Chickens are domestic birds Kept majorly as a source of food and rarely as pets. Can you believe it, long ago, the rearing of the bird was for special ceremonies like cockfighting. Research has shown that there are numerous chickens in the world than any other bird. Well then, have you ever asked yourself how do they live? The answer is just here with you.
The answer to this question is that it depends. There is no measured lifespan for all the farmers’ fowls. Instead, their lifespan primarily depends on various factors. It is estimated that on an average the bird may live between 2-8 years, the variables still apply.
What factors affect the lifespan of chickens?
Illness in is the number one factor that farmers’ fowl farmers face. Whereas many diseases that commonly affect them are not deadly, some are life-threatening. A condition like fowl pox, a virus that stops the egg production of eggs, is rampant. Another disease is fowl cholera; it damages the organs and their joints. Coccidiosis is also a common disease. It is fatal and makes them lose appetite. It as well prevents their system from accessing the required nutrients. A more contagious disease is bird flu. Just like human beings, they can also have the flu. The flu spreads fast, especially when the birds get crowded together. Others include; Salmonellosis, Marek’s disease, and many others.
We should not forget lice and parasites inclusive of; mites, lice, and worms, negatively affecting them. They cause skin irritation, anemia, feather damage, and discomfort. Generally, they slowly drain away their body energy reserves and intently reduce their overall lifespan.
To curb these problems, try to dust their coop as many times as you can. It will enable them to live comfortably, happy, and longer. Do not forget to worm your chickens!
2. Diet and Nutrition
For one to live longer, one must follow a healthy diet. This is not any different from farmers’ fowls. One needs to feed the birds with a balanced diet. A balanced diet must have various nutrients. These nutrients include; carbohydrates (to give them energy), proteins (to build their tissues), minerals (for bone and feather formation, as well as nails and beak), and vitamins (enhance proper growth and development). These nutrients will go a long way in strengthening their body and poultry production.
Various breeds and ages are different; their feeding should also be different. For instance, little chicks eat the starter feed. Hens need a feed rich in calcium to produce eggs. If you want more meat, feed them with enough protein.
One should not forget to give the farmers’ fowls water continually. It is essential as food without water is like a vehicle without enough fuel. Do not also overfeed the birds as they grow over it and become inactive.
3. Proper housing
Where chicken live adversely affects the longevity of the birds. Yes, back chickens were kept together with other animals. They could freeze to death or be tampered upon by the larger animals. Nowadays, this is not the situation. A chicken farmer can build a coop that keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer. It also keeps them safe and secure from predators. They can always run inside if they face an attack. A farmer can as well place proper bedding for them to rest and lay eggs comfortably.
One should note that proper ventilation of the coop is crucial. It enables them to get access to enough oxygen and to keep away respiratory problems. The simple fact is that house a chicken the same as you. If you do not do this, you risk a lot.
4. Living environment
It is, without a doubt, the conditions in which chickens are in contribute to their lifespan. The one kept in a clean, warm, and dry coop with adequate water and food will make them live longer. Compared to one that is in a filthy state with poor feeding and dehydration. It will have a low chance of living for long.
A chicken’s lifespan depends on its genetics. There is a vast difference between a hybrid and a heritage breed. A hybrid is for egg-laying And a few for meat. Heritage ones are the ones that have grown in a natural environment. Hence, the organism has not in any way been altered by intervention from humans.
That in mind, heritage breeds live longer than hybrid ones because the latter produces eggs in large quantities under a short period. After about two to three years of life, they stop laying eggs and get slaughtered for their meat.
The heritage ones are the healthiest between the two. They can live up to 15 years when reared in a good environment. In short, hybrids are majorly for quantity as opposed to heritage breeds, which is for quality.
Taking proper care of their welfare and health issues enhance their lifespan. Today much progress is made on the research of chickens. It has resulted in their wellness as the diseases are correctly understood.
Long ago, finding a veterinarian who has specialized in poultry was hard to find. Today they are much easier to locate. Taking farmers’ fowl to the vet or calling a vet once in a while is positively encouraged. It enables them to get diagnosed and treated. They also receive first-aid where fractured and prescribed for proper medication.
Factors that cause sudden death to chickens
Unfortunately, not all of them experience the full lifespan. It is prevalent for some farmers’ fowl to succumb to various causes. One main one is predation. Prediction is a common cause of premature chicken death. It occurs when animals like hawks, snakes, wild dogs, and cats regularly hunt for them. If there is any way you can prevent this from happening with sturdy housing, kindly do. Do this, putting in mind that some predators are very smart and tenacious. Rodents can also pose a threat. A rodent like a rat can cut through chicken wire and get access to them. We all have a clue of what will happen next if they manage to get in.
Accidental poisoning is also the main reason why some chickens die prematurely. They get poisoned when they are outranging. As they roam they might eat poisonous plants or contaminated food just about anywhere. Iodine can also poison them. It is for a fact that chickens take cattle salt and not table salt. When your chicken is roaming, how do you do it will not take iodine food, which is poisonous to them? You can never tell. That is why it is imperative to give your chickens water as the water can dilute the salt concentration if taken. It can as well rescue the life of the chicken.
- To prevent diseases, constantly vaccinate your chicken. It will prevent diseases like; Marek’s disease, fowl cholera, fowl pox, infectious bronchitis, newcastle disease.
- Ensure when feeding the chickens, you add additives to their feed. One of them is coccidiostat to prevent coccidiosis. Also, add premix to kill the impurities in the feed. If you don’t make the feed yourself, ensure the one you purchase has them.
- Keep cleaning your farmers’ fowls’ coop as much as possible. Ensure you remove the beddings and shavings and replace them with clean ones.
- Clean the feeders and waterers as well to prevent parasites, mold, and ammonia from building up. It will prevent diseases like fungus, parasitic infections, and chicken’s feet.
- As much as possible, keep deworming them for worms.
- Keep them in a large enough coop which will make them not get crowded and infect each other if one is unwell. It will also prevent the farmers’ fowls from having stress because they tend to compete for space. It will make them have a healthy mindset and go about their business (laying eggs) with ease and comfort.
- Feed the chickens with quality feed to keep them healthy and disease-free. It is because the food will boost their immune system and make them fit to fight these diseases.
- Frequently have a vet check them out for proper diagnosis and medication.
- Ensure they have proper housing and fence the surroundings to keep off predators.
To sum up, raring chickens that live longer depends on many factors. They include; how you feed them, house them, their environment, genetics, diseases and illness, veterinary care, and last but not least, predation. It takes a lot of time, effort, dedication, and devotion for farmers to enable the farmers’ fowl to live long. Sixteen years is the most extended lifespan a chicken named Matilda was recorded in the Guinness Book. Yes, farmers’ fowls can live up to 15 to 20 years if well taken care of and manage to make it through all the dangers in life. Wouldn’t you wish for yours to live the same way? Pick up the challenge and adequately take care of your chicken. It is as simple as that, see if your farm fowl will beat the record.