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Breeding Parrots, Cockatiels and Lovebirds.
                   

Specific care

There are not many different cares to lovebirds, they are in general the same as any psitacidae. The fact that canít be out of their feeding is a balanced and varied food. Fresh water, veggies, green leaves, fruits (sometimes they donít accept), corn-flakes, dry bread (sometimes) and fresh corn specially in breeding period.

Itís very important to offer a varied and balanced diet to avoid the consequences of bad nutrition. They must have calcium in bars, liquid or in dried egg shells, sand is also very important. You can also give once a week a small piece of white fresh cheese, it contains calcium and is good for their health. Worms can be offered to your bird, although lovebirds donít eat, but bigger species accept and love it. My Blue Fronted adores worms. It is very healthy.

If you donít give enough calcium your bird may have some problems to stay in its perch and when older, problems in their bones. Females can even die after laying eggs repeatedly, you must offer her a lot of sources of calcium or she may die. Besides, her eggs can be so weak that no babies will survive.

Vitamin A is very important to protect your bird from being sick, white plaques can appear inside the mouth and tongue. Problems with secretion in the nose, losing the bright of his eyes, get weak, diarrhoea, losing appetite, and problems in their eyes. If your bird has any of this signs, run to a Vet! No bird can live under a unique sunflower diet. Never do it, they need a lot more than sunflower.

Vitamin A can be found in Papaya, mango, broccolis, carrots, sweet potato, boiled eggs, spinach, and some other things. Food with few A vitamins is corn, banana, potatoes, apple (without seeds)grapes, and orange. Always give this kind of food. Acid fruits are not good.

Never forget your birds need twelve hours of good sleep in a quiet and dark place, no wind, and insect free. So, your little friend can wake up refreshed and healthy. It is very easy to take young chicks, if you buy them quite young, when they start flying and eating by themselves you will easily tame them. When older, it is a lot harder, except if they have a nice behaviour and are not frightened by you. It depends mostly of your patience and persistence. Stay with them as much as possible, and show you hand always with slow movements, so, they wonít think it is an enemy.

Lovebirds are the second smallest species of parrot. Their weight range is 42 to 60 grams. Females tend to be slighter larger than the males. All nine species are in the genius AGAPORNIS. Native to Africa and surrounding islands, many species were imported into the U.S. in large numbers in the late 20th century. The most common is the Peach-Face. Peach Face Lovebirds come in a wide variety of colour mutations including normal green, Dutch-Blue, Lutino, Pied, Creamino, Cinnamon, and in combinations of the above. Due to the relative ease of breeding in captivity peach-face are quite common in aviaries and in pet stores. Colour does not reflect on individual pet quality, so choose your bird for its personality. Birds who were hand-fed make excellent pets.

   


Parent raised lovebirds can be difficult to tame. When considering the purchase of a lovebird you should take into account the fact that they are full of energy, and can be quite noisy with their endless chattering and shrill scream, although not anywhere nearly as loud as the larger parrots. Lovebirds are extremely playful and a joy to watch. With their boundless energy they will swing from toy to toy, hop from perch to perch, never seeming to tire. There is nothing more comical than watching a lovebird do the "birdie splits", or playing in their water dish, or rolling around on the bottom of the cage with a ball. They enjoy perching on their owners shoulder and playing in their owner's hair. Hiding in your hair, under your collar, in your pocket, in an empty paper towel roll, etc., is a favourite game.

Affectionate and intelligent, Lovebirds can be taught to give kisses, step-up, wave a foot, and many other tricks. As with most hook bills, Lovebirds also have the ability to learn to whistle and talk. They can speak (?) and will respond to your voice with eager enthusiasm. But, beware, Peach-Face Lovebirds can become nippy if they are not raised with consistency and gentle guidance. Fearless by nature, Lovebirds will stand up to other pets in the house so please keep them separated.

Curious by nature, Lovebirds will investigate everything so keep a watchful eye on them at all times. By purchasing a young bird you can set the guidelines for appropriate behaviour using positive reinforcement. They have a very low cost, but it depends on the colour, a rare mutation can cost a lot. Don't let their diminutive size fool you. You get all of the big bird personality in a tiny parrot.

As with all parrots, lovebirds who receive proper care can live many years with their human companions. This must be taken into consideration when purchasing a bird with an average life span of over 10 years. Long term commitment is required . Lovebirds are popular first time pet birds. They do require a daily portion of fruits, vegetables, pasta, beans, etc., in addition to seed and/or pellets for a balanced diet. Lovebirds will attack spray millet with gusto while ignoring other more nutritious foods, so only offer it as a treat.

Lovebirds need a large clean cage, at least 24 inches wide, that will allow for a lot of activity for these little energetic birds. Purchase the largest cage that your budget and space will allow. Safety is of the utmost importance when purchasing a cage. Think of how much time your bird will be spending in his cage. The cage bar spacing should be every 1/2 inch. Bar spacing, or any other gaps that are too close together can catch toes and beaks causing injuries. Likewise, with spacing that is too far apart. Scroll work is attractive but can pose a safety hazard. Be sure to check for sharp edges and doors that are not easily opened, to prevent accidental escapes.

The addition of several toys will not only help keep these active guys busy but help keep beaks in good condition. Lovebird's beaks are made of keratin which grows continuously, just like human finger nails. Chewing and destroying wood toys and perches helps to keep beaks trim. Natural perches of varying thickness placed at different levels in the cage will allow greater climbing mobility and gives them a choice to select the most comfortable spot to roost.

Love birds are excellent flyers. Keep flight feathers trimmed to prevent accidents and accidental escapes. Nails will need to be trimmed about every 6 to 8 weeks. An annual well bird check is a must for all parrots including Lovebirds. Weigh your bird regularly and record weights so that you will be aware of any weight loss. Watch for signs of illness such as laboured breathing, excessive sneezing, sitting puffy, panting, discharge from nares, weight loss, behaviour changes, lack of appetite, lethargic, etc. Consult your vet . immediately at the first sign of any unusual symptoms.

A daily cage cleaning is must for a healthy bird. Change the paper in the litter tray daily and wash and disinfect cage weekly. Wash and disinfect perches and toys as needed. Take proper care of your lovebird and you will be rewarded with many years of companionship. One of the biggest misconceptions about lovebirds is that you must purchase them in pairs. Lovebirds were given their name because 2 birds will bond closely together and ignore everyone else. A single lovebird will form a close bond with his/her owner. As with all pet parrots, Lovebirds require attention on a regular basis. Lovebirds may become unfriendly if allowed to go extended periods without attention. Supervised time out of the cage is recommend on a daily basis.

Purchase your lovebird from a breeder or pet store who plays with the babies on a regular basis, has a clean facility, feeds a nutritious diet, has an Avian certified veterinarian, and who will give you a written health guarantee. Eye ring species include the fairly common Fischers, and the rarer Nyasa and Black-Cheeked. In their natural habitat all of the eye rings are similar in appearance. They all have red beaks and a green body. In captivity other colour mutations exist such as the Blue-masked, Yellow Masked, and Yellow Fischers to name a few.

The eye ring species of lovebirds are not as prolific in captivity as the peach-face. The Nyasa is very rare and breeders have not been very successful establishing this species in captivity. Breeders are having better success with the Black-Cheek , but there numbers in captivity remain relatively small. They tend to be a little shier and less nippy than the peach -faced which makes them wonderful companions.

Other very rare species of Lovebirds are the Madagascar, Red-Faced, and Abyssinian. Habitat destruction and illegal poaching are major causes of species endangerment in the wild. Hopefully, breeders will become successful establishing these and other rare species of birds before their numbers in the wild decrease to extinction. Peach Face and Masked lovebirds are quite prolific breeders which make them popular for many new breeders.

They reach sexual maturity at about 8 months of age, but should not be set up for breeding until they are at least 12 to 15 months old. Nest boxes should be around 7 to 8 inches square. Some sources for nesting material are pine shavings, palm fronds, and willow branches. Some pairs will build elaborate nests while other pairs will not will nest on plain pine shavings. Females can be seen tucking pieces of nesting material into their rump feathers and caring them into the nest box. The average clutch size is 4 to 5 eggs The incubation period ranges from 23 to 28 days. Most hens will not begin to sit tight until the second or third is laid. Pairs will often go back to nest as soon as the last clutch is pulled or fledged. Young pairs may over breed so be sure to remove nest box and reduce the amount of daylight hours after the second clutch.

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