Life span of chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aRoosterNamedSpot, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. aRoosterNamedSpot

    aRoosterNamedSpot Out Of The Brooder

    May 26, 2011
    Can someone tell me what the average life span of a chicken is? Mine don't seem to live past 3 years.
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:That seems to be pretty common. But they can live to 15, maybe 20 in rare cases.

  3. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Most chickens in the US originate from hatcheries, who breed solely for production, and thus a bird can come up with a lot of issues regarding over-production, and, die around 3-5 years of age. So, that seems to be a norm when chickens die. . .

    However, the norm for a chicken not bred for production can live beyond 15 years. Lots of Gamefowl and old South American breeds/types for example out there that have pretty good longevity. [​IMG]

    I just noticed this is in the wrong section [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Conditions under which they are kept also important. Our free range game hens could live to 8 years or so but same hens and roosters (cocks) could live easily to be over 10 years if kept in low numbers within within breeding pens and were bred for short periods only each year. Feeding a restricted ration (amount) but keeping quality high may also help. Our free range birds live hard and fast while the confined birds are forced to live life on the slow burn. Going cheap with hog feed seemed to promote fat and dumpy birds that not only looked crappy over all but did not seem to last much beyond 5 years.

    Advanced age does not always mean quality life maintained. Older birds clearly not as physically capable; peak pasted by year 3 or 4 and fertility tends to drop in older birds. Genetic quality of chicks produced by older birds may degraded as well. We used to keep some of best brood cocks and hens to those advanced ages but if more detailed records were kept, the percentage of quality offspring produced by such birds may have fallen even faster than number of offspring produced. They still produced some offspring of quality.
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Chickens can live into their teens, although I've heard a few have lived into their 20s. Average is a little harder to say, since it depends so much on how they're managed.

    Are yours hybrids, bred for laying? I've heard they sometimes have shorter lifespans like that. Maybe a different breed or a different source for your chickens would live longer for you. If you're breeding your own, maybe try adding some new stock. Make sure the breeding hens are on a good diet, so the chicks develop well in the egg, too.

    Do you feed a balanced feed that provides the main nutrients they need? In addition to a commercial feed, I think some non-soy protein and fresh grass, greens, fruits and vegetables help chickens to have longer, healthier lives, too.

    There are a lot of phyto-nutrients in various plants that help fight cancer, viruses and other diseases. A great diet boosts the immune system. Typical feed doesn't have all the good fatty acids in it that a more varied diet has. A more varied diet also provides more trace minerals, in addition to the major minerals that feed has in it. I think long term, as the years pass, nutrition makes a bigger difference in the quality of laying and their health.
  6. CupOJoe42

    CupOJoe42 CT Chicken Whisperer

    Apr 11, 2011
    Chickens can live up to 25 years. It's not the average lifespan as many people cull them when the productivity drops and replace them with new ones.
  7. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Meat birds don't make it long at all, but when it comes to layers I've heard that 3-5 years is about normal for breeds that are bred for heavy laying while heritage breeds average 5-7 or more. Supposedly, the closer a breed/individual bird is to its root (the red jungle foul) the longer-lived it will be....teens to twenties.
  8. aRoosterNamedSpot

    aRoosterNamedSpot Out Of The Brooder

    May 26, 2011
    I raise my chickens as pets. The eggs are just a bonus. I have different breeds, mostly silkies, which I breed myself . The other breeds I get from a hatchery. I feed them Layena feed, with a variety of fruits , vegetables, and fresh grass.

    Thanks everyone for the input!

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