A Beginner's Guide to Raising Lovebirds
Tue, April 20, 2021

A Beginner's Guide to Raising Lovebirds

Lovebirds are a type of small parrots, usually colored green in the wild. As pets, lovebirds come in various colors resulting from mutations. They have a short tail and a hooked beak / Photo by: apichon_tee via Shutterstock

 

According to Alyson Kalhagen of pet website The Spruce Pets, lovebirds are a type of small parrots, usually colored green in the wild. As pets, lovebirds come in various colors resulting from mutations. They have a short tail and a hooked beak. 

They are named lovebirds because they form lifelong monogamous relationships with their mates. Lovebirds are affectionate with their mates, but they are aggressive with other birds, as they perceive them as intruders. Lovebirds are also intelligent animals, added American humane organization MSCPCA-Angell. It is recommended to keep them as pairs since they require affection and attention. 

 

How to Take Care of Lovebirds

Housing

Lovebirds are active creatures. Therefore, it is best to house them in a spacious enclosure. The minimum size is 32 inches x 20 inches x 20 inches per pair of birds. The enclosure should have four perches, a feed, a water dish, and a bathing area. You can place the cage on a stand or hang it from a wall at eye level or about 6 inches off of the ground. 

The enclosure should be in a well-lit, well-ventilated, and draft-free area. It should never be placed in direct sunlight as it can overheat the lovebirds’ habitat. “As a rule of thumb, the ambient temperature comfortable for you should be adequate for your bird,” MSCPCA-Angell stated. It’s best to watch out for signs of temperature-related discomfort regardless if your lovebirds are healthy or sick. 

For example, the bodies of cold birds will be fluffed up for long periods of time while overheated birds tend to pant and hold their wings away from their bodies. Cover the cage at night to prevent drafts and disturbances. You can add special resting places such as a nest box to prevent them from starting a fight. The minimum size of a nest box is 10 inches x 6 inches x 6 inches. You can place the nest boxes up high in the enclosure or all at the same level.  

You’ll also need a nest box if you’re planning to breed lovebirds. The minimum size of a nesting box is around 12 inches on each side and its entrance hole should be 3 inches in diameter. Nesting material such as shredded paper should be placed inside the nest box. 

Maintenance

Change and clean the food and water dishes daily. Lovebirds drink lots of water. Hence, water dishes should be changed frequently. Plain newspapers can act as a substrate for your lovebirds’ enclosure. This should be changed each day to prevent diseases. Clean and disinfect the cage with warm, soapy water or with an avian cage disinfectant every week. Wash and dry soiled toys and perches. 

Lovebirds are active creatures. Therefore, it is best to house them in a spacious enclosure. The minimum size is 32 inches x 20 inches x 20 inches per pair of birds / Photo by: Algi Febri Sugita via Shutterstock

 

Care and Feeding

Most lovebirds love to bathe in a “flat earthenware dish,” although they also love to be misted with lukewarm water. You’ll see them perch on the edge of the dish, dip their heads and upper bodies, and beat their wings when they’re bathing. 

They maintain their nails and beaks by climbing and chewing. Feel free to consult a veterinarian about nail trimming. As for their diet, lovebirds in the wild love eating berries, seeds, fruits, grains, grasses, agricultural crops of corn, leaf buds, maize, and figs. Each bird’s diet will consist of 35 to 60 grams of feed daily. 

A parrot mix with a mix of supplements and vitamins is also recommended. Supplements include spinach, radish, parsley, berries, apples, and grapes. Proteins such as nuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and chestnuts can also supplement your lovebirds’ diet. For calcium sources, feed them with an oyster shell or a cuttlebone in a separate dish. Avoid feeding them with avocado as it is toxic for them. Food and water dishes should be porcelain or earthenware. Plastic dishes are not recommended because lovebirds will chew the plastic, which can be lethal. 

Temperament and Behavior

Lovebirds are social creatures. If you want them to be happy and healthy, keep them in pairs. If you only own one lovebird, you have to act as its “partner.” Interestingly, lovebirds develop a strong, loyal bond with their owners or mate. 

Since they are aggressive birds, ensure that the pairs in the enclosure get along. The pairs should be true “pairs,” not mismatched. Bonded pairs will groom and feed each other all year round, even during the breeding season. Avoid mixing different species of lovebirds as it will result in fights.  Expect your lovebirds to chatter all day. If they are startled by a noise, spot a predator, or it gets windy or cold, lovebirds will hide inside the nest box.  

Toys and Playtime

Lovebirds play with all kinds of toys such as swings, mirrors, seed balls, ladders, shiny objects, and wooden gnaws. They also love to shred paper. Hence, it is wise to provide them with “dye-free paper to play with.” Lovebirds are natural explorers. If you want them to roam around, ensure that the playing area is free from open windows and doors. Monitor your lovebirds! You don’t want them to be hanging out near a hot stove. 

Ask yourself if you are financially and mentally prepared to raise a pair of lovebirds. Make sure you have ample time to socialize with your lovebirds, especially if you only have one bird. Don’t be shy to forge a strong friendship with it. It’s an experience that is well worth the effort. 

Most lovebirds love to bathe in a “flat earthenware dish,” although they also love to be misted with lukewarm water / Photo by: altive via Shutterstock