Another one died! How long do they live?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jsFarmYard, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. jsFarmYard

    jsFarmYard New Egg

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    I started out my backyard mini-flock with three hens. Last spring my RIR (not quite three years old) died of abdominal cancer. Yesterday, my 31/2 year old barred rock died of an impacted oviduct (surgery attempted). I'm surprised, I thought my pampered, suburban hens would have much greater longevity. My question for members: in your experience, what is the average age expectation of a backyard chicken?
     
  2. Impress

    Impress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have found it relies mainly on the breeding of that particular hen. This is the main reason I raise mainly heritage breeds, they live longer and are healthier. Chicks you get from a hatchery, their Mothers and Fathers have been bred to lay as many eggs as they can starting as young as they can, and they lay themselves out fairly quickly.

    I have had a production breed live only two years, then die. I have a Buff Orpington from an old farmers heritage flock that is seven and still lays at least every other day during peak laying times. You may want to check into some heritage breeds, and good bloodlines of them, if you want some excellent, long lived chickens.
     
  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    I usually get rid of mine at two or 3 years. I did have a pet from my first bunch 20 years ago that lived past 8. She was a production Barred Rock.
     
  4. My sex-links are three and four, and they are pumping out eggs like crazy. It surprises me, because they are definatly production and not heritage breeds.
     
  5. Impress

    Impress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is awesome, they must have come from some good stock!
     
  6. they came from a free-range, organic egg farm that gave away it's birds every few years.
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    With hatchery type, production strains, one just never knows. I've had them drop like flies with reproductive disorders common to these production strains, while others of their same brooder batch live healthy, 3 or 4 years and lay well. You just never know.

    All one can say with some conviction is that high production strains are certainly more susceptible to ovarian, oviduct issues than slower maturing, less frequent laying, longer living heritage strains. I guess I'd compare it to a sprinter versus a marathon runner. One is certainly faster but the other, while slower, runs longer.
     
  8. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    A lot depends on the breed and other factors. OUr oldest to date was a white leghorn rooster, he was ten and still going strong when he was killed by a weasel. Now we have a hen who's going on 9 y.o., and she still goes broody. I belive she is a Dark Cornish gamehen, possibly mixed with something else. And we have another mixed breed hen who's eight y.o. and also still goes broody. Roosters usually live longer than the hens, and maybe the hybrid vigor that you see in dogs applies to chickens, too, idk. Most of our flock right now is between four and seven years old.
     
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Oh, and Suzie Q, our Delaware hen, is almost almost six years old and she still lays an egg every day, even in the bitter cold weather Most of our older hens still lay,
    I would never cull a hen after two or three years.
     

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