When looking at getting chickens and thinking about the different breeds, most people ask themselves the question ‘how long do chickens live for?’
Different breeds of chicken have different life spans.
Breeds that have been developed for meat and egg production generally live the shortest lifespans, while heritage breeds that have had less genetic modification tend to live the longest lifespans.
Of course there are a vast range of environmental factors such as diet, health care and how well they are cared for in general that will greatly influence their lifespan.
Read on to find out more about the lifespan of the 15 most popular breeds and how you can give your chickens the longest life possible.
What this article covers
Below are some quick links. Click any of them to go straight to the section you are interested in – or just carry on reading for the full article!
15 Most Popular Breeds and their Life Spans
|Expected Lifespan 🕐
|Rhode Island Red
Hybrid vs Heritage – How Long Do Chickens Live?
In general chickens live anywhere from five to ten years.
Of course there are many different factors influencing this such as breed, genetics, the care they receive, the diet they are fed and the environment they are raised in.
Production and hybrid chickens are bred for maximum eggs and meat yield. Apart from being slaughtered fairly early in their lives for chicken meat the egg laying hens also have a shorter lifespan due to the great amount of strain continuous egg production has on their bodies.
The general lifespan for a production or hybrid chicken is around 3-5 years.
Heritage breeds are not bred to grow quickly and pump out eggs so they tend to have an easier time genetically and therefore have a longer life.
Most heritage breeds can live from 8 years -10 years, depending on the care they receive.
What Influences a Chickens Lifespan?
There are many different factors that will influence the life expectancy of your chickens.
The type of breed of your chicken determines their life expectancy. As seen in our table above, heritage breeds tend to live longer than hybrid breeds.
Just like humans, diet plays an important role in the health and life expectancy of your feathered friends. High quality nutrition will help ward off chronic disease and malnutrition causing illness.
A secure, clean and spacious coop will help prolong the health and life span of your chickens.
Free ranging your chickens is excellent for their health and well being. Having access to a variety of plants and insects improves their nutrition, happiness and immune system strength.
Predators are a significant threat to the shortening your chicken’s life span. The best insurance against predators is to ensure they have a predator proof coop and run space where they are free to roam safely.
Chickens are susceptible to some types of illness and conditions such as Marek’s disease, bumblefoot and coccidiosis. Looking after their diet, hygiene and living space greatly reduces the risk of your chickens becoming susceptible to these diseases.
Top 3 Tips to Give Your Chickens a Long Life
- Set up a comfortable coop for them. Have the coop as well insulated as possible from the cold and hot weather. The coop should be built securely to prevent predators from getting inside and attacking your chickens.
- Get your chicks or chickens from a reputable breeder and do your research on what breeds suit your lifestyle and live the longest.
- Ensure your chickens are getting a balanced, high quality diet with all the vitamins, minerals and supplementation they need. Let them forage as much as possible to add extra variety and nutrition into their diet and improve their well being.
Fun Fact – The World’s Longest Living Chickens
The oldest Living Chicken was known as ‘Blacky’, a black bantam born in 1986 and came from Geelong in Australia. This bird belonged to Veronika and Lasilav Seljak and held the record for longest living pet in the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records.
The second oldest living chicken was known as ‘Matilda’. She was a 16 year old Bantam hen from Australia who died in 2007. She was part of a magic act called Mort the Mystifying and Donna. She appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. Matilda was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2004.