Chickens do not have webbed feet, no. A lot of birds do have webbed feet, especially those that swim, of course. Sometimes chickens are born with some webbing, if it’s an issue it can be fixed.
Not having webbed feet is one of the physical differences chicks have compared to some other birds. There’s always a reason that makes sense though as I’ll explain in this article.
Why Don’t Chickens Have Webbed Feet?
The quick and simple answer is that chickens don’t need webbed feet.
Chickens have evolved (with our help) to the point where they are right now and they serve their purpose perfectly – laying eggs and providing meat.
Animals that have webbed feet do so because they need to swim. Some obvious examples are penguins, ducks, swans, beavers, and so on.
It’s not only birds that have webbed feet, but there are also some mammals that do too. So, it’s not specific to the type of animal, more so due to whether or not they need them to swim better.
Having webbed feet allows these animals to swim so much more efficiently. As they spread their toes, the webbing creates a larger surface to push more water.
That’s why we wear flippers for underwater swimming. We might not have webbed toes, but we’re smart enough to make some we can slip on!
Can Chickens Swim?
Chickens are birds with wings, so they should be able to swim, right?
They don’t look that dissimilar to ducks, so it’s not that strange of a question to wonder if they can swim.
The answer is – yes and no. Chickens can swim a little to get out of the water, but they really aren’t comfortable on the water.
By this, I mean they are able to survive in water for a while but they don’t want to be there and will get out as soon as they can.
Just watch this video below, this is a typical reaction for a chicken being placed in water:
It was only a few seconds, but as you can see, a chicken can float but will use their wings to get out of the water as quickly as possible.
This is because there are some key differences between chickens and ducks, these are:
Chickens do not have webbed feet – this makes a huge difference to how effectively they can paddle along.
Their feathers are not waterproof – chickens do not secrete oils to keep their feathers waterproof. This means, the longer they’re in the water, the heavier they’ll get. This can become dangerous if the chicken can’t get back to land.
They lack balance – I’ve seen a few videos of chickens in water, it’s evident from the lack of time they spend in water that they can’t balance well and aren’t great at floating.
My Chick Has Webbed Feet
It’s not that uncommon for a chick to have some webbing between their toes. I’ve seen it a bunch of times, anything from a small bit of webbing to toes actually fused together.
It’s a mutation, deformity, whatever you want to call it. Often, it’s not a big deal. If it’s not causing them any issues walking and functioning normally, you probably do not have to do anything.
If the webbing is going to cause them some problems, you will need to do something about it. Otherwise, they’ll struggle to get their fair share of food and will get picked on by other members of the flock if they see a weakness.
Related – Do chickens have toes?
How to Fix a Webbed Toe on a Chick
If you’re interested to see how someone split two toes webbed together, in the video below a woman simply cuts the webbing to free the toes.
I don’t recommend doing this yourself, of course. You should always seek the advice of a licensed veterinarian.
But it does demonstrate how simple it is to fix a webbing mutation, and the chick grew up to be a healthy rooster with no ill-effects as a result of this birth defect and fix.
In Summary – Do Chickens Have Webbed Feet?
Chickens do not have webbed feet. They do not need webbing between their toes because they do not need to, or like to swim.
If you’ve seen webbing on a chicken’s foot it was either a mutation, which isn’t that uncommon, or it wasn’t a chicken you were looking at!
Why do some animals have webbed feet? – Quora.com
Image credits – Images by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash