Lovebirds are active, cheerful and beautifully decorative. These petite 'pocket' parrots are very intriguing! Lovebirds come from the drier regions of Africa. Because they evolved from a very harsh environment, they are very suited to captivity. Not only do they have a good disposition, these charming, brilliantly colored little pets are very hardy and easy to care for. In the wild lovebirds live in flocks. They will often bond with a mate for life and show fierce loyalty and affection to their family. If you can earn there affections as young birds, you will receive that same fierce loyalty from your little friends. They are very social with both their keepers and their mate. Lovebirds also won't easily switch loyalties from one companion to another, whether it is to another bird or to another human. On the other hand, unless they are very attached to their keeper, lovebirds are not going to learn a lot of tricks or necessarily want to have a lot of handling.
Lovebirds are very active birds. When housing your lovebird, bird cages or an aviary best suited to them must provide a lot of space. Bird Cages: A minimum of 32 x 20 x 20 (81 x 50 x 50 cm) per pair of birds is recommended with about four perches, feed and water dishes and an area for a bath. When you use a small cage, you must let your pet out daily to fly around If you are housing pairs of lovebirds here are a few guidelines: Try to house only one species of lovebird as mixing species can cause serious fights. House either one pair of lovebirds or three pairs, never two pairs or there will be fighting. Each pair needs about 35 cubic feet of space. Bird Perch - provide one or two perches about 3/4' in diameter and dishes hanging from the side for feed, water, and grit. Try to place the perches away from dishes so the food and water dish do not become soiled with bird droppings. Do not use plastic because your bird will chew and break the plastic and it can become hazardous. Tree branches of a similar size make good perches and will help to wear the claws down naturally. Bird Hide / Nest Box - lovebirds like special resting places. Nest boxes placed up high, all at the same level and all of the same type work well and help prevent fights. Most lovebirds love a bath either in a flat earthenware dish or by spraying them with a light mist of lukewarm water. If you use a bathing dish, you will see the birds perch on the edge and dip their heads and upper bodies in the water and beating their wings. They prefer this kind of bath to getting into the water.
Lovebird training is best accomplished with a young bird. To have a tame lovebird, its also best to work with a single bird. Young birds have an amazing ability to learn tricks and be affectionate. Adults on the other hand, are very difficult to tame and generally won't learn a lot of tricks or imitate behaviors. Hand-raised youngsters are easiest to work with. They are already quite socialized and tame, but unfortunately they are not always available. Taming involves acceptance and trust between you and your bird. It means spending a lot of time with your bird daily. Start with talking softly and making slow movements. Once your bird is comfortable with you, then you can begin hand-taming. Use a dowel and push it gently against the birds chest while offering a treat to coax it up onto the dowel. This may take many tries. Once it is comfortable with stepping up onto a dowel, substitute your finger for the dowel. Lovebirds are not considered one of the best talkers, and only some may learn a few words. Lovebirds awaken with the dawn, get a drink, eat, and then immediately begin to chirp. They will generally quiet down by mid-morning and resume their chirping in the late afternoon. These birds are very active, flying and climbing about, gnawing on wood or chew toys, and grooming themselves many times all day. They love toys of all kinds such as seed bells, swings, ladders, mirrors, shiny objects, and wooden gnaws. A lovebird outside of it's cage will not stay on it's playpen, they like to explore. Be sure this room is safe with no open doors or windows, no toxic plants, no open water containers, and no hot stove.
A lovebirds's diet will consist of 1 1/2 to 2 ounces (45-60 grams) of feed daily for a single bird. A diet consisting of a small parrot mix along with a variety of supplements and vitamins is generally regarded as suitable. Also a formulated diet along with greens, fruits, and vegetable supplements but without additional vitamins is also regarded as suitable, and is a more current trend. Supplements include fresh vegetables, greens, tree branches for the bark, some fruits, and millet spray. Some of the fruit supplements include berries, apples, grapes, pears, bananas, and kiwi. Some of the greens and vegetable supplements include spinach, endive, watercress, chickweed, radish, parsley, dandelions, carrot tops, corn on the cob, peas, endive, field lettuce, and various garden herbs. Additional proteins can be offered such as nuts. Try some unshelled peanuts as well as hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and chestnuts. A cuttlebone, or gravel and oyster shell in a separate dish can be offered to provide calcium. Do not feed avocado as it can be toxic to birds! Vitamins can be added to the food or drinking water. Lovebirds drink a lot of water, so will need fresh drinking water every day.
Signs of illness include if a bird seems withdrawn, its feathers are ruffled and the plumage is dull, it sits with its eyes closed, watery or dull eyes, runny nose, it sleeps a lot, it looses interest in its environment, and it stays at its feed cup. The droppings may change color and be loose (if healthy they are grayish white and not too thin). A couple other lovebird ailments to watch for are a lot of tail bobbing, dropping off its perch, odd breathing, sneezing, and excessive scratching. Some of the common lovebird ailments are injuries from fighting, Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, Polyoma Virus Infection, yeast infections (Candidiasis), Avian Pox Virus Infection, bacterial infections, internal parasites, mites, ticks, egg binding, intestinal influenza, coccidiosis, respiratory ailments, and diarrhea. An ailing parrot should be taken to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Lovebirds generally maintain their nails and beaks on their own through climbing and chewing. Another good use they make of their tree branches.