by Shelly Lane
Have you ever wondered how long Quaker Parrots can live? Parrots in general can be very long lived. What I see with Quakers is that many do not reach their full potential in regards to lifespan. This article discusses some of the reasons why.
I have watched my small dog age and slow down over the last couple of years. She is 13, and while I am grateful for the years we have had, I dread that day not too far in the future when we will have to say goodbye to her. (Update: We lost our yorkie in March 2008. She was almost 15.)
One thing I’ve always liked about parrots is that most species have longer life spans than dogs and cats. If you are reading this article, you probably feel the same as I do – that 10-15 years is just too short a time with a treasured pet before we have to say goodbye. So how long do Quaker Parrots live? Actually, I think there are two things we need to discuss in regards to this question.
- How long can Quaker Parrots live?
- How long do Quaker Parrots live?
Because unfortunately, the answer to both questions is not the same. Let’s take the first question. I’ve read that Quaker Parrots have the potential to live 25-30 years. Over the years that I’ve been involved with Quakers, I’ve talked to a small number of owners with Quakers in their 20’s and have even heard of one that made it into its early 40’s before it passed away. So it does appear that Quakers have the ability to live into their twenties and sometimes even beyond that.
Sadly, what I’ve also learned over the years is that our birds’ life spans don’t often reach their full potential. I believe I have identified three primary reasons for this:
- Household Accidents
- Accidental release
The good news is that now that you have this information, you can take steps to reduce the chances that your beloved pet bird will fall victim to one of these tragedies. Here are some tips that will help.
Tips for avoiding household accidents
- Don’t allow your Quaker to roam the house. Teach it to stay on its cage or play area when it is out.
- Don’t allow your bird access to the floor. It could pick up and ingest something that is dangerous. Other parrots have been stepped on, caught in doors and more. Floors are dangerous, especially for small birds like ours.
- Be very cautious about allowing your bird to interact with other pets of any kind. There are too many stories of Quaker Parrots losing their lives to this type of accident, sometimes in spite of the fact that the other pet had not shown any interesting in harming the bird in the past.
- Do not sleep or take naps with your bird, and don’t leave your bird out while you are sleeping. In fact, it’s best if you keep your bird in its cage during times you are not right there to supervise for whatever reason.
- Carefully inspect your bird’s cage and toys to insure there are no trouble spots where your bird could get its toes, head or body stuck. Make sure the cage is sturdy enough or is set up in such a way that it’s impossible for it to be knocked over, especially if you have dogs and cats in your home.
Tips to help prevent illness
- Develop a relationship with a good avian vet in your area now – before your bird gets sick. Pets sometimes get sick and need immediate medical care on weekends and holidays, and having an existing relationship with an avian vet will go a long way in getting your bird the care it needs.
- Purchase an inexpensive scale that measures in grams, and weigh your bird on a regular basis. Weight loss is often a sign of illness.
- Monitor your Quaker Parrot’s behavior and droppings on a daily basis. Changes in either or both can indicate a potential health issue. Changing the cage paper daily makes it easier to monitor droppings.
- Clean your bird’s cage, food and water bowls, and toys regularly with hot, soapy water, rinse well and allow to dry before placing your bird back in its cage.
- Quarantine any new additions to your flock for 30 to 60 days to help prevent the spread of an illness from the new bird to the existing ones. Many owners are tempted to skip this important step, but it’s better to be safe.
Tips to keep your bird from flying away
- Keep your Quaker Parrot’s wing feathers clipped at all times
- Check regularly for wing feather regrowth and trim as needed. Don’t wait until all wing feathers are fully regrown before trimming again.
- Keep your parrot in its cage during times when people are going in or out of your house – for example, when the kids are leaving or coming home from school.
- Never take your parrot outside unless it is in a carrier or cage. This is true even if your bird is clipped. Even a clipped bird can fly outside if there is just a little breeze.
- Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking your Quaker won’t fly away. Flying is something that is instinctive for your bird. Be vigilant always and don’t let your guard down.
Obviously, no article is able to cover every type of illness or accident that could occur with a pet bird. Hopefully the above tips are a good start and will help you to consider other ways to help prevent a tragedy that could shorten the life of your Quaker. The main point is to carefully study your bird’s environment for anything that could potentially be unsafe and then make the appropriate changes.
May you and your Quaker Parrot spend many enjoyable years together!