Can Baby Chicks Swim (Or Even Float?)

Although an adult chicken can remain buoyant in water, it’s clear their bodies aren’t designed for swimming, like ducks are for example. 

For those that are raising chickens themselves, you may have wondered whether it’s safe to have your baby chicks around water and whether they can swim or even float!

For the sake of safety, we’ve got you covered on this one.

Here’s whether baby chicks can swim, whether they naturally float, and what happens if your baby chicks get wet.

Can Baby Chicks Swim

For those who raise chickens and have a pond or pool in their backyard, you will have had this thought cross your mind at least once. That being, is it OK to leave baby chicks around water?

Well, despite being classified as land birds, chickens are actually quite adept at floating and maneuvering through water, at least for short periods of time. 

However, when it comes to baby chicks, their ability to swim in water is extremely limited

This is because baby chicks don’t yet have their full complement of adult feathers, which would normally provide them with water resistance and buoyancy.

Instead, baby chicks’ feathers will quite easily become wet and they will lose their “floaties”. This doesn’t mean your baby chicks will just immediately sink to the bottom of the water, but it will mean they will struggle to swim or stay afloat. 

So, baby chicks can’t exactly swim, and it’s dangerous to have them around open water unsupervised.

Will Baby Chicks Float In Water?

Ultimately, although baby chicks won’t choose to swim, nor can they maneuver through the water very well, baby chicks will float in the water.

Baby chicks will generally be able to stay afloat and upright if they accidentally fall into the water. However, the longer they remain in the water and the wetter they get, the more likely they struggle, panic, and eventually drown.

This is because a baby chicken’s feathers are far from waterproof. As a result, their bodies will get bogged down with excess weight, and their feathers become waterlogged.

Outside of the risk of drowning, if baby chicks get wet from being in the water and they are not dried off properly they risk getting hypothermia or getting sick too.

For this reason, although a baby chick float in water for a short amount of time, you should do whatever’s necessary to keep your baby chicks out of contact with any pools or ponds. This goes for any kiddie pools you have for your chickens too!

Can Baby Chicks Get Wet?

Look. As a chicken owner, you can’t watch your chickens 100% of the time. At some stage, your chickens are going to get wet.

Mature chickens are pretty good at regulating their temperature, as their feathers are naturally water-resistant and can create a temperature barrier between the air and their skin.

But, when they are baby chicks, you should take some extra precautions. At 0-4 weeks old baby chicks have little in the way of dealing with wet feathers.

Baby chicks are incredibly vulnerable creatures. If they get wet they won’t easily be able to regulate their body temperature. This can lead to hypothermia or sickness, which can both be fatal.

So, although baby chicks can get a little wet, you should take every precaution to prevent them from getting wet, simply because it comes with inherent risks.

What To Do If Baby Chicks Get Wet

It’s known that ducks absolutely love rain and water, even some chickens like the rain too. But, when it comes to baby chicks, you should be extra cautious to keep them dry.

So, if your baby chick has fallen in a puddle, pond, or pool, or has been rained on, then you should do everything in your power to quickly and effectively dry them out!

This can be done rather easily. First, remove them from whatever watery situation they are in, into a dry location. With a warm and dry towel, begin patting them dry, being sure to get everywhere on their body.

Avoid using things like fan heaters or hair dryers, as they can too quickly raise the temperature of your baby chicks.

Keep them in a warm and dry location until their completely dry, which can take between 15-60 minutes depending on how wet they were!


Can baby chicks swim? Well, depends on what you mean by swim!

Sure, a baby chick has the ability to stay afloat in water, but the longer they are in the water the more water their feathers will take on, and eventually they will struggle.

So, baby chicks can float, but not swim!

If your baby chicks get wet, be sure to dry them quickly and effectively to reduce the chances of sickness or other issues!

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