Ask Lafeber


May 7, 2019

Cockatiel illness

My 29 yr. old cockatiel died two days ago. I had him since he was a baby. He had been heathy , on the same food for over twenty years. I’m concerned I caused his illness. A week ago I put one new seed treat in his cage. He ate a very small amount. I think one day last week he did not eat as much of his normal food, but seemed to resume eating the next day. I noticed he did not look well late the evening before he died. He sat on a perch in his cage closer to the wall . His feathers were puffed out & at an angle , his eyes partly closed & he did not move to come closer to me in his normal behavior. I spent time talking to him. Early the next morning, I found him dead on the bottom of his cage. I now realize the treat package showed it was made in Germany & distributed in the US.
I fear it could have had mold & I caused his death.
I read a heart attack occurs quickly, so I’m uncertain that happened. He also had been very safe in the same cage for over 18 yrs.
Please provide advice as to the probability the new seed treat caused his demise or possible other causes for his illness.

I returned the second seed treat in the package to the store manager & suggested they remove this product from their inventory; should it possibly bevharmful to another bird.
Thank you for helping w/ understanding the loss of our pet.


Hi Mardi,

I am very sorry for your loss. Your cockatiel was very old – much older than most cockatiels live in captivity. Generally the average life span for captive cockatiels is given as 15-25 years but on average it is more like 10-15 years. The oldest recorded cockatiel lived to be 36. You took the best care of your bird or he would not have lived to this old age. I seriously doubt that the treat had any part in his death. In my experience with old birds that die of natural causes, they do what you described your bird doing. Often the kidneys or liver suddenly fail and the bird dies within a few days. I truly think your bird was at the end of his life and died of natural causes from old age. Don’t feel responsible for his death, take comfort in knowing your outstanding care helped him live to a very old age and he was able to die naturally and peacefully.

Take care,


Subscribe to our newsletter