The Aging Process:

These are the maximum and average years for some birds.
Cockatiel - 32 max - average 6 years
Pionus - 15 max - average 5 years
Budgie - 18 max - average 6 years
Canary - 20 max - average 6 years
Amazons - 80 max - average 18 to 20 years
Cockatoo - 60 max - average 15
African Greys - 50 max - average 16
Conure - max 25 - average 10 years

The above averages are low since most people do not research the care & feeding for their particular type of birds. Given the right conditions, feeding and care (and lacking any diseases) the birds should live near their maximum ages. As birds age they get more susceptible to things that affect people such as strokes and heart attacks. A bird can suffer paralysis in the wings or feet and legs or both and a second stroke may be fatal if it occurs. Some birds can recover from strokes and get the movement back in the affected area but it is rare.

Malnutrition, vitamin and mineral imbalances, diseases, stress, injuries from flying into things or attacks by other animals are some causes of early death. You must find out exactly what is proper nutrition for your bird. Check whether it eats mainly seed, and/or fruit, nuts, live food etc., and provide mineral supplements that your bird would get in the wild. Some birds enjoy spray millet, which is fattening so should be given under moderation. Mineral blocks, iodine blocks and or cuttlebone can supply minerals.

Premature aging can be caused by the improper absorption of nutrients, conversely, the aging process itself is accompanied by a reduction in the normal function of the intestinal tract. Poor absorption of nutrients is a severe problem and its symptoms are weight loss, diarrhea, dry skin, feather loss, feather deformities, weakness, fatigue, and anemia.

Proper exercise and attention are also important aspects to the life span of your bird. Chemicals in foods, second-hand smoke, contaminated water, and drugs can lower the life span of your bird(s). Medication can be used and is needed under some circumstances but always find a good avian vet before experimenting with any medication or drugs on your bird.

If a bird has been kept healthy all of its life, fewer changes will be necessary in its later years. A bird growing older should not liken to a sick or unhealthy bird. Many symptoms associated with older years are simply the result of a lifetime of neglect accompanied by nutritional deficiencies and improper care.

A bird's immune system can break down or lesson with age and degrade its protection from bacteria, viruses, or diseases. Vitamins are important in the diet such as A, C and E. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts contain these vitamins and antioxidant compounds. These aid in the removal of free radicals that attack healthy cells in the body.

Birds that suffer from internal problems related to the liver, pancreas and digestive system might need added vitamin and/or mineral supplements, which should only be prescribed by an avian vet. Most birds require the same nutrients, although each bird is biochemically different, therefore, their nutritional needs will differ.

You should not give your bird food from your table, as it can cause problems with intestinal disorders, allergies to specific ingredients, cancer, hypothyroidism, diabetes, liver, pancreas and kidney disorders, feather and skin problems, mental and emotional instability, obesity and stress.

The nutrient form of the diet is of utmost importance. I suggest a balanced diet of raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and soaked or sprouted beans and grains. I also suggest whole food nutritional supplementation for the individual bird's special needs. This type of diet is nutritious, low fat and enzyme-rich. The quality of food given is of importance.

As you aim to provide your birds with the best possible life, you will find that a diet that consists of the nutrients that would be found in their wild food is an important factor in contributing to the quality and long life that they all deserve.


E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.