How Long Does a Chicken Live?

It depends whether or not they are LUCKY.  Hens on a mass production egg farm can expect an unpleasant one or two year lifespan before they are brutally slaughtered.  Not a rosy picture, but wait, it’s even worse if a chicken hatches as a rooster. He will be granted only five or six months before his life also comes to a screeching halt.  One may be somewhat luckier than the other… but quite frankly I’m not sure which one.

Backyard chickens can live eight to ten years in an ideal situation. Meaning, quality grub, green fixin’s, fresh water, shelter, and space to exercise their instinctual behaviors. Of course there are always chickens with that special  gusto for life who continue scratching in the dirt far beyond the norm.

The older a hen gets the less eggs she lays. Her production cycle may even cease altogether. But this is just a part of their change of life, same as ours. Chickens grow old, but  but let’s not overlook their other valuable ageless contributions. They provide an endless amount of fertilizer for your garden, eat ticks, flies, mosquitoes, and the creepy crawlers that destroy the foliage in your yard. Chickens are hard workin’ bug eating machines that are quite happy to earn their keep…  at every stage of their life.

Dual purpose chickens are classified as birds raised for meat and eggs, seems to me the definition is lacking another option.

Author: amy elizabeth

Writer, Author, Artist, Chicken Keeping Resource Blogger

15 thoughts on “How Long Does a Chicken Live?”

  1. We have only had our chickens since June 2012, but even when they stop laying I could never part with them, they are such fun to watch! I hope they live to a ripe old age and have a long and happy life.

  2. when I buy a chicken at the supermarket and it says, “young chicken,” how old do you think that would be?

  3. When I lived on the ranch I accidentally ran over one of Mr Knights (my neighbor) free ranging chickens while on my way to town.
    I felt terrible so I stopped, grabbed up the chicken and went to his door with it. After taking the chicken from me he said, “This old girl knew she was dying. I bet you didn’t run her over so much as she willingly stepped it front of your vehicle. She’s been pecking that road side for well over ten years now hunting grasshoppers and whatnot. Not once have I ever seen her step onto the road top. No, it was her time to go and she took it.”
    I had forgotten about this incident until I read your post on how old a chicken lives. Thanks for the memory 🙂

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