Can hens swim?

Chickens are one of the most enjoyable animals to keep, raise, and observe. They can eat most of the food that humans can, and they are not picky at all, they will enjoy whatever food you throw at them.

Chickens are poultry animals just like geese, ducks, and turkeys, so they share many similar traits, like overall structures, pairs of wings, similar looking legs. For ducks and geese, they can swim thanks to their legs, can chickens swim? Particularly, can hens swim?

Can hens swim?

While hens do enjoy the water, they should only sell in shallow water and you should watch them carefully. If left in deep water, the hens will sink since they can’t float like ducks.

While hens don’t have water-proof feathers like the ducks, they can swim safely in shallow water for a short length of time (not that they can do for long anyway), and you should supervise them too.

It makes sense to wonder if your hens can swim since many types of poultry animals can swim like ducks, geese,… So here is something to know about relating to the relationship between hens and water.

Hens can swim in shallow water with supervision
Hens can swim in shallow water with supervision

Do hens like swimming?

They do

Hens are not gifted with the tools to swim well unlike ducks or geese, but they can swim without too much difficulty and they like water.

There are many benefits when letting your hens soak in water. They can cool down on a hot summer day, they can keep themselves clean, and water can be entertaining for the hens.

Related: 21 Best Chicken Keeping eBooks

Shallow water only

However, as mentioned, you should only let the hens swim on shallow water. Furthermore, you should supervise the hens to make sure they don’t panic and sink themselves since calm hens tend to perform better when it comes to swimming.

Also, don’t put them in deep water places like the swimming pool. While they appear to perform just fine at first, they are in fact having difficulty in swimming in deep water.

What should you do when the hens enter water?

Your hens are not gifted with the ability to swim, their feathers are not designed to help them float, so while they can swim a bit, they may feel tired fast and risk sinking themselves.

You should definitely supervise them and pay attention to the time they spend in water since they will need your help when things go wrong.

When they show signs of panicking, get them out of the water fast and dry them off so that they won’t catch a chill. Hens won’t realize that they became cold after a long time in the water. And when dying of your hens, use your hairdryer with a low setting so they won’t get hypothermia.

Can hens float?

The chickens’ feathers don’t have the oils produced from ducks and other water fowls to make them float for a long time. But their bodies can still float for a short while, just enough for you to rescue them if they fall into deep water.

Sometimes they can flap their wings to get out of the water when they are about to sink, like in this viral YouTube video.

Are hens’ bodies waterproof?

Hens’ feathers not only don’t produce the oils needed to keep the bodies floating, they are also not waterproof. This further solidified the idea of only letting your hens swim in shallow water so that they don’t drown.

Can chicks swim?

You should be more precautious about chicks than hens when it comes to water. Water is a much more writing threat to chicks than hens since their feathers are not fully developed yet, so they may freeze or drown much quicker than hens.

Water is so much a threat that even the chicks’ drinking water or some small puddles will put them at risk, so try to keep them away from cold and wet weather, and let them drink in a shallow trough only.

If your chicks had taken into the water, get them quickly and gently, you don’t want to accidentally squeeze them hard, then warm them up either with your hands or with a heat lamp.

Hens vs. swimming pools

There are 2 reasons why you won’t want to let your hens swim in a swimming pool: The first is the drones of the water as mentioned above, and the second is the chlorine in the pool water can be potentially bad for your hens’ health.

But, you won’t need to give up the idea of letting your hens have fun in the pool. A small plastic paddling pool is safe, but you must supervise them and give them a ramp so that they can get out of the water easily.

Final thoughts

So, can hens swim? They can swim as long as they are in shallow water and you are there supervising them. Hens do enjoy submerging a party of their bodies into the water to keep themselves clean, wash off dirts, and have fun.

When you keep an eye on them, pay attention to the amount of time they spend in the water. You should rescue them quickly in case they start panicking and drowning. Call hens usually still better than panicking hens.

Chickens, in general, don’t have oiled feathers to help them stay floating, but their bodies do let them float for a short while, just enough time for you to get them out of the water if they start sinking.