Life Expectancy of Ameraucana Chicks

By Jodi Thornton O'Connell

High egg yields and unique characteristics such as blue legs, feather beards and tufted ears make Ameraucanas among the country's favorite laying breeds for backyard enthusiasts. While backyard Araucanas can live more than 10 years, the actual life span of your Ameraucana chick can vary greatly depending on its diet, genetics and exposure to predators.

Chick Survival Rate

Ameraucana chicks have been developed for hardiness in both hot and cold climates; they do not have the high mortality rate suffered by the chicks of their South American cousins the Araucanas. Order chicks from a reputable hatchery, with a minimum order of 25 chicks during cold weather or 15 chicks during warm weather to ensure they're able to huddle together for warmth during transportation. You can purchase from a feed store, usually with no health guarantees.

Egg-Laying Years

Your female chick will begin to lay eggs by the age of 6 months; a rooster will mature at 4 or 5 months. Feed your hen laying pellets or crumble, which provide nutrients to extend her life expectancy and egg production period. Both males and female should have access to outdoor areas where they can pick at vegetation and scratch for bugs and grit. Add fresh enzymes to their diet with fruit and vegetable peelings for better health and potentially longer life.

Older Chickens

Because Ameraucanas make good meat chickens as well as layers, many chickens make their way to the dinner table when their laying production decreases dramatically at about 5 years old. A healthy diet supplemented with scratch, fresh vegetables and pelleted feed can provide the nutrition needed for reaching maximum longevity. Ameraucanas have been known to live more than 10 years. The world's oldest chicken -- a red-quill muffed game hen -- living more than 22 years.

Predators

Provide your Ameraucanas with a sturdy, predator-proof pen to ensure maximum longevity. While many natural predators such as coyotes emerge at night, free-roaming dogs can devastate your flock any time of day or night. Unlike most heavy-bodied chickens, Ameraucanas are able to leap high into the air and fly short distances, making trees and wooded areas ideal for letting your chicken roam free-range. A chicken tractor, which you can move easily to allow penned birds access to fresh pasture, is another solution.