Lifespan of hens

currycat

Chirping
9 Years
Oct 11, 2010
15
18
89
Aww, I have one left from my original group of 15. He's a rooster, Mr. Feathers (his feathers in my avatar). He'll be 9 in February. He's an Easter Egger, never was very aggressive - more of a nuturer than a fighter. I moved him to the nursery coop to help raise chicks and injured hens when he was 4 and he's stayed there ever since. We had to add a ramp from the roost last year as his feet got so bad he couldn't jump up or down anymore. Since I have room and he's in a safe place, I will keep him there until he passes. It's funny. I'm not so attached to any of the other roosters, but Mr. Feathers is special. He's awesome with the chicks. If he's with pullets that are near laying, he'll spend time showing them all about the nest boxes and how to make a good nest. I've got a 7 year old hen in with him. She's an Australorp and lays about once a week in the spring, but is basically past her laying age now. She's good with the chicks too, so they both have seen several batches of chicks pass through their coop. It will be sad when they pass.
 

currycat

Chirping
9 Years
Oct 11, 2010
15
18
89
There has been some standouts over the years, high personalities. I got a Salmon Favorolle chic and immediately named her Annie Lenox. She was so loud, itty bitty with this huge voice and she never shut up. Loved all our roo's but one and he went to the auction, will not abide a mean roo. Right now we have Studly Do Right, a sweet charmer.
 

MaryOos

Chirping
Jun 1, 2015
50
14
81
I read somewhere that roosts should not be super high. It can be bad for them and once they get older it's not always possible to get up higher. When I eventually make my coop I'm not going higher then 4 ft or so and I will have ladders for them to get to that point. I read about lots of people with chickens that are 8-12 years old. My neighbors chicken is about 10 and she still lays every now and then. When the rooster got there she started laying more often. My friend at work has a neighbor with a 14 year old rooster.
It is better to keep your roost to just 18" - 24" off the floor. Hard landings from the roost can cause ligament injuries in the legs and bumble when they land on the bedding and get a poke.
 

MaryOos

Chirping
Jun 1, 2015
50
14
81
In my first flock of 7, 2 polish and a silkie turned out to be roosters (which I am not allowed to keep in the burbs). They had to be rehomed. Another silkie was put down at 1 yr when I could not clear a blocked crop (early spring grasses) and she had gotten too weak and was suffering too much to continue trying to clear it. I lost a gorgeous Columbian Wyandotte at 1 1/2 yrs when she developed a vitamin B deficiency. I missed giving her supplements just one day and she died. My salmon ate endlessly but got thinner and thinner. No sign of parasites in her dropping tests. Then I found a large lump hiding up under her beard. The vet thought it likely a tumor. We lost her at age 2. My favorite girl (a Dominique) got a fungus on her crest that I treated for months. Just when I thought it was gone it would reappear until it spread to her eye and respiratory and we had to put her down at age 2 1/2. And then Big Momma (the last of the original flock) "appeared" to have a leg injury just a month later. But even in the infirmary she got worse until she couldn't stand. We saw the vet who couldn't say for sure if it was ligament injury or mareks disease. Being unable to stand and not sure if it was mareks we had her put down (age 2 1/2) and the vet did an autopsy to know if our new birds had been exposed to Mareks. Thankfully it was a badly pulled ligament. We are now over 1 1/2 years into our second flock. The only one we have lost in this flock so far was my favorite. A giant lavender orp. She is alive and well and living the country life after turning into a flock bully and trying to kill my timid little barnevelder.
 

Marieaa70

Chirping
Apr 6, 2017
29
29
65
B C Canada
We've got a Speckled Sussex and 2 Buckeyes that are 8 yrs. old, a Partridge Rock and a black Australorp that are 7 yrs. old. They were all still laying til the weather changed. We let them be natural, no lights or anything to try and get them to lay more. My Buf Orp. was still laying at 7 1/2 til an opossum got her, we free range til they go into their coop at dusk. Her name was Wilma Rudolf cause she loved to run, just no match for a opossum.
Mine free range on 1 acre only lock up at night, Have a night lite running 24 hours a day, no heat in winter they love to go out in the snow, lots of clear grass under or around my Douglas fir trees
 
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