Have you ever been relaxing on your back porch, gazing out over your beautiful land, and watching your chickens do the backstroke across your pond? Not likely. But can chickens swim? Perhaps I have captured your attention.
Put your swimsuit and goggles on and let’s swim on through this whimsical topic.
Are Chickens Equipped To Swim?
Have you heard a phrase something like “She takes to dancing like a duck to water!”? Ducks have webbed feet and oily feathers which makes them excellent swimmers. I don’t have webbed feet or oily feathers, and I can still swim like a fish. What about chickens? They don’t have webbed feet either, plus a chicken’s feathers aren’t waterproof like a ducks – but did you know that they CAN swim? Funny picture, I know.
When chickens get wet, they resemble soggy poodles. They look half the size they normally do with their fluffy feathers, and they hardly resemble a chicken at all in their soggy state.
I have a pond and I’ve never caught any of my chickens performing the backstroke, or any type of swimming moves for that matter. However, after researching the topic – I now know they can swim if they want to, or if they are forced to for some unpredictable reason (like the incident that MIGHT happen after my 11-year-old son reads this post). 😉
Can Baby Chicks Swim?
Adult chickens have lots of tight feathering which makes them appear to simply float in the water. Baby chickens, or chicks, do not have the same tight feathering and therefore, cannot float or swim.
Plus chicks need to stay really warm, hence the reason you start them in a brooder at around 100 degrees. Getting them wet could easily lead to their death. So don’t even try it. Okay? 💞
In fact, it’s even a good idea to ensure their waterer is shallow so they don’t walk into or fall into their water while brooding.
Are You Sure A Chicken Can Swim?
Although I’ve never introduced one of my own chickens to swim classes, I’ve seen plenty of examples on the internet. It’s not only entertaining to watch, but inspirational! Watch one of my favorites in the video below.
Can Chickens Swim In My Swimming Pool?
Yes and maybe. You might want to follow the old advice “What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.” Meaning, if you find it safe for you and your family to swim in a sea of chorinated water, then you probably aren’t going to mind your chicken joining in.
Since chicken swim teams are not yet a thing, there really isn’t much information out there about the safety of chickens being submerged in pool chemicals. If you let your chicken swim in your pool, watch it carefully for any adverse reactions.
It may be worth just filling a kiddie pool with natural water and introduce your flock to that as a starting point.
Do Chickens Enjoy Swimming?
I’m not sure we will ever truly know the answer to this question. It certainly appears, by the online videos, that some chickens do actually enjoy swimming. Or at least they don’t appear to hate it. Many of them are quite good swimmers, although they don’t have the same forward momentum as ducks with webbed feet.
While they do have the innate ability to swim, it’s likely more of a survival instinct. If the bird is put into water, and doesn’t start to paddle, it’s going to sink and die. They somehow know this, much like most puppies know this very same thing.
If you try this swimming gig with your flock, be sure to offer them treats as reward! These are my favorite protein packed chicken treats.
Tips For Swimming Chickens
- Do not leave your swimming chicken unattended.
- Don’t force a hen to swim.
- Be sure the chicken can exit on its own if it wants to in order to prevent drowning – you may consider some type of ramp.
- Avoid deep water so you can help your chicken if it finds itself in a panic.
- If your chicken doesn’t “paddle” you may have to hold it up so it doesn’t sink.
- Remember to only allow your chicken to swim for short periods of time to avoid fatigue. If they like it and have several lessons, then you can work up to long periods of time.
- Dry your chicken off after a swim, especially on a colder day or if they were in cool water, to prevent them from getting chilled and experiencing hypothermia.
- Keep in mind your chicken does not have waterproof feathers.
Now you may be able to do more than imagine a swimming chicken – you can actually give it a try with your own. I personally imagine I would end up on a “failed it” video, but maybe you can “nail it!”
Just remember to be kind to your feathered friends. Just because they can swim, doesn’t mean they will want to or that they will enjoy it. On the flip side, you may find yourself with a viral video that ends up paying your children’s way through college. Who knows?
A happy wife, mother, teacher, writer, hobby farmer, lover of chickens, and contributor to Pampered Chicken Mama!