How long do bantam chickens live?
The life expectancy of a bantam chicken is similar to standard chickens at 4 to 8 years. Some will die sooner and some may live to a ripe old age. A bantam chicken is the oldest recorded. Matilda was a red Pyle old English game bantam that lived for 16 years, apparently as an indoor pet.
The factors that effect how long a chicken lives for are:
- The breed.
- Feed and water.
- Diseases and parasites.
Some breeds are bred to live longer. I kept German bush fowl for a while and they proved to be exceptionally hardy chickens that seemed to go one forever.
Whether you chickens are free range or not and how many predators they come across will effect how long you chickens like. Free range birds are happier and have much more variety in their feed but are also more likely to be food for foxes and birds of prey.
Quality feed and fresh water will give your chickens the nutrients they need to keep themselves healthy whilst producing eggs. Dirty water or parasites for example can easily kill a chicken.
The quality of the housing and the care they get will effect how long a bird lives. Small or cramped chicken coops are not good for chickens.
Diseases and parasites can drain or kill a chicken or just make them unthrifty for their life.
What is the productive lifespan of a bantam chicken?
Bantams as a rule lay fewer eggs per week than traditional laying hens but are productive for 5 or so years. Chickens live and lay eggs for 6 years maximum. I have never seen a hen lay eggs after 7 years of age.
You will likely get 3 to 5 eggs a week from healthy young bantams in their first two years but this will taper off over time.
Eggs tend to get larger over the years and a bantam that is 5 or 6 years old may only lay 20 to 30 eggs in spring.
Below: There is always a few chickens that buck the trend, this is Dolly who turns 14 years old on Feb 1st 2021 and laid 4 eggs in 2019 at the tender age of 12.
Dolly is spending her retirement free ranging in a back garden in Australia having recently made friend with a juvenile Brush Turkey (you can just see it next to the right plant pot).
How long does a Silkie chicken live for?
Silkie chickens and roosters live for 4 to 8 years and the sexes have a broadly similar life expectancy. My oldest ever Silkie was an 11 year old cockerel.