How long do chickens live?
A chicken’s lifespan will totally depend on a number of factors.
- Are they male or female?
- What breed of chicken are they?
- Are they safe from predators?
Whatever type of chicken you have we’ve got some general stats on how long chickens live.
In a commercial environment, boy chicks have a lifespan of only a few days or less.
Chicks can be sexed when a day old, and most males are usually destroyed at this time.
This is a bit sad given that they’ve been through the whole process of fertilization through to incubation and hatching, only to be culled.
On the other end of the scale, the confirmed world record for a chicken’s lifespan is 16 years.
Matilda the chicken owns the record and became quite a star, appearing on The Tonight Show, among others.
Here is the best video breaking down how long you can expect your backyard chicken to live.
Here are some stats from the video:
- Make broiler chickens – fattened, killed, and put through the chicken plucker at 8 weeks old
- Female commercial hybrids – start laying at 20 weeks, and are disposed of 1 year after that at 18 months old
- Backyard chickens – while more prone to accidents and predators, backyard chooks have a much longer life expectancy
Backyard Chicken Life Expectancy
The lifespan of a chicken will depend in large part on the breed.
If your backyard chicken is a commercial hybrid like a Hisex Ranger or Black Rock, you can expect it to have a natural lifespan of 4 years.
That’s assuming it doesn’t get taken by predators (which are similar to these rabbit predators), gets diseased, or has an accident like breaking a leg.
Heritage breed chickens live the longest, up to 7 or 8 years. Their genetic makeup is said to be better at prolonging life!
Different breeds, such as bantam chickens, do tend to last longer.
Growing up, we had a bantam called Henny Penny that lived at least 10 years. She was well-fed, watered, and cared for, and lived a long time.
Four years ago, we bought five 10-week-old Brown Shaver chickens. We still have two left.
Of the ones that died:
- One broke its leg trying to fly out of its metal run and had to be put down
- One was killed by a neighbor’s cat – we were lucky it didn’t take more of them
- And the final one had to be given away because we couldn’t keep it in the run
The final few chickens are now 4 years old at the time of writing and they still lay an egg every other day.
They will be allowed to live out their natural lives even when they stop producing.
Extend The Life Of Your Chicken
We can extend the lives of our chickens simply by providing them with all the things they need to thrive.
Important things required to keep chooks healthy and happy:
- Chicken Coop – a warm, dry, and safe coop and run is essential
- Healthy Food – provide your chooks with a balanced diet not lacking in any essential nutrients or minerals
- Water – clean water is a must for chickens, consider getting a good chicken waterer to achieve this
- Supplements – yes, there are even supplements for chickens to help them live a long healthy life
And, if you live in a cold climate, investigate whether a chicken coop heater is necessary. There are both heated pads and perches available.
Chicken Age FAQs
How long do chickens live as pets?
Most backyard chickens can be expected to live between 3 and 7 years.
Early death is usually attributed to predators or sickness caused by parasites. That is unless they’ve been slaughtered for meat.
Can a chicken live 20 years?
The confirmed record for the oldest chicken in the world is 16 years, however, there are reports of chickens that have lived 20+ years.
Small heritage breed chickens seem to be capable of the longest lifespans.
How long do chickens lay eggs?
Most breeds of hen will lay eggs for 4 – 5 years, but the rate of laying drops off after their first year of laying.
Our 4-year-old brown shaver hens still lay every second day.
For those wanting to use their laying hens for meat after they have finished their most productive laying period, this is usually when they’re 18 – 24 months of age.
The meat is not as good after this age either.
How long do chickens live after they stop laying?
Chickens can live for many years after that stop laying eggs.
Depending on the breed, they can live for another 10 years.
How Long Do Chickens Live?
So, how long does a chicken live?
All things considered, chickens will live an average of 3 years. Egg production drops off around 18 months of age, but you will still get a number of eggs per week per chicken after that.
They make for great pets, and once you have a routine in place, can even be considered very low-maintenance pets. At least, they are much less work than a dog or cat!
Let us know if you have any more questions down below and share any stories you have about old chickens.