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A chicken is a wonderful, friendly, fun, and lively animal that adds a lot of character and joy to any household or farm that it is a part of. Not only are chickens fun companions and good for a family, they also produce eggs that are great for your diet or a wonderful product to sell.
Many people wonder how long a chicken’s life cycle and growth rate is. Some people question when a chicken is fully grown and at what time they should expect it to be considered a mature adult. Every chicken varies and is different but there are some reliable benchmarks that you should follow when you are wondering about the growth of your chicken.
so, How Long Does it Take for a Chicken to Grow? A Chicken will go through different stages of growth throughout its life span. Incubation will take about 21 days then a hatchling will take about 3-6 weeks to start developing feathers and for a chicken to fully mature is about 16-24 weeks. A chicken survives on average, 8-10 years.
You may be more interested in different factors of a chicken’s growth, such as when it’s at eating size or how long it takes to start laying eggs. This article plans to answer all those questions and more.
How Long Does it Take for a Chicken to Grow
Let’s take a quick overview of a chicken’s growth from egg to death.
- The life span of a chicken begins with the formation of an egg within a hen’s body. The entire laying procedure takes around 25 to 26 hours per egg.
- It takes about 21 days for the egg to hatch into a fully-fledged chick once it has been laid.
- Between 3 and 6 weeks of age, baby chicks lose their down and begin developing their feathers, as well as new deep red combs and wattles. Because the pace of growth varies based on factors like breed and heredity, see your veterinarian if you suspect a problem.
- Normal growth rates indicate that it will take 100 to 170 days before you can proudly declare that you have a fully developed feathered pet that will lay beautifully wholesome eggs.
I did a related article on when do Rhode Island Reds start laying, If you have or are thinking about getting this breed then it would be a useful article for you.
I also did another related article on when do ISA Brown chickens start laying. Both these breeds are known for producing plenty of eggs and are popular among chicken-keepers.
When chickens reach about 6 – 7 years of age they generally stop producing eggs – Learn more in-depth information on what age do chickens stop laying eggs here in my article.
A typical chicken’s life expectancy ranges from 8 to 10 years.
How Long Does it Take for a Chicken to Mature
Chicken maturation is pretty reliable and most chickens follow the same timetable when it comes to their maturity. Egg-producing maturity usually comes about 16 and 24 weeks of age. As long as a chicken is healthy and in a good environment, there should be no problem with it meeting this timetable.
What exactly does mature mean? Essentially, a chicken is mature when it has reached its sexual maturity and can begin developing and laying eggs.
If you want to know what the Best Egg-Laying Chickens are, then check out this article on the top ten egg layers.
When chickens attain sexual maturity and begin producing eggs, they are considered adults. Depending on the breed, this usually happens between 16 and 24 weeks of age, however, some individuals within a breed will develop more swiftly or slowly than others. A baby chicken is considered mature when it reaches the age of 18 weeks.
How Big Do Chickens Get
No two chickens are the exact same so some chickens may grow to be much larger than expected while others might be much smaller. It is hard to determine just how big a chicken will end up being once it reaches maturity as it can grow between 4 – 15 lbs
There are many different types of chicken breeds and each is unique and slightly different in their own way. Therefore, it is hard to cite the exact size of any given chicken. However, there are some reliable numbers related to chicken growth and size and weight that should give you a good idea of what to expect for your chicken.
Typically, large fowl chickens can weigh anything between 4 and 15 pounds for little hens and about 15 pounds for the largest roosters. That’s a wide range. The very popular Bantam chickens come in a variety of sizes too. They can range in size from a few ounces for the smallest to over two pounds for bigger bantams.
If you are interested in this then check out how much does a chicken weigh for more information.
How Long Does it Take for a Chick to Grow Into a Chicken
When a chicken is firstborn, it will look like an adorable ball of fluff, better known as a chick. These chicks will be very cute and won’t be doing much in the way of physical activity. However, in a short time they will soon be a full-grown chicken. The timetable for the growth of a chicken is very reliable and you should be able to estimate just when a chick will transform into a full-grown chicken.
After about three or four weeks, you will notice that your chicks are growing more feathers and starting to rapidly grow. They still have a long way to go but they are well on their way to being adults.
After about five weeks, your chicken will be even larger and will have its first adult feathers. Eight weeks into their lives, they will grow even more and will begin eating on their own more and sorting through their pecking order. But at this stage, the chickens are just considered teenagers.
Perhaps the biggest moment in a chicken’s life is when it has reached sexual maturity and can start laying eggs. This happens around the 18 week mark. That is when most consider a chicken to be fully grown, a real adult.
How Long Does it Take for a Chicken to Grow to Eating Size
Many chicken owners raise their chickens to a size that is suitable for consumption. Some individuals keep chickens for eggs (or even just as pets), while others raise them for meat.
Varying chicken breeds require different amounts of time to mature to the point where they can be eaten. If you want to consume your chickens, though, you should grow broilers.
Broilers are birds that have been carefully bred for rapid development and are slaughtered when they reach a weight of around four pounds, generally between the ages of seven and nine weeks.
Some other breeds of chickens and how long it takes for them to reach eating size are as follows:
|Cornish Game Hen||5 Weeks of Age|
What Makes a Chicken Grow Fast
If you want to make your chicken grow large in a short amount of time, there are many tricks that farmers and chicken owners use to achieve that goal.
One of the best things you can do to help your chicken grow fast is to give it plenty of space. If it is living in a closed, tight coop with many other chickens, it won’t have the proper area to stretch out and really grow. This will cause it to be smaller than you would like. If you want your chicken to grow large, you should ideally give it a coop that is 1.3 square foot per chicken.
Additionally, you will need to provide your chicken with a well-balanced and nutritious diet if you want it to grow large. Make sure you supply your chickens with food that is nutritious and healthy and full of proteins, vitamins and nutrients.
Learn more about how much to feed chickens to keep them healthy here
Your chickens should also always have access to water during the day. This is another step to creating a chicken that is healthy and strong in a short amount of time.
If you want your chickens to grow quickly and soon become strapping and large, you need to always monitor them to make sure they are eating well and drinking a lot too. Starvation can happen with chickens, even though they are natural foragers. If you aren’t keeping their coop well stocked with food, that is the best way to create malnourished and sickly birds.
Even if your birds are healthy, there is a chance that disease could make itself known within a chicken coop. Disease runs rampant among chickens and it is vital that you keep an eye on your flock to make sure none of them are getting sick. Make sure you notice major changes in behavior or chickens that look injured or fatigued. Other signs of illness include watery eyes, pale color, and a fluffed-up look like the bird is disheveled. These are signs of sickness and will definitely prevent your chicken from growing to its full potential and size.
To summarize; how long does it take for a chicken to grow – A chicken will have different stages of growth until it reaches full egg-laying maturity after about 160 days. This will vary depending on the health, breed, and condition of the chicken but that’s a good average for most chickens.