Rooster Lifespan: How Long Do Roosters Live?

Written by Volia Schubiger
Updated: June 27, 2023
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Roosters, on average typically live to be about five to eight years old.

No alarm system is more effective than a rooster roosting right at dawn in your backyard. In both rural and urban regions, roosters play an essential role in the daily lives of people. A rooster (order Galliformes) is an adult male chicken that watches for its hen and protects the territory, keeping predators and other dangers at bay on a daily basis. Roosters are truly essential for raising the quantity of the chicken flock and, as a result, are economically useful for farmers and everyday people who raise chickens. 

But how much do you actually know about this fascinating and brightly colored bird? Are you curious to learn more about this animal that has been mentioned in folklore around the world? We’ve got the rundown on the rooster lifespan and more interesting facts in case you’re interested in owning a rooster! 

How Long Do Roosters Live?

Rooster standing on a pole and crowing.

In captivity, roosters can live up to 15 years.

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On average, roosters can live between 5-8 years. However, in captivity when they are properly cared for, their average lifespan increases to 10-15 years. Unlike hens, roosters are less tame and spend the majority of their life on high alert to defend the other birds. As a result, they often have a shorter life than female chickens.

This is apparent when you take a look at the longest-living chickens ever. According to the official Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest rooster died of heart failure at the age of roughly 12 years. Compare this to Matilda, a Red Pyle chicken who worked as an assistant to magician Keith Barton, and lived to be 16 years old. She was verified by Guinness World Records as the World’s Oldest Chicken

With a better grasp of the rooster’s lifespan, let’s look at how they grow from a young chicken to the large and colorful rooster we all instantly recognize. 

The Average Rooster Life Cycle 

The life cycle of a rooster is pretty intriguing! Learning all about how a small egg turns into a hen or rooster is enough to amaze even the least enthusiastic animal lover. Let’s explore the 3 main stages in detail below: 


A hen must first mate with a rooster before she can lay a clutch of fertilized eggs. Once the eggs have been fertilized, she will begin to lay an egg which will take around 25 hours. In the wild, most birds lay only until a clutch is complete, after which they incubate all of the eggs. Hens are known to “become broody” at this point. The broody hen will cease laying and instead, concentrate on egg incubation. If she is disturbed or removed, she will “sit” or “set” on the nest, fluffing up or pecking in defense.


The chick within the egg will typically grow for 21 days, feeding on the egg yolk as it grows. The young chick uses its ‘egg tooth’ to peck a hole in the eggshell to break itself free.

At roughly 5 days old, a chick will begin to grow its first actual feathers, and at around 12 days, the chick will begin to exhibit distinct bone development, as well as wing feathers. Under the supervision of their moms, baby chickens will continue to grow and develop, acquiring normal chicken behaviors such as roosting and foraging.

Adult Chicken 

In general, chickens are considered adults when they attain sexual maturity and begin producing eggs. This happens when the hens are between 16 and 24 weeks old, depending on the breed. Young roosters achieve sexual maturity at about 4 to 5 months of age, producing sperm and beginning to act like adult roosters. They can continue to be fertile for many years. 

Factors That Impact A Rooster’s Lifespan 

A Black Australorp rooster walking along eating in a field of grass and clover.

Roosters in captivity live longer than those in the wild.


There are several factors that will impact a rooster’s lifespan. Their lifespan is entirely dependent on the rooster’s living conditions, as well as whether they live in the wild or in captivity.

Some of the main factors include: 

  • Predators: Humans are the most dangerous predators of roosters as they routinely slaughter them for food. Roosters will sometimes be forced to participate in cockfighting competitions, but this is prohibited in many countries. Many other natural predators include opossums, bobcats, snakes, raccoons, hawks, owls, and skunks.
  • Environmental conditions: Roosters can withstand cold temperatures, but they require refuge to withstand severe weather. This is why roosters are found all around the world except for Antarctica. They need to be in fairly mild temperatures and too hot or too cold temperatures can hurt them and can cause death. 
  • Genes: Throughout the years, roosters have been purposely bred for specific purposes. This includes helping to increase reproduction rates in order to increase the output of poultry for food. Sometimes, however, these genetic modifications can result in fatal consequences. 

How To Extend The Lifespan Of Your Pet Rooster 

Largest chickens - Brahma rooster

Roosters grow well in fields with small flocks and plenty of herbs, grasses, and plants.

©Patri Sierra/

Roosters have been domesticated for years all across the globe. Due to this, they have become quite pleasant pets to have as they are pleasant, sociable, and have a more docile nature. 

For those of you interested in keeping a pet rooster, these are the best tips to keep them alive and happy for longer: 

  • Diet & Nutrition: Diet and nutritious feed play an important role in ensuring that roosters live as long as possible. Roosters enjoy fresh corn, rice, cheese, and noodles. You may occasionally offer them leftover food while dining with your family. Leafy foods such as greens, lettuce, and Russian kale are also popular with roosters. Feeding roosters too much meat might cause them to become hostile, so try to limit this.
  • Enough water: Roosters will frequently forget to drink water if it is not nearby and readily available. Fill shallow trays with fresh water on a regular basis and position them next to their meal. Make sure they drink enough water, especially if the weather is hot.
  • Keep their coop clean: You’ll want to ensure that you keep the rooster’s coop clean. A tidy coop helps to keep your flock disease-free. 

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About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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