Lovebirds originate from Madagascar, the coastal plains of Southwest Africa to Ethiopia. There are nine species with each claiming a different geographical area as their own. Lovebirds are small, affectionate and intelligent companions. Sometimes cuddly, sometimes comical, they are always full of life! These “pocket parrots” are a welcome addition to just about any family.
One Lovebird, Two or More?
Many believe that lovebirds can only be kept as a pair. Although, a well matched pair is undoubtedly affectionate toward one another, a single, well-socialized lovebird will make an exceptional pet especially if he has been hand-fed. A single, tame bird that has a close bond with you can be an amazing source of love and pleasure. If you are unable to spend the time that is required to keep your lovebird happy, then two lovebirds would be a better choice. Lovebirds are by nature, sociable birds that prefer contact with members of their own species. Having two lovebirds will benefit both you and your birds. When you are not able to spend time with your lovebirds, they will have each other to occupy their time preening, playing and cuddling.
To provide a happy, healthy atmosphere for your lovebirds, Petland recommends the following necessary and fun accessories. We have listed them as your lovebird’s four basic needs: Environmental, Nutritional, Maintenance and Behavioural. When these needs are met, along with a loving environment provided by you, your lovebirds can live 15 years or more.
Your Lovebird’s New Home – When purchasing a cage for your lovebirds, keep the following in mind. Get the largest cage that you can. A roomy home with lots of area for climbing and playing is ideal. Your lovebird’s cage will need horizontal bars (good for climbing) that are spaced no more than ¾ inches apart. Steer away from round cages, since they do not provide the security your lovebirds need. Your lovebird’s home should be placed away from direct sunlight (indirect is perfect), heat or air-conditioning vents and any drafts. Birds wake at sunrise and sleep at sunset. Make sure your lovebirds are getting the rest that they need by having a quiet room for bedtime, without the distractions of television or radio (a cage cover may help). Lovebirds need approximately 11 hours of sleep and just like people, a lovebird devoid of sleep can be cranky!
Lighting – Your lovebirds require exposure to ultraviolet light on a daily basis. Since it is not possible in our climate to have them outside on a daily basis, and placing them in front of a window only allows filtered light inside, which is ineffective; the use of a full-spectrum light is vital. UVA and UVB is necessary to prevent calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies which can cause a tremendous amount of health problems. As well, depriving your lovebirds of UV light will make them colour blind. It has also been suggested that UVA light is beneficial in reducing or eliminating abnormal behaviour, such as feather damaging disorders, screaming, phobias and aggression among just a few. An avian floor lamp and UVA/UVB bulb will be a necessary part of your lovebird’s basic environmental needs.
Perches – Birds were not meant to stand on the same diameter of a tree branch or perch. Your lovebirds must have a variety of perch sizes to allow their feet proper exercise. Make sure that the perches are not too smooth, too hard or too rough. Perches made of rope or natural wood with bark provide the best surfaces for your lovebird’s feet. Inside the cage, situate two of the perches at the same height as the seed and water dishes, and not directly over them, where fecal matter could spoil the food.
Birdie Pocket – Every living creature needs an area to call their own. A hiding place is necessary to reduce stress and to make them feel secure. A birdie pocket is made of cozy material, which encourages lovebirds to snuggle up to it (or burrow inside).
Playground or Bird Tree – A playground or bird tree is a necessity for your lovebirds if they are to be healthy, happy and fit! A playground area provides a secure and happy place to exercise and play, preen and snooze.
Food – You must give your lovebirds a balanced diet if they are to live a long and happy life! A lovebird’s diet should be comprised of pellets, as his staple diet, some seed and a daily selection of vegetables and fruit. A daily part of your lovebird’s fare should be made up of carefully selected fresh and cooked vegetables and bits of fruit to be fed as part of their morning meal. Broccoli, beets, green beans, navy and lima beans, sweet potatoes and carrots (to name just a few) are all good sources of essential nutrients. Fruits, such as papayas, apples, pears and bananas have other nutrients that are beneficial. Dried fruit, such as figs (an Abyssinian lovebird’s favourite) may be offered, as long as they are sulphite free. Keep in mind that what is good for you is good for your lovebirds, in moderation. Feed all perishable foods in a separate dish, and remove it after one or two hours. Seeds should be fed in the later part of the day after their salad and pellets have been eaten. Small hookbill packaged seed mix or a cockatiel mix without sunflower is a good choice. Safflower should be included in the mix and if it is not, you will need to add your own.
Vitamin/Mineral/Amino Acid Supplement – If a lovebird’s diet is made up primarily (90%) of pellets and he enjoys a variety of vegetables, fruits, seeds and other nutritious table foods, then a vitamin supplement is not necessary and could in some instances, be harmful. If however, a lovebird’s diet is not ideal (strictly on seed), then we recommend the addition of a high-quality powdered vitamin. This is best administered on top of his daily salad.
Cuttlebone> – Rich in calcium, cuttlebone also provides a means in which to sharpen the beak. The cuttlebone will absorb odours and if not eaten, should be replaced every two months.
Iodine Block – This provides iodine, copper and many other minerals in small quantities. The iodine block is fun to chew and tasty too!
Treats – Different tastes, textures, shapes and sizes of foods are as important to a lovebird as they are to a person. Petland has a variety of packaged treats available for your lovebirds. Unsalted almonds, walnuts, acorns and hazelnuts (in moderation) may also be enjoyed. Some toys have an added benefit of providing a treat inside too!
Spray Millet – Long thought of as an “extra,” this natural food source is a must for all baby lovebirds. When you bring home your lovebird(s), you should provide spray millet for them on a daily basis. This may be the only thing that your lovebirds will feel comfortable eating in the beginning. Once your birds have adjusted to their new home, offering them spray millet one or twice a week is fine.
Bird Bath/Showering – Treat your birds on a daily basis to a misting shower, or if they prefer, a large shallow bird bath of warm water that attaches right into the door of their cage. Fill a clean water spray bottle (intended only for that use) with hot tap water for a warm morning shower. Spray from over your bird’s head if they do not enjoy direct misting. If your lovebirds are leery to step inside their bath, try placing the bath outside of the cage with the hood off, this may encourage their natural curiosity. A damp lettuce leaf placed in the bath helps too!
Water Bottle and Bracket – The fresh water that you serve to your lovebirds in the morning may be soiled in very little time with food or droppings. A secondary water source, such as a water bottle is a good way to keep your lovebird’s water clean and free of droppings. Lovebirds quickly understand how to use it and many enjoy playing with the spout.
Additional Food Cups – Stainless steel or ceramic treat cups are easy to keep clean and last longer than others. Your lovebirds will need one additional cup for salad, another for seed treats and one more for warm foods, such as eggs, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and even oatmeal.
Cage Paper – This makes maintenance a breeze! Droppings may be difficult to get off the plastic bottom of the cage, but gravel paper is easy to remove and will not become a soppy mess like paper towels or newspaper when water is inevitably splashed onto it.
Nail Clipper, File and Coagulant – Your lovebird’s nails will grow continuously. Nail clippers made especially for birds must be used. Take care not to over trim or cut into blood vessels running through each nail. Should this happen, have a blood coagulant waiting and ready to use. Many bird owners feel more comfortable bringing their lovebirds into Petland to have grooming performed; just call and make an appointment!
Toys – Ladders, rope toys, sturdy plastic or acrylic interactive toys and so on. A variety of interesting toys made of different materials are essential to your lovebird’s mental and physical well-being. New toys should be added periodically to thwart boredom and to provide them with the mental stimulation and exercise they need. This isn’t just fun, but a necessary part of your lovebird’s continued development. Lovebirds need destructible toys, along with indestructible ones. This fulfils their inherent need to chew. Your lovebirds must always be given materials that can be ripped, bitten and chewed, such as cloth, leather, wood, cardboard, paper, rope and branches. There are many toys available made specifically for small parrots (lovebirds) in your Petland store. Rotate and add new toys for your birds on a regular basis.
A Book About Lovebirds – Petland has many excellent bird books available. Your pet counsellor can help you select a species specific book that will best suit your needs.
Please ask your pet counsellor what other items pertain to your lovebird’s needs.
*Ask about the volunteer program at your nearest Petland location.
Attention: Certain cookware, aerosols, incense, aromatic candles and household cleaners may be harmful or worse to your bird’s health. Ask a pet counsellor for a copy of the “Safety Tips & Household Hazards” tip sheet.
Cleanliness and Safety
All pets must be kept in a clean environment to avoid the spread of dirt and contaminants to yourself and others. Always keep your pet’s home clean, and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home.
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit diseases to humans. Young children, infants, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with pets or their homes.