA Composter

  7. In the mid 1960’s my uncle produced rose-colored contact lenses for chickens. They were plastic, and my first job was to pull the lenses off the plastic stems and box them up for shipping. The business wasn’t a huge success, but it lasted for several years. Reading about the glasses bro’t back a fond memory!

  8. I found several pairs of these glasses but they are green colored and have “patent pending” etched on the nose piece

    1. I’ve never heard of any being made with green lenses Barbie. There was a specific reason why the lenses were originally red, so I don’t know what purpose the green would serve. I’d love to see some photographs if that’s possible.

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