More than 20 years ago, Marsi Parker Darwin was about to throw away an abandoned chicken egg on her farm when she heard a light ‘cheep’ come from inside the rotten-looking shell.
She looked closely at the egg and eventually discovered a small crack. Carefully, she began to peel back the shell and after several minutes, she found herself face-to-face with a slimy, but alive chick in her hands.
She later realized that the small animal lacked an egg tooth, which hatching chicks normally use to break out of an egg.
She named the little chick Peanut and it grew into a healthy adult on her farm. Fast forward to 2023 and Peanut is now 21 years old, making her the oldest living chicken in the world, according to the Guinness World Records.
The previous record for the oldest living chicken in the world was set by a 12-year-old clucker named Cheddar.
Darwin has also written a children’s book about the chicken titled, My Girl Peanut and Me.
A retired librarian, Darwin, and her husband own a 37-acre farm in Michigan, where they’ve raised numerous animals over the years including parrots, corgis, ducks, chickens, peafowl, and guinea fowl.
After helping Peanut out of her shell, she placed the chick near her mother but Peanut was ultimately rejected by the hen. Left with no other choice, Darwin took the little chick inside her home, where she hand-raised her.
For the first few years of her life, Peanut lived in a small cage in the living room. Eventually, she was relocated to an outdoor enclosure on the property, where she had her other chickens. For 13 years, Peanut lived in the coop, where she became a mother to numerous chicks, many of whom she has outlived.
While Peanut is no longer at a breedable age, a one-eyed rooster seems to have had his attention on her in recent years.
Approximately six years ago, Peanut also decided on a cold winter’s day that she’d had enough of living in the outdoor coop and decided to follow Darwin back into the porch of the house.
Upon realizing that Peanut did not want to go back outside, Darwin set up a large cage for her with water, food, and straw. Not long afterward, Peanut and her 15-year-old daughter were allowed to live inside the house full-time. They now reside in a large wire coop inside the living room, where they have a view of the outdoors.
Nowadays, Peanut spends the majority of her time watching TV with Darwin or tucked inside her jacket as she works on the farm. During the summer, she sunbathes and pecks at the dirt outside.
In addition to blueberry yogurt, which Peanut happily chows down, she also eats crushed vitamin D tablets, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest chicken in history lived up to 23 years old. While Peanut is arthritic and falls over more than she used to, Darwin is optimistic that she will live long enough to beat the record.