Science and TechAnimals and Insects


Meet Peanut, the world's oldest living chicken

The hen's dramatic start to life might have helped her make it to the exceptional age of 21.
World's oldest chicken
Posted at 8:53 AM, Sep 06, 2023

If you have cats, you can reasonably expect them to live up to 20 years. But chickens? Their lifespan is usually five to 10 years at most.

But one Michigan couple, Bill and Marsi Darwin, have a pet chicken who's 21 years old. Their hen Peanut was born on their no-kill farm in the spring of 2002 after Marsi discovered an abandoned egg and heard a little chirp.

"I gently peeled her out of the egg, and there was this wet little mess, sitting in my hand," Marsi, a retired librarian, told the Washington Post.

Here is Peanut as a chick:

World's oldest hen, Peanut, as a chickGuinness World Records

Twenty-one years later, Peanut has been awarded a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s oldest living chicken.

Marsi raised Peanut in her home for the first several months of her life and eventually moved her outside with the rest of her chickens. Peanut is smaller than the Darwins’ other chicken, weighing only about one pound. She is a Bantam chicken, which is a smaller-than-average breed.

A few years ago, Marsi moved Peanut and her daughter Millie back into the house, where they have a coop in a picture window of the living room. She clearlyholds her own around the couple’s house cats.

"Peanut is a sassy little chicken — if she doesn't get her blueberry yogurt in the morning, I definitely hear about it," Marsi told the Washington Post. "She's healthy and she's spoiled."

In many ways, she's a typical pet whose days involve a lot of sleeping, eating and cuddling with humans. She and Millie, who's about 15, like to sit on Marsi's lap and watch TV. Marsi says that Peanut answers to her name and that she is affectionate and feisty.

Lately, though, she has been getting on in age. "Peanut is a doddering old lady now," Marsi told the Guinness Book of World Records. "But she has had quite a life."

This story was originally published by Jennifer Graham Kizer at Simplemost.