Peanut, a chicken from a no-kill farm in Michigan, is the current Guinness Record holder for the ‘world’s oldest chicken’, at 21 years, 156 days, and counting.
Chickens have an average life expectancy of five to eight years, so Peanut is somewhat of a Methuselah of the aviary world.
On January 28, 2023, she was officially crowned the world’s oldest chicken by Guinness World Records, at the ripe age of 20 years and 272 days.
She has since turned 21 and is chasing the title of oldest chicken in recorded history.
But the craziest thing about Peanut is that she almost never existed. 21 years ago, her owner was getting ready to throw a batch of rotten-looking eggs a hen had abandoned into an alligator pond when she heard a faint chirp from one of them.
“I heard a second chirp, and I realized that the chick was alive and didn’t seem to have an egg tooth to get out of its shell,” Marsi Parker Darwin recalled, referring to the part of the beak chicks use to break out of their shell. “I gently peeled her out of the egg, and there was this wet little mess, sitting in my hand.”
This little chick was tiny to begin with, but it never grew past one pound, roughly one-third of the size of the other chickens on the farm, so Marsi named her ‘Peanut’.
The Michigan native never imagined that the brown-speckled chick would be with her and her husband for over two decades. They celebrated Peanut’s birthday in May, and she’s apparently as healthy and energetic as ever.
Darwin said that she was urged to apply for a Guinness Record by a friend who is also a chicken enthusiast. He knew about a chicken named Matilda who had previously held the record at age 14, only to die a couple of years later. Peanut had already beaten her record by several years, so he convinced Marsi to apply. However, proving a chicken’s age isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
“I had some dated photos of friends and nieces and nephews who had posed for pictures with her years ago, so that was our best proof,” Darwin said.
Peanut is now well on her way to challenging the title of oldest chicken in recorded history. At about 21 years and a half, she is pretty close to beating the record set by Muffy, who was 23 years and 152 days old when she died back in 2011.