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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-04-2010, 06:39 PM Thread Starter


 
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life expectancy

I was very proud of all of the birds when they went to the vet for their well-bird checks recently. The vet said the diet I provide them is superb.

However, I was discouraged when I asked her how long I could expect them to live. She said the little ones could be expected to live 10-15 years, which was what I had always heard, but she said the big ones rarely make it past about 30 years old, even though their life expectancies are generally listed as much longer. She said Roni, the senegal, could be considered long-lived if she made it to 30, Daisy, the maximillian, the same, and even cockatoos, which are supposed to have the longest life-expectancies of all, rarely make it past 30. She said this is due to the fact that we cannot provide for them the exercise and diets that they would get in the wild, so they generally die of heart condidtions. She said that is what Alex, the famous grey, died from, and he only lived about that long.

She said she wished she had a way to take a picture of my birds' feet, because their feet looked so healthy. She wanted to take the pictures to show her other clients what birds on a healthy diet should look like. That was encouraging, and she said if anyone would have a good chance of having a long-lived bird, it would be someone who fed they way I feed. That gave me some hope. She said mine could maybe live longer because of that, and especially if we could provide them with exercise, but, still, if they make it past 30 years, that would be very unusual.

What have any of the rest of you heard? I know the occasional bird does live very long. 30 years is still a long time, but I had hoped for more with the bigger birds. I'm not young myself, but my family is long-lived in general. Do you think 30 years is the most I can hope for?


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Stanley (bourkes), Roni (senegal), Elisa (lineolated parakeet) and Doug (pacific parrotlet), Daisy (maximilian pionus), Shira (green cheek conure), Ashlynn, (grey), Taylor (princess of wales parakeet), Joelle (quaker), Benny (cockatiel)
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-04-2010, 08:37 PM
 
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I don't know, Nanay...I haven't had any of my birds very long. Good for you for providing them good nutrition. It's a definite plus for birds, animals and people. The exercise that they miss in captivity is certainly a valid point, I would think. They live very diferent lives with us, than they would in the wild....

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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I believe that the longevity of parrots in captivity is somewhat exaggerated. While I so believe that it is possible for parrots to reach ages of 50 or even 70 I think reports of larger species making it to 100 aren't entirely factual. It's kind of like dogs and horses: there is always someone saying that their dog weighs a good 50 pounds more than it does or a horse being 2 hands higher than it really is.

With all that said, we just don't know. There are always going to be long-lived parrots and short-lived parrots. The Brotogeris parakeets that I am so enamored of can reach their 20s, so I am hopeful...

All I can say is keep doing whatever it is that you are doing. You obviously care a great deal for your parrots and they aren't just surviving: they are thriving. You should be proud of that!

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2010, 10:29 PM Thread Starter


 
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One of the owners of the bird store has a green cheek that is over 25, so I know some birds go past the norm for their species in captivity. The last I heard Winston Churchhill's macaw was still supposed to be alive. Does anyone know if he is still squawking? At last report he was still cursing the nazi's every morning.

Thank you both for the encouragement. I'm sure the exercise piece is huge, but that is going to be difficult to replicate. Actually, I don't believe the exact species I have would have been common in captivity prior to about the 80's - but, you know, it has been a looooooooooooong time since the 80's. I've read repeatedly that pionus should be able to live to 50, but most live less than 10 years.

I've also read that most pet birds who die young die from accidents. Letting birds fly is supposed to be the best form of exercise, but flighted birds are also highly likely to die in accidents. So what does one do?

All any of us can do is what we believe to be best at the time.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Ive been told that my parrotlet would be doing well if it made it to 10. Im hoping that the varied diet, along with the ability to fly will lengthen his life expectancy.

And my conure is expected to live until she's 15. This made me sad as she's 7 now.She's had health issues and a history of a poor diet. So i am concerned that the years of a poor diet might have shortened her lifespan

And Ive been told that I can expect Scooter to live up to 20 years.


Mommy to:
Jack the Ripper ----> Pacific Parrotlet
Kiwi ------> Green Cheek Conure
Scooter -----> Senegal
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2010, 11:00 PM Thread Starter


 
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Wow! Not up to 20 years for a senegal!

Take heart in knowing that there are several people at the bird store with green cheeks in their 20s. It will be a milestone for Kiwi with her history, though, but you are taking great care of her, and she was on a fruit diet, not a seed diet, so I wouldn't think that would be as bad.

I've also heard of parrotlets living to be 20. You take great care of Jack, and, like you said, he is flighted.

I guess all we can do is give them the best lives we can as long as we have them.

I sure hope senegals live longer than 20 years.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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Our green cheek Oggie is almost 12, and Nanna is 19. They are in good health right now. Nanna is really improving. I hope they all live a long time. Older birds are interesting because they have so much to tell and teach so we humans know how to serve them better. The aliens are among us!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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Like Eliza said, more often than not, birds don't quite make it to these huge years people claim. That being said, I had a regular customer who baffled both the vet and a very well known Caique breeder with her 25 year old white-bellied Caique. The vet was able to look him over and confirm he was at least 20+ years old. The breeder has been working with Caiques all her life and had never seen one older than 18! So it does happen.

It's luck of the draw, as far as their genetics and health background contribute to their longevity, and from there it's all in how you care for them... I really think their life expectancy varies from breeder to breeder and how over-bred the species has been. Budgies are supposed to live 10-20 years, but most live 5-6 because they've been so irresponsibly bred in the past. Larger, more recently introduced species have a longer life expectancy. Breeders with wild stock get healthier, longer living birds too, it seems.



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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 10:41 PM
 
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I rescued a cockatiel that was twenty five, and he got around well. I have a cockatiel that I got in 1994 he was found some place in Washington State the lady had him for a year and it's possible he was maybe two when he got out. He looks as good as he ever did, doesn't act like an old man.So I know that he's 18 or so.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 11:54 PM Thread Starter


 
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That is good news, Patty. Thanks


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 10:11 AM


 
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My best friend has a Senegal (Doobee) who's over 20 now and feisty as ever! She got him from a breeder who was going to euthanize him because his parents had damaged his foot. The breeder said he'd never be able to perch or climb -- HA!

My friend talked her into selling the Doobee to her, she finished hand feeding him, and he's been living the life since then! He can climb, perch, etc., and even hangs upside down from the top of his cage like a bat!

She also had a Cockatiel (George) who lived well over 20 years, and was a cocky Cockatiel until the end!

JoAnne, Libby (2/10),Angelina (12/07), and Charley (11/10)
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 07:05 AM Thread Starter


 
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Thank you for the post, Jo Anne. One just has to spoil a senegal.


Thanks Shivani for the awesome siggy!
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Stanley (bourkes), Roni (senegal), Elisa (lineolated parakeet) and Doug (pacific parrotlet), Daisy (maximilian pionus), Shira (green cheek conure), Ashlynn, (grey), Taylor (princess of wales parakeet), Joelle (quaker), Benny (cockatiel)
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanay View Post
One of the owners of the bird store has a green cheek that is over 25, so I know some birds go past the norm for their species in captivity. The last I heard Winston Churchhill's macaw was still supposed to be alive. Does anyone know if he is still squawking? At last report he was still cursing the nazi's every morning.
The Churchill parrot story seems to be an urban legend:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/3414323.stm

and

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/3417353.stm


On a side note, here is an article about an M2 that entertained Churchill during a visit to the US: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...-67-years.html

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 07:40 PM


 
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Many parrots do live to ripe old ages. I met a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo that had been with 3 generations of the same family, he was 94 when I met him. A relative of mine had a Galah that was over 50. I have had one here that was 29 when I got him, he and a Sulphur went to live with a friend up the country and he is still alive and nearly 40 now. The life expectancy of a Galah is around 50. I hand raised babies from a pair of cockatiels and the Cock bird was 18 and still producing 5 or 6 big healthy chicks every round. There was a Cockatiel in Queensland that was around 32 when he passed. My cockatiels that I still have the youngest was born in 1999. And I have a Major Mitchell Cockatoo that is over 30, he has had a very badly broken wing but still gets around fine in the aviary. I also have a Short Billed Corella who is now 16 and is not slowing down.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 11:35 PM Thread Starter


 
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It is good to hear about these longer lived birds.

From the artlicle, it seems the bird did not belong to Churchhill, but no one questioned his age, so he is old.

However, I do wonder about the daughter's quote since at one point in the first article it is stated that the family never had a parrot and the daughter claims they had an African Grey, which she describes as a bird with a red face?

The cockatoo they know to be over 60, so that is nice. The article says it rides a bike daily to keep exercised. Perhaps I should get Roni a bike.


Thanks Shivani for the awesome siggy!
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Stanley (bourkes), Roni (senegal), Elisa (lineolated parakeet) and Doug (pacific parrotlet), Daisy (maximilian pionus), Shira (green cheek conure), Ashlynn, (grey), Taylor (princess of wales parakeet), Joelle (quaker), Benny (cockatiel)
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-12-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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Unfortunately it appears that what your vet is telling you is true - I attended a lecture by Josee Bermingham, the manager of the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute not too long ago, and the life expectancy values she spoke of were shockingly low. I had always thought that this was because the statistics were skewed due to the fact that so many birds die prematurely from accidents or are otherwise lost, but in fact that is not the case and it has everything to do with the environment we provide.

That being said, at the rescue where I volunteer we currently have a Macaw who is in her sixties (granted her health is fragile) and a number of birds in their forties, including one wild caught Amazon who has been fed nothing but human food until last year, so there are always exceptions.

I guess all we can do is care for them to the best of our abilities, provide an excellent diet and plenty of enrichment, and thank heavens that we get to have them in our lives for however long we're able.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-12-2010, 06:42 PM


 
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But also remember that in the wild their life expectancy is not that great either and they can live a lot longer in captivity than in the wild. In the wild they have to contend with predators either animal or mechanical, like being hit by cars. In places like Australia there are floods, fires and droughts. In extreme old age many parrots do go bald this is particularly true with Cockatoos and it has nothing to do with disease. The 90 odd year old Sulphur I met was nearly as bald as a badger, same with the elderly Galah who had a little coat made for him. In the wild these birds would die very quickly mainly from thirst as they could not fly to food or water.
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