I have had this happen as well.
I have had this happen as well.
Guys - I have a problem. Regarding aging chickens. I won't eat them, I don't eat meat BUT my husband does and he wants to "retire" them when they stop laying. I take care of our chickens and I don't want to lose them, especially by human hands. My husband says he wont support chickens that are not producing. This makes me sick. I have argued and argued. My 9 chickens are going on 2 years old and laying great but I dread the day they stop. Aside from going to the store and planting eggs in the coop for the next 15 - 20 years (which is what I had planned, LOL), is there such thing as a real sancuary for chickens to go? I have no problem keeping mine but I'm worried about what my husband might do.
Here is what I do. Although, my husband would kill a human before an animal. But when he won't give in to me I have this wonderful trick. I sit down all calm at the dinner table with him then I calmly explain if he does not do (or does do) "X" he will be cooking and cleaning for himself and will be "servicing" himself for the rest of his natural life. Then I smile sweetly and get up to leave him eating by himself so he has time to process the implications of my displeasure. Works every time.
Our oldest hen, a bardrock lived to 13, our average hen lives 8 to 10 years. This is based on about 30 years of having backyard hens. Tumors and cancer do seem to take most of them. I started with three hens and every other year I add two to three chicks. This way I always have a mixed age group and continue getting eggs. With a flock of 10 to 13, it has been a good formula to keep the age of the flock varied and steady supply of eggs.
Depends on the breed. If it's a great laying breed, like Sex-Links and Leghorns, they can lay up to 4 - 5 years of age. Others don't lay long; I have two Barred Rock hens who will be four in April, and I still get an egg or two a day from them.
My Wilma Rudolf ( has loved to run since a peep ) a Buff Orp. is almost 6 yrs. old and still loves to run and in the warm months gives 2 or 3 eggs a week. She's the only one left out of my original batch of peeps though. We're rural and they free range, a neighbors dog got out and got 3 before we could get outside and a coyote got 2 right outside my kit. window.
To Leisure 105. I can tell that was as hard to go through as it was the first time. I've had to watch many a pet/friend die over the years and can understand what you went through. I'm new at raising chickens, brand new. I received my five 10 month-olds this past Christmas Eve, and I'm already feeling the comfort they bring. No, I don't hope for 20 years with them, although it will more than likely be them that see ME go, LOL! Thanks for your story.
My flock usually runs between 50-100 head. I've raised chickens for more than thirty years and I provide excellent care and medical attention as needed; your results may vary.
We had a little family, mother and two of her chicks that lived to 14, 16, and 18. They were bantam mixes. I've also had others live to over ten, but it is pretty rare. Usually, chickens succumb to natural complications or minor illness between five and ten years.
My shortest lived chickens have been heavy breeds. I once tried to "save" two Cornish X roosters and both died of leg weakness and ascite by six months. I also have had some production reds who had a heart defect and all dropped dead by two, heartbreaking. I have had very good luck with long-lived Dominiques, silkies, Barred Rocks, and mixed breeds.
My egg production is best in the first two years, but hens continue to lay and ovulate throughout much of their lives, though less regularly. My 16-year-old hen laid an egg every couple of days, brooded her own clutches about twice a year, and died defending a brood of her own chicks from a coyote. You won't see her like very often. Most hens won't just stop laying as they age. They will slow down, respond to molting, weather, seasons, illness, and food availability, but with excellent care they will continue to lay well into old age.
My best tips for stimulating egg production in hens young and old are high protein foods and supervised free ranging for plenty of bugs and greens.