Can chickens swim- I assumed they actually couldn’t!
I know that millions of people like me believe that chickens don’t swim; you’re not alone. But, unfortunately, it appears most people think chickens won’t float and cannot swim either.
In the normal events of the day, you can watch your chicken drink water, perhaps paddle her feet if she’s hot, but swim? Definitely not!
Well, as it happens, they can swim, but they often choose not to, for some reasons that we will explore shortly.
Continue reading to learn how chickens swim and if you should allow your chickens, and possible health implications.
Can Chickens Swim |Are They Really Built For Swimming?
To learn if chicken’s can swim or not, I thought it would be best to compare them to a similar-sized bird that loves to swim a lot; a duck.
Ducks are built to swim:
- Their feathers are waterproof
- Able to ‘right’ themselves in water
- Their webbed feet are powerful and help propel them
These features make sucks excellent paddlers and swimmers. They are built to float on water- not so much on land!
Ducks secrete oil from their special glands, which they coat their feathers with; this makes their feathers ‘waterproof’.
On the other hand, Chickens, however, are not built to swim:
- No webbed feet
- Feathers are not waterproof
- Lack the ability to ‘right’ themselves in water
Now, I know what you’re thinking…. But waaaaaiiiitttt!
Just because chickens aren’t built to swim doesn’t mean they can’t try! Without webbed feet, chicken can paddle well- although the strokes are not as effective as ducks, swimming forwards are slower.
So, Can chickens drown in a pool? It appears that Chickens do have an innate ability to swim. Obviously, it seems Mother Nature has built it into their system, but it is not a skill they frequently use.
Unlike ducks, their feathers are not waterproof, neither do they secrete oil that ducks do- once they get soaked or drenched with liquid, chickens will sink like a stone. Therefore, they should never be left alone near water deep enough for them to drown in.
If your chicken should accidentally fall into the pool and manages to get out, she or he will need to be dried off as soon as possible if the air is cool. They can easily get hypothermia and die.
Another factor that affects how your chicken will swim (or not) is the panic factor. While lots of birds will stay calm, others will get scared and panic. Thus, drown easily. Indeed, it has been recorded that chickens have drowned in a bucket of water (it wasn’t stated how they got there).
Chickens with calm temperaments tend to stay calm and swim better than those with high strung.
Like humans, no two chickens are alike, and what one may take easily might cause a meltdown in another.
Should Chickens Go in Pools?
While digging deep on the internet for proofs, I encountered a video of Chickens swimming in pools.
There seem to be many trending videos on social media showing hens floating and swimming in family pools- the birds seem calm and fine with just sitting and floating.
So, Can chickens float? Yes, they can!
However, it is questionable whether exposing our chickens to chemicals pools is right or wrong.
To keep our pools sanitary and clean, a full discharge of chemicals is added to the water: sanitizers, algaecides, enzymes, oxidizers, and enzymes. How your chickens will react to these chemicals when they float is what I don’t know. I do, however, know that it will kill frogs….
If at all you would allow your chickens to float or swim, I would recommend a small child’s pool with natural water (with no chemicals added) and some sort of stepping out area just in case your hen needs to exit at the speed of light.
A good number of backyard poultry owners will keep chickens and ducks together, keep a small kids padding pool ready for the ducks.
Take precaution against a chicken falling in the water; place concrete blocks or bricks around the bottom of the pool so the hen can have something to step on and quickly exit the pool easily.
Another great precaution method is to provide a ramp up to and down the water- again the idea is to provide an exit for any animal or bird in the water.
It should go without saying, if you put a chicken in the pool with you, do not leave, I repeat, do not leave unsupervised- treat it like a small child and monitor its swimming. Then, if the bird shows any sign of distress, take it out and dry it off quickly. Remember, chickens can catch a cold and die from being soaked in water.
Now that we have cleared the myth and shown that, indeed, chickens do have the ability to swim– either for pleasure or to escape (more likely to occur), we need to remember to watch over them when they do move close water.
While it may be fun for us to watch cute videos or the children swimming with the kids, we should remember that a chickens natural environment is certainly is not water-based. So if the hen or cock doesn’t want to swim, don’t force it- be kind enough to respect its decision.
Chickens were created to rule the barnyard like the cute, cocky birds they are! So they aren’t made to rule the waves!
Can chickens swim; I hope we have answered your questions. Do your chickens like to swim? Let us know in the comments section below…