Life expectancy of hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PatG, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. PatG

    PatG Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 16, 2010
    Hi All!

    I am new to the board and have been reading and researching for awhile. I'm looking forward to being able to get my first chickens later this summer. Out of all the good information I've found I've never seen the life expectancy of a hen mentioned. On average, provided they are taken care of and don't fall to a predator how long will an average hen live?


  2. BLaBauve

    BLaBauve Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    I've heard of lots living up to 10. But I would say an average is 8
  3. CaitlynNichols

    CaitlynNichols Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2010
    Newfields, NH
    Chickens can have a long life expectancy. I've heard a few cases of chickens living up to ten years old, some even longer. Two of my original chickens are nine years old to date.
  4. balticbabe

    balticbabe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    King County, WA
    I haven't been able to find this out either. On another post I read that "Common times for birds to "just drop dead" are within the first 10 days or so, then at a few months old, at point of lay, and then into their second year".
    One of mine up and died just short of her second year. I've read that they can live to 20 but usually don't. What's everyone's average? Two years seems very young for a bird.
  5. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I've had two friends with flocks say that the average life span of their chickens is four years. However, I have two other friends that say 8-10 and both of them have had chickens live up to 13 yrs. Maybe it's the way their being kept or their diet. [​IMG]
  6. hensonly

    hensonly Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    My neighbors across the street have 6 hens and a roo who are 10 years old...and they still get 4 eggs a day!!!! Is that some kind of record? I just gave them a dozen eggs from my hatchery golden comets to try and hatch (they just bought an incubator) but now I feel bad because I can't believe the eggs I gave them will turn into that kind of laying bird! I'd like to borrow the incubator and hatch some of THEIR eggs!! (would a 10 year old roo still be creating fertile eggs??)[​IMG]

    BTW, they DID say we could use the 'bator if we wanted to...oh, boy, the temptation!!! [​IMG]
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Thing is, there are several very different concepts here.

    One is the average age at which backyard chickens die. This will vary among flocks for all sorts of reasons (especially breed/line), but I would venture to guess that a reasonable ballpark would be somewhere around 4-5 *average* for predatorprotected flocks, and significantly less for flocks that free range in high-predation situations or that live in really weebly-constructed housing/runs. Note that an *average* age of death being 4-5 (and I may be overestimating this) implies that approx half your flock dies younger, including all those point-of-lay deaths, and approx half lives to significantly older ages like 8 or 9.

    The other thing is, what is the oldest chicken that you are likely to own. THAT is where you get into the 10, 12, 15, 20 yr numbers. Even people with 15 year old chickens still have the vast majority of their chickens die long before that [​IMG]

    1 person likes this.
  8. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have friends that kept 4 backyard chickens, in town, and the first one died at 16 years old. It had long since quit producing eggs, but they kept them anyway. Their boys grew up with them. After their boys went off to college they found a place that would take the girls to be able to free range the rest of their days away. That was just this last Summer, so some may still be alive.

    Anyway, that the only life expectancy story for chickens that I've ever heard.
  9. Kassy

    Kassy New Egg

    Sep 17, 2014
    Nutrition & care of chickens play a big role in raising healthy chickens, with proper care they can live over 15 also depends on what you expect to use them for, eggs?...meat?....Before raising any chickens go to Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook...You'll learned a lot! I learned so much just from the posts, they cover everything from cleaning & best bedding to use, to using light, to the issue of heating the coup, amazed to find out NOT to let them out free range in the morning, as they'll hide their eggs, best to wait til afternoon.
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    It depends; My oldest birds were two ten year old midget Jersey Giant hens, who died this spring. They were sweet old ladies who were way small for their breed, and stayed here because of their personalities, when other hens moved on. I have had many other hens die , mostly of reproductive problems, at two to four years of age. One pullet at nine months! I post all of them; egg peritonitis, bacterial hepatitis, liver cancer, and one of the JGs had an esophageal tumor. Hatcheries and many breeders don't select for longevity, so nothing is done to favor the birds who can thrive for longer than one or two years. Mary

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