Dying of old age (natural death) symptoms

bethgranberg

Songster
10 Years
Apr 20, 2009
123
0
109
Illinois
Hello I read somewhere on a post that chickens rarely die of old age, I am not sure curious to read what others say. My girls are almost 3 years of age.
 

3rdGenFarmer

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 28, 2014
44
0
22
Hello I have had two chickens die on me this year all are around 3-4 yrs old. The first one was molting and became really skinny and died. The last recent one was a fat Dominique that was really healthy and when I went up in the afternoon it was laying their dead by the trough
 

suebee

Speaks Silkie Fluently
12 Years
Apr 1, 2007
2,088
122
251
N. Carolina
My 10 year old rooster died last May 1st, exactly 10 years to the day he was born. He always defended himself throughout his life to be the top dog that he deserved. When he was 9 he took on another rooster that had grown into manhood. I didn't know they were sparring out in the cold rain until hours later. My poor old rooster got beat by the younger boy. After that he just kind of gave up and let the younger roosters step ahead of him in ranking. He started to become slower and depressed, but still had his pride knowing he was the king at one time. The last days he sat mostly, ate a little, and stopped the proud crow I had heard for a decade. I held him in my arms and told him it was ok to go. I left him in a peaceful spot where he wouldn't be disturbed and he died within an hour. He made my life a joy. He's buried in a special spot under our prettiest tree.
 

aSliceOfLife

Chirping
12 Years
Jan 28, 2007
66
0
96
Escondido, CA
The majority of my chickens live to be 10-12 years old and they are a good cross section of breeds. The aging process is very gradual. The EE I had that lived to be 18 started sprouting white feathers all around her head. The eggs that she was laying were almost flat (think of a "deflated" egg). She had arthritis in her legs but that started when she was about 12 and progressed very slowly. Their feather quality declines , again, nothing you would see overnight. Usually an old chicken will succumb during a time of stress such as going through a molt, extreme cold or heat.. I used to bring my EE in the house during those times and I saved her from certain death a number of times.  Their immune systems are really weak so they are really susceptible to mites. Almost every old chicken will develop a bad case of scaly mites unless you treat it aggressively. Towards the end, the other chickens may begin picking on and chasing an old chicken, usually into a corner where he or she eventually die if you don't intervene. Something that they generally don't do to chickens that are just plain ill. I think it's their way of hurrying the process along.

Redcatcher, you really need to contact the Guiness World Book of Records and give them your info. You would succeed Matilda the Chicken as Worlds Oldest Chicken. Matilda only lived for 16 years.

And my EE who is 9 has gray feathers around her beak too! She is sadly succumbing to old age right now.
 
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hllewellyn

Chirping
5 Years
Aug 5, 2014
34
3
64
This made me so sad :( A similar thing happened to the roo I raised when I was little, a younger cockerel beat him up and even though we ended up the dispatching the younger boy the older boy just gave up after that.. he would just go and sit in the field on his own. So tragic. Cockerels are my favourite, I'll be devestated when my boys die.
 

1muttsfan

Up Northerner
Mar 26, 2011
21,531
8,801
697
Upper Peninsula Michigan
18 years is amazing. Realistically, most birds are going to live around 6-8 years of age. I have had a few with bad arthritis or other quality of life issues that we put down. Most of my birds go to a new home as year-old layers, but we always have a few favorite older birds around. If they are eating and acting normally, they are allowed to live their lives as they like. Some older birds may need to be separated to protect them from younger, more aggressive birds.

The reason most chickens don't make it to old age is that as they age and their productivity declines they are likely to be killed for the stewpot. It can get expensive to feed a large number of non productive birds.
 

cpicha

Hatching
Apr 29, 2017
3
0
3
my old guy just started to walk odd sort of like Hitler's soldiers very over exaggerated stride. I thought maybe wounds on feet from too much rain but no wounds. He is away from the flock often, now he is a bit wobbly and does not go into the trees at night to roost. His crowing is not 6 a.m. on the dot any more ; in fact , I only hear him crow once a day if that . He is eating laying mash and drinking water . I will check him for mites and lice just in case but I believe he is over 5 and probably just old . Very sweet RIR rooster
 

cpicha

Hatching
Apr 29, 2017
3
0
3
too many chickens , to me , is too much poop to enjoy your lawn, too many feathers littering the property, eggs going to waste, over zoning law , unhealthy girls .
 

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