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How Long Do They Live??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DFamilyChicks, May 13, 2011.

  1. DFamilyChicks

    DFamilyChicks In the Brooder

    May 11, 2011
    Bellingham, WA

    I'm a newbie....just joined the other day. I bought my first chickens last Saturday. Three Barred Plymouth Rocks and three Buff Orpingtons. I was just wondering, about how long do these breeds of chickens live....assuming they don't get caught by a racoon or get sick?

    Just wondering.



  2. mboreham1

    mboreham1 Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    Carmichael, CA
    i have heard of 10 year old chickens, however circumstances, predators, sickness etc often get the birds before that
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    potentially 20 years, but that is rare.

  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The simple truth is that it depends on too many factors to really give an answer. From my own personal experience, hatchery stock doesn't live long, in general. They die earlier than good quality breeder stock due to serious reproductive issues with genetic/hormone based causes. I've lost 9 hens to internal laying including Wyandottes, SLWs, BRs, RIRs and one who was the daughter of a hatchery BR hen with mixed breed rooster. Deaths began just after two years of age.

    I've lost no breeder stock to this ailment, at least so far. They aren't immune, certainly, but they tend to have better longevity. I'm talking about true breeders of quality birds, not just propagators who call themselves breeders. That may not matter to folks who just want them for eggs and want to rotate stock every two years anyway. Depends on your reason for having them. My oldest two hens are 5 1/2, but both have serious issues and may not be around much longer.
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    With good care and no accidents or predation they can live into their teens, unless they have genetic problems of some type.

    Cynthia, I always feel so bad about what you've gone through with your chickens. You give them such great care and still have all this trouble, that you don't deserve. I'm glad your new stock is doing well. I hope the day comes when you don't need to go through this with them anymore and you have a flock that is just happy, healthy birds.
  6. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    Well we have a silver spangled hamburg that is 11 years old. We bought her in 2001 when she was a year old. Every summer she still lays us some eggs as well. She is our only white egg layer, so we know it is her. Last summer she layed about one a week, much to our surprise. Everyday we expect to go out and find her dead, but she just keeps plugging along. She is the smallest hen in our flock, but no one bothers her. I have no idea how much longer she will live, but so far she is by far our longest living chicken. We also have an EE that we got in 2002. Everybody else is 5 years old this month.
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I have three hatchery hens that are seven years and still laying, not as much, but couple of eggs a week. I have a dozen hatchery hens (McMurray) that are four years old and laying nicely now that spring's here. That said, none of those hens will see next winter, it cost too much to feed them during the winter--I'll buy eggs or chicken feed, don't want to buy both!

  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I hope that you are not setting yourself up for disappointment by unrealistic expectations. It is my humble opinion, that one does not have chickens so much, but rather a flock for years. The chickens within the flock will probably change.

    There are exceptions, as stated above, but they are exceptions. And even I get favorites in my flock, and am disappointed when I lose them.

    Chicken raising can be a wonderful hobby, and I think you have a nice choice for a newbie's flock. Those should do well for you, but you will likely lose some to a variety of things. EVERYTHING likes to eat chicken. Do your best, but don't beat yourself up if you lose a few. It is a fact of chicken raising.

  9. sonshine15

    sonshine15 Songster

    Jun 20, 2015
    Hi. Can you tell me what internal laying is or is it just as it sounds? My Barred Rock tried to lay the other day and never did. I know it sounds odd but she actually looks old around her eyes. She's the oldest one I have due to just buying another layer and she's almost 5.
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Egg yolks can drop into the abdomen, cause infection, clog up the oviducts and abdomen with cheesy masses of cooked yolks mixed and layered with solidified infection, which is the way a chicken's body deals with infection, making it form solid masses. Hatchery stock tends to do it more than good quality heritage and/or breeder stock.

    There are many threads here with photos of internal laying found when a deceased hen is opened up upon her death. If you search under my name, I have quite a few threads with photos regarding egg yolk peritonitis and internal laying.

    The thread you quoted me from was pretty old so the ages of the hens is out of date. I have some hens who are now approaching 9 years old. All my original flock is long gone-they'd be a year older than the oldest one I have now. Only one of those very old ladies is a hatchery hen. Most of my hens, in fact, are 6-9 years old, some still laying eggs. But, that is only after all the hatchery stock, except my Brahma, died.

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