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What Factors Affect a Parakeet's Lifespan?

Parakeets who are fed a seed-only diet may have a shorter life expectancy.
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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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Breed, diet, and exercise are the biggest factors that affect a parakeet’s lifespan. There are many types of parakeets, as the term is typically used to refer to any small, primarily green parrot, all of which have varying average lifespans. Exercise is also vital to maximizing a parakeet’s lifespan because, much like humans, an often idle bird is an unhealthy bird. Diet is a factor that many parakeet owners get wrong. These birds are not meant to live off a seed diet alone; in the wild, they would eat fruits, vegetables, and other grains.

The term parakeet is used to identify many different species of birds that are not necessarily related. Therefore, a parakeet’s lifespan is impacted by what particular species the bird is. Pet budgerigars typically live five to eight years; however, they have been reported to survive 20 years or longer in some cases. The princess parrot, on the other hand, which is a larger bird but is also referred to as a parakeet, typically lives 15 to 30 years. Another bird, the rosella, often lives longer than 20 years as well.

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To maximize a parakeet’s lifespan, the bird should be let out of its cage to exercise every day. Clipping its wings and turning off any ceiling fans or other moving objects helps ensure the safety of the bird while it is outside of its cage. The cage itself should be large enough not to hinder its movements, because parakeets like to fly forward and play on horizontal bars. Parakeet kits sold in pet stores sometimes include a cage too small to permanently keep a parakeet, because they are meant to be temporary housing. The preferred size of the cage and width of the bars depends a lot on the size of the bird, so discussing this with the breeder or knowledgeable pet store employee is important.

Diet is a major factor that affects a parakeet’s lifespan. Some people feed their parakeets a diet of seeds, but seeds are just one part of a proper diet, and relying solely on seeds will lead to malnutrition. A parakeet that is fed fruit, vegetables, and certain wheat and protein foods will live longer than a bird that struggles on a seed diet. Like with cat and dog food, a naturally balanced parakeet food can be found in pet stores as a form of kibble. Some parakeets will refuse to eat kibble, however, leaving fresh food their only option.

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