How do you make a chicken live longer?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hyper_Chicken05, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Hyper_Chicken05

    Hyper_Chicken05 Chirping

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    Hello everyone, I have a couple of questions I would like to ask about chicken life spans and diets, I have chickens that I want to give a long life and I want them to live a happy life, how to I do that?, do I need a specific diet, do heritage breeds live longer?, Does treating them well and caring for them work? Anyways thanks for your help (sorry for the bomb of questions lol)
     

  2. Zoomie

    Zoomie Songster

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    Well... sad to say, you can't "make" anything live longer. :( Sometimes they have something going on that you can't possibly know about or see - they might have a stroke or a heart condition such as a heart murmur. There may be anomalies in the internal organs. You never know... same with humans. Sometimes young children get cancer and die. :( You do not know, and to a certain extent you have no control over some of these things.

    That said, different breeds of chicken live different amounts of time, **on average**. Breeds like the Cornish X have been genetically selected to grow super fast, so fast they can't really keep up, and most of those die fairly quickly. Research breeds you are interested in; many times breeds that lay huge amounts of eggs very quickly, burn out quickly too. Breeds which lay slower, generally (but for sure not always) live longer.

    Predators take out chickens as well. Your coops and runs must be super secure and strong.

    Feeding is important too, but personally I think keeping them safe from predators and utilizing a long-lived breed is more likely to yield success if what you want are the longest living chickens you can get. Basically feed them a balanced ration like for example an "All Flock" feed. Don't give them a whole ton of treats; no more than 10% of the ration is the usual rule of thumb. A varied and enlivening experience - those help too.

    Have fun researching the breeds! There are lots of really cool breeds of chicken.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Genetics and breeding play a big role before you even get your chicks. It's believed that hatchery chicks aren't bred for long lives. However, that's where all my chicks have come from, and I have some old chickens in spite of them carrying a serious avian virus. The two oldest are going on nine and ten years.

    I attribute their longevity and good health to fermented feed. It's the only thing I do special, and it really isn't much more trouble than feeding dry feed. I also keep a very clean coop and run, so bacteria doesn't play a big role in what my flock needs to fight.
     
  4. Hyper_Chicken05

    Hyper_Chicken05 Chirping

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    Oh crap... I feed them more than tons of treats.
     
  5. Hyper_Chicken05

    Hyper_Chicken05 Chirping

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    If we put aside the predators and diseases, what foods can give them live a longer and healthier life?
     
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  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Too many treats will cause fatty deposits on the liver and can even affect egg laying. Just as in humans, fat can shorten their lives.
     
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  7. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Sing Brightly Premium Member Project Manager

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    Feed a balanced diet, give them plenty of space (free range if possible,) choose breeds not bred for really high production, keep tabs on parasites, reduce their stress as much as you can. Chickens are hardy birds and 10 years shouldn't be uncommon for well-cared for birds.
     

  8. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Sing Brightly Premium Member Project Manager

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    Chicken feed from a bag. All flock feed, preferably, with oyster shell on the side for laying hens... supposedly feeding layer to non-laying birds is hard on the kidneys but I have yet to see evidence of this in my own birds. Still, if you want your birds living as long as possible, it would not hurt. Letting them free range helps supplement their diet with good things too. The added activity is also beneficial; crowded birds are bored and sick birds.
     
  9. nminusyplusm

    nminusyplusm Crowing

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    I was doing that too! It's taken a lot of discipline on my part to stop doing that and it was totally my fault that they became super picky and refused to eat their feed for a while.
     
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  10. Hyper_Chicken05

    Hyper_Chicken05 Chirping

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    well I have free range sorted, they love to scratch around in a bunch of leaf litter and all the breeds I have are heritage breeds and not high production breeds.
     

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