Who knew that chickens and bees would have one very tragic similarity?
Certainly not us.
You see, chickens and bees can both easily drown.
We discovered this quite traumatically this past Wednesday; at 5:30 P.M., all three of our daughter’s chickens were hanging out on the back deck, sunning themselves. Less than two hours later, when our daughter went to put the chickens in their coop for the night, one of them was nowhere to be found. We frantically searched our backyard, and then the immediate neighborhood. Out of desperation, we traversed the backyard again. To our great horror, we found Lily in the pond. The poor thing had drowned.
We didn’t know that chickens aren’t the best swimmers, and they cannot fly out of the water like water birds. They can float, and even swim a bit, but once their feathers get wet, the weight of their soaked feathers causes them to sink like a rock. This means that even if they do manage to swim for awhile, the chicken still is in danger of drowning.
So, ponds are a very real hazard for chickens. Same with buckets, kiddie pools, and even deep puddles. A chicken is very likely to drown in the event their feathers become drenched and begin to weigh them down.
Unlike bees, you cannot just throw a few rocks and/or floats in the water, and assume that the chicken will be able to get itself out of danger.
If they cannot get out by themselves chickens are in danger. They will swim until they become exhausted and then drown, become waterlogged then drown, or they can become soaked and succumb to hypothermia if it is too cool outside. If the chicken panics and flails when it hits the water they will saturate themselves and possibly breath in water, making them even more likely to have trouble in the water.
Providing a walk-out pool or pond does not ensure that the chickens will be safe. It turns out, when thinking chicken and water, think 1-year old human baby and water. If you would worry about your infant or toddler drowning in a given situation, it is a concern for your chickens too.
So; If there are chickens in your lives, make sure that you are aware of this danger.
If you let your chickens near water, keep a vigilant eye on them, and help them out, if they find themselves in the water. Even if they are in a walk-out pool or pond, if they get soaked and are in water that is too deep, get them out of the water before it is too late. Dry them off it is cool, since they can get hypothermia easily when soaked. Finally, consider chicken-proofing water features and emptying other sources of water that pose hazards to you chickens.
Chicken are land fowls that depend on foraging and roost in low sitting branches. Case in point, they aren’t like ducks, they don’t do well with water. So; if you have chickens as a pet and want them to live long and happy, keep an eye on their surroundings. If there is remotely deep water, consider putting up your chickens up for the time as rain passes and puddles dry. If you have ponds, try out some netting to keep your chickens out to prevent unnecessary tragedy.
Our post tonight is in loving Memory of Lily the Chicken.
She will be dearly missed by her chicken sisters,
as well as her human friends and family.
Informative Link discussing how chickens are different than waterfowl with respect to swimming.