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How Long Do Chickens Live?


How Long Do Chickens Live?

“How long will your chickens live?” I get asked this question quite often actually. Most people know that my chickens are my pets. Yes, they give us delicious eggs, but they give me so much more!

I’ve had my current flock for 5 ½ years now, and I’m extremely attached to many of my birds. So, when people ask how long a chicken’s lifespan is, my heart beats a little faster!

I’ve lost a couple of chickens due to natural causes and injury. However, overall, my flock has been super healthy. I attribute this to good genetics and Strong Animals Chicken Essentials. So, considering things like living environments, diet, adequate water, daily care, coop cleanliness, disease, vitamins and minerals, predator attacks, or even pecking order injuries, a chicken’s lifespan is anywhere from 5-10 years.

Each breed has a slightly different lifespan according to their genetics though.

How Long Do Chickens Live?

Roxanne has a personality you won’t forget!

How Long Do Chickens Live?

Tinkerbell quickly became a fan favorite!


Factors That Impact How Long a Chicken Lives

Some breeds are bred to be egg-laying machines. This can take a toll on a hen. Take an ISA Brown for example. Their average lifespan is only 2-3 years because they are a hybrid breed. They were bred to be large production hens.

A dual-purpose breed has a slightly longer average lifespan than that of a hybrid breed unless its purpose is meat production. A dual-purpose breed simply means they are bred for egg or meat production and do well for either. 

Then you have heritage breeds. Heritage breeds are slower growing and take a bit longer to mature. Genetics are very important to heritage breeders. Heritage breeds are chicken breeds that have been accepted into the American Poultry Association. These are the Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Brahmas, Australorps, etc. These chickens have a lifespan of around 8-10 years. They are great backyard chicken breeds!

The last type of breed is the landrace chicken breeds. They have the longest natural lifespans of over 10 years. These chickens develop without any human intervention. They have great genetics and are highly adaptable to their environments. Because their genetics haven’t been messed with, they have a strong immune system. These breeds are rare and not always easy to get your hands on.

In my backyard flock, we have many different breeds. We have multiple heritage breeds and some hybrids. I don’t own any landrace breeds, but I’d love to get some Swedish Flower Hens. My sister actually ended up with a Cornish Cross Hen, who we thought was a Leghorn rooster as a chick. Haha! She named her “Doug” which is so confusing, but she really thought she was a rooster. Doug happily lives with all of her other laying hens and is 4 years old! This is not very common, but super fun.


How Long Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

Chickens' ’ egg-laying lifespan is also dependent on various factors, including genetics. Typically, chickens start laying eggs between the ages of 16 to 24 weeks. Once they start laying, hens can continue producing for 5-10 years, with the highest production taking place during the first two years.

During the peak years, hens lay an average of six eggs weekly, accounting for a total of almost 300 eggs yearly, depending on the breed. As time passes, this number gradually decreases each year. However, it’s not unusual for a hen to continue producing well into their life. For example, those Plymouth Rock chickens we talked about earlier can lay eggs for 8-10 years!

Bottom line, I really feel like the lifespan of a chicken boils down to some of the same things as humans. Genetics, diet, lifestyle and environment play a big factor in us as well. However, chickens are a prey animal so they have to deal with predators and pecking order on top of all the other areas.

But, if we were just talking about the perfect chicken, with the perfect set-up, the average chicken will live 5-10 years. I’m savoring every moment I have with Happy, Roxanne, Reba, Tinkerbell and the list goes on and on! These girls stole my heart from the first peep. 

How Long Do Chickens Live?

My chickens aren’t just our egg providers…they are our pets and we love them so much! Taking proper care of them is an honor we take very seriously.

Until next time,

-The Wing Lady




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