The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Friday, June 18, 2004

The World's Oldest Chicken

While playing the blog linking game (you check out a blog you like, then check out a blog that author likes, then check out a blog that author likes), I stumbled across an article from a website claiming to be "Everything Alabama" about the world's oldest chicken. Matilda, a bantam hen, is 14 years old and counting.

I was very intrigued by this article because, believe it or not, I have a minor fascination with chickens. It was started by my father-in-law, who lives in rural Wisconsin, and had chickens for about a year. Notice I said had.

For Easter 2003, my father-in-law purchased 8 live chicks through a mail order catalog. They arrived via Federal Express. He built a coop, and there the chickens stayed during the night. During the day, the chickens were set "free" to roam the Wisconsin countryside. Unfortunately, they were picked off, one by one, by owls, hawks, and various farm dogs. When I was visiting my father-in-law last March, there was only one chicken left. As he set her "free" in the morning, I joked, "Yeah, free to get killed." The carcass of the second-to-last chicken was just over the hill, not yet picked clean. Not long after, the last chicken met the same fate.

Nonetheless, this piqued my interest in chickens, so I bought a book titled Chickens in Your Backyard to see what was involved. On page 52, I ran across an interesting couple of sentences: "We are often asked exactly how long a chicken can be expected to live. We have no success in finding out since...[c]hickens rarely die of old age." Makes sense actually. Chickens are generally eaten, if not by a dog, a hawk or an owl, then by a human. Since they don't lay many eggs after about 5 years old, there's not much point in keeping them around.

So congratulations, Matilda. You've made it to 14. Quite an accomplishment, when you think about it.


  • Yay first to post! Chickens are pretty cool, I dont eat them actually. 14 years is a LONG ass time not to have your head cut off.

    Your site ROCKS! Luv ya!

    By Blogger Vadergrrrl, at 3:32 PM, June 18, 2004  

  • I enjoy eating chickens, mainly b/c they taste good... the same goes with cows, turkeys, and portabella mushrooms. I might feel differently if I had a chicken for a pet, but I doubt it. I would, however, make my pet chicken wear a hat of some kind.

    By Blogger Dan, at 4:29 PM, June 18, 2004  

  • Vadergrrrl, I assume you're a vegetarian? I keep trying that, but it hasn't taken yet LOL

    Dan, what about pigs, lambs, and seafood? And what kind of hat would the chicken wear?

    By Blogger Oz, at 9:43 AM, June 19, 2004  

  • As a kid, I had chickens, though I'm not sure I would call them pets. It didn't change my mind about eating them. Those little buggers can be mean!

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 6:59 PM, June 21, 2004  

  • Ever have geese? Now THEY are mean!

    By Blogger Oz, at 2:36 PM, June 22, 2004  

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