If you live near someone who has a rooster, you have surely been awakened by their crowing. With your instant alarm clock, have you ever wondered if it’s the same rooster doing it every single day? And if it is, how long do roosters live exactly that they have been able to wake you up for years?
What is the life expectancy of a rooster?
Just like any creature on Earth, roosters can’t live forever. They can, however, live for up to 8 years or even longer, depending on some factors or circumstances. Take the case of the world’s oldest chicken. These chickens lived for more than 15 years.
When it comes to pointing out how long a rooster has lived, it can be quite challenging. There is just no formula to determine how old a rooster is exactly or how long they have been around.
If you happen to have only a couple of roosters in your flock, then perhaps there is a way for you to keep track of those that come and go and how old these chickens are. But if it’s a flock that is home to many roosters, that can definitely be a difficult thing to do.
While this is not foolproof, there might actually be some hints or signs that you can take note of. If you want to estimate how long a rooster has lived, then perhaps you can check some changes in its physical characteristics or attributes.
Take a look at their feathers
Molting is a natural occurrence in chickens, including roosters. This is the period when chickens lose their old feathers and start growing new ones. A rooster starts molting at around 12-18 months. When the rooster is young and healthy, this becomes an annual occurrence. Molting still occurs in older roosters though there might be some changes that you would notice.
A young rooster’s feathers are more vivid and vibrant. But as it grows older, it loses that vibrancy and luster. If you see an older rooster, you would probably observe how some of its feathers are paler than the new growth. There is a fading compared to the fresh feathers that they would usually get when they are molting.
Peek at their chicken legs
You can tell how old a rooster is by looking at its legs. When they are younger, the legs are smoother and the colors are even. As they age, you will see some changes. The roosters start developing their spurs. When the roosters start maturing, you would be able to see the spurs developing on the inside of their legs.
A rooster’s spurs are made of keratin and as the animal ages, they grow and harden over time. You would also see that the spurs curve more. Apart from the more obvious physical changes, you can also take a closer look at the growth ring found on the spurs.
While they might not give you the exact age given that there is no correlation between the growth rings and how old a fowl is, it would still give you an idea if the rooster has already matured or not.
Check the comb and wattle
If you take a good hard look at a rooster, you would see something red on top of its head and at the bottom of its chin. These are called the comb and wattle respectively. These help with the chicken’s blood flow and the heat.
When a rooster’s comb and wattle start showing up, it’s an indication that they are now sexually mature. A healthy rooster usually has a shiny and bright-colored comb and wattle. Any paleness to it could indicate a disease or an infection.
When the rooster matures, the comb and wattle might start drooping. It’s one of those signs that you have got a mature rooster in your midst.
How Can Make Your Rooster Live Longer?
Whether you are taking care of a rooster as a pet or as part of a flock, you want to make sure that they live a long and good life. If you want to see them live as long as possible, perhaps you need to consider these factors.
The Food The Roosters Eat
Diet plays an important part in making sure that roosters live for as long as possible. For roosters to grow healthy and well, they need a well-balanced diet. You can’t just feed them with whatever food you have.
If you leave your roosters out and about by themselves, they probably can’t help but feed on small creatures that they would come across. While this is okay, it won’t give them the nutritional needs that their bodies require.
When it comes to their diet, there might be a few things you need to consider. While it might sound like preparing and feeding roosters with healthy meals is expensive, the truth of the matter is that it actually isn’t!
Roosters Eat Both Plants and Animals
The good news is that roosters aren’t picky eaters. They can eat both plants and animals. With the combination of these types of food and some supplements, your rooster can have a well-balanced diet that gives them the vitamins and minerals that their bodies need.
Roosters need the right vitamins and minerals because if they lack one or more, it would affect their physical well-being and performance. There needs to be a balance between fat-soluble, water-soluble, and minerals so that they would be able to live healthy and productive life.
It should also be noted that too much of something is also not good for your rooster. You need to consider what types of food will work best for the roosters.
If your roosters aren’t free to roam around an open space, you might also want to throw grit in the mix. It helps them with digestion given they do not have teeth at all. If you have free-range roosters, they can find gravel and sand on their own. It’s in their nature to do something like that. So if you see them pecking on something from the ground, they are most likely looking for grit.
Their Way of Life
Just like human beings, a rooster’s lifestyle can affect their life expectancy and mortality. Take stress for example. It can affect the rooster’s well-being, most especially if it’s cooped up with many other members of the flock.
When the rooster is distressed, it can affect its physical, psychological, physiological, and social conditions. When the rooster is unhappy, this can be reflected in day-to-day life. Don’t be surprised if your rooster is not as proactive or as energetic as they usually are.
If the rooster lives a stressful and taxing life, then it might not be able to live as long as you would want them to. It’s really ideal to let roosters roam as freely as they can so as not to put them under so much pressure.
What Surrounds Roosters
The environment that surrounds a rooster can also affect them. Whether the rooster is roaming free in your backyard or inside a coop, they need to be as comfortable as possible.
As the weather can be pretty unpredictable, you need to be ready at all times. Chickens generally can’t sweat so they might feel very uncomfortable when the weather is too hot.
They must be hydrated or else they might get heat stroke or heat exhaustion. When something like this happens, it can physically harm the roosters. This can sometimes lead to death, cutting short their life expectancy.
Apart from the weather elements, you should also be wary of predators that are looming around. While the roosters can defend themselves, it’s not always the case, most especially when there are bigger predators out there.
It is your obligation as the owner of the roosters to make sure that they are always protected. If your roosters are in a large outdoor space, you can try putting up thick hedges or shrubs to keep predators away.
Since roosters crow at certain times of the day, it is easier for predators to track them. So you must be able to put up safety barriers that would keep them away from potential attackers.
Look into the Rooster’s Gene Pool
How long a rooster lives also depends on its overall health. There are times when a rooster looks pretty healthy at birth but grew up with health issues that affect their quality of life.
If you are planning on owning roosters, then you should take a good look at its gene pool. Perhaps you can check how long its parents or siblings lived and if they had any health issues. It’ll give you an idea if the rooster you want to take home might encounter possible health hazards.
A Rooster Deserves A Good Long Life
A rooster, whether kept as a pet or as the king of your coop deserves to live a good long life. How long roosters live exactly depends on so many different factors and you need to make sure you consider all of these. While it might not be a walk in the park, at the end of the day, your roosters deserve all that because they do contribute to your flock.