If lovebirds are your choice, you'll
find that breeding and keeping them
is easy, fun and rewarding. Youngsters
can be tamed and handfed
babies make wonderful, loveable
pets. They can sometimes learn a few
words, but are not known to be
Lovebirds are natives of Africa and
some of the offshore islands. There
are eight species of lovebirds: Peachfaced,
Masked, Fischer's, Red-faced,
Black-cheeked, Madagascar, Abyssinian
and Swindern's. We will be discussing
the Peach-faced species
which makes up the majority of our
First on the list is the type and color
of lovebird you want. Some of the
common color mutations of the
Peach-faced species are: blue and
green pieds, creams, lutinos, American
cinnamon, mauve and olive.
There are many variations of blues
and greens which all have names, but
it is very confusing to recognize each
one when you begin. I'm still not sure
of all of them.
The best way to decide which birds
you want is to just choose birds you
like. The only way to really learn
about them is to be able to observe
them and their habits.
Getting a true pair is next and that is
not always easy. We have read about
and been told so many ways to visually
sex lovebirds but we gave up after
too many wrong guesses. The only
sure way we know is by DNA sexing
or surgical sexing. This can be expensive,
so there aren't many sexed lovebirds
available for sale. Usually a
reputable breeder can be very helpful
in choosing a pair.
The following items are some of the
basics from our breeding program.
These have been very successful for
us and we are happy to pass them on
and hope they work for you.
We like to set our birds up with one
pair to a cage. We put them together
as youngsters and let them mature together.
Our breeding cages are 2' x 3'
x 3' and have PVC legs that are easy to
wash and make the cage light weight
to handle. We use 1/2 x 1" 16 gauge
wire that is put together with "]" clips.
The cage is a "boot" style which has a
safety front with a door to access food
and water and another door in the upper
front positioned just a little to the
right. This is for catching birds when
necessary. The PVC legs are cut in
five foot lengths and attached with
washers and screws. They are positioned
on the sides of the cage front
and back so the bottom is about 36"
from the floor, making the cage stand
about six feet high.
Nest boxes are hung with wire
hooks on the outside left front. The
cage wire is cut just enough for the
birds to enter through the 2-1/2" hole
in the box. There are various styles
and sizes for lovebird boxes. We use
a regular reverse that is 7" wide x
8-1/2" high x 9" long.
We put our boxes on the cages
when we put the birds in. Most lovebirds
like to sleep in a box. This is
also the reason we do not remove
boxes except for cleaning. Our birds
take a rest from breeding even if the
box is left up, and seem to do so two
or three times a year. I'm sure there
are those who will disagree but this
has worked for us and the birds seem
to be doing fine.
At breeding time, we give the birds
palm leaves which they will shred.
Hens will tuck pieces in their mmp
feathers and carry them to the nest
where they weave them into a nest.
Some birds get quite elaborate with
Clutches usually consist of four to
six eggs, but some young hens only
lay three and we have some older
hens that will lay as many as eight.
Eggs are laid one every other day and
hens will begin to sit seriously after
the second egg is laid. Hens do all the
incubating and usually only come out
to eat or drink. Males will also feed
the hen while she sits.