Breeding lovebirds

I am going to talk about breeding in indoor cages because that is all I know about as my lovebirds are indoors and not in avairys.

It is best to restrict breeding in lovebirds in the warmer months of the year, but as the lovebirds use their nesting boxes for roosting aswell as breeding, it is hard some times to stop them. The best way is to supply boxes containing a layer of peat only and not additional nesting materials when you do not want them to breed.

All kinds of nest boxes are suitable for for lovebirds, ranging from hollowed outg logs to square timber fashioned out of unplaned timber. Lovebirds unlike the mojority of parrotlike birds, use nesting materials so the inside of the box must have a greater volume than that supplied for members of similar sized birds in the parrot family. A good average size for lovebirds is a box with a dimension of 25cm high , 20 cm wide and 15 cm deep. The box should be constructed out of timber at least 2 cm thick, which will stand up to the whittling activities of the birds and to retain temperature.

The entrance hole about 5cm in diameter, is made near the top of the box and a small perch about 7 cm long should be placed just below this. Most lovebirds require a high humidity in the nest during incubation so a 5cm layer of damp peat is added to the base. Preferred nesting materials include the bark of trees and pieces of straw. Non poisonous tiwgs should be added to the cage or near the cage such as twigs from fruit trees or willow, I add some Flax leaves which a replace daily, but palm leaves will do the same. The birds will soon busy themselves stripping the plant material and tucking it uder their wings and taking it to the nest. Additional material should be made availiable through out nesting period as the hen will replenish the nestat regular intervals and the added material will help mantain humidity.

Lovedbird Babies

Nesting box choices

Nest boxes for lovebirds are usually made out of timber or plywood at least 2 cm thick or more, The thickness will stand up to the attack of the lovebird’s beak and will also maintain a constant temperture which is necessary for successful hatching.

When ready to breed, will soon commence and the pair will mate. the hen will spend longer periods of time in the nest box as laying time approches and and at this time, adequate supplies of soaked seed and cuttle fish bone should be made availiable.

Four to six eggs are the average number in a clutch , being laid on alternate days. The hen will not usually start to incubate in earnest untill the second or third egg is laid. The hen does all of the incubating but the cock will feed the hen during the day and roost with her at night. the incubation period is about 23 days in which time you should not disturb unless it is an emergancy. As soon as you think the eggs are hatched, you can have a look at the chicks by opening the hinged door or what ever door you have, limit these inspections to the minimum and preferably, do it when the hen is absent.

Both sexes will feed the chicks which will grow rapidly. Extra food should be made available with a good supply of soaked seed and greenfood. Some chicks will be ready to leave the nest in six weeks although the majority take about seven or eight weeks to fledge. Youngsters will return to the nest box at night, sharing it with their parents for a further two weeks. During this time they will continue to to be fed mainly by the cock. As soon as they are feeding independantly they should be moved to another cage as the parents will want to breed again and are likely to attack their offspring.

The next section is optional.

Many fanciers place rings on the legs of their birds for identification purposes. Split rings may be placed on the legs of birds of any age using a special tool, and rings of different colors are usefull for distinguishing individuals and sexes. Closed rings can only be placed on nestlings of a suitable age, and some bird societys have their own officicial rings which will prove the age of birds entered at exhibitions. It is best to approach your avicultural society, or an experienced exhibitor of lovebirds, to gain information on ringing.

The way to ring a bird with a closed ring
The correct way to ring a young bird with a closed ring.