Have you ever wondered “How long do chickens live?” This question came up a few days ago while she was feeding Amelia. Amelia is an Andalusian hen and she was a gift from a relative 6 years ago, and recently I realized that she was the longest-running hen in my flock.
So how long do chickens live?
The average lifespan of chickens is 8 years, but it depends on many factors, including breed, quality of life, and environment. According to the Guinness Book of Record Matilda was the first hen to receive the title of the oldest living hen in the world in 2004. She died almost 2 years later at the age of 16. Unfortunately, Matilda is the exception to the rule. Many chickens go through their cycle much earlier due to predators or disease. Of course, we conducted an external investigation to answer this question …
My Pet Chicken states that chickens have an average lifespan between 8 and 10 years.
Reference.com believes that the average varies between 5 and 7 years, but that domestic chickens can live for about 10 years.
Countryside Daily states that the average age is 8 to 15 years old, but it is possible for a hen to live to be 20 years old!
Neither of these answers takes the breed of chicken into consideration and some breeds are said to live longer than others. Another factor to take into consideration is that as they grow older, hens tend to decrease their egg production. Around 2 years of age their posture decreases and many seem to slow down even more in subsequent years. But remember that chickens are not just eggs. They can also be interesting and fun pets to have around the garden. Chickens eat insects such as flies, mosquitoes, and worms, and will produce large amounts of fertilizer that can be used in the vegetable or flower garden.
Common causes of premature death in chickens
The most common cause of mortality in chickens in rural areas is undoubtedly predation. But even in an urban setting, possums, coyotes, owls, snakes, raccoons, even domestic dogs can pose a danger to flocks of chickens.
Having a sturdy chicken coop that you can lock your chickens in at night helps a lot, but predators can wipe out the chickens even in broad daylight.
There are no clear statistical reports on the causes of mortality in chickens. However, we can tell what are some of the more common causes that we have seen in our own flock and by researching online agricultural forums. Common causes of death include:
- Heart attack
- Egg jam
- Eat poisonous plants
- Infectious bronchitis
A hen can also experience what is known as sudden death, a condition that can be caused by a number of different things. With a sudden death, a hen that seemed healthy will suddenly find itself dead. This can be due to illness, heart attack, or egg sticking.
How long have you had your chickens? Do you euthanize them when they start to lay fewer eggs, or do you adopt them as guardian pets in your garden? What is the oldest chicken you have ever owned? What do you think is the average life span of backyard chickens based on your experience?
Without any predators and diseases, a chicken can live up to 8 to 10 years before dying of natural causes like aging.
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