Male strain broiler chickens 13 days to 3 weeks old, were offered water or 1, 3, 5, or 10% ethanol solutions (v/v) in four experiments. The chickens tolerated up to 5% ethanol solutions without significant changes in total fluid intake or body weight. With 10% ethanol, body weight and fluid intake were significantly decreased in comparison with the other treatments. Solutions of 5 and 10% ethanol lowered skin and rectal temperature and solutions of 3 and 5% (10% not measured) caused significant elevations in blood ethanol concentrations. Hypothalamic serotonin was significantly reduced by chronic 3% ethanol solution ingestion. In a fifth experiment, 9-week-old White Leghorn cockerels were given from 0-10% alcohol for one h following prior water (24 h) and food (12 h) deprivation. These animals consumed similar amounts of ethanol (in g/kg) irrespective of the concentration of the ethanol solution offered. This, in turn, produced a highly significant inverse linear relationship between fluid intake and ethanol concentration. In this experiment also, skin and rectal temperature were reduced by consumption of 5 and 7.5% ethanol solutions. The results suggest that the chicken may be a useful model for the study of ethanol metabolism since it voluntarily consumes up to 5% ethanol solutions in amounts similar to water. © 1992 Pergamon Press Ltd. All rights reserved.