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Parakeets: Little Heart Breakers

January 31, 2010

Parakeets are cute.  They look especially intriguing  as one watches them with their “buddies.”  However, there is a darker side of parakeets.

The dark side is that they are usually bred for color, versus health.  Although there are some good breeders, there is are large percentage of parakeet breeders that do not breed based on health. Think parakeet mills. One must realize that the true Australian parakeet does not resemble the colorful feathering displayed at your closest Pets Mart.

According to many sources, parakeets can have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years with proper care and diet.  However, the usual life span is two to seven years, WITH proper care and diet.  In fact, there is a large percentage of parakeets that do not make it beyond one year old.  There are many factors which can effect the lifespan of a parakeet, just as any animal.  However, many parakeets die from natural causes … tumors, fatty liver disease and cancers.  And in addition, many parakeets die from household accidents.

There was a time that I had parakeets, apart from the three that I currently have.  The majority of them were given to me by friends who no longer wanted them for one reason or another.  However, I quickly learned that even with a great diet, proper care and an avian veterinarian within close proximity, their predisposition for certain diseases robs years from their life expectancy.  I found each parakeet’s death just as difficult as the first parakeet death I witnessed.  Although parakeets are relatively inexpensive, including the costs for a larger cage, toys and proper food, the bottom line is the expense and success of quality avian veterinary care.  When a parakeet is purchased, I believe a true “fact sheet” listing avian veterinarian costs should be given to the purchaser.  It is because of their shorter life span, usually caused by the diseases that they are inevitably prone to, that I avoid them.  Remember that when you bring an animal into your life, it becomes your responsibility.  This not only includes a proper environment, but also the necessary health care costs.  And that responsibility is yours until its death.

In fact, I call parakeets “Little Heart Breakers.”

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