A: Pet chickens that are properly cared for can live a relatively long time. It’s common for a chicken in a backyard setting to live 8-10 years, but we’ve also heard reports of chickens living as many as 20 years!
How long do chickens live for as pets?
Chicken lifespans vary widely, with most hens generally living between 3 and 7 years. However, with ideal care, they may live even longer. If a chicken is kept safe from predators (including dogs) and doesn’t have genetic issues, they can certainly live 10 to 12 years old.
Can a chicken live 20 years?
Countryside Daily claims that the average age is 8-15 but it’s possible for a chicken to live up to 20 years old ! … The main cause of a backyard chickens death is often predators. Illness is also an issue but predators definitely take out more hens than sickness.
How long do chickens lay eggs for?
A: Chickens usually don’t simply “stop” laying eggs when they get to a certain age, but they will lay fewer as they get older. That said, most laying breeds will lay more or less productively in backyard terms for five or seven years.
What is the average age for a chicken to die?
Generally, you should expect hybrid breeds to live between 2- 4 years; this will vary from bird to bird. Heritage hens are more likely to outlive their commercial sisters by several years. We can place the average age around 8 years. Landrace chickens are particularly hardy, self-sufficient.
Home & Garden Garden How Long Do Chickens Live? By Christian Cotroneo Christian Cotroneo Social Media Editor Brock University Carleton University Christian Cotroneo is the social media editor at Treehugger. He is a founding editor at HuffPost Canada, and former writer at The Dodo and Toronto Star. Learn about our editorial process Updated March 11, 2020 The average chicken will live for between six and 12 years. Foxys Graphic/Shutterstock Share Twitter Pinterest Email Garden Urban Farms Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Insects The average chicken will live for anywhere from three to seven years. Why such a wide range? Mostly because there are so many different kinds of chickens living under a wide range of conditions. A well-cared-for hen that is kept safe from predators, for example, could live as long as 12 years. Chickens bred for meat, on the other hand, don’t enjoy nearly as long a life. Since there are so many breeds of chicken each with their own unique life span the question of chicken longevity is best approached on a case-by-case basis. Heritage versus hybrid hens In humanity’s ongoing quest to satisfy our cravings for chicken noodle soup, wings, thighs and nuggets, scientists have had to re-engineer the food chicken. In fact, in just 70 years, we’ve managed to build a brand-new chicken. It’s a bird with feet that never leave the ground, wings that scarcely flutter, and bellies that only grow bigger. It’s the hybrid hen perhaps, the world’s first purpose-built animal. And that purpose is eggs. Or drumsticks. At any given time, there are about 23 billion hybrid hens alive on this planet. But not for long. The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows companies to slaughter 175 birds per minute and considering our appetite for all things chicken, companies don’t let a second go to waste. Understandably, one thing these chickens aren’t engineered for is a long life. The Super Bowl is, after all, just around the corner. For chickens, like everyone else on this planet, quality of life goes a long way in ensuring a long life. Fahroni/Shutterstock As a result, the modern broiler chicken, also known as Gallus gallus domesticus, has a life expectancy of around seven weeks. Because that’s about when we like to eat them. Egg-laying chickens at least the kind that are raised on commercial farms have similarly abbreviated lives. They scratch out an average of two years before they start to slow down their egg production and make the transition to poultry. Even if an egg-laying hen avoids the slaughterhouse, it’s likely to succumb to other diseases associated with all that genetic tinkering, like reproductive tumors and egg yolk peritonitis. In contrast, what’s known as a heritage hen is similar to the chicken your grandmother may have had pecking around the back door. These are chickens that haven’t been bred for the dinner table. Nature alone holds sway over their genes. As a result, heritage hens live about eight years. They’re often kept in backyards, where there isn’t such an imperative to maximize egg production or bulking up their meaty bits. What factors play a role in a chicken’s lifespan? While being born as a heritage or hybrid chicken is a pretty crucial factor in determining how long a chicken will live, there are plenty of other life-extending, or life-abbreviating, issues to consider. Health issues Chickens get diseases, too. While some infections caused by parasites like mites and ticks can result in skin-deep irritations, others can seriously curtail a chicken’s life. Coccidiosis is chief among them. Spread by the eponymously titled Coccidian protozoa, the disease targets a chicken’s gut. It ravages those intestinal cells to the point of extreme appetite loss and an inability to absorb nutrients. Another disease, called fowl pox, can stunt the growth of birds and perhaps even more critical to life expectancy dry up egg production. For a commercial egg-layer, nothing may be more dangerous to its health than an inability to lay eggs. Fowl cholera, also a chronic disease, goes mostly for a chicken’s organs and joints. And, it can bring about sudden death in affected birds. Hens don’t have to stress it quite so much, as the disease is known to affect roosters more often than hens. Also, since it tends to hit more mature birds, those affected by it have likely lived to a ripe age already. Another life-shortening disease is salmonellosis, a bacterial disease affecting young chickens. In itself, it may not directly kill a chicken. But since humans are sensitive to salmonella-infected meat and eggs, an outbreak could result in a massive cull at its source. And let’s not forget about the headline-snatching avian influenza, or simply bird flu. A viral infection, it spreads not only from bird to bird, but also to humans and other animals. As with salmonella, mass chicken culls are the go-to response to bird flu outbreaks. Thousands of chickens many of them in the wrong place at the wrong time have been killed in the effort to stymie the disease. Boosting natural defenses Additives in food, particularly those that bolster the immune system, can go a long way toward protecting chickens from disease. Also, many chickens are immunized at an early age, with vaccinations proving successful against deadly diseases from fowl cholera to Newcastle disease. Keeping birds parasite-free is also essential to helping them live a long life, as mites and ticks are known to spread disease. Living conditions Food additives and vaccinations may play an important role in keeping a chicken around longer. But it’s also important to keep a chicken healthy, happy and sheltered. Safety first Want a chicken to lead a long life? Keep them safe from predators. Let’s face it, you’re not the only animal who thinks chickens taste like, well, chickens. Chickens running loose are easy prey for foxes, owls, raccoons and even dogs. Backyard chicken owners who haven’t built adequate physical protection for their birds are also known to lose them to the more-than-proverbial fox in the henhouse. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to keep them safe. Some tips, as Morning Chores notes, include: making the latch to their enclosure high off the ground and hard to open liberal use of chicken wire be vigilant for holes that appear in the fencing keep the coop closed at night keep a rooster around to sound the alarm bell and maybe even freak out a predator guinea fowl are even louder and more obnoxious than roosters Quality housing It’s one thing to build a fortress for chickens to feel safe inside, but a chicken’s lifespan is also tied to its life quality. Housing plays a major role in that. Chickens need enough space in their coops to avoid being trampled by their nervous neighbors. They also need a temperature-controlled environment. Having a roof over one’s head to protect against snow and rain is always a good thing. But what happens when it gets sweltering hot under that roof? Likewise, a coop needs heating in bone-chilling winter. Even dust and dirt add up, causing respiratory issues for birds kept in tight quarters. Health professionals for chickens are hard to come by Just like seeing a doctor on the regular can help humans lead a long, healthy life, so too can a veterinary visit add to a chicken’s years. The trouble is, it isn’t always easy to find a good vet for chickens. As pets, chickens still lag far behind dogs and cats. For most vets, the most exotic patient to scamper in the door would be a hamster. Hence, you have to look far and wide for a little professional help in times of medical distress. Often, chickens will pay for that dearth of medical assistance with their lives. The big breeds and how long they will live Housing, living conditions and access to medical care are key factors in determining whether a chicken will go the distance. Not to mention the very important distinction between a heritage hen and its hybrid counterpart. But genetics can be subtle. And whether a bird that isn’t bred for the dinner table lives an extra year or two may come down to its breed. Here are a handful of the most popular kinds of chicken: Rhode Island Reds If given the chance, a Rhode Island Red can get as many as eight years out of this life. Ariene Studio/Shutterstock Chances are you’ve seen a Rhode Island Red. Since it first showed up in America back in back in 1854 the product of a Malay rooster and a local chickens. Heck, it’s the state bird of Rhode Island. As the name suggests, these birds are clad entirely in dark red feathers. But being considered both an egg-layer and meat provider means these birds don’t exactly enjoy the longest lives. Still, a Rhode Island Red allowed to live out its life will typically scratch out more than eight years, according to the Happy Chicken Coop. Golden Comets Golden comet hens are famous for their egg-laying prowess. Karla Ferro/Shutterstock These gloriously named chickens dominate the egg-laying industry. And, as high-volume producers, they’re prone to all the health vulnerabilities that brings. Even if they don’t fall victim to a tumor in the digestive tract, they’re unlikely to reach their full natural lifespan. which is estimated to be 10 to 15 years. Wyandottes This speckled bird really puts the ‘dot’ in Wyandotte. Nick Beer/Shutterstock These pretty speckled fowl are also good egg-layers. But they haven’t experienced quite so much genetic tinkering. In fact, they’re still considered heritage hens which helps ensure they don’t fall under the commercial yoke, and the attendant premature death that brings. As a backyard chicken, a Wyandotte can live anywhere from six to 12 years. Orpingtons An Orpington chicken flashing its regal bearing at a New Jersey farm. Marge Sudol/Shutterstock.com Saddled with the kind of name you just want to say over and over again (Go ahead and try it at home OR-PING-TON’) the Orpington falls in line with other birds of a similar feather, eking out anywhere from five to, in exceptional cases, 20 years. As prolific egg-layers, however, they can also fall prey to the intestinal issues that come with the job. Plymouth Rocks No, it’s not a zebra chicken. Behold, the glorious Plymouth Rock. Jenny Pierce Photos/Shutterstock Who says chickens get no glory? This handsome bird was actually named after America’s crowning moment the disembarkation point of the earliest Pilgrims in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, this hen didn’t get to share in the wealth of the New World, being considered an excellent source of both meat and eggs. In fact, in the early 20th century it was the most popular chicken in the New World which definitely left a mark on its life expectancy. But this chicken, if left unmolested by egg and poultry lovers, could live for between 10 and 12 years. Jersey Giants The heavy hitters of the chicken world, a Jersey Giant can weigh in at 15 pounds. Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock We’d be remiss not to mention these titans of the chicken world. Okay, so, strictly speaking they’re not giant chickens, towering over humans and daring them to snatch one of their eggs. But they are, as far as chickens go, pretty tall customers. Like other animals that come in larger sizes, their lifespans are proportionally shorter. A Jersey giant, if well cared for, will likely live around six years. And how about those roosters? Roosters have an ornery reputation, but they’re also handy alarm clocks on legs. KOOKLE/Shutterstock Farmers generally don’t appreciate roosters. In fact, unless they don’t have an alarm clock and need to get up at the crack of dawn every day, farmers probably won’t let them live for long. That’s because roosters are considered a nuisance. And without the charm of laying eggs, they’re often unwanted among the flock. As such, a rooster’s lifespan is heavily influenced by environment. If that environment happens to be rooster-friendly, this outspoken bird will likely live as long as the average hen: between five and eight years. What about love? There’s one factor that’s often overlooked when it comes to helping chickens lead a long, healthy life. It’s probably the same unquantifiable factor that weighs on all humans and animals: The amount of love they get. No one can say for certain how much getting caressed and spoken warmly to impacts life expectancy. But backyard chicken owners swear by the virtues of kindness and how it keeps their feathered friends around a lot longer than anyone expected. “Never underestimate how much an animal is understanding; they are far and away more perceptive than most people think,” write one chicken friend in a forum for Backyard Chickens. So go ahead and love your chickens. Just try to avoid, if at all possible, kissing them. And if you happen to need any help cultivating a love for chickens, have a gander at this video:
Production chickens are chickens raised for the purpose of eggs or meat. They are generally fast growing and quick to reach maturity so that they can fulfill their purpose. Especially for egg laying production hens, their lifespan tends to be shorter due to the great amount of strain egg production has on the small body.
However there are a variety of factors that may affect your chickens lifespan such as their diet, genetics, access to veterinary care and disease. One of the major factors that impacts how long a chicken lives for is their specific breed.
Because they are not specialized like the production chickens, these breeds are slower to reach maturity. They tend to live longer than the production chickens and can reach 6-8 years. Raising this breed outside naturally helps expose them slowly to pathogens which makes them hardier.
The breed of your chicken plays a major role in determining how long they will live for. Coop setup can also play an extremely significant role in the lifespan of your chicken. Bugs and seeds can supplement their diet and make them a healthier and fitter chicken.
Your best bet is to build an enclosed run where your chickens can have the best of both worlds: free space to roam and safety. Your only option is to take as many preventative measures as possible and prepare a holistic treatment plan. They are a self-sufficient heritage breed and this can play a big factor in their long lifespan.
On average this breed will live five to eight years but can easily outlive this with the proper care. They have a calm and enduring temperament and are seemingly unbothered by usual chicken stressors like constant handling and confinement. Due to the amount of eggs they produce these chickens have a relatively short lifespan (around two to three years).
You can expect them to live to about six to ten years in a healthy and caring environment. However outside of these issues Cochin chickens are fairly healthy and will live a whopping lifespan of about eight to ten years. This is a name given to hybrid hens that lay eggs in colors such as blue, green and pink.
Over many years these breeds have been selectively bred to either lay more eggs or gain more mass. Breeds like this that lay an extremely high amount of eggs do not have a very long life expectancy. This is because egg laying causes an extreme amount of stress on the hens body, which will ultimately add up over time.
Hungry predators (like hawks and foxes) will attempt to catch your chickens. To stop this you need to make sure your chickens have a safe and enclosed run that is predator proof. Additionally your coop should be built securely enough to prevent predators from getting inside and attacking your chickens.
Caring for a long living chicken starts from day one, the moment you choose them. Get your chicks from a reputable breeder and do your research on what breeds suit your lifestyle and live the longest. Just like with a cat or dog, taking your chickens to the vet to get checked out is important if you would like for them to live for as long as possible.
Selecting the correct feed and diet is extremely important when considering the lifespan of a chicken. Food is essential for the body and it ensures that your chicken will have all the nutrients and supplements necessary to live a happy life. Matilda was also eventually inducted into the Alabama Animal Hall of Fame as an honorary member in 2006.
This probably extended her lifespan because her body was never put under the strain of frequently birthing an egg.
How Long Do Chickens Live?
On average chickens tend toHowever there are many factors that can impact exactly how long your chicken will live.Because of this,One of the major factors that impacts how long a chicken lives for is their specific breed. Some breeds tend to live longer than others.The category of the breed is very important.There are three categories that breeds can fall into: production, dual purpose and heritage breeds.Production chickens are chickens raised for the purpose of eggs or meat. They are generally fast growing and quick to reach maturity so that they can fulfill their purpose. Especially for egg laying production hens, their lifespan tends to be shorter due to the great amount of strain egg production has on the small body.The average production breed lives for 3-5 years.Dual purpose chickens are chickens raised for the purpose of meat and eggs. Because they are not specialized like the production chickens, these breeds are slower to reach maturity. They tend to live longer than the production chickens and can reach 6-8 years.Heritage breeds are slow growers and have a long life.Raising this breed outside naturally helps expose them slowly to pathogens which makes them hardier. Most heritage breeds can reach 8 years and some even live up to 10 years.You can read more about this in our article, the complete life cycle of a chicken explained.
Longest Living Breeds
Unfortunately some breeds of chicken will not live as long as others.This is because certain breeds have been bred for production. Over many years these breeds have been selectively bred to either lay more eggs or gain more mass. Overall this has produced certain breeds that do not live as long because their genetics have been bred for production.For meat production chickens, they are raised to a point of peak maturity then harvested at the optimum time for quality meat. Certain production meat chickens (like Cornish Rocks) only have a lifespan of around six months.You also have certain breeds that lay lots of eggs like ISA Browns.Breeds like this that lay an extremely high amount of eggs do not have a very long life expectancy. This is because egg laying causes an extreme amount of stress on the hen’s body, which will ultimately add up over time. We discuss this in more detail in how long do chickens lay eggs.The three breeds with the shortest lifespan are:
Most Common Causes of Premature Chicken Death
Unfortunately, a chicken’s life can be cut short for several reasons.TheSadly predation is common and very easy to recognize. Hungry predators (like hawks and foxes) will attempt to catch your chickens. To stop this you need to make sure your chickens have a safe and enclosed run that is predator proof.The second most common reason for a premature death is Marek’s Disease.This is one of the most common chicken diseases and it is incredibly deadly.Like many diseases, some chickens may be asymptomatic. However, once the chicken is infected they cannot be cured and will remain infected for the rest of its life. This drastically shortens their lifespan.Apart from vaccinations and good biosecurity , there is not much you can do to prevent Marek’s Disease.It is definitely a chicken owner’s worst nightmare. If one of your chickens is infected you will most likely need to cull the entire flock.