Though there are eclipses around the world, this is the first solar eclipse in decades that will be seen by millions of people. It's a great opportunity to observe the behaviors of domestic and wild animals.
Solar eclipses have been documented even in the year 1296, along with anecdotal observations of animal behavior, indicating that animals do behave in unusual ways.
Some things you may observe with chickens if they free-range is that they may act a bit confused; stop foraging and the rooster may quickly usher the hens to the coop to roost. This may be within minutes as the moon crosses the sun, as it appears to approach sunset, darkness and then dawn, you may observe the rooster announce morning once again as he signals the hens to come down from their roosts.
The disruption of the egg cycle may either delay the hens from laying or they may not lay at all that day or even a few days before or after. You'll only know through observation.
You may want to set up a video to record your chickens behavior a half hour before, during and a half hour after the eclipse to document their reactions.
There are applications you can download to assist scientists in their data gathering. One is called the *Naturalist*.
You may observe odd behaviors in other domestic pets and livestock as well. A typically frisky pet, may stop what they are doing and go into hiding. Flocks of birds, may head for trees, frogs and crickets may start to chirp. If you live where there are populations of bats, you may notice them come out in their acrobatic night flights. Even insects may react. Observers have noticed that spiders will destroy their webs. Wild animals may come out from their shelters to forage, while domestic animals head for shelter. Cows, horses and goats may run for barns or paddocks. You may even notice the animals making more sounds than usual, including birds. It has been observed that whales will beach themselves during eclipses.
Regardless of the pets you own or observe, it should be interesting to watch the reactions. It's well known and well observed that the phenomena of our solar system do have an effect on humans and animals alike.
To View a video of chickens reaction to a previous solar eclipse, refer to the link:
UPDATE-8-21-17. We did not notice any odd behaviors on the farm before, during or after the solar eclipse, except a sudden quietude, which is rare on the farm with over 300 laying hens and at least 100 roos that crow throughout the entire day and night. As soon as the eclipse was over, they returned to the usual farm cacophony and pecking and eating resumed as normal. In addition, what I did notice was the frogs and crickets were not as loud the evening of the eclipse as they were the evening before. Both evenings were calm, however the previous night, was chilly, while the evening of the eclipse was quite warm, so the difference could simply have been atmosphere, rather than anything specific to do with the eclipse.
Photo Credit: Photo of the actual Eclipse, through thin clouds. Used with permission from a family member B.J.
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