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How Long do Roosters Live?

How Long do Roosters Live?

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How long do roosters live? When owning Backyard Chickens, you should have a full record of your entire flock and breeds.

The record should show the trend and progress of each chicken breed in terms of productivity, growth, expenses, and lifespan.

Speaking of the lifespan of a chicken, there’s a need to know how long individual chicken breeds can live and that’s important when estimating their productivity against the expenses of raising them.

Our focus here is on roosters, and we will find out how long they live, including the underlying factors influencing their lifespan.

Roosters can live up to 5 to 8 years on average, but others can live 10 to 15 years, depending on many factors.

A chicken’s lifespan is affected by their level of freedom, the environment they are raised in, and the quality of their care.

When they are well cared for, roosters can live relatively longer than other domestic animals, such as dogs, though rare.

For instance, they can live for about 7 to 10 years when left to free-range in the backyard.

Their lifespan can be extended or shortened due to the type of food they are fed, especially when confined. 

So, when you feed your roosters lives on layers ration only, their lifespan will dramatically be shortened. This is because the large amounts of calcium in the feed layers affect their kidneys and other organs.

Thus impacting their health negatively. Longevity is all about protecting the roosters against an invasion of predators and diseases more than anything else. 

What are the Conditions Affecting the Longevity of Roosters?


Your roosters’ housing type will determine how long they might live. This should make you understand that a clean draught free coop is ideal for the survival of your chickens, especially roosters.

The chicken coop should be well-secured and complete with protected runs to help extend the life of your chickens.

All you have to do is to keep the coop and the foraging areas clean to maintain the health status of your roosters. Your chickens will grow strong and live longer than expected when in good health.


Chickens are social animals that like close interaction with each other or humans. This often happens when socialization has existed since they were chicks to adulthood.

That could be why roosters make good pets and live long lives.

Unfortunately, some people misuse these lovely birds by forcing them to fight each other in what seems like a profit-making competition.

How long do Roosters live


Like other animals, chickens also need a well-balanced diet to grow healthy.

But if they are left to fend for themselves, they will likely feed on all types of food, such as small insects and rodents found in grassy areas.

While this is a good idea, they should also have enough space in their yard or field to forage when free-ranging. On the other hand, the chickens need grit for their digestion.

If you have been observant enough, you must have seen your birds scratching and pecking the ground, looking for gravel and sand for the same reason.

In this regard, you can help them access grit by crushing oyster shells to provide calcium in their diet.


Roosters are territorial animals that will go to extreme ends to protect their hens against potential competitors.

Due to competition, you will realize that your roosters are increasingly stressed while trying to keep their territories safe. 

Parasite Infestations and Illnesses:

Many problems affect chickens and older hens, but parasites and illnesses are the most common.

These two problems can affect the lifespan of your chickens if not solved at the right time and go on for a long time.

Healthy chickens can grow fast and live a little longer than those affected by diseases and parasites. 

Deformities and Hereditary Conditions:

These two factors influence the lifespan of chickens in one way or another. A deformed rooster will not live long because it will be prone to abuse from other chickens and be a potential target for predators.

Environmental Conditions:

 A good environment should protect your roosters and other chickens against harsh environmental conditions such as rain, snow, wind, and pollution.

In addition to that, the ideal environment protects the chickens from predators. Once you provide the perfect environment for your chickens, you can rest assured that they will grow to their ripe old age.

It’s never written down in black and white how long your chickens will live, considering that you keep them for two major reasons; From having them lay their first egg to producing meat.

This means meat breeds have a shorter life span than egg layers or dual-purpose breeds. Of course, the meat breeds will be slaughtered as soon as they are mature.

At what Age do Roosters Start Crowing?

Roosters crow throughout their lives, starting at around 12 to 16 weeks old. Once they start crowing, they never stop, regardless of their age. Their favorite crowing time is early morning to welcome the new day.

During the day, especially when they are around their hens. This behavior shows their dominance and territorial nature whenever they are foraging in the company of a few hens in the backyard. 

When do Roosters Stop Growing?

Between 20 and 24 weeks, the rooster will be bigger and stronger; that is how he will look for the rest of his life. But there are a few exceptions to this observation.

For example, breeds such as the Jersey Giant take too long to fully grow. This breed takes a whole year to get big as compared to others. A hybrid would grow about 20 percent faster than other breeds.

Is it Easy to Tell the Age of a Rooster?

It is never easy to tell a chicken’s exact age, particularly the rooster.

Luckily, you can apply a few simple ways to find an accurate age of a rooster.

Let’s look at each one of these common signs that will help you make the right guess about your chicken’s age:

The Legs:

More often than not, a young chicken will have colored smooth legs with small spurs. The moment a cockerel ages to become a rooster, there are visible changes that take place.

The spurs grow longer and curve while the legs look worn out. A close observation will reveal a few rings on the spurs; you can count those rings to know the age of your rooster in years.


Even though chickens molt, they don’t change all the feathers on their bodies. This can be seen clearly when some feathers are faded and the rest are newly grown.

This way, you can guess the age of your rooster based on these observable changes.

Comb and Face: 

You will always see some scars on your roosters’ comb from constantly squabbling with each other. A sign of frostbite is missing comb tips. This is an indication that your rooster is one breeding season old.

It is difficult to tell the correct age of your roosters. The fading color on the wattles and legs will help you know they are in their golden years. 

The spurs to have a clue of their age, given that this feature grows longer as the rooster ages.

Related Questions

When does a cockerel change into a rooster?

Normally, the cockerel was considered a rooster when he was allowed to roost with other flocks of the same kind.

This period would be 1 year when the cockerel is fully grown and his fertility tested. A rooster and a cockerel are almost similar. The difference between the two is their age(about 9 months to one year)

When is the rooster considered to be mature?

A rooster starts to mate at 16 weeks despite having less fertility and inexperience.

But most chicken keepers consider their roosters mature when they are one year old.

In Conclusion:

Generally, a rooster that is in good health can live for about 15 years when subjected to the right conditions. But this is only possible if he is kept as a pet and not for meat production.

Ensure they have the best environment and will live longer as expected.

Below is a Pinterest-friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!

Lifespan of roosters

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