Watching a pair of Lovebirds as they bond, after which courtroom and rear their younger is without doubt one of the most rewarding of all parrot-keeping experiences. In contrast to many parrots, Lovebirds are sometimes completely happy to cool down and breed in modestly-sized cages, and most make tremendous dad and mom. However whereas mated pairs could produce clutch after clutch of eggs, aggression (to proprietor and mate), infertility, ailing chicks, and a bunch of issues can come up – lots of which take house owners without warning. At this time I’ll evaluate a number of the issues most frequently dropped at me by Lovebird house owners, 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 women and men are similar in look (Abyssinian, Madagascar and Pink-faced Lovebirds are sexually dimorphic, however these species will not be frequent within the commerce). Skilled breeders can usually hazard an excellent guess as to the intercourse of mature birds (through form of the pelvic bones, total measurement) however people fluctuate enormously. Probably the most expert old-timer of my acquaintance estimated that he was appropriate 85% of the time.
In case you can observe every chicken for some time earlier than shopping for, you’ll have a greater probability of choosing a pair. Females of commonly-sold species carry nesting materials tucked into their tail feathers, and males are inclined to feed females relatively than vice-versa…however some people attempt to reverse these actions! To confuse issues additional, same-sex pairs usually type.
Whereas mated pairs often get alongside very properly, attending to the “mated pair” level will be attempting for chicken and chicken proprietor alike. Lovebirds will be fairly pugnacious (a bunch below my care on the Bronx Zoo bullied their small antelope exhibit-mates; please see article beneath), and are sometimes very choosy on the subject of mate choice. Additionally, captive circumstances can have an effect on hormonal output, in order that the birds could come into breeding situation at totally different instances of the 12 months. Unwelcome mating makes an attempt can result in severe 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 folks all through the breeding season.
Infertility is particularly irritating to house owners (and, one would think about, their pets!) as a result of we turn into conscious of it solely after the traditional incubation time has handed and we predict chicks any day (I don’t advocate candling eggs to examine for fertility…please submit beneath for additional information).
Infertility appears to be extra frequent now than in years previous, if my expertise is any information. Poor weight loss 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 attainable to do “too properly” at Lovebird breeding. Spurred by ample meals and ultimate dwelling circumstances, some pairs breed too usually, draining the feminine’s calcium shops and jeopardizing her well being.
Discovering houses for the birds you produce generally is a daunting activity. 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 very good pet selection for most individuals. In case you care concerning the destiny of your birds – and all non-public breeders that I’ve met do – you might have fairly a job discovering applicable houses to your children.
Protecting and breeding Lovebirds takes money and time, even when all goes properly. If medical issues come up, chicks are deserted by dad and mom, otherwise you wind up conserving additional birds as a consequence of incompatibility, bills can mount shortly.
It isn’t reasonable to assume 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 dad and mom, and can vigorously resist makes an attempt to examine on or take away hatchlings. But when the younger are left with their dad and mom till they fledge, taming could also be an extended and in the end unsuccessful prospect. Skilled keepers needing 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 submit beneath for additional info and references.
Some of us do fairly properly with a middle-ground method. 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 properly to human contact after fledging. Nonetheless, this course of can evoke excessive stress within the protecting father or mother birds.
Ideas and Extra Info
Wooden shavings ought to cowl the ground of the field to a depth of 2-3 inches. This can assist to forestall the splay-legged situation that’s usually seen in chicks raised on arduous surfaces.
Wild lovebirds carry recent bark into their nests, probably to extend humidity. Captive lovebirds will readily make the most of moistened cypress for this goal. Frivolously spraying the feminine lovebird when she is out of the nest can even assist on this regard (don’t spray throughout 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 have the chance.
The Eggs and Chicks
Feminine lovebirds often lay their first egg 7-10 days after copulation, with a further egg being produced at intervals of 1-2 days thereafter. Normally, the hen sits and is fed by the male. Male Masked Lovebirds, nonetheless, usually sit close to the hen, however it’s not clear if they’re truly doing something helpful! The eggs hatch in 20-27 days, and the chicks depart the nest after 35-50 days. They’re fed by their dad and mom for a further 2 weeks after fledging, by which era they’re often utterly unbiased.