Ask Lafeber


November 17, 2021

How can I help my lonely 9 year old parrotlet

Hi. My 9 year old male parrotlet has lost 2 mates in the past 2 years. The 1st mate was 2 years ago, then he bonded with the remaining female parrotlet I had, and she just died 3 weeks ago (she was 12.5 years old). He still calls for her. They were close. He is the remaining parrotlet and seems lonely no matter how much attention I give him. Question: Does it make sense to get a new (baby) parrotlet for him (male or female?)or is it too soon, or should I consider a parakeet perhaps? I want him to be happy. He is starting to pick his feathers a little. Thank you SO much.


Hi Linda,

I’m sorry about your losses and your poor little lonely male. The thing with replacing mates, when one bird is a senior, is that you can get in an endless cycle of replacing one mate or the other. And this is OK with some people, while others might be ready to move on from the species or even owning birds. With an average lifespan of 15-20 years, he can be considered a senior at 9. If he is the normal green, he is likely to have a longer lifespan – some owners say they can live into their 30’s – but the mutations tend to have a shorter lifespan simply because mutations are a genetic flaw, and many mutations are achieved through inbreeding, which weakens the genetics.  I would not get a young bird to share a cage with him. If this is for the same home, but separate cages with interaction outside of the cage, it would be fine. But if you were to put a young female with him, even at his age he can be hormonal, and probably wouldn’t be satisfied with a baby or young bird. It could also cause the young female to try to lay eggs at too young of an age which is not good for her. Even with a young male, the senior bird might not have patience with a young male, and they might fight. A parakeet is not a good match – it needs to be another parrotlet if you get another bird as a companion. While the size is about the same, parrotlets can be very aggressive and have a stronger beak than parakeets. And their temperaments are very different. You might see if there are any rescues in the area that might have an older parrotlet. Check with bird shops or breeders. Sometimes breeders might have an older bird who also lost a mate. Ideally a bird about the same age, but I would say a minimum of 2 years old of the goal is for them to get along and be able to share a cage eventually.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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