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Sunny2's avatar

How do chickens react to water?

Asked by Sunny2 (18817points) June 7th, 2011
10 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

I was wondering where the saying “mad as a wet hen” came from. How do chickens react if they are caught in the rain or sprinkling system? I’ll bet some jelly knows. Please share.

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Coloma's avatar

Chickens do NOT like water, at all!

I used to keep exotic poultry and showed my birds.
Once in awhile they needed to be ‘dipped’ for mites.

You mix Hexol in a bucket of water and dunk them in up to their necks and make them sit for a minute or two. Not happy chickens. Then you wrap them in a towel and they literally keel over and look like they are dying, but, after a few minutes they run off again. lol

This is not cruel, it is HOW you manage mites and prepare birds for showing.

Beleive it or not, showing poultry is a big scene. :-)

jaytkay's avatar

@Coloma Have you hypnotized a chicken by rubbing its belly? I’ve seen it done. Would that make it easier to dip them?

Mostly I just wanna know if you have hypnotized chickens by rubbing their bellies. Cuz it’s funny

Coloma's avatar


Yes, sort of, if you hold the bird upside down and stroke them they do fall into a trance like state. lol

I had a Mille Fleur hen and a Modern game rooster that both would pass out in my arms.

My chinese goose ‘Marwyn’ who is 13 this July has always been my baby. I hold him upside down in my arms and rub his flappy feet, telling him that “you look so fleepy’ and he passes out. haha

jaytkay's avatar

So can you dip a hypnotized chicken?

I am really laughing hard at the chinese goose. Get more geese and you can have a flock of flappy fleepy feet

Coloma's avatar


I know, don’t laugh, if someone had told me 15 years ago the all time pet of my life would be a goose, I’d never have believed it.
Marwyn is a very special goose. They are highly intelligent, have amazing memories and bond deeply with their keepers.

Geres Marwyn in my hot tub, in my avatar. haha

Well, it;s a cold tub, wouldn’t want to cook my goose.

He;s my darling! lol

Sunny2's avatar

To all: What if the chickens are caught in the rain and can’t get to shelter? How do they act? I’m still after a description of “mad as a wet hen.” We must have some farmers who know. Or anybody who keeps chickens.

Plucky's avatar

I grew up on a farm. We had a about 50 laying hens in a chicken coop ..which became 3,000 hens in a barn later on. The coop chickens were able to move about freely inside their coop. They could also go outside into their uncovered fenced area, where it would rain and create puddles. They did not like water and did what they could to avoid stepping in it. Many believe that chickens dislike water because they can not swim or wade. To cool off, when hot, they take a dust bath.

As for the phrase “mad as a wet hen” or “madder than a wet hen” ..I believe it came from the American south. Back in the day: After a hen laid her eggs, she would spend most of her time sitting on them until they hatched. Even if you removed her eggs, she would still sit on the empty nest (waiting for invisible eggs to hatch). In order to “break her” of this habit, to get more eggs out of her, the farmer would grab her from her nest and dunk her in water. He usually had to this a few times, until she would get so upset and flap/run around all mad and wet. This would “break her” and she’d start laying eggs again. To which the process would repeat itself.

sansam1988's avatar

oh what a nice question….

Coloma's avatar


They will try to find some sort of shelter from the rain, or just sort of hunker down and fluff up and look dejected. lol

Sunny2's avatar

Thank you all. I now have a wonderful picture in my mind of a very annoyed chicken!

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