The Life and Times of a Chicken
Much like us humans the life expectancy of a chicken depends very much on the kind of life it leads. In general, in a protected environment and if they are not destined for the Colonels chopping block, chickens and ducks can live for anything between five and ten years.
Chicken Predation Facts
Obviously some will die from natural cases and if predators get hold of them, but if they are well treated and protected, they may live as long as the family dog.
One family I know of started their flock of Americanas and Silkies a number of years ago and six years down the line two of their original flock are still alive.
One died at aged four from an illness and the other at the hands, or should I say “paws” of a dog. One of the oldest birds had a broken leg and they set it at home with tongue depressors and he is still walking around. They can keep going a long time with a little common sense and some good care.
Four to seven years is a good median to work on as long as they are kept well protected from parasites and predators, and the breed of the bird also matters.
After the first four weeks of life during which they require a good deal of care, most chicks grow up to be strong and healthy. In the first stages of their growth they may need a light bulb to keep them warm, but they should be bedded down in a box with a thick layer of sawdust or straw for bedding.
Once they have reach 4 weeks they no longer need to be kept warm and are ready to wander around outside, but must still have access to warm, draft free sleeping quarters which can be locked to keep predators out.
The most common predators which pose a problem to chickens are dogs, fisher cats, raccoons, opossums, foxes, hawks and snakes which will eat baby chicks and eggs.. It’s also not such a great idea to keep two chicks together if they are of a different size, as the bigger chick may seriously injure the smaller bird, pecking it and causing it injuries.
Chickens can also display cannibalistic behavior, so check out how to deal with this. Food is also important for the health and longevity of a chicken, and feeding the correct food for the correct age of the bird is also important.
Chickens will also peck around the yard picking up insects to supplement their diet, but must also be fed correctly and regularly as well as have a clean water supply at all times.Build A Chicken House