LOVEBIRDS

Black-cheeked Lovebird   (Agapornis nigrigenis)
Black-winged Lovebird or Abyssinian Lovebird  (Agapornis taranta)
                                                   The temperaments of the different lovebird species vary somewhat. However, owing to the species’ decline in the wild, it would be morally wrong to maintain a single individual of this or any other rare endangered species, in a pet situation. Far better to maintain pairs in a breeding situation, thus promoting the effort to boost much needed numbers. The striking masked lovebird often appears shy an nervous, particulary when parent-reared. Hand-reared youngsters are extremely endearing, but they will revert quickly back to a ‘wild’ state when not handled sufficiently. The Fischer’s lovebird is a very beautiful species but, again, numbers living wild are in decline. However, setting this fact aside, the species possesses an extremely pugnacious character and even when hand-reared. Probably by far the most suitable species for the pet keeper is the peach-faced lovebird. Hand-reared youngsters normally prove very trusting, confiding and playful. It is worth noting that parent-reared young often require much time an patience to tame and it may be worth the extra investment to obtain a hand-reared individual. There are many colour varieties available for a good price, excepting the very rare varieties, which ar more highly prized. The best time to acquire a Lovebird is when they have just been weaned, at around six or seven weeks of age. Some hold the view that lovebirds should only be kept in pairs. However, where much love and attention is lavished upon a solitary individual, a happy relationship between pet and owner may endure. In fact, where a ‘pair’ turn out to be mismatched, disharmony is very likely once maturity sets in. Newcomers may not be aware that two adult females will fight when caged together, particularly once the breeding urge takes hold. It is also worth mentioning that to place an immature male alongside an adult femal often results in an attack being launched upon the younger party. In general terms, males usually make for a better pet, being slightly less agressive by nature than most females.
Correct nutrition is of prime importance to your pet’s health and well being. In the wild, groups of lovebirds are seen to gather in crop growing areas, and seem particularly fond of grain, maize and millet. Other seeds and berries are taken, along with some insectivorous food. In captivity, lovebirds will remain healthy on a diet of mixed seed, fresh fruit and vegetables. Generally, lovebids do not prove avid fruit eaters, but a little sweet apple or orange may be sampled. Fresh carrot, greenfood and sweetcorn are eaten. Very young individuals may only manage the smaller seeds, primarily preferring millet spray and may benefit from the provision of an eggbased rearing food. However, as individulas mature, a liking for some sunflower seed develops, along with a little hemp, safflower and clipped oats. Iodine nibble, cuttlefish-bone and mineral or oystershell grit should be on hand, along with fresh, clean drinking water. A little ground charcoal added to the grit is thought to be beneficial as a digestive aid. Various materials may be used to line the cage bottom. Sawdust, although absorbent, proves very messy on account of its light weight. Also, any chemicals or preservatives present in the wood may prove harmful. Bird sand is an option and sheets of newspaper prove by far the cheaper option and are easy to replace on a daily basis. Willow is commonly supplied to lovebirds as a nesting material. These birds delight in shredding the soft, supple branches and there is no reason why a pet shouldn’t be offered the same advantage. The provision of willow branches, with or without the foliage intact, will not only afford therapy to the lovebird, but may also lend some health benefits. Willow contains the compound salicylic acid, which is used as an antifungal agent and in the manufacture of aspirin.
            Masked Lovebird             (Agapornis personatus)
© by Wekrue WebDesign 2018
Lovebirds have long been popular with bird keepers, both as aviary stock and house pets. The ever-increasing range of colour mutations available, coupled with the modest asking prices for most, lends appeal to all ages and income brackets.
It should be understood that lovebirds are very sensitive to their care and environment. A kind, caring and considerate keeper will reap the rewards of a charming and devoted pet. On the other hand, where care is lacking, a pet may succumb to stress, leading to illness. Unfortunately, feather disease is prevalent among lovebirds, particularly in the peach- faced varieties. The cause may not always be apparent and cures often prove difficult, if not impossible. Often a pet will be seen to denude itself of plumage to a drastic degree, not responding well to any treatment. Proper attention to cleanliness, dietary and emotional needs, should ensure both happiness and wellbeing.       
 Grey-headed Lovebird or Madagascar Lovebird     (Agapornis canus)