Pet Bird Species: Lovebirds

March 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Active, curious and playful, lovebirds are very entertaining and often recommended as pets. Measuring only 15 cm in length on average, lovebirds are among the smallest of parrots, but are big in personality and have many of the traits of larger species. They thrive on social interaction and can put on quite a show for their human caretakers with very little encouragement.

As their name suggests, lovebirds crave affection, so if owners are not able to give their pet lovebird plenty of attention or are out most of the day, it’s generally a good idea to get a pair. A reputable lovebird breeder should be able to provide a well matched pair of birds, which is important as they can be aggressive if they don’t get along. It’s never a good idea to put a lovebird with another bird species. Pairs of lovebirds are a delight to watch as they play with and groom one another. Breeding pairs of lovebirds even feed one another, carefully transferring food from one beak to the other. It is an erroneous assumption that pairs of lovebirds will not bond with their human handlers. They may bond more with one member of the family more than others, but a lot depends on how they are handled from the start and they will more often than not respond to positive attention from anyone. They appear to enjoy grooming their favored humans with the same degree of affection shown to one another.

The minimum size of a cage for a lovebird should be 1m x 1m x 1m – but bigger is better. They need a variety of safe (preferably wooden) toys, swings and perches to play on and to chew. Providing a cuttlebone is important as this helps to trim their beaks, which grow continuously, and is also a source of calcium and minerals. They enjoy bathing and sunning themselves as part of their daily routine. It is good to remember that lovebirds that are not getting sufficient stimulation and companionship may exhibit behavioral problems such as aggression and feather plucking. Their immune systems may also become suppressed leading to ill health. But, in general, they are easy to care for.

Your pet lovebird’s diet should consist of a good seed, grain and nut mix, along with fresh fruit and vegetables. They also enjoy edible flowers and green weeds, such as dandelion and chickweed. Among the foods to completely avoid are avocado, rhubarb, mushrooms, onions and potatoes.

So, if you’re considering getting a pet bird (or two), lovebirds are a good choice. Just bear in mind that their lifespan is 15 years on average, and they bond for life, so be sure that you want to make a bird part of your household.

Bird Safety

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

Due to the adventurous nature of birds it is essential to ensure that their environment is safe.

The first safety precautions to consider are to do with the bird’s immediate environment – its cage. The spacing between the bars of a bird cage must be narrow so that your bird will not get its head stuck. Bars that are of a small diameter are easily bent and can make the gaps larger and less safe. There are a variety of feeding and watering bowls available and these must be selected carefully with the bird’s safety in mind. It is important to use the bowls designed for the holders as gaps will provide opportunity for toes to get stuck. Be sure to secure “guillotine”; type cage doors as some birds may try to lift these and get their heads caught. Look out for cages made of materials that may contain poisonous zinc or brass. Spring loaded latches can also be dangerous for toes and beaks.

Safety in feeding is another aspect to look at. Foods that are bought in bulk and then repackaged are not a good idea as they may be contaminated. Rather purchase food in the packaging of the manufacturer, even if it is slightly more expensive.

Many people recommend that a bird’s wings be clipped so as to prevent it from flying into trouble around the house. If your bird is permitted to leave its cage, it is vital to bird-proof your home for your bird’s safety, and to always know where it is. Many things around the house may prove toxic to birds, to name a few: crayons, various household cleaners, insecticides, lead-based paint, nicotine and table salt. It is also advisable not to let the bird out the cage when cooking or cleaning, as it may consume the wrong things or get burnt on ovens and stoves. Resist the desire to have your bird sleep with you, as sadly, many people have awoken to find their birds have been crushed.

Certain toys can also compromise your bird’s safety. Toys made from fabric may have threads in which the bird may tangle his/her feet or neck. Key rings are often used to attach hanging toys to the cage, however alternatives would be better as beaks, tongues and toes can get caught in these. Rope toys with loose threads may also entangle your bird.

The best thing to do is to carefully watch your bird’s activities around its cage and the external environment and try to predict any possible dangers to your bird’s safety. Rather safe than sorry!