The Hen That Defied Time: Peanut, the 20-Year-Old Miracle Chicken

Peanut, a hen from Michigan, USA, has been confirmed as the world’s oldest living chicken, more than two decades after surviving a near-death experience when she was abandoned by her mother.

Peanut was born in the spring of 2002, which makes her at least 20 years and 304 days old as of March 1, 2023. She is a bantam chicken, specifically a mix of Belgian d’Uccle and Nankin breeds, and was raised from birth by Marsi Darwin, a retired librarian. Bantams are smaller than standard-sized chickens but are otherwise similar in most respects.

“Peanut is now a doddering old lady, but she has had quite a life,” Marsi said.

“She has enjoyed vigorous good health all her life […] outliving many of her offspring as well as her parents and quite a few dogs, cats, and feathered friends.”


Oldest living chicken 🐔 Peanut – 20 years 304 days 🇺🇸 #chicken #pets #bantam #guinnessworldrecords

♬ original sound – Guinness World Records
Peanut’s age has been verified by her vet, Dr. Julia Parker, who first met Peanut in 2003 as a fully-grown adult hen.
Chicken lifespans vary widely, with the average being somewhere around 5-10 years. The oldest chicken ever, Muffy (USA, 1989 – 2012), was a Red Quill Muffed American Game who lived to the age of 23 years 152 days.
Peanut sitting on Marsi’s shoulder (2022)

Prior to hatching, Peanut was deserted by her mother who departed the nest along with all of her other chicks. Later, Marsi stumbled upon the cold egg and assumed it was lifeless, intending to discard it into her pond. However, at that very moment, she heard a faint chirping sound.

“I believe Peanut possessed a robust survival instinct that prompted her to ‘call out’ to me,” Marsi expressed.

Peanut as a chick (2002)

Immediately after hatching, Peanut formed an immediate attachment to Marsi. Since Peanut’s mother rejected the hatchling, she spent her first two years living inside a parrot cage in Marsi’s dining room.

Eventually, Peanut was relocated to an outdoor coop where she resided with the rest of Marsi’s flock and has continued to live a very long and healthy life.

Peanut emerging from her coop (2006)

Peanut was able to lay eggs until the age of eight, which is longer than the average lifespan of a chicken. Throughout her life, she hatched several batches of eggs and currently has several grandchildren and great-grandchildren residing in Marsi’s coop. “I’m certain she has outlived many of her offspring,” Marsi mentioned.

Although Peanut is now too old to breed, she had a “beloved rooster” named Lance when she was younger. In her recent years, Peanut has been cared for by a one-eyed rooster named Benny, according to Marsi.

Peanut (2015)

As a certified senior citizen in the world of poultry, Peanut spends her winters indoors once again, where she shares a cage with her 15-year-old daughter, Millie. Peanut’s daily routine includes a lot of sleeping and a lot of eating. Peanut and Millie also enjoy watching TV while sitting on Marsi’s lap.

In the summertime, they relish basking in the sun and “scratching around” in the dirt outdoors. Marsi characterizes Peanut as “affectionate and spirited” and notes that people are always astonished by her intellect. Peanut always responds when called by her name and “loves to be cuddled.” Additionally, Peanut adores perching on Marsi’s shoulder and nibbling on her ear.

Millie (left) and Peanut (right) (2022)

According to Marsi, the key to raising a chicken with a long lifespan is to provide them with sufficient exercise and a nutritious diet.

To keep Peanut healthy, Marsi includes crushed vitamin D tablets in her yogurt and occasionally offers her fresh fruits and vegetables as treats. Marsi also ensures that her chickens always have access to fresh, clean water with added apple cider vinegar to help prevent worm infestations.

“Above all, shower them with love!”

Peanut and her feline friends (2023)

As Peanut’s 21st birthday approaches, she can anticipate celebrating it as the oldest confirmed chicken on the planet.

In addition, she can anticipate receiving plenty of cuddles from Marsi (and even some from her rooster companion Benny!). Congratulations Peanut, you are truly remarkable!

story inspiration and image credits: guinnessworldrecords.com

Benny (left) and Peanut (right) (2022)
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