Lifespan of hens

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
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Wisconsin
My oldest have been 10-11 years. Most live 4-8 years. So far I haven't notice any patterns except that bantams tend to live longer on average. I have only had a few sex links and they weren't long lived for me. I personally avoid them, but that's just my personal preference.
 

honanbm

Guess it's just you and me, chicken hat
May 25, 2015
4,482
68,418
1,212
Western Washington
My oldest have been 10-11 years. Most live 4-8 years. So far I haven't notice any patterns except that bantams tend to live longer on average. I have only had a few sex links and they weren't long lived for me. I personally avoid them, but that's just my personal preference.
I have to agree.
We purchased a house about five years ago and the chickens came with (at my insistence). Three black sex links, one red sex link and one Easter Egger. The sex links had reproductive issues from the get go and we lost one to egg binding after the second go round and one to what I assume was likely cancer of the oviduct after laying a few lash eggs. The EE long outlived them. She was also the bottom of the pecking order.
I also am not partial to them after my personal experiences and I won't be adding them to my flock again.
 

Henrik Petersson

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
646
1,051
312
Karlskrona, Sweden
Animals of a certain species that are smaller tend to live longer than their larger conspecifics. It's true for humans, dogs and chickens.

Which is kind of weird, considering that smaller animal species live shorter lives than larger ones. The above rule seems to only work within a species.
 

Mach 1 Padilla

Chirping
Jun 5, 2018
65
84
81
I have two hens that are 5 years old , 9 hens that are about to be a year old. The 5 year olds originally started as 6 hens but one by one have been picked off by predators over the years and only 2 are left. Im sure the remaining hens will live a long life since I have reinforced the area they free range in.
 

Rachel Taylor

Crowing
Aug 17, 2017
3,341
5,661
402
Virginia
I got golden comets and Rhode Island reds at same time about 3 yrs ago. The Rhode Island reds have barely slowed with their laying but still healthy and doing great but the golden comets recently dropped production greatly and can tell there getting older faster and have had some health issues here and there. I fear these guys aren’t going to make past 5. Guess it depends on breed and maybe somewhat on individual bird itself
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
7,495
7,525
536
western South Dakota
Not to be heartless, but doesn't the egg quality go down along with quantity of eggs in those older birds. I keep a producing flock, not really all that interested in having a generic flock with poor thin egg whites. I do set those eggs aside to bake with, if I can identify them, but I would not want a flock of them.

I think that while I enjoy watching my birds, my flock. It is the group not the individual birds. I started with dual purpose birds, but am moving more to a egg laying, with a couple of dual purpose birds... and then a couple of batches of meat birds a year.

I like raising my own food.

Mrs K
 

chicknmania

Crowing
13 Years
Jan 26, 2007
5,663
919
382
central Ohio
Not to be heartless, but doesn't the egg quality go down along with quantity of eggs in those older birds. I keep a producing flock, not really all that interested in having a generic flock with poor thin egg whites. I do set those eggs aside to bake with, if I can identify them, but I would not want a flock of them.

I think that while I enjoy watching my birds, my flock. It is the group not the individual birds. I started with dual purpose birds, but am moving more to a egg laying, with a couple of dual purpose birds... and then a couple of batches of meat birds a year.

I like raising my own food.

Mrs K
Our older chickens are not only pets but they do serve a purpose. A lot of them still lay fairly regularly. The ones that don't are companions for others in the flock, breeding partners for our roosters, and they do help to watch out for the welfare of the flock as far as predators.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
38,648
61,031
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Wisconsin
Not to be heartless, but doesn't the egg quality go down along with quantity of eggs in those older birds. I keep a producing flock, not really all that interested in having a generic flock with poor thin egg whites. I do set those eggs aside to bake with, if I can identify them, but I would not want a flock of them.

I think that while I enjoy watching my birds, my flock. It is the group not the individual birds. I started with dual purpose birds, but am moving more to a egg laying, with a couple of dual purpose birds... and then a couple of batches of meat birds a year.

I like raising my own food.

Mrs K
Most of mine produce egg until 4-6 years before stopping. I don't notice any decrease in egg quality. The hens just lay less each year.

I keep chickens for the enjoyment factor so production isn't necessarily important to me. If it was I wouldn't be keeping around all the bums I do. :D

Thankfully chicken keeping can be whatever you want or need it to be, that's the biggest appeal. If egg production was important than I would keep production breeds and rotate them out.
 

TXchickmum

Crowing
7 Years
Apr 21, 2012
2,843
361
251
North Texas
I have a flock of old gals. Four of them are 7-years-old, and one is 5. All of them gave me eggs this past spring/summer. Late summer everybody took their rest and began to molt. Maybe I'll get eggs in the spring, and maybe not so much. My daughter (20) is VERY attached to these birds. Yep. They're her pets. :rolleyes: -comes in from college and hangs out in the yard with them. Anyway, my old Golden Comet is 7. She is a hoot! -shows no signs of slowing down, and has shocked the whole family with her longevity. (other two Golden Comets passed around 4-years-old with reproductive/egg laying issues.)
 
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