6 week old pullet fell into the water bucket


Jun 11, 2016
North East Florida
Of all the mornings to get a late start (I'm usually up before sunrise), I went to feed the various coops and groups.
I have 10 "mystery chicks" from TS. They just this week got old enough and big enough to move to an outdoor coop with adults.
I found one pullet this morning belly-down laying/floating in the water bucket. The smaller chicks always have smaller water dispensers available but she must have copied from the bigger girls.
I got her out and she was cold, shaky and looked to be in shock. Wrapped her in my shirt and brought her inside to the same room she and her buddies had been (guest bathroom) and plugged in the light and the heating pad.
She's warming up but still in shock. I set the heating pad on a 5 out of 6 and put the lamp quite close just until I can feel her body temp return to near normal. She is in no state to eat or drink. I don't want to push liquids as I fear aspiration would occur (if it hasn't already).
My guess is that the fall into water happened between sunrise and 9 a.m.
As she dries and warms she is either shivering or twitching. I took several videos--not sure if they're particularly clear but I'll post them if anyone thinks they'd be helpful.

Other than keeping her warm and letting her rest is there anything else I can do to improve her chances of recovery?
Thanks in advance for all advice and feedback!
This makes me so sad! I have no experience with near-drowning but hope your pullet bounces back.

I had a hen go into shock before and she panted and dripped feces with a glazed look in her eye. I dipped her beak in a cup of sugar water rather than trying to syringe it in and she reflexively drank. The shock lasted about 24 hours.
Thanks for the feedback. I had not thought of sugar water.
On the very positive side, when I checked on her 1?2 hour ago, her back and wings were almost all dry, and she made a better effort at standing. I don't want to tire her out so I'm doing my best to check and make adjustments every 1/2 hour...otherwise I'd be bugging her all day. Not what she needs.
I forgot to mention that this morning, and still now, her crop feels full. So there's not food-need emergency. But with other species I've helped in shock and crisis situations, they need to be warm enough to be able to benefit from solid food. I will try the sugar water.
Is honey ok too or is plain sugar better?
I added a small water bowl (from my cupboard--not chicken ware) and stuffed towels around it so it wouldn't spill on her.
From the change I see--and I'm about to go check again--I feel much more positive than I did earlier.
I feel terrible that this happened. I have to alter the water systems entirely so it doesn't happen again!
@debid, sorry to be a nag, but is honey water ok/same or is plain white sugar water best?
She's improving!!!
Dried out mostly, shivering has reduced to nearly none and she is making baby chick chirping sounds when I pick her up and cuddle her!
I don't know about honey, just that it's a no for baby humans. I literally stirred a spoonful into a yogurt cup of warm water and popped it in the fridge between uses. I brought the cup every 2 hours until bedtime and then the next day until I saw her return to eating/drinking. I had no idea what to do but that was my best guess.
I don't know about honey, just that it's a no for baby humans. I literally stirred a spoonful into a yogurt cup of warm water and popped it in the fridge between uses. I brought the cup every 2 hours until bedtime and then the next day until I saw her return to eating/drinking. I had no idea what to do but that was my best guess.

This forum got back to interactive in the perfect time for me/us (feathers and me).
I hope I'm using the quote feature properly but I'll just "wing it" ..

In the 2 1/2 years I've kept chickens I've never had an accident like this or any other accident. I had a coop attacked by raccoons and battled that problem.
***But this was of my own ignorance!***
This--what I'm about to tell--is the strangest thing I have ever seen in my coops!
Earlier today, I pulled the 6 week old out of the water, and she's still doing very well...has taken up residence in the guest bathroom.
I went out to rearrange the water supply. I went to grab a piece of lattice to cover the bucket with lattice pinned down, to leave a small opening for drinking. Turned my back 2 seconds for the lattice and saw another same-age pullet (same day at TS) fall right in. I grabbed her! For an extra (smaller) water supply I walked 15 feet to the coop next door and--I kid you not--saw a week old chick fall into that bucket! The chicks in that pen (13 of them) were hatched by sister silkies and had Never been out of that nest before.
I really had to ask myself if I was awake or having a nightmare!

Finally I had all water buckets and pails safely covered and brought the 2 newly wet chicks inside. I now have 2 six-week olds and a 1 week old on a heating pad with a heat lamp in the bathroom.Thank God they are all doing well, are dried off and are comforting each other!
I can't believe this all happened in just a few hours...and that it had never happened before.

I'm telling this long story bcs, 1) I am very long-winded esp when stressed.
2) Much More Important: I want this near tragedy to be a kind warning to anyone else who has never had an accident. This could have meant the death of THREE of my precious little ones.
I'm going to be watching them carefully, praying there are no consequences further from the chill or the shock. They Must be traumatized (me too).

@debid, re your chicken that was traumatized by the hawk, I feel all trauma of any cause has a deep impact on any creature. That bird of yours is a lucky creature to have you looking out for her (or him?)
Did that chicken recover well emotionally from that scary experience? If it's not too much to ask of you, I would Love to hear more of the story of recovery and re-adjustment...
You've helped me so much by your quick response! I feel "at home" here again.
Uncontrollable updates will follow :)
She recovered and went back to laying about a week later. The other hens left her alone while she recovered which was surprising to me since I've heard stories of how they'll harass the sick/injured. I was able to leave her on a roost in the coop where I thought she'd feel most secure and the other hens just let her be.

She did have some residual fear. I noticed that she wouldn't go far from cover after that for a very long time. She also quit being as independent when ranging (she was previously fond of trekking off on her own) in favor of staying closer to be flock and whatever they were doing.
BTW, I use closed containers with the vertical type of poultry nipples. I highly recommend them for both drier bedding if you put a waterer inside the coop and keeping the water clean. But, your post provides evidence of a benefit I hadn't even considered.
Thanks. I am researching the different forms of safer water dispensers now. I like the closed supply with poultry nipples. I worry it would be hard to transition to for adults...but chickens are smarter than I give them credit for.
My water system Will be changing very soon!
The little threesome in the bathroom are all doing great this morning!

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