What’s like owning Lovebirds as pets?

Birds Human Classroom

  Lovebirds despite being such a small bird, are part of the Parrot species due to his anatomic features, the chatting, singing, and whistling capabilities. As the name says, they are known for being so attentive to their partners as they are mostly kept in pairs for this reason, how they behave once they create such a strong bond, certainly something pleasant to watch as well as their singing, they might not be talkative as other Parrot species but the sounds they make are part of the reasons most owners enjoy having them as companions, listening to the sweet sounds they make in the morning before getting all pumped up. Something else you need to keep in mind before acquiring one of these beauties is that they require sufficient space to move around as they are highly active and energetic, not to worry as much as long as you can provide toys and a room or cage big enough to satisfy their needs, but be careful with the toys and where you leave your new pet birds as they are smart, curious, and they’ll have the energy to explore everything that’s within their reach. With some simple precautions and steps, you can avoid any unnecessary accidents becoming more than a good bird owner.

DESCRIPTION & PERSONALITY

  If you are looking for a smart, caring, attentive, loving, and pleasant companion the Lovebird might be the best choice for you, that is if you can meet the requirements that this species demands. If you get just a single Lovebird you need to cover the space that he’ll be missing by not having a partner because they tend to make a really strong and emotional bond to either one, their partner or their owner/guardian, or in case you are planning on getting two then you’ll need to provide sufficient equipment and ensure proper high-quality nutrition to avoid certain complications and to provide them a healthy life. So for one side, you have the time and dedication and for the other, you have the money since you’ll end up with two pets instead of one so the cost would double for everything. Nevertheless, they are good options for first-timers but they need a little more work than other birds due to the attention they require but not as much as the Cockatoo, and they tend to do better in pairs due to affection and attention issues/requirements. They have a large beak and the tail feathers are short, and squared or rounded, unlike Budgie/Parakeets that have pointy long tails. As for the size they are about 5 to 7 inches long which is why they form part of the smallest parrots. Depending on the management and care you provide them, they can last close to 20 years, but the average lifespan of the Lovebird goes around 10 to 15 years, still, a decade it’s quite a commitment and it would be better if you get along well from the start. 

  Originated from Africa except for one species that as his name says, they are from the island of Madagascar. There are many species of Lovebird parrots but only a few are taken as pets or companions. Aside from this, the Lovebird has his species into two groups, those who have a white eye-ring are the Yellow-collared or Masked Lovebird, the Fischer’s Lovebird, Black cheeked Lovebird, and the Lilian’s or Nyasa Lovebird, as for those that don’t present this white ring like the Rosy faced or Peach faced Lovebird, Black-winged or Abyssinian Lovebird, Read-headed or Red-faced Lovebird, Grey-headed Madagascar Lovebird, and the Black-collared or Swinder’s Lovebird. Some of these species are classified as endangered or kept in captivity so it’s better to search for those that are suitable as bird companions or if your house can be of use for one of these endangered Lovebird species.

Even when they can get so attached to their partners they can become very aggressive with other birds. So before letting any new bird inside the cage ensure that they get along and that they will become a “pair” as such, keeping it with a bird of the same species, because in the wild they also remain in small groups or flocks of the same Lovebird species and still they might start fighting each other. Those that become pairs they groom each other or feed each other. They are territorial, especially the female Lovebird can become defensive of their territory that would be mostly the cage unless you set a room for them. They might get so into each other that some pairs won’t be interested in their guardians and will focus on his partner alone. 

Like most pets, it’s better if you get them at a young Lovebird instead of a middle-aged or old pet because it’s harder to handle any older pet since they have a mindset from previous owners or experiences that might become an issue for you. Some bad habits can certainly be changed but there are behavioral issues that might get harder, my recommendation if you go through this route is to seek professional help so that it can guide you and your new Lovebird along the process, but most importantly is that you are well aware and conscious about this and be as patient as you can or you’ll lose all the hard work by a bad answer or attitude at a certain point. Young birds adapt easier and better to anything you do with them, whether you teach him a trick or so it learns a song or any phrase you want, since he will come with “a fresh memory”, but don’t get your hopes so high because they communicate between themselves and not so much with their guardians or owners unlike a Cockatiel, they can learn a word or two but nothing more. There are other parrot species for these type of features, just make sure to look for the one that adapts more to your lifestyle. Aside from this, try to look for a Lovebirdthat’s been raised with the current guardian as most of them are also hand-raised making it easy for you to handle them at home as well as the training because they are used to being near humans and being manipulated by them. 

The manipulation and training of your Lovebird might be easier because of this but it doesn’t mean you are going to rush it. He comes being used to one human, not to you that became his new guardian/owner, in addition to this, you are taking it to a new environment so you must take things slowly at the start, let him mark the pase of everything, for example, whenever he gets startled just stop moving until you notice him more calm and relaxed, move gently and do it with enough patience, since this will build trust between you two. Your Lovebird must get used to you moving around near the cage as well as inside of it for when it’s feeding time or you need to move or clean something, always make sure he is comfortable with anything you do. 

They are energetic and curious, meaning they would seek to entertain themselves with whatever they found at their reach. Always keep equipment and accessories that won’t be harmful to them, especially with toys, they love toys and thrive chewing stuff, some might be cheaper and simpler than you might think but always consult if it’s safe to use it or not, also that you need to encourage his bright little minds with some games or more toys that can give you a hand with this while you are gone.

DIET

  When it comes to food and nutrition almost every pet bird gets the same treatment, as well as the management. If you are new in the avian world I invite you to read this article about their care and management, that might help you out with some doubts about these subjects and many more. Choosing the right and proper bird food is essential since you need it to get a presentation that stimulates your Lovebird to eat it with enthusiasm, some foods simulate the same form of the food that they usually look for or acquire in their wildlife, and although you do not believe it, only because they live inside your house it does not mean that they lose the instinct of foraging its food, meaning that it would be ideal to look for one that covers its nutritional necessities completely to avoid problems by some type of deficiency of some mineral and that it stimulates the appetite to them, taking advantage of its playful attitude that can even play with its food getting to entertain itself with it while they enjoy each bite. 

  Concentrated or formulated pellets should cover only the 60 tp 70% of their diet, dividing the rest with some treats or supplements that may vary since no one likes to eat the same thing over and over again, and this way you might avoid that your Lovebird gets stubborn with his meal. You could even use seeds as a supplement but keep it mixed up. Like everything, consult what you can and what you cannot use or give your pet bird, there are some types of foods that are harmful to them so consult with the avian veterinarian, surely the Lovebird breeder can give you this type of information but to be safe just consult with the doctor since they studied for it after all. Some of these things that you shouldn’t feed your Lovebird are avocado, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, fruit seeds, or sugar and high fat treats since they can cause serious complications regarding his health. Something else to keep in mind is the material of their food and water bowls, if you remember what I’ve said before, their curiosity will lead them to chew on everything they can, so it’s better for everyone if you get the bowls from a material that they can’t damage or they won’t be harmful to them in case they might swallow some painting or plastic or sticker since it can produce some indigestion at best, you could try with some made out of porcelain or earthenware for example.

CAGE & HABITAT

Since they are active birds they need a space that’s suited to them for a proper recreation, make it an environment that’s encouraging and stimulating for it to exercise or to play around. Lovebirds like to have some special resting places similar to a nest box that may help your bird couple to get along but remember to check often for any eggs to remove them as fast as possible to avoid overpopulation. They can use these spots like a refuge for when something startles them like some hard noise, for when they get cold or if they might see something that resembles a predator. In case you can’t afford a big cage for them like an aviary perhaps, you could use one of the rooms in the household but take an expert to aid you on this because you need to take away everything that might be hazardous to your pet birds and to ensure that they will remain inside that room, keeping every window and door shut and it could help more if you reinforce them. Replace as soon as possible anything that’s damaged or worn, keep a rotation of his toys so it won’t become bored so easily and you don’t have to purchase new ones so often because the rotation could make them thinks it’s a new toy or they get interested in it again this way. 

 Change daily the food and water bowls for cleaning and replace them for an extra set that’s recommended to have for this purpose, remember to place them away from the perches to avoid any contamination and by setting them up in opposite sites of the cage will force your Lovebird to move around more for each thing, not that they need help with it but the more the merrier. A plain newspaper will do just fine for the bottom of the cage, is easy to obtain, and to set it up. The recommended time to change this substrate will depend on the number of birds on the cage, but since they are better kept in pairs you could change it every 3 to 4 days or weekly. You should make a deep cleanup weekly to the entire cage with products that won’t affect your pet bird and that won’t damage over time the material of the cage and accessories as well. Cleaning the cage will not only help you maintain the health of your pets but will also be a good way to get closer to the cage and your birds so you might notice anything weird or that it might have changed regarding his behaviors or anything you might find unusual. Keeping a close relationship with your Lovebird isn’t for the sole purpose of creating the strong bond, it’s also so you learn to read his body language in case there is anything unusual on him, this way you’ll be able to detect most diseases that most owners wouldn’t notice at such important times that could safe the life of your Lovebird as there are some that are stoic and won’t show any distress until it’s too late.

The placement of the bird cage is as fundamental as everything else. Every pet comes with its requirements and responsibilities, birds are sensitive to certain things that you need to look out for while you comply with the things you should keep under control. For example, the sunlight and the amount of daytime they need. If they get to exposed directly to sunlight it could become harmful and develop some diseases, if you deny them this then you’ll get another set of problems as well, the air currents it’s something to look out for since they could develop respiratory complications and they are already prone to most of them, moreover, this is something that goes hand in hand with changes in temperature and humidity in the environment. This is why is so important to leave the bird cage away from the kitchen, bathrooms, and also near some deposits since they can be sensitive to cleaning products that people use for their houses, and those that you use on their cage and accessories should be one that’s specialized for this end. They might be known for making pleasant sounds most of the time but in a house where the chaos reigns they will answer the same way since it would become a normal attitude

GROOMING & CARE

Lovebirds enjoy taking baths. Provide some clean, filtered warm water at least twice a week. For the bath time, you can spray the water onto them or leave them a dish or something similar for them to bath on their own, dipping the head and beating its wings. This second option is the best for them. Clipping flight feathers may be necessary but it could help prevent any injury or unnecessary accident, before doing this consult with an avian veterinarian to aid you in this manner before doing something that may harm your pet bird by not having total knowledge on this subject. The same goes for the nail trimming of your bird. Simply go to the veterinarian and set a plan of action regarding this and any other manner at hand that concerns the health and management of your bird. Your Lovebird can be responsible for keeping its beak and claws in good condition with activities such as climbing or chewing, but if you see that it is not enough you can consult your vet of preference.

  For the sanitary part, watch out for isolation, if the plumage looks dull, for his eyes and beak have moist or any kind of secretions, sneezing or breathing with some difficulties if he gets less active, by cleaning the bird’s cage will help you notice if there’s any change on his droppings or if you see food on the bottom or more feathers than usual. This last one could be a sign of a skin disease or maybe feather plucking, as small or of little importance it may seem just take action into it. Call your veterinarian first to check if it needs to be taken care of on the clinic or not. Behavioral concerns are as important as healthcare, everything goes hand by hand. 

  Lovebirds are susceptible to Psittacosis beak, Chlamydiosis, diarrhea, feather plucking, Avian Pox Virus, mites, egg binding, among many others complications that can be easily controlled by taking your pet birds for their regular checkups with the avian vet whenever he indicates it’s necessary to keep a good control ensuring them the healthy and happy life that every living being deserves.

I hope you’ve found this article useful about owning a pet Lovebird and about bird care as a whole. If you think I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comment section down below.

Professor Whiskers
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