Cautions for Small Parrot Breeders

Abysinnian Lovebirds

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Klaus Hofmann

Watching a pair of Lovebirds as they bond, after which court docket and rear their younger is among the most rewarding of all parrot-keeping experiences. In contrast to many parrots, Lovebirds are sometimes completely satisfied to cool down and breed in modestly-sized cages, and most make high-quality mother and father. However whereas mated pairs might produce clutch after clutch of eggs, aggression (to proprietor and mate), infertility, ailing chicks, and a bunch of issues can come up – a lot of which take homeowners unexpectedly. Right this moment I’ll overview among the considerations most frequently dropped at me by Lovebird homeowners, and others I’ve skilled whereas caring for these and different small parrots in zoos.


Distinguishing the Sexes

The commonly-kept lovebirds, such because the Peach-faced, Fischer’s and Masked, will not be sexually dimorphic, in that men and women are equivalent in look (Abyssinian, Madagascar and Pink-faced Lovebirds are sexually dimorphic, however these species will not be frequent within the commerce). Skilled breeders can typically hazard an excellent guess as to the intercourse of mature birds (through form of the pelvic bones, general dimension) however people range drastically. Probably the most expert old-timer of my acquaintance estimated that he was right 85% of the time.


Nest box

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Snowmanradio

In case you can observe every hen for some time earlier than shopping for, you’ll have a greater probability of selecting a pair. Females of commonly-sold species carry nesting materials tucked into their tail feathers, and males are likely to feed females slightly than vice-versa…however some people attempt to reverse these actions! To confuse issues additional, same-sex pairs typically type.



Whereas mated pairs often get alongside very effectively, attending to the “mated pair” level will be making an attempt for hen and hen proprietor alike. Lovebirds will be fairly pugnacious (a bunch underneath my care on the Bronx Zoo bullied their small antelope exhibit-mates; please see article beneath), and are sometimes very choosy in the case of mate choice. Additionally, captive situations can have an effect on hormonal output, in order that the birds might come into breeding situation at totally different instances of the yr. Unwelcome mating makes an attempt can result in critical battles.


Lovebirds – even pleasant, long-term pets – invariably turn into very protecting of their nests and chicks, and sometimes stay aggressive in the direction of individuals all through the breeding season.


Hybrid Lovebirds

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Snowmanradio


Infertility is particularly irritating to homeowners (and, one would think about, their pets!) as a result of we turn into conscious of it solely after the conventional incubation time has handed and we expect chicks any day (I don’t advocate candling eggs to test for fertility…please publish beneath for additional information).


Infertility appears to be extra frequent now than in years previous, if my expertise is any information. Poor food plan, inbreeding, age, genetics, and a bunch of different components could also be concerned. Please see the article linked beneath for detailed info.


An Embarrassment of Riches

It’s potential to do “too effectively” at Lovebird breeding.   Spurred by ample meals and supreme dwelling situations, some pairs breed too typically, draining the feminine’s calcium shops and jeopardizing her well being.


Discovering properties for the birds you produce could be a daunting process. Cute as they’re, Lovebirds will be noisy and troublesome to tame, and correct care takes a great deal of time, effort and cash. They don’t seem to be a great pet selection for most individuals. In case you care in regards to the destiny of your birds – and all non-public breeders that I’ve met do – you’ll have fairly a job discovering acceptable properties in your children.


Fischer's Lovebird

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by BS Thurner Hof


Maintaining and breeding Lovebirds takes money and time, even when all goes effectively. If medical issues come up, chicks are deserted by mother and father, otherwise you wind up preserving additional birds resulting from incompatibility, bills can mount shortly.


It’s not lifelike to suppose that you’ll earn a revenue (and even break even!) by promoting child Lovebirds, as small and enormous scale breeders sometimes produce extra birds than the market can bear. Most pet shops have established relationships with breeders, and don’t settle for birds from others.


“Residence-Bred” Doesn’t Assure Good Pets

Lovebirds typically make nice mother and father, and can vigorously resist makes an attempt to test on or take away hatchlings. But when the younger are left with their mother and father till they fledge, taming could also be a protracted and finally unsuccessful prospect. Skilled keepers wanting human-bonded pets often take away nestling Lovebirds at age 1-2 weeks, and hand-feed them. Nonetheless, hand-rearing shouldn’t be tried by novice breeders. Please publish beneath for additional info and references.


Some people do fairly effectively with a middle-ground approach. Younger birds are faraway from the nest and dealt with for a short while every day, after which they’re returned. House owners are spared the difficulties of feeding the fragile chicks, and the birds have a tendency to reply effectively to human contact after fledging. Nonetheless, this course of can evoke excessive stress within the protecting father or mother birds.


t238363Ideas and Extra Data

Wooden shavings ought to cowl the ground of the field to a depth of 2-3 inches. This can assist to stop the splay-legged situation that’s typically seen in chicks raised on onerous surfaces.


Wild lovebirds carry recent bark into their nests, presumably to extend humidity. Captive lovebirds will readily make the most of moistened cypress for this goal. Calmly spraying the feminine lovebird when she is out of the nest may even assist on this regard (don’t spray inside the field itself).


Peach-faced and a number of other different lovebirds tuck nesting materials inside their feathers to move it to the nest…don’t miss watching this distinctive conduct when you’ve got the chance.


Peach-faced Lovebird chick

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Toumoto

The Eggs and Chicks

Feminine lovebirds often lay their first egg 7-10 days after copulation, with an extra egg being produced at intervals of 1-2 days thereafter.


Often, the hen sits and is fed by the male. Male Masked Lovebirds, nonetheless, typically sit close to the hen, however it’s not clear if they’re really doing something helpful!


The eggs hatch in 20-27 days, and the chicks go away the nest after 35-50 days. They’re fed by their mother and father for an extra 2 weeks after fledging, by which period they’re often utterly unbiased.



Additional Studying

Masked Lovebirds as Pets

Infertility in Captive Birds


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