how long do chickens live

8 Amazing Facts on How Long Do Chickens Live

How Long Do Chickens Live: The Lifespan of a Chicken


For how long do chickens live?

Chickens live for between 5 and 10 years; however, aspects like quality of chickens life, type of chicken breed, and the environment play an important function in their life expectancy.

Chickens in commercial farms certainly do not live almost that long as they’re raised entirely for their meat.

chicken ranching
Chicken Ranching

When raised for meat, a chicken is typically butchered between the ages of 6 and 10 weeks. Broilers and fryers, or chickens raised mainly for meat, are being bred to grow rapidly and reach a target weight at a young age. This minimizes the expense of feeding and raising birds for slaughter, making it much easier to produce more birds throughout the year.

arcona chicken

Chickens implied for laying eggs grow more gradually. They start laying eggs around the age of 5 months. By the age of 4 or 5 years, many hens have decreased or stopped laying eggs.

In poultry business farms, hens that have actually stopped laying are typically slaughtered to avoid consuming resources on an unproductive bird. These older hens usually end up in animal food and soup stock as the meat is less tender and tasty.

What do chickens eat
What do chickens eat?

Roosters have an even much shorter average life-span than a lot of domestic birds. This is since there is no requirement for many farms to keep a rooster, and roosters can be harmful and aggressive in some situations.

Male chicks are often eliminated right away after sexing. Even in backyard farms, roosters are more frequently butchered and consumed.

can chicken eat banana

Aside from aging and slaughter for meat, chickens deal with numerous hazards resulting in sudden death. Since they are slow-moving and normally kept in enclosed areas, they are an easy target for predators.

Chickens can often even bully each other to death or engage in deadly fights, particularly between two roosters. Illness, dehydration, and choking can likewise prematurely kill chickens.

smart chickens

How Long Did the Oldest Chicken in the World Lived?

The oldest chicken on record was called Matilda. She lived from 1990 to 2006 and was the first chicken to get the Guinness World Records title of World’s Oldest Living Chicken. She was born and raised in Alabama by striving magicians who used the chicken to perform.

Matilda, The Oldest Chicken in the World
Matilda, The Oldest Chicken in the World

Surprisingly, Matilda never laid eggs. This might be crucial to her longevity. Egg-laying utilizes plenty of resources, and hens that are efficient layers might have their life-spans reduced considerably by it.

Matilda’s owners called the Guinness World Records when the chicken turned 11, and she got her title as World’s Oldest Living Chicken in 2004 at the age of 14. She lived two two more years and enjoyed some limited popularity, even appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Here’s an enjoyable truth– the world’s earliest living chicken, in fact has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The oldest chicken in the world is Matilda, a chicken raised in Alabama by two striving magicians who utilized Matilda as part of popular performance.

Matilda lived from 1990 to 2006- that’s sixteen years and more than double the typical life span for a chicken!

matilda the oldest chicken

What’s genuinely intriguing is that she never laid a single egg, which could be why she lived so long. Egg-laying consumes a number of a chicken’s valuable resources, and frequently, birds who have reproductive layers live much shorter lives.

History of How Long Do Chickens Live

Historically chickens were kept for the sake of their eggs, and when they stopped laying, for their meat. In recent history, have people kept hens as long-lasting buddies.

hens stopped laying eggs
Chicken Laying Eggs

The forefathers of chickens were wild birds. Their life span was at finest a couple of years as the list of natural predators in the food chain is long.

In the 1800s, people started ‘playing’ with chickens to meet our needs as a food source (eggs & meat), which is when their life expectancy grew to what it is today– upwards of 10 years.

How Long Do Chickens Live (Hybrid vs. Heritage Chickens)

heritage chickens

If you’re new to raising chickens, you might be puzzled about the distinction between hybrid and heritage chickens. While heritage chickens are those that have actually been reproduced and grown naturally, hybrid chickens are those that have even been selectively bred for particular attributes.

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Heritage chickens are natural at laying eggs and can cycle their laying for 2 to 3 years- or in some cases, even longer. Hybrid chickens, on the other hand, lay tough and, after that, die. They do not live as long as heritage chickens.

8 Amazing Facts on How Long Do Chickens Live

There are numerous credentials that a chicken type needs to satisfy to be thought about as a “heritage” type.

It needs to mate naturally and grow gradually and have a longer, more efficient life when raised outdoors. It should fulfill the American Poultry Association requirement for the type and originate from pure stock, too.

8 Amazing Facts on How Long Do Chickens Live

Almost all chickens have actually been established by poultry breeders gradually– yes, even heritage chickens– however, little work has been done to modify heritage types after the requirement has been set with the American Poultry Association.

The same is not true of hybrid chickens.

Heritage Chickens

Heritage hens are the kind of chickens that have been raised and bred naturally. They have the advantage of having a long life-span.

boost chicken immune system
Boost Chicken Immune System

They are also bred to be natural at laying eggs, in which their laying duration can cycle over 2 to 3 years, and perhaps longer if you have the ideal breed. And considering that their bodies and genetic content have actually not been ‘hybridized,’ they usually live longer than hybrid chickens.

8 Amazing Facts on How Long Do Chickens Live

The following elements determined by the American Poultry Association are how a chicken can be described as a heritage:

Slow growth rate
Mate naturally
Originate from pure stock

fat chicken
Fat Chicken

Have a longer and more productive outdoor life
Has to fulfill the APA requirement for the breed

Almost all hens, including the heritage ones, have been developed by poultry folk at some point during history. However, as soon as the standard is ‘set,’ a tiny bit will be done to change the accepted bird.

How Long Do Hybrid Chickens Live

Hybrids, on the other hand, have been reared by people to be efficient egg layers. Their laying cycle stops in the 2nd year. These birds were established for the egg-laying market throughout the 1940s with one basic objective– take full advantage of egg production. And as soon as they were ended up laying eggs, they would be sent to the slaughterhouse.

chickens eating mealworms
Chickens Eating Mealworms

Sadly, due to genetic modification, hybrids are more likely to pass away younger from different reproductive system issues (e.g., egg yolk peritonitis, reproductive tumors).

Industrial or commercial chickens serve their effectiveness after 18 to 24 months of age. After that, peak production begins to decrease, and the hens are considered ‘spent,’ even though they can often lay eggs for another 12 months.

Eventually, they are thought-about more of a monetary loss than a property meant to be slaughtered.

It goes without stating that meat-chickens have a concise life. Some types are butchered in just five weeks, whereas other breeds such as the Red Ranger can grow and lay depending upon the need.

Factors That Affect How Long Do Chickens Live or Chickens’ Lifespan

1.  Disease Really Affects How Long Do Chickens Live

Parasites like lice, mites, and worms can mess up the health of your flock. Lice can trigger skin inflammation and plume damage, and mites can suck out blood.   Worms can cause anemia for your chickens.

poultry stress
Poultry Stress

To prevent such disasters, hen farmers and owners are encouraged to practice cleaning and worming routinely. And if you’re unable to do any close inspection of your flock, then at the very least, dust the hen house weekly to prevent infestations.

While most illnesses that typically affect yard flocks aren’t fatal, some can be rather hazardous or perhaps deadly. Like parasites and lice, even small problems can gradually recede the energy reserves and decrease its total life-span.

Parasites like mites, lice, and worms can trigger skin inflammation, plume damage, anemia, and pain. To help reduce these issues and allow your chickens to live longer, fuller lives, attempt to worm and dust your chicken cage regularly and feed a healthy diet.

The numerous diseases of poultry have been studied thoroughly over the last few years. The outcomes reveal that hens who reside in congested living conditions are most likely to struggle with an infectious illness.

The bird influenza break out was one such example– this epidemic eliminated 90% of its victims in congested industrial settings.

2. How Long do Chickens Live Depends on Their Housing and Care

Chicken housing has undoubtedly come a long way in the last century. In the old days, chickens were utilized to live inside barns with other larger animals. However, this indicated their eggs might get trampled on by bigger animals, or predators might kill the chickens and even adhere to death.

pet chicken in coop
Pet Chicken In Coop

Nowadays, chickens have actually purposefully built coops to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Not only are they protected from the most severe climate condition, however, but they’re also likewise given specially-made bedding.

This, in mind, makes sense that having protected, safe, and protective housing has actually increased how long do chickens live. Protecting them from severe colds, heat, and predators will help them improve both physically and mentally.

Commercial hens are typically kept in ‘warehouse’ type conditions as they are more susceptible to respiratory illness. This is because of the close quarters and the abundance of dust and dander.

That’s why fresh air is the very best method to keep such issues at bay.

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Fortunately, this isn’t an aspect that enters play really any longer when you think about how long do chickens live. Chicken housing is far much better than what it used to be.

Several years earlier, chickens used to live within big barns with other kinds of animals. There are some advantages to do this, it was straightforward for chickens to be stomped on by the bigger animals.

chicken predators
Chicken Predators

Plus, predators might typically get in, and chickens might even adhere to death. Some individuals didn’t even preserve living quarters for their chickens but rather let them look after themselves, even lower their life span.

Nowadays, chickens have specifically developed cages to secure them in the summertime and winter season. Your chickens will not just be secured from the most severe conditions. However, they’ll have safe and secure defense from predators, too.

secured chicken cages
Secured Chicken Cages

Great veterinary care can distinguish between a chicken that lives for one year and one that lives for 10.

Chickens live longer lives merely because they are being taken care of appropriately and there is more attention dedicated to illness avoidance and treatment.

3.  Proper Diet and Nutrition is Essential on How Long Do Chickens Live

This is another exceptional example of the amazing progress made before chickens count on grains and morsels and whatever farmers normally tossed their way.

Today, the poultry diet plan is specially produced for every single phase of life, from little chicks to old chickens. Appropriate nutrition plays a huge role in increasing a chicken’s life expectancy.

fermented chicken feed
Fermented Chicken Feed

If they get excessive protein in their feed, it might cause kidney problems, consequently turning our cherished scrawny self-dependent birds into ‘coop potatoes.’

As a matter of fact, this generation’s hens may be more on the ‘plump’ side from having excessive feed or treats, which is ending up being an issue for some breeds.

fat chicken
Fat Chicken

Hens that end up being fat are in danger of many health problems such as leg or back, heart, and respiratory problems. Every reward that we provide needs to be in moderation, preferably.

Aside from overfeeding, the dietary value coming from a commercially-manufactured feed offers little hens a great start and assists maintain hens throughout their lives.

8 Amazing Facts on How Long Do Chickens Live

Another way in which the lifespan of a chicken has increased remains in diet and nutrition. In the past, chickens consumed table scraps and whatever the farmer wished to toss their way.

Nevertheless, chickens have access to food specifically created for each distinct phase of life. This nutrition assists enhance a chicken’s development so that it can flourish.


There are ways you can control your chickens’ diet to help them live longer and much healthier lives.

You might desire to prevent feeding too many treats with, as it can lead to weight problems, and you may likewise like to avoid excess protein, too. Not just can this similarly causes weight problems. However, it can also develop kidney issues.

4.  Does Genetics Play a Role in How Long do Chickens Live?

Breeding chickens can be challenging, especially with breed types that have a small genetic pool. Sometimes, birds have excessively interbred in that it harms the species as a whole, including their life expectancy.

Some breeders who generate new stock from different lines try extremely difficult to increase the gene pool and develop various breeds. The problem here is that it is a long and expensive process filled with failures and disappointments.

“Back in the day,” chickens were not raised as family pets. They were raised for eggs and sometimes for meat, too. Little attention was offered to a chicken’s life span, health, or other hereditary characteristics. A chicken was simply a chicken.

nutrition for chickens
Chickens on a traditional free-range poultry farm

In the 19th century, individuals began gathering chickens and experimenting with their genes to see if they might much better satisfy our requirements and expectations as human beings.

More wild habits were reduced, and while some hybrid chickens’ development resulted in a reduction in durability, other types saw a boost.

Some chicken types and private lines of chickens merely live longer than others due to their breeding with time. On the other side, some varieties have been interbred a lot, that it significantly lowers their lifespan.

5. Environment Plays A Role in How Long do Chicken Live

The conditions of a hen’s environment contribute significantly to her long-lasting health.

When hen’s are kept in a dry, warm, and clean cage with suitable food and water, they live longer.

arcona chicken

6.  Proper Veterinary Care is Very Crucial on How Long Do Chickens Live

Hens were never considered ‘livestock’ until the early 20th century.

As such, there was rarely any attention or care provided to their welfare and/or health concerns. Fortunately, much research study and progress have been made since this time.

8 Amazing Facts on How Long Do Chickens Live

And even though they are quite rare, veterinarians who concentrate on poultry are easier to find.  Small issues and problems can be dealt with in the house before they become larger problems requiring more substantial care from a veterinarian.

The longer you keep chickens, the much better you will get to take care of them, making a huge difference in their life expectancy.

7. The Specific Breed Has Something to Do with How Long Do Chickens Live

Another aspect to think about in addition to genes is the perseverance and intelligence of the type. It sounds a bit vicious to state, and some chickens are merely smarter than others.

Some chickens are mindful of their environments– specifically when free-ranging– while others will roam blindly into a threat.

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A number of these qualities are given through a type and can assist increase the chicken’s lifespan and how long do chickens live.

A smart bird is much less most likely to succumb to a predator, so it’s a characteristic that is preferable when it concerns development.

While these qualities are typically breed-specific, they can likewise be particular to simply one or two people in a flock, too– if you can, attempt to make sure you keep those chickens on as breeders. Those are excellent characteristics to have!

8. Does Gender Affects How Long Do Chickens Live?

The last element that can impact chickens’ lifespan or how long do chickens live? Gender. As holds in the human world, men do not live as long as women. This depends on many other circumstances; however, statistically speaking, roosters do not live as long as hens.

Fighting Cocks
Fighting Cocks

This is most likely because of their propensity to charge towards a risk instead of fleeing–, leading them to succumb to a range of risks.

If raised in the precise very same conditions as hens where no outdoors hazards are present, a rooster has the ability (health-wise) to live simply as long as a hen.

How Long Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

The majority of young laying hens– referred to as pullets until they are one year of age– begin laying eggs when they are approximately 18 weeks of age.

This can differ, with some chickens waiting until 6 months to begin laying and others (usually hybrids) that begin laying at simply 16 weeks.

This production continues for numerous years. It depends on the length of the day and most hens stop laying throughout the fall and winter season– when there are less than 12 hours of daytime available.

laying hen

This depends upon the type, however, and on the conditions in which the hens are raised. Great deals of individuals utilize lights in the cage to replicate synthetic daytime, which can increase laying.

Some individuals hypothesize that it burns hens out more rapidly and that they will not be as efficient for as numerous years as an outcome. The natural pattern is for hens to stop or slow their laying throughout the winter season.

Many hens lay eggs up until they have to do with 3 years of age. Production will begin to reduce after that point.

Some types that are understood for laying many eggs– consisting of hybrid chickens like Golden Comets– might stop laying even quicker, at around 2 years.

Common Causes of Early Chicken Death?

The majority of individuals do not experience the complete life span since it never lives long enough to show its capabilities. It is really typical for chickens to catch other causes before living out their complete life expectancy.

The most typical reason for early chicken death is predation. There are all sorts of animals like the taste of chicken, consisting of coyotes, snakes, hawks, raccoons, snakes, wild canines, felines, and more.

If you’re able to safeguard your chickens from these hazards with tough housing, you might have the ability to alleviate this risk.

Bear in mind that some predators are excellent and smart– even rats understand how to chew through chicken wire, and they can present a severe risk to little chickens.

Another typical reason for early chicken death is the illness. This is not an issue that you will need to fret about as frequently if you have a closed flock that isn’t exposed to outdoor illness.

However, if your chickens routinely enter contact with other birds, you’ll require to keep an eye out for infectious illness.

It does not simply need to be chickens, either. Chickens can quickly contract diseases from wild birds, rodents, and other animals.

Bear in mind your birds’ living conditions and ensure their house is tidy and hygienic at all times to decrease this risk.

This will likewise minimize the possibility of health concerns like parasites and lice, which can likewise affect your chicken’s health.

8 Amazing Facts on How Long Do Chickens Live

Think it or not, chickens didn’t constantly live as long as they do now. These birds were traditionally kept just for eggs and after that, later on, ended up being kept for meat.

Chickens’ forefathers are wild birds whose life span was only a couple of years at finest due to natural predation.

When human beings kept chickens, more or less as animals (that likewise pooped breakfast!), that life span slowly increased. Gradually, chickens started to live longer and longer, and those characteristics were reproduced into succeeding generations.

8 Amazing Facts on How Long Do Chickens Live


Normally, you need to expect hybrid chickens to live between 2 to 4 years. This varies from bird to bird.

Heritage hens are more likely to outlast their hybrid counterparts by a couple of years. The typical age for heritage chickens is 8 years.

The oldest hen to have ever existed was Matilda, who made it into the Guinness Book of Records when she was 14 years old (although she lived for 16 years).




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