Raw chicken, whether whole or in pieces, should only be refrigerated for a maximum of two days before use. Storage beyond this period requires freezing, which extends the lifespan to one year for whole birds and nine months for pieces.
To maximize the amount of time raw chicken remains safe, keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. This usually means the bottom shelf, as far from the door as possible.
Once chicken is cooked, its refrigerated lifespan is extended slightly. Cooked chicken leftovers stay good for three to four days in the refrigerator, although sauces and wet preparations may shrink this time slightly.