Cockatiels are native to the semi-arid regions of Australia. In the wild the average cockatiel age span is about 10-14 years. These are intelligent and social birds who mate for life and enjoy being with others of their kind. These gregarious avians get plenty of exercise while they are on their birdy errands. They are generally busy foraging for food and taking care of their families. Living in the wild, while immensely rewarding, also contains deadly threats from predators.
In captivity, cockatiels can live an average of 5-10 years longer than their wild counterparts depending on the care and emotional state of the bird. It has been confirmed that the oldest cockatiel lived to 29 years of age.
What is Important to Increase the Cockatiel Age Span?
If the cockatiel is a caged bird it needs to take flight no less than twice a day. A good tip is to train him to stand on your finger first. Feed or give him his favorite treat in his cage after his exercise. This will entice him to return easily. Be aware that a cockatiel can fly within a short time after having its feathers trimmed. Cockatiels require more frequent wing clipping than other parrots.
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Annual Visit to the Veterinarian
A once a year vet visit is imperative to keeping a healthy bird. Topics that you may not have deemed important about the bird’s health may be discussed. This will keep you more aware of what to look for and hopefully avoid a potential illness. Some signs to be aware of are the following: feathers fluffed for long periods of time, change in droppings for more than two days, sneezing or discharge from nose or mouth, weight loss and decreased appetite. Sitting at the bottom of the cage for an extended period is a sure sign of un-wellness. The cockatiel age span will certainly be shortened if proper attention is not given to its health.
Egg binding and chronic egg laying are the main health concerns of female cockatiels. Because these conditions seriously deplete her body of calcium and other necessary minerals, she should be fed a healthy low-fat diet which is calcium fortified . If fed a seed only diet which is high in fat, she will be susceptible to fatty liver disease. A cuttlebone is a good source of dietary calcium. It normally comes with a set of clips that attaches to the side of the cage. Another option is to secure it with a plastic tie. If the bird is showing no interest, break off some small pieces and put in the food dish. Another method is to grind up the cuttlebone with a mortar and pestle and mix with the food.
Place the cage close to where you and your family gather frequently. Cockatiels love to be in the center of activity. Be aware that they are sensitive to smoke, gases, smells and drafts. Locate them away from the kitchen and windows.
Be vigilant and alert to even the smallest changes pertaining to behavior and droppings. Cockatiels are affectionate birds who include your as their family. If you are away for an extended period you will be missed. This occurrence and a lack of attention may cause depression. A way to tell the mood of a cockatiel is by his crest feathers. Straight-up crest feathers can mean he is interested in something or suddenly startled. If he is unhappy or defensive, the feathers are flattened down. He may even hiss. Slightly held back crest feathers with fluffed cheeks is synonymous with a feeling of contentment.
In the wild cockatiels eat a large variety of foods. Mimic this natural diet to deep the bird interested and healthy. The staple of the food regimen should be 75% good quality commercial cockatiel pellets and 25% commercial birdseed. Supplements to any diet are always beneficial. Because sometimes they can be picky, offer fresh fruits and vegetables. These should make up no more than 20% of the overall diet. Be sure to shred or chop these fresh foods into small pieces.
Spinach, lettuce, grapes, and apples seem to be the most favorited by cockatiels. Also try melon, kiwi, berries and papaya. Feel free to rotate these choices and give every other day or so. Millet spray and honey sticks are excellent treats to be given about once a month. Most importantly, make sure you provide clean filtered drinking water daily. Do not position a perch above a water dish as the droppings will likely end up there.
A list of forbidden foods that should Never be offered because they are extremely toxic to cockatiels are listed below:
- caffeine (tea and coffee)
- milk and cream
- raw potato
- rhubarb (all parts, including the leaves)
Also, do not give your cockatiel access to any part of a houseplant.
Housing and toys
It is imperative to choose a cage that is at least twice the size of the bird’s wingspan. Cockatiels thrive in pairs increasing the average cockatiel age span. Adjust the size of the cage to accommodate their needs and comfort. Use a variety of perches at dissimilar heights and thicknesses. Different perch textures will help keep the feet healthy.
There is a wide variety of toys especially made for cockatiels available on the market. The average age span of this bird can be lengthened by the amount of joy and interest in life he experiences. Cockatiels love to chew and fiddle with different objects of wood, cardboard and paper. Hiding treats inside a small paper box will be entertaining for both the cockatiel and you. Males enjoy a few mirrors or reflective items. New toys that are challenging and engaging should be presented to replace older ones. This will make the cage a comfortable home and a fun place to live.
Even though the average cockatiel age span in captivity is about 20 years, the quality of life and the companionship of these endearing birds can extend even longer with loving care. If you have adopted your bird and are curious as to how old it might be, research How To Tell the Age of a Cockatiel. Being informed is crucial to being a good pet owner.