Can Chickens Walk Backward? Explained!

Last updated on September 3rd, 2022

Have you ever seen a chicken walking backwards? It can be so funny to watch when any animal walks backwards (my favourite is watching dogs do their little reverse walk) but imagine seeing a chicken doing their little walk backwards, head-bobbing along.

The real question that should be asked, though, is why do chickens walk backwards? Is it normal, or does it mean there’s a problem? In this article, we will cover these topics and more, if you are ready to learn.

As a starting disclosure: this article is mainly for educational purposes. If you see your chicken acting funny in any way, get them to a vet for a check-up ASAP. We want to help you keep your little feathered babies nice and healthy.

A chicken will walk backwards if it is Vitamin E or selenium deficient and a lack of vitamins can lead to severe dizziness in your little birds. When their deficiencies become severe, the chickens will start to run backwards or lean against the walls of the coop for support.

This can also affect baby chicks, and for them, the problem is even worse because their immune system isn’t fully developed at such an early age.

Do chickens ever walk backwards?

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Let us start off easy. Chickens can indeed walk backwards! Sometimes you may catch a chicken walking backwards and swinging its head.

They may not do it constantly, but you will definitely notice when they do.

Chickens can even run backwards under certain circumstances. However, we should ask another question.

Is it normal for chickens to walk backwards?

The answer here is simple: No. This is not normal or healthy. Chickens are also liable to get picked on by the other members of the flock.

What makes a chicken walk backwards?

If you catch your chicken walking backwards, this is a cause for concern for the health of the chicken.

Healthy chickens should not be walking in any direction other than forward.

Chickens cannot communicate with us to express their issues, so it is up to us to know what causes certain health problems.

In the case of a chicken walking backwards, the culprit is most likely a Vitamin E or selenium deficiency.

This can cause some serious issues if the deficiency continues and grows worse.

The lack of these vitamins can cause some major dizziness in your little bird.

If the deficiency gets bad enough, that is when they will start to run backwards or lean against the walls of the coop for support.

This can also affect chicks, and for them, it is even more dangerous because they have poorly developed immunity so early in life.

Little chickies have a higher chance of vitamin deficiencies, so you need to be extra vigilant in keeping an eye on them and their health.

How to keep your chickens healthy and avoid the backward bob?

Since chickens doing the backwards walk is generally caused by a lack of Vitamin E or selenium, the first step in keeping them healthy is making sure that their diet is healthy and balanced.

Keeping their food healthy and even adding supplements like Vitamin E capsules can help to stop the problem before it begins.

You can even give them things like tuna as part of your meals to up their selenium intake.

However, you will want to make sure you avoid overdoing it with the supplements. That can cause its own set of problems.

You also should continue to keep an eye on their behaviour to ensure that the flock is well maintained and behaving normally.

Can chickens walk like other birds?

If you notice that your chicken is suddenly walking like a duck or a penguin, brace for another type of concern.

If they start walking like a duck, know that they are in some serious pain, and here is why.

Peritonitis is when there is fluid buildup in the chicken’s abdomen due to a rupture of some sort.

This fluid is usually filled with bacteria and can easily kill your chicken if not dealt with swiftly.

As soon as you notice this, get them to a vet. It will take some time for them to fully recover, but they will be fine in time.

If you see your chicken walking like a penguin, the likely culprit is that your chicken is egg-bound; its oviducts have gotten blocked by tiny eggs or even broken eggs.

When this happens, the stuff keeps getting pushed back into the chicken’s system and eventually starts to weigh down their body, causing them to waddle like a penguin.

Fun Little Chicken Facts!

Now we should get into the fun part of this article. Let us talk about some neat little facts about chickens and other animals.

Humanity has been raising chickens for over 7,000 years. The tradition started out in China and India, and it spread from there.

Chickens will eat pretty much anything. Bugs, fruit, tuna, table scraps, grass…all kinds of things.

Chickens bob their heads when they walk for an actual reason! They use this movement to keep themselves aware of their surroundings.

Chickens are mostly prey, so they need to stay alert.

As chickens like to snack on things like bugs and other insects, they need to be able to sense movement nearby to catch the little treats.

Chicken’s eyes are also unable to move in their sockets, so in order to see clearly, they need to hold their heads steady or move their entire head to see objects.

This one is for all of the kids…or the kids at heart: chickens are related to the T-rex! All birds are related to dinosaurs, but the chicken is specifically a distant relative of the most well-known and feared.

Can chickens fly? Sure…for a few feet at a time. The maximum recorded distance is around 50 ft.

A non-chicken fact, but related to the topic of this article: Can penguins walk backwards? Nope.

They have enough difficulty balancing while walking forwards that going backwards is a feat that they cannot accomplish without falling over.

What other birds can walk backwards? A good few, all of which should not be doing so if they’re healthy. The most common is that this is a known problem with sparrows and parrots.

Why is my chicken acting drunk? Dizziness in chickens can be caused by a variety of different health issues such as botulism, vitamin lack, infections, colds, weird weather, etc.

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