Lovebird Care

Lovebird Care

They are small, active birds, ranging in size from 4 – 7 inches, depending on the species. They also tend to have loud chirps, get nippy from time to time, love to chew, and are very inquisitive. Don’t be surprised if your lovebird is part Houdini, they can be very good escape artists. A lovebird will not sing, but communicates with a variety of chirps, squeaks, and peeps. A single lovebird can be a great pet, which will love to play and snuggle with you. Pet lovebirds should be handled regularly to keep them tame. Nibbling with the beak on the fingers or neck should be discouraged at all times, even when it doesn’t hurt as this nibbling can turn to hard bites in a few weeks or months.

Caging

Lovebirds are very active and playful. They should be given as large a cage as possible. A minimum size of 14″ wide x 16″ long x 18″ high for a lovebird to have adequate room for play and exercise. . Make sure the spacing between bars is no greater than 3/4″ and make sure there are plenty of horizontal bars to facilitate climbing. A bottom grate is a very good idea, as this keeps the bird from shredding the cage paper. You can line the tray with black & white newspaper, brown paper bags, or paper towels, all of which need to be changed daily. Do not use kitty litter, ground corn cob, or crushed walnut shell to line the tray. These not only grow mold easily, but can be fatal if ingested. Pine or aspen shavings (never cedar!) can be used, but are very messy. Shavings tend to blow everywhere! It is important to have several perches with different diameters, which can range from 1/2″ to 3/4″ in diameter. Natural branches are best, and cotton rope perches are also great. You can even buy special cement perches that help keep the nails short. However, do not use sandpaper perch covers; they sand the skin right off the poor bird’s feet, and are also harmful if ingested. Add swings and toys to keep your bird amused and content. Lovebirds like to play. They especially like bells, beads, rope and vegetable tanned leather. No mirrors. It is a good idea to rotate the toys in the cage, having only 1 or 2 in at a time. That way your bird does not get bored with its toys. You want to place the cage in an area where the bird will have an opportunity for social interaction with the family. Covering the bird’s cage is not essential, but may be necessary to ensure enough hours of darkness for sleeping.

Diet

A good balanced diet consists of small hookbill seed mix, cockatiel or parakeet sized pellets (mini or small), fresh vegetables, some fruit, and grains Offer several foods from this list daily: fresh greens (romaine, kale, spinach, chard, carrot tops, herbs, chickweed & dandelion), vegetables (corn, peas, carrots, beets, broccoli, etc), fruits (apple, pear, melon, grapes, berries, etc), cooked rice, beans or pasta, unsweetened cereal, brown bread, cornbread, unsalted nuts, tofu, cheese, and scrambled or hard-boiled egg. It is important to insist on a varied diet from the beginning. Lovebirds can be stubborn about dietary changes, but will come around if you put the new food in the cage over and over again for many days or weeks until they try it. If he doesn’t eat a particular vegetable or fruit try shredding or chopping it finely. Birds on a seed-based diet should have a vitamin powder such as Prime or Nekton sprinkled on the fresh foods several times a week. Don’t add vitamins to the water; it encourages the growth of dangerous bacteria. You will need to keep a mineral block and cuttlebone in your bird’s cage, to provide needed minerals. Always provide fresh water. You may want to get your lovebird used to drinking from a tube, as a favorite pastime is making soup in their water dish. Do not give your bird grit (the gravel that is supposed to help your bird grind up food). Parrot-type birds do not require any grit in their diet, and offering it can be dangerous. If a bird eats too much grit, it can cause a blockage of the crop and/or gizzard. This is usually fatal.

Health

Lovebirds are very robust birds. Like most parrots, they should not be put near drafts (avoid putting the cage near a drafty window, especially at night). They don’t have any tendencies toward obesity. They can occasionally develop feather plucking problems if frustrated and left cage bound for long periods of time.

Noise

Distinctive parrot “chirp”. Lovebirds have a very high pitched, sharp chirp that can be annoying, but is not excessively loud. They sometimes let out short bursts of this chirp. Generally, most people do not find it problematic. A single Lovebird kept as a pet usually isn’t too noisy. If a bird is ignored and bored much of the time, like most parrot species, it will vocalize more to try to get the “flock” to interact with it. Will compete with the television set or other noises at times. Unfortunately, Lovebirds are not known to be good talkers. In fact, talking Lovebirds are quite rare.

Bathing

Most Lovebirds like to take a bath in a dish of water, but some prefer to be sprayed with water by a plant mister. If your bird doesn’t like one kind of bath, then try the other. If your bird does not like any type of bath, then you will have to spray it anyway. Like it or not, birds require regular baths. Provide at least 2-3 baths per week. It is best to give your bird its bath in the morning, so it has time to dry off before bedtime.

Wing Clipping

It is strongly recommend keeping both of your bird’s wings properly clipped. The bird will stay much more tame, and it also reduces the risk of the bird escaping through an open door or window. Clipping wings is not painful, as you are not actually cutting off part of the wing, rather you are just trimming the long flight feathers. This hurts no more than when we get a hair cut! These trimmed feathers will be replaced by new, long ones at the next molt, and the bird will be able to fly again unless you have it re-clipped. Have an experienced person or veterinarian clip the wings for you, as doing it wrong can cause the bird some problems. Also, make sure you have both wings clipped, never just one. Having only one wing clipped is dangerous, as the bird is off-balance, can’t control its movement well, and it may injure itself.