General Lovebird Care

Lovebirds are some of the best birds to have as pets.  One of the smallest in the parrot family but do not let the size fool you.  Lovebirds have big bird attitudes and playfulness.  Many times when we visit our local pet shop we leave with bird, cage and a bag of seeds.  General lovebird care is much more in depth than most usually realize.  With a bit of time and a open heart we will explore things today with some ideas as well that might help keep you and your bird healthy, happy and forever friends.

The first thing to consider in taking care of your lovebird is diet. In the wild, lovebirds eat a large variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds,  and sometimes even worms and carrion.  So in keeping with their preferred natural diet you would try and mimic those things at home.  Now we all realize that in the wild birds normally get tons more exercises than they do in the cage so the amount of high-fat foods we feed need to be limited.  An all anything diet needs to be avoided at all costs.  In the past everyone pretty much thought that a bag of seed was needed to keep birds happy.  This is a dangerous way of thinking.  All seed diets can lead to obesity, high cholesterol, multiple nutritional deficits and can cause your bird to be less resistant to disease and even cancer!   A well rounded diet is needed for to keep your lovebird healthy and happy.  Feed a diet of fresh vegetables, pellets,  nuts, grains, proteins, such as eggs or cooked meat and pastas, cooked, everyday.  Fruits should be reserved for treats once or twice a week.  Seeds are necessary for nutrients in their diets so you should feed seeds daily but in small amounts.  Your lovebird can eat pretty much everything you do with the exception of avocado, rhubarb, chocolate, caffeine or raw milk products.  There are some lively debates about what not to feed your birds a standard rule would be if its bad for you, its bad for them.    Many lovebird owners cook for their birds and I cook for mine.  Birdy bread is a great way to hide  vegetables that some of the more stubborn birds will not touch.  There are plenty of birdy bread recipes out there, check em out!

Cage size is very important.  Your lovebird needs to be able to stretch and flap his wings without hitting the sides of the cage or any toys.  There are many cages out there and its always best to get the largest cage you can afford for your bird. There are things to consider as well such as bar spacing.  Bar spacing is very important because bar spacings to wide may cause injury to your bird as their heads can get stuck in between the bars. Birds love to climb so it makes sense that horizontal cage bars are the most desirable for the cage.  Preferable at least two walls should be horizontal to allow play, climbing and hanging time for your bird.   Check welding spots when looking at cages. Make sure they are free from gaps and sharp points, birds can and will get stuck in gaps and can get seriously injured by losing toes to cracks in the cage. So be sure and look for areas where your bird could hurt itself.  Perches are the next thing in line with the cage designs.  Many cages come with wooden dowels as perches.  Natural wood perches are great and its important to remember that your bird will need different size perches to provide foot excerise and prevent foot sores or arthritis in your pet bird.   Cage placement is important your lovebird needs sunshine in order to process vitamin D which is essential in calcium absorption.  Place a cage near a window if at all possible but far enough back so that a draft from the window can’t get in the birds cage.  A draft can be as deadly to a lovebird as a predator.  Lovebirds require at minimum ten hours of sleep time.  This is accomplished by covering your cage for that amount of time or keeping their room dark.  Lovebirds are so playfully and as  in their nature they need plenty of toys to keep them busy while they are in their cages.  Rotate toys out once a month to prevent boredom as well as toy bonding.  Many toys have mirrors on them and if you want to provide your bird a mirror toy then be aware they more than likely will bond with the bird in the  mirror and not you.  Mirrors however are a personal choice and many do use them with no issues.  Many bored birds become feather pluckers and will pick out their own feathers in frustration and boredom.  Toy rotation again is a good way to help prevent this from happening. Grooming is essential to your birds health.  Birds have dander, it looks like little white dust specs on your clothes and this dander/dust isn’t removed when your lovebird preens his feathers.  That why providing a bathing dish or misting your bird is necessary.  Your lovebird should everyday have a water source other than their drinking water to bath in.  Many birds adore their bath times and will have so much fun splashing around and making a big ole wet mess for you to clean up.  Misting is another option for bathing your bird.  Spritz them with water in  a fine mist and watch the fun begin.   Those birds that like to misted might also enjoy showering with you.  There are company’s that make shower perches, they are affordable and easy to use.  We have birds that just adore to shower with us.  They perch and when we are done with our showers I change the shower head setting to fine mist.  Its a great fun time after that and its a wonderful excuse to spend more time with your birds.  Nails, wings and sometimes beaks all need to be trimmed from time to time.  This is best accomplished by taking your bird to your avian vet or your local pet shop.  Birds have blood supplies in their toe nails and wings and can bleed to death fairly quickly if one of them is nicked and not taking care of immediately.  Do not attempt to cut your birds nails, wings or beaks unless you have been taught by a professional.

As with any pet you need to keep safety in mind.  Lovebirds create a new way of thinking in pet safety. Ceiling fans, non stick cook ware(which produces a deadly toxic gas to birds when overheated), poisonous plants, open windows, commodes, heavy scented candles, blind pull cords and open doors are all hazards to our feathered friends.  These are all hazards that can be prevented with just a little care on the part of the pet owner.  Take the time before you let your bird out to play to ensure that ceiling fans are off.  All outer doors and windows are closed, commode lids are down and no toxic plants are out of reach.  Lovebirds are very inquisitive and will taste everything so be aware of what they put their mouths on.  Due to their very curious nature and tasting/feeling things you will need to scrub your birds cages once a week and make sure  its free of any droppings or dust that could cause your bird to be ill.  Change paper in the cages daily and fresh water and food must be provided daily for your lovebird.  With any pet you will need some safety items in your home and your lovebird is no exception to the rule its a good idea to keep on hand:

Avian vet’s phone number/directions
Emergency vet’s phone number/directions
styptic powder
bandage (safe) scissors
an appropriately sized towel and
a carrier

Lovebirds are wonderful companions and with the proper diet and safety will be that companion for a lifespan of ten to twenty five years.  See your avian vet regularly for check ups and routine testing to make sure your bird is healthy.  Enjoy your bird and give them plenty of love as they are named lovebirds for a reason.