Peanut: The Pet Chicken With a World Record
In two years, she’ll break another record.
By: Kirsten Brooker | October 25, 2023 | 591 Words
When you think of a pet, what are the first things that come to mind – something like dogs, cats, fish, and maybe even snakes or iguanas? There are likely few who would have said chickens. Yes, many people have chickens on their farms, but very few keep them in the house as pets. This life is a reality for the intelligent, old chicken, Peanut. Peanut is breaking records as the oldest living chicken at the age of 21. If she lives a few more years – which seems very likely – she will break even more records.
Born in 2002, Peanut began her journey struggling to emerge from her egg. Her owner, Marsi Darwin, thought that the egg had rotted and started to throw it away when she noticed a chick inside. The chick, soon to be named Peanut, was born without an egg tooth (the part of the beak that allows chicks to break through the eggshell).
When Marsi realized a baby was inside, she carefully helped remove it. Unfortunately, the momma chicken did not want anything to do with the oddball chick, so Marsi raised it from a baby to a full-grown hen. Once Peanut was old enough, Darwin placed her in the coop with the rest of the chickens, where she lived for the next 13 years.
In the winter of 2017, Peanut rushed to the farm’s main house to escape from the cold Michigan air. She refused to return to the frigid chicken coop, forcing Darwin to build a small living area on the house’s porch, which tended to stay a little warmer.
“We had an old parrot cage stored there, so I put some straw and food and water in it, and that was it. She had picked her home for the winter,” Darwin said.
From then on, Peanut would find sanctuary from the cold in her makeshift home on the porch every winter. She even had a few followers who went to the cozy spot with her. Over the next four years, several chickens died of old age. Peanut and her daughter, 15-year-old Millie, were relocated to the main house to prolong their lives and keep them safe.
Her old age can be attributed to a healthy diet, exercise, and much love from her human counterparts. To this day, Peanut’s favorite activity is to snuggle in with Marsi and watch television.
Most chickens live between three and seven years, so it is no wonder that Peanut has earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living chicken. However, she is not the oldest chicken who ever lived. Muffy, who died in 2012, lived to be 23.
Do you think Peanut will beat Muffy’s record? A chicken living such a lavish lifestyle would surely have a fighting chance.
Interesting Facts About Chickens
Chickens are not typically thought to be intelligent animals, so some of these facts may come as a surprise.
- Chickens love a challenge. Some chickens would rather work for their food than eat what is readily available.
- Chickens have a great sense of smell. They prefer the scent of vanilla and despise the way garlic smells.
- Chickens can see more colors than humans.
- Chickens can use sounds to anticipate what will happen.
- Clucking is an actual form of communication and has 24 variations the chickens use to speak to each other.
- Chickens can count, at least to some extent. They can recognize smaller and larger groups and discern their place in the flock’s pecking order even when they all look the same.