Can Chickens Swim? All You Need To Know

Can Chickens Swim Featured Image
The simple answer is yes. Chickens can swim. But although they can swim, their bodies are not designed to stay in water. Chickens can only swim as a survival tactic so it’s not something they can do regularly. 

Despite the fact that chickens don’t have waterproof feathers, they can actually swim for a given duration of time. However, there’s a lot you need to know about whether or not chickens can swim safely. 

So Can Chickens Swim? 

Chickens will most likely swim due to bad situations such as falling accidentally in water, escaping from potential danger, or due to disastrous circumstances like flooding. 

Chickens can float and paddle for a short period of time, but water is not their natural environment. 

You may encounter a chicken that swims perfectly well over short distances in a familiar environment, but that’s very rare. 

Some chickens will do much better in the water than others, depending on their behavior and personality. The ability to stay calm can help them stay afloat. However, they are unlikely to survive if fear crops up. 

How Long Can Chickens Swim?

Healthy chickens can stay afloat for just 10 to 15 minutes. However, the duration will depend on how brave the chicken is as it thrashes and tries to get out. A less fearful bird can stay waterlogged for a slightly longer period. 

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Can Baby Chicks Swim?

Baby ducklings can swim after a given period of time. They do better when the mother duck is around because they are less fearful. 

On the other hand, chicks cannot swim even in very shallow waters. This is because chicks are tiny animals and are vulnerable to cold. Exposing them to water can lead to their death not only because they are unable to swim to safety, but because of the extremely cold temperatures they are subjected to. 

Exposing chicks to water will make them drown. Usually, the most affected are the ones that don’t know what to do or what not to do due to danger. 

Do Chickens Enjoy Being In Water?

Although chickens are not naturally designed to swim like ducks, they actually enjoy being in water. 

Allowing them to immerse themselves in water is a great idea if you live in a hot climatic region to help them stay cool. Soaking themselves in water can also help them stay clean, active, and entertained. 

If you allow your chickens to immerse themselves in water, however, make sure it’s shallow water. You should also supervise them all the time to ensure they don’t drown and die.

two chickens in water
A bucket like this is deep enough to clean their feathers, but shallow enough so they won’t drown.

Don’t let your chickens get into large water bodies like a swimming pool. Although chickens can swim in shallow water, they can get in trouble in deep waters. 

When monitoring your birds, make sure to track the time they spend in water. Since chicken feathers are unable to repel the water, they are likely to drown if they stay in water for too long. 

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Your chickens may also need help with getting out of the water. In colder climates, they also need assistance in drying off to prevent hypothermia, so a heater in their coop will be a wise investment.

Can Chickens Float?

Yes. All chickens can float, but the panicky ones are likely to sink and drown if the feathers get waterlogged. 

Why Are Chickens Poor Swimmers?

Chickens are not naturally built for swimming like ducks. The lack of webbed feet in these birds makes them bad swimmers. On the other hand, webbed feet in ducks allow them to easily propel through water. 

Plus, chicken’s feathers can easily get soaked, making them susceptible to sinking and drowning. That’s because their feathers are poorly insulated in water. After some time, chickens may soak up and submerge in water. 

Even if the chickens survive, they may experience hypothermia. Hypothermia is mainly caused by long exposure to very cold temperatures. Their bodies lose heat faster than they produce it. Ultimately, the bird consumes all its energy, leading to a severe drop in body temperature and death. 

Can Chickens Get Into a Swimming Pool?

Allowing chickens to get into a swimming pool designed for humans is dangerous to their health. Firstly, people use chemicals such as algaecides, clarifiers, sanitizers, and oxidizers when cleaning their swimming pools. These chemicals can endanger a chicken’s life. 

If you want to put your chickens in the water, make sure it’s fresh water with no chemicals.

If you keep both ducks and chickens, you can use a kiddie swimming pool designed for ducks. You should also build stepping areas like cider bricks or blocks in strategic positions around the swimming pool to ensure your chickens have somewhere to jump to when they want to get out.

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Again, you need to supervise them to ensure they don’t end up drowning. If any chicken seems uncomfortable, get it out of the pool immediately and use a towel to dry it off. 

Remember that chickens can catch a cold and may not show any signs until the problem worsens. Thus, avoid keeping your chickens in water for too long even during those hot summer days. 

Can Chickens Drown?

Yes, of course. Chicken can easily drown, even in a basin of water if they are unable to get themselves out. 

Chickens are at the risk of drowning if they soak up in water. If you have to immerse your chickens in water, make sure it’s shallow water and for just a couple of minutes at the most.

If you keep any buckets of water in your backyard or chicken coop, make sure to cover them. 

Last but not least, provide your chickens with fresh drinking water in chicken waterers, and not water buckets or the pool. 

Patrick Anampiu

Patrick is an avid pet lover and passionate writer who enjoys crafting stories and feels most alive when telling stories about people whose lives have been enriched by their pets. He enjoys adding more chickens to his flock and loves sharing insights on how to take better care of pets and other animals in our lives. When not writing and raising chickens, Patrick enjoys traveling and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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