How Long Do Chickens Live?

Chicken live longer in the nature environment.

Feathered friends like chickens are friendly and intelligent. Taking advantage of the opportunity to spend time in the grass searching for insects and grains, taking dust baths to get itself clean, or forming and guarding nest once they become parents are all things they like doing. On the other hand, most hens do not have the opportunity to enjoy this free and natural lifestyle. They are mistreated and exploited for financial gain in large numbers, and their natural lives are brought to an end by injuries, sickness, and killing in the vast majority of cases.

What is the average lifespan of a chicken? If you take a gander at ads, packaging at the grocery store, or petting animal shelters, most of the chickens you see are from a few different breeds. To tell the truth, chickens come in such many sizes and variations over the globe that it’s impossible to count them all.

The enormous variety of chickens makes estimating the average lifespan of chickens challenging. In general, several chicken breeds have lifespans ranging around 3 and 7 years, with some living for considerably longer periods. It is estimated that chickens may live for between four and ten years on average. The breed of the chicken, setting of the henhouse, and level of attention that they are given can all influence whether or not they will be a vital contributor to your family for many years to come.

Breed-Specific Average Lifespans For Chickens

It is now time to determine the average life expectancy for a few common chicken breeds, following up on our discussion of several variables that might impact the life span of poultry. Before we go any further, let us explain the differences between heritage and hybrid chickens. Farmed or pet chickens may live for ten years or more if proper care is taken. On the other hand, wild chickens have an average lifespan of two to five years. On the other hand, hybrid chickens are something we should take a closer look at.

Generally speaking, hybrid chickens are cross-bred chickens that humans have manipulated to meet their specific requirements. As a result of being bred for food, egg production, and other purposes, these chickens have permanently altered their genetic makeup. It is not uncommon for hybrid chickens to survive between two and four years if they are lucky. You should buy heritage birds if you wish to keep hens in your backyard coop. These chickens are “purebred,” meaning they have not been manipulated or explicitly bred for meat consumption in the absence of a better term.

Heritage-breed chickens have a lifespan of five to ten years and can produce eggs for around one-quarter of that time frame. Therefore, these hens are suitable for backyard coop pets or household pets in general.

Life Expectancy of Different Chicken Breeds

Orpington Chickens 

Known as a heritage breed, the Orpington has an average lifetime somewhere around 8 and 10 years, depending on the keepers’ care and maintenance. Orpington chickens are bred not just for meat but also for their eggs, making them versatile to any backyard flock. Their colors range from black to blue to buff to white. They lay eggs that are light brown, and they are very remarkable.

Silkie Chickens

Even though they have a fragile demeanor, Silkie hens are tough and may survive for seven to nine years on average. This bird was awarded the title Silkie because of its fluffy feathers since it has a silky and satiny smoothness that feels similar to silk. Historically, the eggs of this heritage chicken have been the primary reason for its existence.

Wyandotte Chickens 

Wyandotte chickens may live up to 12 years, making them one of the most popular breeds. It is not just their beauty that makes Wyandottes so sought for, but it is also their remarkable laying prowess that makes them even more valuable. In contrast to other breeds, which normally produce approximately 100 eggs per year, this breed chicken may lay 200 huge brownish eggs or more every year, depending on the season and they handle and care around.

Plymouth Rock Chickens 

Although the hybrid Plymouth Rock chickens are estimated to live for 6 to 8 years, they have been reported to live up to Twelve years in captivity. Producing either eggs or meat from this hard-working backyard hen is a win-win situation. Plymouth Rock chickens breed is one of America’s oldest poultry breeds and was called for where they were first bred or their place of origin.

Rhode Island Red Chickens 

The Rhode Island Red heritage chicken is known for being a multi-purpose breed. They produce and are used for both egg production and meat production. The average lifespan of these chickens is approximately 8 and 10 years. Because of their adaptability, chickens may live in coops or outdoors in an open-range environment. Regardless of the weather, you will not worry about it.

Jersey Giant Chickens 

Due to their bigger size, Jersey Giant chickens have a shorter life expectancy than some other famous breeds. The average life expectancy of this cross-breed is 5-6 years long. In New Jersey during the late 1800s, this placid and gentle breed was bred as a dual-purpose chicken. When fully grown, the Jersey Giant may reach a height of two feet and a weight of up to twenty pounds.

Leghorn Chickens 

In their four to six-year lives, Leghorn chickens are considered to be of shorter lifespan breed in chickens. A single Leghorn may lay as many as 300 eggs in a year, which is why they’re called the “egg queen.” They are reared for both egg production and meat production in this heritage breed. The breed’s name is taken from the Italian port city of Livorno, which translated in English to “leghorn.” Livorno is the city origin of this breed. It is pretty widespread in the United States to raise Leghorn chickens, and there are many different color versions of this breed to choose from. Some of the most common color variations include whitish, light brown, buff, black, red, and much more.


What Factors Influence the Lifespan of a Chicken?

When one egg hatches in a factory farm’s hatchery, hundreds of other chicks are waiting to hatch as well. Sadly, some chicks will have a chance to live in the shortest or longest lifespan and experience tragic ends such as being killed and sold. Nevertheless, other cutest chicks are unlucky enough, don’t have the chance to live, and may experience terrifying ends sooner.

Gender 

Generally, both male and female broiler chickens have been bred or reared to produce breasts, eggs, nuggets, and a variety of some of the other chicken goods that are sold and consumed by people. Take note that both sexes will survive and live at the same age or lifespan. Whenever it concerns egg laying, there is a huge discrepancy in the lifetime of male and female chickens compared to one another. While males have been incapable of laying eggs, they are seen as totally insignificant by this callous market.

Once the eggs have been hatched, male chicks are pushed down a conveyor belt and into a macerating machine as soon as possible. These chicks have been crushed to death in this spot. A facility that uses gases to kill these chicks may be more humane than others, which may force these young chicks into big plastic bags where they would be squeezed or choked to death. Sadly, the lives of male chicks hatched in egg factories are limited to a few brief and terrible hours.

Housing

Chicks that survive the hatchery are doomed to a miserable existence. Thousands of layer hens are housed in battery cages that are so tiny that it will not let the birds completely extend their wings throughout their lives at several large-scale egg production farms. These chickens cannot fulfill their natural behaviors, such as digging, pecking, perching, or making nests.

The situation isn’t much better in the barns where chickens are raised. These overcrowded environments hinder chickens from getting enough movement, resulting in muscular and bone disorders that may be devastating. The chickens are also compelled to dwell on the ground contaminated with feces from their own droppings. 

It is possible for birds to die in unclean settings due to bacteria proliferation and ammonia from excrement, which may cause respiratory problems in the chicks that live there.

Diet and Nutrition 

The diet and nutrition needs, and requirements influence chickens’ lifespan and survival. In ancient times, farmers fed their chickens scraps of human food and anything else they could find lying around the farmyard, even grains. It was common for chickens to become weak and sick due to not receiving a suitable diet when they fed them in this way. Chickens have become handled and treated much better than they were in the past, and they are fed a suitable diet that fits their nutritional needs.

Breed

Chickens lifespan and producing eggs and quality meat for manufacturers and other businesses are influenced dramatically by the breeds of the chickens. Selective breeding has resulted in a breed of broiler chickens that grow far quicker than they would naturally. In order to increase the amount of meat they can sell, their bodies have been pushed beyond the limit of what they were made to do. This kind of chicken, labeled as “fast growth,” is so susceptible to skeletal as well as other health issues that even if it is not butchered at approximately six weeks of age, it will perish even sooner.

As for layer hens, they’re bred to make many more eggs than wild chickens might make in a year. They make around one egg each day instead of the twelve that a wild chicken could make annually. Hens’ bodies may be subjected to excruciatingly painful illnesses like prolapses, calcium deficiency, and ovarian cancer.

Disease

Chickens often come into contact with diseases that might make them ill while roaming free outdoors. However, the environment on industrial farms is so deplorable that sickness is almost a guarantee under these circumstances. For this reason, chicken farms routinely provide large doses of antibiotic treatments to their flocks as a precautionary strategy, and this prevents causing many issues. Blackhead and Marek’s diseases and Mycoplasma gallisepticum may cause major health problems for hens and influence their shortened lifetime. However, the question remains as to why sickness is so prevalent in chickens reared for food.

Chicken raised on factory farms didn’t experience the wide and open surroundings or fresh air, and they are unable to nest, fly, or mingle as they would in the wild. Therefore, hens may suffer from long-term stress, which reduces their immune system’s ability to counteract diseases. In light of the fact that factory farm surroundings are strewn with excrement, making them a great breeding place for pathogens and germs, this is particularly worrisome.

For this reason, the fact that hens are pressured to produce an unnaturally large amount of both egg and meat demonstrates why chickens are susceptible to disease in the first place.

Veterinary Care 

Any farm animal in trouble should be taken to a veterinarian for treatment immediately. The problem is that there are just not enough veterinarians to go around and provide the essential treatment on poultry factory farms, wherein hundreds or even thousands of chickens are typically penned indoors. Workers or keepers on industrial farms have difficulty seeing signs of disease because of the overwhelming count of livestock. Therefore, medical attention is often delayed, resulting in the death and decay of hens in their coops or farms. 

Slaughter

Butcher is the most key determinant in determining the lifetime of chickens, whether they are farmed for eggs or meat. Each one of these chickens is subjected to a harrowing butcher experience. The benchmark method of slaughter in the food industry, known as live-shackle slaughter, often doesn’t do a good job of putting chickens to sleep before cutting their necks or trying to throw them into a pot of hot boiling water. It causes chickens to exploit their whole lives in agonizing pain and a terrible ending.

How Long Do Chickens Continue Living Before Being Slaughtered?

When it comes to factory farming, we’ll take a glimpse into the life of the unfortunate hens that are subjected to the tyranny of big business. Meat or egg production is the primary reason for farming chickens. How long they live depends on what they are grown for, whereas both egg-laying and broiler chickens kept for meat have much shorter lifespans than the average chicken in the world. Before they are slaughtered, layer hens that have been bred and driven to produce enormous volumes of eggs live for roughly one year after they are first brought into the world. A broiler chicken, also known as a meat chicken, has a relatively long lifespan of 47 days until slaughter.

What Chicken Breed Is the World’s Longest-Lived Chicken?

For obvious reasons, the world’s oldest chicken wasn’t raised in industrial poultry production, as you may have guessed. A pet Old English Game bird named Matilda survived at 16 years old and was maintained and cared for by her owner as a buddy. Thus, it may have led to a very long lifespan, along with the fact that it never laid eggs. You can see how horrible industrial farming is when you contrast Matilda’s longer existence with the two years lifespan of an egg layer or the two months life of a broiler chicken.

Conclusion

According to what you can read in this article, chickens’ lifespans differ depending on the breed they originate from. Even though the average lifetime of chickens is approximately 5 and 10 years, certain breeds live far beyond than others. You should be knowledgeable of the average lifespan of every breed of chickens you want to keep so that you can establish realistic expectations for them when they hatch. It is equally vital to consider the aspects that might have an influence on the lifetime of your chicken. In the end, the time and effort you put into raising and caring for your hens are worthwhile. A well-cared-for flock tends to survive longer than a poorly-cared-for flock.

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