Have you ever wondered "How long do chickens live?" This question came up the other day while I was feeding Sally her favorite treat, mealworms! Sally is an Olive Egger hen and she came from one of the first eggs I hatched in an incubator. I realized a year ago that Sally was the last chicken left from that first flock. That makes Sally almost 8 years old. There are various reasons why we no longer have the others from her flock. Most of the boys became dinner, we had a fox issue one year, one hen fell sick etc etc. 8 years later, only Sally remains.
According to The Guinness Book Of World Records Matilda the hen was the first chicken to receive the title of Worlds Oldest Living Chicken in 2004. She died almost 2 years later at age 16.
Unfortunately, Matilda is the exception rather then the rule. It turns out the average age for a chicken to live to is closer to 8 years. Many chickens meet their end much sooner though due to predators or illness. Of course the answer to the question also depends who you ask...
The My Pet Chicken website believes that chickens live to be about 8-10 years old.
Reference.com says 5-7 years is expected on average, but that pet chickens can live closer to 10 years.
Countryside Daily claims that the average age is 8-15 but it's possible for a chicken to live up to 20 years old!
None of these answers take into consideration breed and some breeds are said to live longer then others. The main cause of a backyard chickens death is often predators. Illness is also an issue but predators definitely take out more hens then sickness.
Hens tend to taper off on their egg production at around 2 years of age. Sally still lays 2-3 eggs a month in the warmer months. The color of her eggs is more of a blue-green now then the olive color they were for the first several years. She's as friendly as ever and still does the 'dance' when I go to pick her up. She loves to mutter and chat with us and still comes running when I call her name, especially if I just came out of the house. She knows where the treats come from!
Oh, and spoiled miss Sally say's you should definitely get your chickens some mealworms, because they are the best treat in the world! (she loves her mealworms!)
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