We used to call Snowball “Snowboss” because, despite her diminutive size, she ruled the roost. No more. The big hens beat up on her (her comb is all healed, by the way.) At first, I couldn’t figure out why this change. Then it dawned on me – Snowball is old! We bought her 4 years ago this summer, and she was already full-grown. She’s at least five, which is aged for a chicken.
I didn’t think much about what getting old means for a chicken. Certainly, no one writes about it. The broilers at your supermarket are processed at a very young 10 to 12 weeks (did you know that?) Laying hens are only profitable for the first two years. Farms just don’t keep old chickens. But, those of us with backyard hens, do.
I’ve heard from a few people who have had chickens live to be eight, even fourteen years. If you have any advice or observations, do email me.
Meanwhile, Snowball has figured out how to have a comfortable life away from the bothersome younger girls. She visits Candy. Smart hen.