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how old is OLD?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
We have 2 hens. They are both 5 years old. One of them had to go to the vet (first visit ever) and she said that this is one of the oldest chickens she has ever seen. I thought average age for "pet" chickens was 5 to 8 years. I admit, when we noticed how old they have become it was a shock and it breaks my heart to think they may be nearing the end. It doesn't help that one is suddenly lame and the other one was panting tonight. (My husband thinks it was stress from the hospital coop.). So, my question tonight is simple. I realize its poor form to ask a lady her age, but how old are your girls?
A lot of people ask if we are going to eat our chickens.  I always tell folks our girls wouldn't taste good... they're spoiled!
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A lot of people ask if we are going to eat our chickens.  I always tell folks our girls wouldn't taste good... they're spoiled!
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post #2 of 10
Mine are youngsters 8:9 months old but it depends on the breed and from what i hear some live to be 17 and still lay so you could still have several years left. But for some of my birds (golden sex links) 4 years is old for them so depends on the breed and bird.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
One is a buff ORP, the other is a welsumer.
A lot of people ask if we are going to eat our chickens.  I always tell folks our girls wouldn't taste good... they're spoiled!
Reply
A lot of people ask if we are going to eat our chickens.  I always tell folks our girls wouldn't taste good... they're spoiled!
Reply
post #4 of 10

My flock ranges in age from three months to almost eight years, and that eight-year old hen was laying up until last year, albeit only on rare occasions.

 

I believe that traditionally chickens have been relegated to short lives because most chicken keepers have seen chickens as the source for meat and eggs. For this very reason, hatchery chickens are not bred for longevity.

 

However, during this past decade, more and more people are finding that chickens make wonderful pets, and as in my flock, hens who no longer lay are allowed to retire in dignity instead of being culled for the soup pot.

 

I have two seven-year old hens who laid regularly all last season. We'll see if they're going to go for another year or if they'll opt for retirement.

post #5 of 10
Ten years if what i am finding as an average life span. I have mostly production birds as they were what was avaible in feed stores when we decided to get chickens. We have a few that will live up to ten-twenty years so there is thatbut the long life span i can find for a chicken is 20 years. From my understanding that rare but can happen.
post #6 of 10
A hen is born with an exact amount of times they can lay, some slow at 5, or even stop. Hence why layer farms need to renew their crop every couple years for the juvenile pullets. But like they said age can vary from 5-8 most commonly and a decent percentage up to 13, past that its little rare especially for 17! I never heard of such lol.
post #7 of 10
I have found most chickens die between 4 and 10, my oldest was 9, about half pass by six and a few go on for a few more years so a 5 year old would be considered an older bird.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesusfreak101 View Post

Ten years if what i am finding as an average life span. I have mostly production birds as they were what was avaible in feed stores when we decided to get chickens. We have a few that will live up to ten-twenty years so there is thatbut the long life span i can find for a chicken is 20 years. From my understanding that rare but can happen.

Sorry, I don't think ten years is at all average. That means half the backyard birds would live longer than that, and I just don't see it happening. With disease and predation and culling less than productive birds, I think most backyard birds only make it to maybe 5 or so. If that.

 

I've had 8 year old hatchery birds laying 3 or so eggs a week. I do tend to cycle my birds out around 2-3 years of age, a hen has to stand out in some way to stay on longer. I have a bantam cochin who is around 5, she's my Momma Cita and loves to raise babies so she's here forever. Also lays pretty darn good for a cochin when she's not brooding. Wish I could have a dozen of her!

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
post #9 of 10
Lol i was googling, thats what i found whether it right or not is hairy lol but like i said in a nother post it honestly depends on the bird. Some live long others dont.
post #10 of 10

Very few breeders, and no hatcheries, select for longevity in chickens, so it's hard to plan for old age.  I've had three hens live to their tenth year before developing fatal illnesses, and that's pretty good.  Many hens fall apart at about three years of age, and some much earlier.  I also had a pullet have a fatal uterine infection at six months of age;  she never produced a single egg!  It's hard to plan to keep roosters forever in a breeding flock, because they can't keep breeding their offspring for generations, so my cocks move on after a year or two at most.  Again, production fall off after two years at most, so few birds get to live out a normal lifespan. Some of us value our older healthy birds for their valuable genetics, and as pets.  I've heard of chickens living into their teens, but that hasn't happened here.  Mary

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