Egg-laying uses up many of a chicken’s precious resources, and often, birds who have reproductive layers live much shorter lives. Here are a few chicken breeds that live the longest: A classic heritage breed, the Rhode Island Red can be raised for both eggs and meat. ... How Long Do Chickens Live? The Lifespan of a Chicken How long do chickens live? Some live for thirteen to fourteen years- or more. This is fine for an industrial set-up where the bird can simply be replaced once she stops laying eggs, but less than ideal for many backyard homesteaders who want a steady supply over several years. Chickens vs Guinea Hens: How to Choose Which to Raise, Introducing New Chickens to Your Flock (How-To Guide). The average chicken may live for five to ten years, depending on the breed. Many commercial strains have been bred to start laying as early as 18 weeks. Those are great traits to have! How long do chickens lay eggs? Matilda, a Red Pyle chicken, broke a Guinness World Record for the world’s oldest living chicken, reaching the age of 16 years. These chickens tend to be quite aggressive and difficult to raise for people who are new to raising chickens. The Jersey Giant is a heritage breed that was developed sometime in the late 19th century. People often ask us: ‘How long do chickens live?’ This is a … What Should I Do With My Chicken After It Stops Laying Eggs Consistently? Life expectancy can also vary based on living conditions and many other factors, like genetics, that chicken owners are simply unable to account for. This is dependent on a lot of other factors, of course, but statistically speaking, roosters don’t live as long as hens. 13 Years. This flies in the face of the lifespan of chicken average that we’ve laid out above. Most of these girls will live to around 7 years on average – if they are protected from predators and treated royally, they can last a lot longer! Some of these may be affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission if items are purchased. After these two years your chicken will start laying fewer eggs per week, down to 3-4, and, as time passes, decreasing to one a week, and eventually one a month, and then none at all. If you live in a region with mild winters, you may have chickens that lay later in the season. Even minor issues, like parasites and lice, can slowly drain away the energy reserves of a chicken and reduce its overall lifespan. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds live eight years or more and Plymouth Rocks might survive 10 to 12 years when they are raised in a good environment. Chickens bred for meat, on the other hand, don't enjoy nearly as long a life. The Wyandotte is another dual-purpose chicken that can be raised for both meat and eggs. The question “how long do chickens live” is almost impossible to answer with any certainty. If you are about to start, or are just considering starting your own home chicken-raising operation, one of the questions that may pop into your mind is “how long do chickens lay eggs?”. There are a number of possible reasons your chickens are not laying eggs. The chickens that are raised for eggs usually give 200 to 300 eggs per year. Normally, chickens lay their eggs in spring or summer seasons but these chickens in commercial farms keep laying eggs all year round with a small window of relief. Since it is a heritage chicken, it’s genetic lineage is more or less the same as it was when it first came about. Breed variation is probably the biggest factor in how long a chicken will live and the most reliable indicator of their natural lifespan. As your birds age, egg size will even out, and egg count will gradually drop. This can vary, with some chickens waiting until six months to start laying and others (usually hybrids) that start laying … We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better gardener. There are some chicken breeds and individual lines of chickens that, due to their breeding over time, simply live longer than others. If your chickens regularly come into contact with other birds, though, you’ll need to watch out for communicable diseases. With proper care and nutrition the average chicken can live from eight to ten years,with empirical exceptions running to 12 and 15 years. If that proves unsuccessful, a farm-specific animal rescue is probably the last best option. As is true in the human world, the guys just don’t live as long as the ladies. After that, they will be slaughtered for their meat. These birds were historically kept only for eggs and then later became kept for meat. Sep 8, 2011 #3 maralpz2006 Songster. The chickens that are raised for eggs usually give 200 to 300 eggs per year. It is very common for chickens to succumb to other causes before they can live out their full life spans. Heavier, large-bodied chickens tend to meet their demise much earlier, so bantams might have an advantage here. Report This Post. Not only can this also lead to weight issues, but it can also create kidney problems. When asking how long does a chicken live, there’s one last thing to cover: the lifespans of roosters. Although there are some benefits to do this, it was very easy for chickens to be trampled on by the larger animals. In the same way that larger birds need more energy and their bodies need to do more to stay alive, a chicken that lays five or six eggs a week uses up a lot of energy and nutrients to produce those eggs. Page 1 of 1: How long do free range hens normally live and how many years do they typically lay eggs? They can live for ten to twelve years if they are raised in the proper conditions! Starting in the 19th century, people started collecting chickens and playing around with their genetics to see if they could better meet our needs and expectations as humans. Chickens are omnivores. Believe it or not, chickens didn’t always live as long as they do now. The natural pattern is for hens to stop or slow their laying during the winter. Here is more about our approach. That claimed, a lot of laying types will certainly lay more or less productively in yard terms for 5 or 7 years. This, however, may be somewhat anecdotal, as there are dozens of types of bantam breeds that you can choose from, all of which have different genetics and behavioral tendencies. This can vary, with some chickens waiting until six months to start laying and others (usually hybrids) that start laying at just 16 weeks. We’ll talk about the average age that chickens start to lay eggs, how breed plays a role, and a few tell-tale signs that eggs are on the way. Part of this is that when humans breed selectively for a specific trait such as high egg production or gorgeous feathers, they tend to also produce other traits as a side effect. I mean, do these wacky little birds lay eggs throughout their entire lives? They’re generally more difficult to rehome than a cat or dog that can be given away or dropped off at a shelter. This production carries on for several years. Why Do Chickens Lay Unfertilized Eggs? The trouble is that backyard chicken owners often want something very different from their hens than industrial producers. Here are a few chicken breeds with the shortest lifespans: The Golden Comet chicken is one of the best breeds you can raise if you want to produce a ton of eggs. After all, they will be more likely to fall victim to predators and the elements than if they were being raised in captivity. Backyard hens can lay up to 250 eggs in their first year with higher egg counts starting in spring. Nowadays, chickens have specially built coops that are made to protect them in the summer and winter months. The average wild chicken will only live for about a year or two, if that. Your hens may not be laying … There are plenty of factors that impact how long a chicken lives, including the threat of predation and varying flock dynamics, diseases, breed, and more. Because this chicken is so large, it has a short lifespan – often, it will only live for five to six years, even if raised in picture-perfect conditions. Keep in mind that while these traits are often breed-specific, they can also be specific to just one or two individuals in a flock, too – if you can, try to make sure you keep those chickens on as breeders. Many of these characteristics are passed down through a breed and can help increase a chicken’s overall lifespan. While on average chickens live about 8 years, the question of “h ow long do chickens live” depends on a lot of factors, including breed, quality of life, and environment. Their egg production will continue to gradually decline until they eventually stop laying eggs altogether. ... “Remember, hens can live for several years after they stop laying eggs,” Biggs adds. Within their first year of life, most laying hens will be at their peak production at about 30 weeks of age. Egg laying will begin to slow down after this time frame and then taper off. A final factor that can affect chicken longevity? Just the switch from an industrial hybrid to a heritage production strain will likely double the years of high-production egg laying to three or four years. So excluding death from predator loss/disease/cull for food, most chickens could probably live a good decade to decade and a half. A lot of heritage breeds are relatively hardy and long-lived; Rhode Island Reds can live for almost eight years. This nutrition helps optimize a chicken’s growth so that it can thrive. Here are a few of the most common factors that affect how long chickens live: While most diseases that commonly afflict backyard flocks aren’t deadly, there are some that can be quite dangerous or even fatal. There are several qualifications that a chicken breed must meet in order to be considered a “heritage” breed. That said, there are a few constant factors that allow us to estimate the approximate life expectancy of a hen based on breed, size, and laying capacity. Chickens live up-to eight years usually, but hens only productively lay eggs in the very first 2, possibly 3 years of their lives. Add to Favorites . Chickens’ ancestors are wild birds, whose life expectancy was only a few years at best due to natural predation. In general, you can expect these heritage hens’ to lay consistently for 3-4 years with some slowing up towards the end of that time. Generally speaking, chickens can live for many years. This is not a problem that you will have to worry about as often if you have a closed flock that isn’t exposed to outside disease. Pure heritage breeds or infrequent layers will probably last the longest in terms of production at five to ten years. Industrial producers want chickens who lay eggs as fast as possible in as short a period as they can manage. There are ways you can manipulate the diet of your chickens to help them live longer, healthier lives. And on the industrial degree, it’s closer to 2 years, and also in some cases much less. Most young laying hens – known as pullets until they are one year old – start laying eggs when they are roughly 18 weeks of age. However, when it comes to raising chickens for high production, the Golden Comet is one of the best breeds to lay eggs. While recent events have only accelerated the trend towards city-dwellers, urban gardeners, and suburbanites keeping their own chickens, buying any animal based on a trend or whim is a dangerous proposition. After that, egg production will taper off. That doesn’t mean that their production stays high for their entire life; it gradually decreases. Backyard hens can lay up to 250 eggs in their first year. As hens age they will naturally start laying fewer eggs with many hens slowing down production around 6 or 7 years of age and retirement shortly after. (We know of one ancient Buff Orpington cross who still lays an … These birds still maintain frequent production, but they’ll last longer than the hybrids both as active egg layers and their overall life expectancy. It must meet the American Poultry Association standard for the breed and come from pure stock, too. Chickens that are well-fed and cared for can live for years, much longer than most people realize. They tend to be shorter than those of hens, even from the same breed and living in the same conditions. Industrial producers want chickens who lay eggs as fast as possible in as short a period as they can manage. Some chickens are very attentive to their surroundings – especially when free-ranging – while others will wander blindly into danger. They were bred during the Middle Ages especially for cockfights – these chickens really know how to fend for themselves! How long do chickens lay eggs? Your best bet is probably a local farm that already keeps chickens on a large scale, somewhere where adding your flock to the mix won’t require major recalculations. Most hens lay the most eggs in their first year of production and begin to drop off after that. Matilda lived from 1990 to 2006- that’s sixteen years, and more than double the average life expectancy for a chicken! 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