Really dumb question...can chickens swim?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Justanother Brooke, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. Justanother Brooke

    Justanother Brooke Songster

    Jan 29, 2011
    Goldendale, WA
    My 7 year old daughter asked me if chickens can swim. I told her no, she told me one of the grown ups at school told her they can. So I am coming to the experts to prove that I am right, ha ha!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011

  2. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    I'm going to be really helpful.....maybe! Chickens don't have the oil gland that waterfowl have, so their feathers are not waterproofed, as such. But if a chicken falls in a pool or pond, they will strugge to get to shore if they can. Don't know that's I'd call that swimming, though. Since many don't fly well that's all they can do.

    If pinned down, I will say no.
  3. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Songster

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    silkies sink [​IMG]
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    As I understand it, they can, in the sense that they make the motions -- for a while. Then they get waterlogged, sink and drown.

    There was a Youtube video and some related comments -- I don't remember -- but I know this is where this came from. Someone threw a chicken in a swimming pool and it managed to swim to the side and get out, but it was made clear this was a lucky chicken and inappropriate. The chicken looked panicky.
  5. lulu786

    lulu786 In the Brooder

    Jan 30, 2011
    Well i throw some treats into the pond for the ducks but the chickens once jumped in cos they wanted the treats too (even thou I gave theirs separate!). And they quickly rush out, now when I throw treats in the pond again, they don't chance it. But my chickens definitely don't mind the rain!
  6. jomoncon

    jomoncon Songster

    Sep 24, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    My little ones spied my pond & decided the goldfish would make good eats. After flapping around for a minute or so, they could not get out & I had to rescue them. They also had to be rescued from the fountain. Since those 2 episodes, they stay away form the pond & the fountain.
  7. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Last I knew, definitely not! I had a pullet drown once. . . And last I saw, my chickens usually flap their wings like crazy just to try and keep from drowning. Otherwise, I think they'd need swimming lessons to know how. [​IMG]

  8. Justanother Brooke

    Justanother Brooke Songster

    Jan 29, 2011
    Goldendale, WA
    That's what I thought. I would love to know who at the school told her that. Now, off to go tell a 7 year old she is wrong, ha ha ha ha!
  9. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Quote:I'm not sure, but gryeyes has a sebright named George that I told her she should rename him Jesus because he got spooked the other day when we were over there and I literally saw him RUN across the top of her pond from one side to the other! Little bugger was walking... er, running.... on water! (Oh, and his wings were just a flappin' up a storm!)

    I don't think he wanted to find out whether or not he could swim.
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    As a kid I had a couple game roosters I had in mind to break of their fighting habit. They had already beat the crap out of each other in muddy hog pen to point where flight feathers were destroyed so grandpa considered them a loss already and gave me a yes to proceede. This was month of March. I noticed mud in feathers greatly reduced their ability to do each other harm so I reasoned getting them wetter might slow them down more. I took the birds to a livestock pond and threw them in. They quite fighting until they swam ashore where fighting resumed. I repeated process several times but failed to stop fighting. by simply getting them wet Observations that were made are they can swim in a manner very similar to normal walking (legs without assistance from wings) and water penetrated all the way to skin. They also suffered from hypothermia that did ultimately arrest fighting urge. Hypothermia for chicken immersed in water is a problem even in the warmest of months, especially when victim is young. Also in respect to comment above about oil in feathers, I agree not enough to repel water. It took birds several days to restore oil to feathers after event completed. These birds did survive and following molt showed no evidence of the events. Birds in full feather are no more resistant to such treatment and are rendered flightless (unable to reach roost) until flight feathers re-oiled.

    YES, they can swim but not in a sustained manner. Ultimately, forcing chickens to swim is ill advised and put their life at risk if they can not get clear of water in short amount of time..
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011

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