When we get our chickens, we wish that they would stay around forever. No matter if we keep them for eggs or as pets, they eventually become apart of the family. Even if you don’t plan on making your chickens pets, they always sneak into your heart. But how long do chickens live? Do they make just as good of pets as dogs and cats? To answer this question, we have to look a little deeper.
How Long Do Chickens Live?
Chicken live anywhere between 5-10 years, depending on the breed. But that doesn’t mean that every chicken will live that long-gender and what they produce makes a difference in their lifespan. For instance, males don’t live as long as females. And chickens that lay a lot of eggs don’t live long.
How long do roosters live? The average rooster only lives 5-8 years, but it’s not for reasons that you might think. Roosters live shorter lives than hens because it is their job to protect the flock. Most roosters die an early death because they take the job seriously.
Whether they die from wounds or fighting a predator, it’s not their fault. If a rooster has the same protected setups as females, they easily live 8-10 years. So if you want your roos to live this long, keep them in a predator-proof run to give them an easy job.
Egg Producers Lifespan
How long does a chicken live if bred for egg production? If you have a chicken known to produce more than 250 eggs a year, this typically means a shorter lifespan. Some of these breeds have a lifespan as short as 3-5years.
Some of these prolific egg layers have shorter lifespans because they use all of their energy for eggs. They typically suffer from reproductive illnesses and have a hard time keeping their immunities up. Most of them have chronic egg binding, egg yolk peritonitis, and other reproductive deformities.
So if you want a great egg producer without sacrificing lifespan, you will want to look for breeds that lay 250 eggs or less a year. These chickens will still give you the eggs you want, and they live as long as eight years.
Of all the chickens, ones meant for meat-producing have the shortest lifespans. Most broilers live only 18-24 months, and not for the reason you might think. Even if you left these birds to live a life without being butchered, they would have a short one.
Most broilers, like the cornish hen, grow incredibly fast. Their bodies hit physical maturity by only a few months old. At this point, their bodies are heavy and oversized. It makes it impossible for them to move freely. And even if they can move, their hearts have a hard time keeping up with their oxygen needs. So they don’t have much of a chance of having a longer life.
Longest Living Chicken Breeds
Having a breed with a longer lifespan might be important for you. These chickens become such a significant factor in our lives that we never want it to end. And, of course, we always have a few favorites out of our flocks. So why not choose a breed that lives longer by default?
Breeds such as Rhode Island Reds, Orpingtons, and Plymouth Rocks all live for more than eight years. And it’s no surprise that these chickens also make fantastic pets that work for their food. You will have plenty of beautiful eggs along with companionship.
Shortest Living Breeds
Good broilers and egg producers almost always have shorter lifespans. But if you don’t want to keep your chickens as pets, this might be ideal for you. Breeds such as the Golden Comet and Cornish hen have some of the shortest lifespans. Farmers love the Golden Comet for it’s incredible laying abilities, but they don’t usually live longer than 2-3 years. Cornish Cross hens are a meat producing bird that is ready to butcher by 8-9 weeks.
How Do I Get My Chicken To Live Longer?
The longest living chicken on record was a 16-year-old chicken named Matilda. She was famous for her assistance to the magician Keith Barton. But it might not have been magic that kept this hen alive for so long.
Matilda never laid a single egg in her entire life. But we don’t have to sacrifice eggs for longer living chickens. Let’s look at a few tricks that could prolong your chicken life span.
How long do chickens live? The most significant factor is what breed your chicken is. Even with impeccable care, you can’t make a chicken with a three-year lifespan live to 15. So if you want a longer living chicken, you will want to choose a breed known for its longevity.
Now that you have your perfect breeds, you want to choose well-bred ones. Your breeder shouldn’t breed chickens that have known genetic defects. And if you breed your own chickens, you should take the same precaution. Some backyard owners have even taken to finding a breeder that specializes in pet chickens.
These special breeders have the goal of increasing the lifespan of a chicken. They breed prestigious genetics with calm and docile temperaments that make the pets we love. All of these efforts are in the hopes of creating a chicken line that lives well past the ten-year mark.
The lifespan of a chicken is directly correlated with what you feed it. Feeding a proper diet for every life stage is essential for your chicken’s success. Between starter, grower, and layer feeds, they are all made for a specific purpose. If you don’t provide the diet that your chicken needs, it could have detrimental effects.
It’s also essential to give your chickens a varied diet. Foraging gives your chickens the ability to graze food options that they need most. Whether they need protein, grains, or grit, chickens know what their bodies need most. All of these aspects are vital to give your hens a well-balanced diet.
But diet isn’t only about a rounded diet. It is also because our chickens lay lots of eggs. If your chickens don’t have the nutrition they need, they could get sick by producing eggs. All of their nutrients are divided, and the chicken’s body can’t keep up with laying proper eggs and staying healthy. And unfortunately, both egg production and immunities go downhill at the same time.
The most common reason for premature death is a predator. If you want your chickens to have a long, fruitful life, you need to predator-proof to the max. To do this, you should first think like a predator. Look at your coop and see all the possible entry points that something could get in.
With a combination of hardware cloth, chicken wire, and motion detection sensors, your chickens are safe and sound. These safety measures might seem like much, but nothing is too drastic for our flocks. And with a beautifully landscaped run, your chickens won’t even notice that they are confined.
Disease And Health Checks
At some point or another, your chickens will get sick. Sometimes these illnesses are entirely avoidable. But other times, it’s inevitable. Chickens are prey birds, so they like to hide their conditions until it has progressed. By the time you catch wind that your chicken is sick, they have been ill for a while.
The best solution to this problem is to do daily health checks. Make sure all of your chickens are eating and drinking well. And you might want to do a head to foot inspection. That way, you catch any abnormalities before they become life-threatening.
Clean Living Conditions
Chickens that are in unclean living conditions are twice as likely to get sick than others. How long do chickens live if they are in dirty conditions? The answer is not long. The main concern is fecal build up in the coop and run. If these areas are left uncleaned, ammonia builds up.
This ammonia causes respiratory infections that can lead to other health issues. Things like heart conditions, lung damage, and reproductive problems are some of the most common side effects of chronic respiratory disease. But keeping the coop clean and providing proper ventilation reduces ammonia.
Dirty coops and runs can also increase your flock’s risk of getting parasites, mites, and bacterial infections. So if that isn’t enough reason to keep your chicken’s living areas clean, we don’t know what is.
And our final trick to prolonging a chicken lifespan is to keep an eye on the weather. Chickens are a very durable bird. They don’t need fancy heating and cooling, though I’m sure they would love it. But with every change of the season, you need to take a few precautions.
Things like weather-proofing and winterizing are vital to keeping your chickens healthy. Ventilation for the summer to provide a nice cool breeze prevents heat stroke. And with proper ventilation, your chicken’s also won’t get frostbite in winter. All of these preventatives will keep your chickens from dying an early death.
How long do chickens live? That is a loaded question. The average is anywhere between 5-10 years. But with proper care and choosing the right breeds, your chickens could live even longer. They might not be the next Matilda, but you could get close!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!