Budgie: Age and Life Expectancy

If you bring budgies into your home, you will enjoy the lively minis for a long time: Provided they are well looked after and in good health, the average budgie life expectancy is around 14 years. There are even much older specimens known. While juveniles and seniors are relatively easy to spot even for a layperson, determining the age of an adult bird can be more complicated. It is easy when the bird is ringed. But for an animal with an unknown past, such as a migrant or a bird without a ring, it is difficult to tell the age of the budgie.

How Do I Determine the Age of a Budgie?

A rough estimate of the budgie’s age without sighting the ring is possible on the basis of some optical characteristics.

Determining the age of a budgie

  • Young animal: The typical wave pattern extends from the root of the nose over the forehead and the entire head, but still looks a bit faded – provided it is a color shade with patterned head plumage. The throat spots are also still small. Very young budgies have dark “button eyes”; the iris ring only brightens over time. The wax skin over the beak is still quite light, regardless of gender. Overall, a young bird has a clearly pronounced child pattern compared to an adult with a rounded head shape and large-looking eyes. The tail is also significantly shorter. The budgie begins to moult around the fourth month.
  • Adult bird: A budgie is considered to be an adult from around six months of age. At this age, the budgie is sexually mature. The bright iris ring can now be clearly seen. In the case of color strokes with wave markings, the pattern and the throat spots are clearly delineated, but the forehead area of ​​the bird is now monochrome. The color of the wax skin becomes stronger and develops into the color corresponding to the sex – usually blue in males, brown in females; however, with deviations in certain colors. The child pattern is receding, the animals appear less rounded.
  • Old birds: From around the age of seven, budgies change their hormones; From this age onwards, breeding birds should be spared further breeding. The parakeets are now slowly reaching their senior age, which is mainly noticeable in the behavior of the bird. The animals appear calmer and more sedate. The wax skin of hens can turn gray.

Official Information: the Foot Ring

The foot ring can be used – for example in the case of a found bird – to determine the breeder or keeper and often even to prove the year of hatching of the bird. There are two types of rings: closed rings, which are already put on the chick, and open rings. These can be recognized by a gap on the side and are not quite as binding as older birds can also be provided with them.

The foot ring

  • The ZZF (Central Association of Specialized Zoological Companies) issues open rings to private breeders who do not belong to an association. The rings are made of aluminum and are only provided with a state code and a consecutive number.
  • Closed rings are provided by breeders organized in an association to identify the birds. These rings have different year colors and are sometimes also provided with a year.

With a little persistence, the numbers can be used to determine the breeders who can use their records to track the exact age of their birds.

Chicks and Branchlings: Adorable Young Birds

Budgie chicks look cute and bizarre in a hard-to-describe way. Freshly hatched, the little ones with the disproportionate beak are naked and initially blind. They are nestling who have to be looked after by their parents. The feathers only show after three weeks, after five weeks in the nesting box the young parakeet is fully developed. After leaving the nest, the chicks are not immediately independent and will be fed by their parents for some time. Never buy birds that are too young under eight weeks of age!

Juvenile Moult and Puberty: Naughty Teenagers

Budgies leave the nest when they are around six weeks old. They are still dependent on their parents for a few days; However, it can be observed that young animals group together within the swarm. This also seems to be a typical behavior in the wild. The juvenile moult takes place between the third and seventh month of life. Over the course of several months, the budgie changes its entire plumage and then looks like an adult bird. At the same time, as with humans, puberty sets in, at the end of which – around the first half of life – there is sexual maturity. In fact, budgies should not breed until they are one year old.

The Adult Budgie: Lively and Active Adults

Between the ages of two and three, budgies are in top form and in their most active phase. At this age, pairing and breeding play a particularly large role in birdlife. In addition to the normal behavior in the swarm, you can now observe the distinctive, funny courtship behavior of mated parakeets. These include a particularly high-lilting song and fluffing of the head plumage, which gives the rooster a plush appearance. If you do not intend to breed, you should not offer the bird’s nest boxes – this will stimulate the breeding instinct in the first place.

Because of Old Iron: Budgie Seniors

When a budgie reaches the age of seven, you are dealing with a senior. But even at this budgie age, the birds can still be fit and lively. However, the behavior of the old bird changes over time. He no longer flies as much and often lets his younger colleagues romp around on their own. Instead, he sometimes takes a nap during the day, sitting on both legs or lying horizontally on his stomach on a flat surface. In a young bird, such behavior is a possible indication of weakness or malaise, possibly even a symptom of illness; with the parakeet oldie, it is about comfort behavior for the old joints. Equip the aviary or bird room with a few aids: the elderly bird will appreciate additional ladders and climbing aids that save it from tedious flight routes.

Even with the best husbandry, budgie life expectancy can be shortened to less than ten years. Random genetic defects, increased susceptibility to disease due to inbreeding or too many broods of the parent animals can damage the constitution of the animals unnoticed.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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