Ask Lafeber


January 5, 2022

How old is too old to breed a goffin?

Just asking hypothetically, for future reference. My parrot, she’s at least in her 20s. She’s been in my family for 20+ years, anyway.

I was reading Wikipedia and it seems that the longevity of this species is not well established, so I’m not sure if she’s considered “old” or not – I know a 20+ year old cockatiel would be considered a very old bird. She doesn’t look, or behave any different to when I was a child myself.

Last time she laid infertile eggs was 10 years ago and even then she just ignored them once she’d laid them.


Hi Phil,

As far as breeding goes, I wouldn’t recommend it. Cockatoos are extremely hard to breed. They mate for life, however, the pairs have to be separated other than during breeding season. The males are notorious for killing the females with no warning. The theory is that in the wild they separate for part of the year, and then reunite for breeding season. But it’s hard to determine when to separate them in captivity, so relatively few breeders try to breed cockatoos that those who do generally specialize in cockatoos.

That being said, yours is still relatively young going by her potential life span. The problem with determining life spans for parrots is that they do live for a long time, but there are many factors that can contribute to a short or long life. Life spans for parrots was always given in decades long ranges, and was based on the size of the birds. The larger the species, the longer the life span. The smaller cockatoos like Goffin’s are believed to have a lifespan of 50-70 years. Then you have those who try to base a life span on known data, and suddenly the bird has a life span of 20-25 years. Those estimates are very flawed. I think the old way of estimating is more accurate, based on birds I’ve known. My own Goffin’s has been in my family for nearly 40 years, but he came from another family who had him at least 10 years, and before that, he was actually caught in the wild as an adult. So he is at least in his 50’s and shows no signs of aging. And this is also common with parrots. They tend to only show age related issues when they are very, very old. So your bird has the potential for living 50-70 years or longer. But it depends on her genetics and whether she is on a nutritionally balanced diet and gets exercise and regular Vet care.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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