Can a Chicken Swim?
"This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links."
If you keep chicken at home, you may be worried about them stumbling and falling into large pools of water. If they do, will they swim or will they drown? Read this article to find out.
Those who keep chicken know how important the safety of their chicken is. The question about whether chicken can swim is common and quite reasonable, especially for people who intend to keep chickens, and happen to have water pools in their compound. They wonder if their chicken would be safe in such a situation.
So can chicken swim if they fell into the water? Technically, chicken can swim, but they should not be allowed in large pools of water because it poses a lot of danger. For one, chicken generally cannot produce oil like other aquatic birds to protect their feathers and help them float. The chicken feathers will likely repeal some small amount of water since they are not waterproof. Therefore, chickens that get in water will quickly become soaked, increasing their chances of drowning or getting sick. They could get hypothermia, which could prove fatal.
Chicken can swim, but mostly they opt not to, for reasons we will explore below. Read on to find out about chicken swimming abilities, the health implications of swimming to chicken, and how to mitigate them and, if you should let your chicken swim in a swimming pool.
Chicken Swimming Abilities
In their everyday lives, you will spot your chicken playing with water. It only happens when they want to quench their thirst or the occasional paddling in shallow water in hot weather. However, seeing chicken swim in all sense of the word is an uncommon sight. So, can they even swim at all?
As mentioned already, chicken can swim, but with limited motion. Unlike ducks or cranes, chicken’s bodies do not allow them to swim for several reasons. They lack webbed feet for smooth paddling in the water, cannot “right” themselves in water, and their feathers are not waterproof. Nevertheless, just because chickens are not natural swimmers does not mean that they cannot try. They can paddle quite efficiently, but their strokes are not as powerful as those of a duck are. Their forward momentum tends to be slower.
So, chickens have an innate ability to swim. It is deeply ingrained into their survival system from long ago but it is not a skill they frequently employ. They do not secrete oil-like ducks do, meaning their feathers are not waterproof. Once saturated with water, they are likely to sink in large pools of water like a stone. Strangely, even raindrops tend to have a similar effect on them. They should never be left alone in water that is deep enough for them to drown.
Another factor that determines whether a chicken swims or sinks is the panic factor. Many chickens can stay calm and manage to swim for a short while. Even though they may be capable of swimming, some chickens tend to lose their calm disposition, and in panic end up drowning. Records show that chickens have even drowned in a bucket of water; however, how they got there remains a mystery.
Health Implications of Chicken to Swimming and How to Mitigate It
Now that you know about the chickens swimming abilities, the next obvious question is whether swimming affects the general health of the chicken.
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. It entirely depends on the specific circumstances of their swimming experience.
Basic swimming abilities may allow the chicken to get out of the water without drowning, but there is also another dangerous factor, catching a cold. Once they get into the water, your chicken ran a risk of getting hypothermia despite the temperatures outside. Hypothermia could be fatal if the chickens are not taken care of immediately.
So, if your chicken has been swimming in the cold, what should you do?
Sometimes you may not be able to prevent your chicken from being outside during a downpour. Those bugs that happen to come out during rainy seasons may be a very tempting snack for chicken.
When your chickens are wet and seem to be showing the first sign of hypothermia, immediately dry them off, preferably in cool air, and make sure they are warm. You should take the chicken indoors temporarily, just long enough to dry them up.
You should also ensure that you take extra precautions against bird-prone diseases by cleaning the surrounding coop area and washing your hands after contact with the chicken. You also need to warm up some towels in a microwave and wrap them around the afflicted chicken to insulate them from the cold.
It will eventually help revive the chicken and help them move around comfortably.
In that regard, never expose chicken to more than a shallow pool of water or moderate rain. If accidentally exposed to large pools of water, they need to be dried off quickly. They run the risk of getting hypothermia, which could cost them their lives.
What about Newborn Chicks?
Newly hatched chicks should never be allowed in any large pools of water. Unlike their adult counterparts, they lack tight feathering that prevents them from floating. Additionally, the lack of feathers makes them highly susceptible to cold attacks. There is little insulation in their feathers to keep them warm. They run the risk of dying from hypothermia.
So, if your chicks happen to get wet for any reason, make sure that they are dried off as soon as possible by putting them under the heat source of the mother hen or a brooder.
Moreover, chicks tend to be weak and cannot right themselves as the adult chicken. Therefore, try as much as you can to prevent them from swimming. Experienced chicken owners recommend investing on a very shallow fount or waterer. It should be placed at the bottom of the waterer in case a newly hatched chick falls in and cannot find a way out.
Chances of baby chicks falling in water dishes and drowning are common than most people think. Fortunately, you can reduce it by purchasing appropriate waters and being extra cautious about how you feed your newborn chicks.
Can Chicken Cool Off In A Swimming Pool?
These days, the internet is replete with videos of chicken in a swimming pool. In these videos, the chicken may be comfortably floating in a pool, and they seem content showing no sign of distress.
The videos may be fun to watch; however, should one really let their chicken cool off in a swimming pool?
The answer is not simple. Fine, in the physical sense, some chickens may be fine paddling through swimming pool water. Besides, pools might not be a sanitary environment for them. We clean our pools with a wide range of chemical substances, which are made of high concentrations of varying oxidizers, enzymes, algaecides, and sanitizers. We may not know what effects these chemicals have on the chicken’s health, but they can kill frogs! That is why it is not recommended to let your chicken cool off in swimming pool water.
If your chickens enjoy taking the occasional swim, let them paddle around a children’s paddling pool, which is made up of untreated water. Also, ensure that there is some kind of raised platform for them to get out of the water in case they need a quick exit when they are drenched, or the pool is too cold for them to handle.
Since we have determined that chickens can swim, which could either be for pleasure or escape from accidental emergence in deep and cold water, we also need to remember that they are not good swimmers. If your chicken happens to venture into watery environments, you need to keep a close eye on them. Water is not a natural environment for them. Do not make your chickens swim if they do not have to. They thrive better on dry land than they do in the water.