Sakina loves birds. She had two IRN parrots and two budgies. Now she has two lovebirds, one of which is a peach-faced male she hand-raised.
Hand-raising a baby lovebird is a huge responsibility. It is just like raising a child. Given proper care and attention, hand-raised birds make the most loyal and loving pets one could ever find. It is like having a constant companion with you every day.
In this article, I have written about the following main topics, under which several pictures, videos, and callout capsules are included. Read on below to find all about hand-raising your baby pet:
- Getting Started: Feeding
- Preparing the Formula
- How to Feed the Baby
- What to Do After Feeding
- Baby Lovebirds' Growth Progression (Weeks 3–6)
- What Do Weaned Lovebirds Eat?
- What if Your Lovebird Is Scared of New Foods?
- Important Points to Remember
- 10 Unique Facts About My Lovebird, Mumu
Getting Started: Feeding
To be honest, I was literally scared to touch my baby pet named Mumu. We had bought him from a pet shop on March 12th, 2016. I had never raised a baby bird before; therefore, I was clueless. The internet proved to be an immense help, guiding me in my worried state.
Nevertheless, I gathered my courage and decided to feed him. I opened the brooder and gently lifted the sleepy baby out. He was clearly surprised and lunged forward to bite me. I stifled a laugh at his trivial attempt to scare me off. Eventually, I started feeding him.
Preparing the Formula
You will need boiled water, baby bird food powder, a syringe and feeding spoon (when your baby gets older).
- Boiling the water is essential to kill germs that could harm your baby bird.
- Mix a little amount of powder and water till the consistency is fine (neither too thick nor too watery). There shouldn't be any lumps in the formula.
- Fill the syringe between 6–8 ml. Check the temperature of the formula on your palm. (Caution: high-temperature formula could burn your baby's throat).
- Feed this amount of formula every 3 to 4 hours depending on your baby's need. Check your baby's crop (the area around the stomach, check the image below).
What Is a Crop?
How to Feed the Baby
You need to be very gentle while feeding your baby bird. The technique is simple, but it should be done with utmost care and caution.
- Feed your baby when he/she is the most hungry. You will know this when you show him/ her the syringe. He/she will make crying sounds and jump forward eagerly.
- The head of your baby bird should be tilted upwards.
- Gently place the tip of the syringe in your baby's beak and start feeding. If done properly, you will see your bird swallowing food. While swallowing your bird will bob his head or show body movement. Do not rush, always feed slowly.
- Check the crop; if it has bulged, you should stop feeding your bird. You will also notice two bubble-like formations at your baby's back. Do not feed after this.
What to Do After Feeding
- Clean your bird's beak with a clean towel.
- Put your bird to sleep by gently caressing his/her feathers.
- Give your bird plenty of rest.
Baby Lovebirds' Growth Progression (Weeks 3–6)
It is important to note the growth progression of your baby bird. It helps to understand feather growth and your bird's health. Given below are details and pictures of the growth progression of my pet, Mumu.
Mumu was a little baby with minimal feathers. His tail was blue in color and like a set of plastic darts. His stomach was bare, and his skin was showing. His back just had a line of feathers. Inside his wings, the skin was featherless but there were slits from which his wings would grow.
Week 3, Day 4
Tail endings were prominent and had a mixture of colors. More feathers started appearing at the back and on his wings. His wings were growing.
His size had increased. His wings were almost fully feathered. The tail was growing longer, and tail endings were taking the shape of leaves. But his cheeks and head still had some spots left to be covered.
Week 4, Day 5
He was almost completely feathered at this stage. He looked like an adorable little fur ball. He was onto becoming fledged (having wing feathers that are large enough for flight; able to fly).
Week 5, Day 3
He was fully feathered and his beak was properly formed. Tail and wing feathers were finely developed.
Week 6, Day 2
Fully grown and fledged.
My lovebird Mumu is sleepy.
What Do Weaned Lovebirds Eat?
You discover that your baby lovebird is weaned (accustomed to managing without something which they have become dependent on) from hand-feeding formula. What should you do? Here is the answer:
Offer seeds, fresh fruits, and vegetables every day. Corn is especially important in their diet. Your baby can eat almost anything you can.
Fresh Foods for Lovebirds
A lovebird's favorite fresh food list includes:
Remember: How you care for your bird will determine how healthy and loyal he/she will turn out be. Lovebirds are playful and sociable. Give them loads of attention and love them for who they are.
What if Your Lovebird Is Scared of New Foods?
Once you feel that your baby needs weaning, introduce new foods to him/her: feed corn, bananas, and seeds. Your pet may be scared and cry (make small short sounds) as a result. He/she may fluff out their feathers and try to attack the new food. Show the new foods daily and attempt to feed them. They will reject it initially. Continue trying to feed them till their fear is removed. This happened in my case and can happen in yours, too.
Important Points to Remember
It is very important to remember these points for the safety and well-being of your lovebird.
- Leave fresh water for your lovebird. It only takes a second to change water.
- Keep perches and dishes scrubbed clean as birds nibble on everything. Be sure to rinse very well after using detergent or disinfectant.
- Never use Lysol, etc. It is difficult to get all the residue washed off.
- Take your bird outside with you if the weather is pleasant.
- Supervise your bird with children or strangers.
- Supervise all animals when they are around your bird.
- Do provide a cage large enough so that your bird has MORE than enough room to move and flap its wings.
- Provide different and stimulating toys for your bird to chew.
- Do not cook with Teflon; when overheated, the gas emitted could be fatal to your bird.
- Do not smoke around your bird. Nicotine is deadly to birds.
- Do not cook with a bird on your shoulder. Kitchens can be very dangerous.
- Do not let your bird chew on surfaces or plants that can be fatal or toxic if ingested. Be aware of lead and zinc toxicity.
- Do not purchase toys for your bird that have dog leash type clips or jingle type bells. (Toes can be caught easily).
- Do not bring any other bird that has not been tested first by an avian veterinarian into contact with your bird.
- Do not assume that a bird is 100% healthy because it has never been "sick".
Baby Lovebirds May Bite in Their Defense
Baby lovebirds are not mean; rather, they may be frightened. They use aggression as their defense. Never hit or yell at your bird. They have feelings which get hurt, too. Always talk calmly and ignore bad behavior if it occurs.
Baby Mumu Learning Tricks and Commands
10 Unique Facts About My Lovebird, Mumu
- He has been an unusually fast runner since the beginning.
- He used to walk backwards to pass poop.
- He used to follow us whenever we were going away.
- He had a heart-warming way of snuggling to my stomach when he felt sleepy.
- He understood commands even though he was so little.
- He used to chatter a lot, making different sounds. Currently, he has the rare ability to say 2–3 words.
- He imitates kissing sounds even before we kiss him. Adorable!
- He mimics our actions. If we hold a mobile phone, he jumps on the screen, pretending to use it himself. Yeah, we love his silly antics.
- He has an obsession with the metal gold. He holds the record of breaking two chains and one ring! (It's a pun.)
- He is very curious and loves to explore his surroundings. There is this cute questioning look on his face whenever he sees something new.
Questions & Answers
Question: At what age can I stop feeding the baby formula?
Answer: That is when the baby is 1.5 months old. After that, wean your baby by introducing seeds, fruits, and green leaves.
Question: If I touch the baby lovebird to feed it when I go to school, can I put it in the cage with its parents? (The eggs haven't hatched yet.)
Answer: The baby lovebird should be fed by the mother lovebird till it's two weeks old. You can hand-feed the chick when it's around three weeks old.
Question: How many days does it take to hatch a lovebird egg?
Answer: It usually takes around 21-23 days for an egg to hatch, but my lovebirds' chick was born after 25 days.
Question: Should I feed my baby lovebird chicks at night? When did you feed Mumu?
Answer: Feed them once before you sleep. The time between morning till night can be divided into a feeding pattern of every two to three hours.
Question: Should I leave fresh water for the baby lovebird or the slightly grown ones?
Answer: You need to keep fresh water available for both baby lovebirds that are at least a month old, and mature lovebirds.
Question: Should I keep the baby lovebird away from the mother once I start feeding it?
Answer: No, you can feed the chick and place him/her near the mother lovebird after you're done.
Question: Can I make a formula for the baby lovebird without baby bird food powder? What should I make it of?
Answer: You can make a slurry-like feed with mashed fruits and veggies (avoid seeds, avocados and sugary/savoury items). It's best to buy the formula powder available in pet stores. Good brands contain all the necessary nutrients needed for healthy growth.
Question: Will all eggs hatch?
Answer: No, only some eggs hatch.
Question: How do you know the female lovebird from the male?
Answer: A female lovebird lays eggs, sits with a wider stance and is slightly heavier than the male.
Question: Is it okay to pick out the baby lovebird (27 days old) to feed them?
Answer: Yes, it's okay to feed them once they are around three weeks old.
Question: How can I keep my 3-week-old baby lovebird clean?
Answer: Please give the chick a bath when he/she turns 5 weeks old. Till then you can gently rub its beak and body with a soft, wet towel if it's dirty after feeding.
Question: Should I feed my 3 to 4 week-old-lovebird with boiled bird food seeds?
Answer: No need to boil the seeds.
Question: I have a lovebird that is now 5 years old, I raised her by hand. She keeps laying eggs each year. Would it be wise to introduce her to a new baby lovebird?
Answer: Please introduce her to a healthy, adult male lovebird and let them get acquainted. A baby lovebird will be taken care of by her if she's good with new birds/people.
Question: Should we give a 2 weeks old love bird water?
Answer: No, please wait until the bird is a month old.
Question: I am wondering if your bird just had an egg and you have not noticed it. If you leave it on the table by accident, will it die if it is not warm?
Answer: If the egg is fertile, the chick won't grow unless it is given heat.
Question: At what age/stage should I remove the baby lovebirds from their parents in order to hand-feed them?
Answer: A lovebird of three weeks of age can be held and fed comfortably.
Question: Can I feed a four-week-old baby love bird fresh water?
Answer: You can give a baby lovebird water once he or she is 1.5-2 months old.
Question: What do I feed a baby lovebird? Is there special formula?
Answer: Yes, there is special formula for lovebirds. It will be available in a local pet store.
Question: What happens if your baby lovebird is a slow developer?
Answer: It's okay, but if it's too slow, it would mean the baby is not getting enough nutrients.
Question: My female lovebird has laid 7 eggs. One hatched last night while I was asleep and I only noticed this morning. I went to school and came back but I haven't seen her feeding the baby yet. What should I do? Should I just let them be and wait for the baby to be older to begin hand feeding? Or should I step in?
Answer: If the female lovebird is not feeding the baby, you need to feed it yourself. Is the chick active? Do you see it moving?
Question: How many cc to feed African lovebirds?
Answer: That depends on your lovebird's age and diet. You need to feed every hour if it's a newborn (till it's around a week old). You can feed it every 2-3 hours if it's three weeks old or more. This can differ according to the lovebird's needs.
Question: When should I feed a one-day-old lovebird? What food should be given? How should it be given?
Answer: The mother lovebird will feed the chick. It's easier to handle the baby when it's three weeks old. You can feed it bird formula, which will be available at a local pet store. Feeding is done with a syringe.
Question: Will the father lovebird take care of the baby if the mother has passed away?
Answer: Father lovebirds take care of chicks when they are older--that is by the 6th or 7th week. The fathers then feed the chick till they are fledged (capable of feeding themselves). In this case, you need to feed the baby lovebird yourself.
Question: When can I start offering water while hand feeding a baby lovebird and how do I do it?
Answer: You can start offering water once the chick is around 1.5 months old. Take a small bowl and fill it with little water. Whenever your chick is fed, offer it. Continue doing this and your chick will starting drinking it on a daily basis.
Question: If I leave water for my baby lovebird, will it accidentally drown in it?
Answer: No, the bowls made for a lovebird's cage are small; your pet won't drown in them.
Question: How long can a baby lovebird survive without food from its mother?
Answer: It cannot survive. Please feed the chick if the mother lovebird is not feeding it.
Question: My baby peached face lovebird snuggles when she is in her cage. She is ok for a while when she is out, but then she starts snuggling. How can I train her not to snuggle?
Answer: Do you mean she snuggles with the cage? Pull her close to you when she is out. Pat her head and make her feel loved.
Question: At what age can you move a lovebird into a cage?
Answer: It is okay to move a 2-month-old lovebird in a cage. Give them time to settle in it.
Question: When will the lovebird mother start feeding her chicks? Is it after they all hatch or when the first one hatches? And is it ok to leave the first bird alone without food before the other bird hatches? What to do with the eggs that are not going to hatch? (I have a baby lovebird and the other one hasn't hatched yet. Out of the four eggs, I know that only two would hatch because I had handled them.) Could you help me, please?
Answer: The mother lovebird will start feeding the chicks immediately after they are born. Please don't leave any bird without food. They will not survive. If by chance, the mother lovebird is not feeding her chicks, please do so yourself. The eggs, which do not hatch 25 days after laying, should be thrown away.
Question: When should I start hand-feeding baby lovebirds after they hatch?
Answer: You can hand feed them once they are around three weeks of age. It is easier to hold them at that age.
Question: Why does a mother lovebird pretend to kill her offspring when they leave the nest box?
Answer: Are the offspring around three weeks of age? If so, the mother lovebird wants them to become independent. That is why she pushes them out of the nest box. If you think she is hurting the chicks, please transfer them to a brooder.
Question: So I have a baby lovebird with me. How much sleep should she get everyday? She's at least 4 weeks old. Also, her mom flew away, and since I have school, I have no one to watch my lovebird. Is it ok to leave her alone for at least 8 and a half hours?
Answer: Baby lovebirds sleep a lot. After you feed her, she will fall asleep again. It's not okay to leave her because she'll need to be fed at least 2 times in those 8 hours.
Question: I am not sure about my baby lovebird's age. When I got it the breeder told me he is less than a month old. He looks older than birds 3 weeks of age when compared to pictures. I read that I should feed him around 4 times a day, but he ate only 2 cc at a time, so I started feeding him 3 times a day with no timing just when I feel he is hungry. Is that right?
Answer: You can feed your bird in a gap of 2-3 hours. To feed him when he's the most hungry is okay, nothing wrong in that. Please make sure the crop (stomach) is empty (not bulged) while you're feeding him.
Question: Do I need to provide a lamp to a baby lovebird for warmth?
Answer: It is not necessary if you have a brooder for the chick.
Question: My baby Lovebirds are 2-weeks-old and you wrote that I can start hand feeding them at about 3 weeks. Does that mean I have to remove them from the parents? Or can I feed them once or twice a day and return them to the nest for the mother's lovebird to keep feeding too?
Answer: You can do both, actually. Please check whether the mother lovebird is feeding the chicks after you have fed them. If not, please separate them and feed them yourself.
Question: Is it normal for the mother bird to step on a baby bird?
Answer: No, it's not okay if the mother lovebird steps on the baby. She should sit beside the chick, not step on it.
Question: My love bird is 2 weeks old. What to keep under the bird to keep it warm?
Answer: Please keep the bird in a brooder. That will be enough to keep the chick warm. Put a towel at the bottom of the brooder and spread dry grass on it.
Question: I have 2 four-week-old Fischers. Is it okay for me to give them toys to chew? They love the very first toy I gave them, but I realised that they're way too young.
Answer: It's okay to give them as long as the material is safe.
Question: My lovebird’s feathers only started looking good at two months and a week, and I got her at two months. I’m still hand feeding her! Is it normal? She’s tiny so obviously, I named her Tiny. I somehow think the girl lied about her age, could that be?
Answer: Hi! Have the feathers completely developed? You can compare with the weekly stages and the fully matured one to know. Hand-Feeding isn't an issue until the chick is 1.5 months old. After that, he/she has to be familiar with seeds, fruits, and green leaves.
Question: How can I teach a lovebird to eat sunflower seeds?
Answer: If the lovebird lets you touch him/her, you can place sunflower seeds on your palm and encourage your pet to eat it. If not, place the seeds in the seed bowl (outside and inside the cage).
Question: I have baby lovebirds that hatched a week ago. I was told to start feeding them separately but the parents are still feeding them, should I still do this?
Answer: If the parent lovebirds are feeding the chicks, let them do it. If they are not feeding them, then you will need to do it.
Question: What should be in the formula for a baby lovebird and how do I make a homemade formula?
Answer: A formula is available in the local pet store. That has all the requirements. I'd advice you to use that.
Question: How did you avoid splayed legs in your baby lovebird?
Answer: I made sure the brooder had a somewhat rough plastic base (it shouldn't be slippery). If it's slippery we can add materials (sand, hay, bird-safe wood shavings) to make the base rough and to give the chicks a fine grip.
I had spread 2-3 fistfuls of hay in the brooder and my bird had a good grip. You can do the same if you have a nest box instead of a brooder.
Question: My lovebird dropped an egg at the bottom of the cage. I picked up the egg and put it in an incubator. My pair doesn't show interest in this egg. Will my lovebirds accept/feed the chick after it hatches?
Answer: You would have to keep the chick near them and see what happens. If the mother lovebird doesn't feed the chick, you would have to do it yourself.
Question: After feeding the baby lovebird, should I put it back in the nest?
Question: How would I know if a baby lovebird is not alive anymore?
Answer: You will see the baby lovebird kicking its legs in the air and hear small "crying" sounds. Apart from that, the mother will feed it and clean its body.
Question: How did you keep your lovebird warm?
Answer: I placed my lovebird, Mumu in a brooder (filled with 2-3 fistfuls of hay) to keep him warm.
Question: Can a 6-week old baby lovebird be taken in and out from the parents' cage to be hand-raised?
Answer: Yes, that can be done.
Question: Mumu, my lovebird, used to chatter a lot making different sounds. Currently, he has the rare ability to say 2-3 words. Do you have a video where he says the words?
Answer: Yes, I do. It's uploaded on my YouTube account (Sakina Nasir). Mumu can say "Step," "Ai aaw" (means come here in my native language) and he used to say "come here."
Question: Hi I have 2 baby lovebirds, one is 22 days old and another is 28 days old. He has started to eat seeds but I noticed that the younger one has started to nibble too. Is that ok? And how should I reduce time between feedings from 4 to 3?
Answer: Nibbling fingers should be discourage. Just stroke the bird's beak and tell a firm no. The feedings can be reduced to 3 times in a day and incorporate seeds, fruits (without seeds) and veggies in the diet.
© 2016 Sakina Nasir
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on September 02, 2020:
Hi Talha! :)
I feel the bird doesn't like fruits or veggies. Was she brought home from a local pet shop? If that's the case, these birds are happy with seeds/millets and don't like eating other foods.
My female lovebird, Juju does the same thing. She doesn't understand what fruits and veggies are. Try giving a blanched spinach leaf and see if your bird eats it (Juju likes green leaves).
Fear of water is normal, but shouldn't be the cause of an unclean bird. Try spray bathing the bird with lukewarm water. Be very gentle. Hope this helps. If the bird gets comfortable with spray bathing, try to put a shallow vessel near him/her and encourage bathing.
Hope this helps. :)
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on September 02, 2020:
Yes, there is a food formula mix available for baby lovebirds. Please check in a local pet store for birds. Nutri A21 for lovebirds is a good brand, I had used that for my lovebird, Mumu.
Talha on September 01, 2020:
I hope you still reply, I have a 10 months old Fischer Love bird. She/he loves to eat her seeds and spray millet, but she can't eat fruit. If i give her a piece of banana or carrot, she will chew on it but wont swallow. Just spits out the carrot pieces no matter how small they are. Also the baby is still afraid of water, is that normal?
Thanks in advance :)
Yaswanthnaidu on August 31, 2020:
What is the food for baby love birds is there any food formula to mix and feed them
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on August 17, 2020:
It's fine if the parents feed it. They will feed when they want to, but please keep an eye on the chick's stomach.
Angie on August 16, 2020:
Hi, thanks for your reply earlier. Would it be a problem if I feed it and put it back into the parents cage, and the parents feed it again? Or will they know if the babies are full?
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on August 15, 2020:
The age of the lovebird should be at least 1.5 months old when you want to give him/her a bath.
Marivic Macalla on August 13, 2020:
What do you mean 1.5 months?
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on August 11, 2020:
Hi Jovita! :)
You can let your baby lovebird have a bath once she turns around 2 months old. They can bath daily in summer and occasionally in winters. Also it depends on the bird's mood, if you place a bowl of water next to her, she will bath if she feels like. Always use water which is warm or at room temperature. Never use cold water.
Jovita on August 10, 2020:
May i know when can i start letting my baby lovebird to shower n how often can she shower??
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on August 05, 2020:
Hi Ellieva! :)
They will be able to do so when they are around 2.5 months old. Give them time getting used to the cage and perches.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on August 05, 2020:
Hi Angie! :)
No, the birds will sleep as you sleep. Feed them just before you go to sleep and first thing in the morning.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on August 05, 2020:
Hi Angie! :)
You can feed them and play with them for a while, then place them back with their parents. Once they turn around 2.5 months old, you can place them in a separate cage with safe toys.
angie on July 29, 2020:
Hi :-) I would like to know when it is time to hand-raise or hand-feed them, do I start to separate the chicks from the parents into another cage or do they still stay together in the same cage?
angie on July 28, 2020:
Hi, you mentioned that we have to feed it every 3-4 hours, may I know do we have to feed it at night too when they are sleeping? Thank you!
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on July 17, 2020:
Hi Kaybugs. :)
You can mash banana and apple into a soft pulp and put in glucose (for birds) and feed the chicks.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on July 17, 2020:
Hi Shuba. Please buy some glucose for birds and give warmth.
Kaybugs on July 12, 2020:
Hi i have three baby lovebirds and all my local pet stores don't have baby lovebird formula is there a homemade formula i can feed them with?
Ellieva on June 24, 2020:
When can a baby love bird sit on a perch in their cage.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on April 06, 2020:
Hi Saba! :)
Please get hay. It's soft and lightweight too. He must be scared of the new brooder. Pet him for a longer time. His bond with you will also increase (no harm in it).
Saba Haroun Mahdavi on April 06, 2020:
Thank you! I managed only about 3ml sadly...
Another thing - he seems to be super distressed in the little brooder I got him. What sort of grass should I get? Is the larger kind of wood shaving ok? He tends to calm down in my hand and sleep... is there any danger in this?
Thank you again :)
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on April 06, 2020:
Hi Saba! :)
Thank you so much for the positive comments. I used to feed my lovebird around 10 ml of the formula (3-4 times per day, as needed) when he was 3 weeks old. I used to make a thin paste (but not watery). Put a little formula powder and mix a little lukewarm water in it. Fill this in a small, plastic syringe and feed your bird.
You should feed until the bird is around 6-7 weeks old (if he doesn't stop). Introduce fruits, veggies and water when the bird has become 5 weeks old. Show these food items daily and try that the bird eats it on his own. Hope this helps.
Saba Haroun Mahdavi on April 06, 2020:
Hello Sakina! I love your page, thank you for all the great advice
I just got a little beautiful lovebird of my own. S/he is about 3 weeks old now and I'm about to hand feed him. He's been fed by his parents up until now. I'm wondering how much of the NutriBird A21 I should give him - the instructions itself is going from a lovebird's hatch day 1 onwards... but stops to weaning at day 5 on...
What do you suggest I do? How much do I mix in... by how much water... (I'll observe the crop) and for how many more days?
Thank you so much in advance! I wish you good health :)
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on April 01, 2020:
Hi Sarah! :)
If the parents are taking care of the chick, please let it be with them for another week or so. You will notice if the parents want the chick to be on its own. Then you can handfeed it and pet it yourself. Hope this helps.
Sarah on April 01, 2020:
Our lovebird chick is 16 days old,all going well so far, do I just leave it with the parents if it seems okay,how long should I be safe to leave it with them
Lori Youngash on March 14, 2020:
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on March 14, 2020:
Hi Lori! :)
Please keep the baby lovebirds in a separate brooder. If the parents are plucking the feathers, it might affect the feather growth. You can feed them 4 or 5 times a day as long as they are comfortable. Some birds eat fully at one time, some don't.
Lori Youngash on March 14, 2020:
I am caring for two 3 week and a few days old lovebirds. Their parents were plucking out their feathers so they are behind schedule with their feather growth. Will this affect their development? Should I feed them 4 times a day? Ive been feeding them 5 times a day, mostly because they havent always eaten until absolutely full.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on February 10, 2020:
@Nunma Hi! :) Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I can feel your love for the bird and it's more than enough. Please don't overthink or worry. Young birds need lots of rest, so please don't keep him out for more than 2 hours in a day. You can always play with him for longer time periods when he/she turns 6 weeks or older.
Nunma on February 10, 2020:
Hello! thank you for writing this article, it helped me so much with my baby lovebird
at the start it was hard to feed him since he was given to me right after being taken from the nest, but I got him to slowly get used to being handfed!
it's a huge success but I'm getting anxious..
I'm scared he slowly doesn't like me, how to make sure he doesn't dislike me?
after I feed him I wrap him in a towel and cuddle with him on the couch for an hour or so before putting him back to sleep on his own.. is it not enough?
sometimes when I'm playing online with friends I keep him next to me so he doesn't feel lonely but ahhh Idk if it's enough :"(
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on January 29, 2020:
Please add 1-2 drops of multivitamins in the water or on the food. This will help with the feather growth.
Thasneem Fathima on January 29, 2020:
One of my baby lovebird's feathers are not growing properly. It's about 5 weeks old. What to feed it??
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on January 26, 2020:
@Dante Hi! You feed the chick whenever it is hungry. Please check the crop (stomach area); if it's flat, it means the chick is hungry and if it's bulged means the chick is well fed.
You don't need to feed it overnight. Feed it before you go to sleep and first thing in the morning.
Dante on January 25, 2020:
Hey, how often do you have to feed a baby lovebird and do you have to feed overnight? Thanks
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on November 19, 2019:
You can start hand-feeding the baby when it is 3 weeks old and stop it when it is around 2 months old. Nutribird A21 Formula is good for lovebirds. You can feed your bird using a small plastic syringe.
Birdlover on November 19, 2019:
Hey! When can i start and stop hand feeding my baby bird(im only feeding it for a better way for me and the bird to bond) i dont know if the eggs are fertile though. They are supposed to hatch this week. Will any formula be good? And one more thing, what do you use to feed your baby birds?
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on October 13, 2019:
You need to clean the nest box and the cage. Please remove the babies and place them on a clean towel when you clean the cage. Please remove the unhatched eggs. You can start placing the chicks in the cage once they are 2 months old. The mother will feed the baby for some weeks and then you can feed them yourself. I don't know if birds accept big animals that easily. Please give them time.
Hi Im Paige on October 12, 2019:
My tropical love birds are color of a colorful big parrot. The male is blue and white. She has one hatched black and pink chick.shebhasbbeen setting on the other3 eggs for 29 days when should I remove other 3 unhached eggs. The male is feeding the fall. Am I able to change the dirty bedding in the nesting box? With baby in the box? Can I clean the rest of the cage.or should I leave it be for now? To clean the nesting box,can I handle the baby? Thank u Paige ray.oh can I put the new baby in a cadge at 5 weeks ? Will the mom quit feeding the baby ounce I start? My birds are only A year old frankly I was shocked they had eggs and a baby so young them self's . Do love birds like dogs? Thank u paige
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on July 31, 2019:
@Jennifer Dollmaier Hi! Thank you so much and welcome! You have no idea how glad I feel right now. Give your birds and their little ones all my love and they are welcome too. :) ♡
I'd be honored to help. All the very best! :)
Jennifer Dollmaier on July 31, 2019:
My lovebirds surprised me with five eggs that have just started hatching today. I had no idea what to do but your articles are so thorough, so informative, and such a pleasure to read that I feel much more confident now. I just wanted to comment with my heartfelt thanks. I'm sure my birds thank you too. My best to you, Sakina! (And you may hear from me again if I start to panic about something. ;) )
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on July 18, 2019:
@Audrey Hi! :) You're most welcome. The heating pad is not required if you get a lovebird who's 3 weeks or older in age. Chicks younger than that may need a heating pad. You can keep a small lamp near the brooder, that works as well. The paper towel can be placed for support. You can spread that and put hay over it so that the chick is most comfortable.
Audrey on July 18, 2019:
And what is the paper towel thing? And thank you Sakina for answering my first question so fast...
Audrey on July 18, 2019:
Thank you Sakina. I have one more question though, the picture that you linked to me the brooder had a heat pad under it. Is that needed as well?
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on July 17, 2019:
@Audrey Hi! :) Thank you so much for your kind words. A brooder is a plastic box which helps keep a lovebird baby warm. The lid has various slits for the passage of air but otherwise is packed. There's no lamp or tank connected to this, it's only a plastic container with a lid having slits.
You can view the image I've included of Mumu sitting in his brooder in this article (under Four Weeks Five Days Old Baby Lovebird). Here is another image of a brooder: https://theaviatorharness.files.wordpress.com/2014...
Please include nesting materials like hay (I think my birds love it the most) or pine shavings. Please keep changing the nesting material once it's soiled. Young birds tend to digest food a lot quicker than older ones.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
Audrey on July 17, 2019:
Can you explain more in depth about what a brooder is? I'm thinking about hand-raising a lovebird but I just don't know what a brooder is... Did you have a heat lamp on a tank or was it already connected or something? Great article, it is really informational. I can tell you took really good care of Mumu and that he is very happy :)
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on July 11, 2019:
They stay warm when we place them in our hands. Feed quickly and place them in your hands and pet them.
Sharon on July 11, 2019:
When taking the babies away to hand feed how do you keep them warm
Alisa on May 11, 2019:
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on May 10, 2019:
Hi Alisa. :)
You can introduce fruits and veggies once the chicks are around 1.5-2 months old. Please begin with mashed items.
Alisa on May 10, 2019:
Hi Sakina, I'm hand raising 3 baby love birds and I was wondering when I should introduce fruits and veggies, Thank you.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on March 23, 2019:
Hi Emy! You can put the baby next to the parent lovebird.
Emy on March 23, 2019:
Hi sakina, i wanna know if when i feed my baby lovebird i can put it back with his parent or should i put him away?? Thnx
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on March 20, 2019:
@Lynn Russo Hi! :) This is so nice to hear. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I wish for the chick's well being.
Lynn Russo on March 20, 2019:
my lovebird laid 5 eggs every other day starting on 1/20/19, up intil 1/30/19 & the first hatched on 2/20/19. Gradually, the other four eggs were candled and checked for fertilization & were not. Therefore, I have one hatchling. The baby is now 4 weeks old today and doing great. I did take the baby away from the parents at 3 weeks old, some people say that is too late, but I do work full-time and wanted to make sure that the baby was taken care of up to 3 weeks by the parents to make sure that I am doing the right thing for the baby. It is now 4 weeks old today and doing wonderfully with hand feeding still the Exact baby bird formula with a little bit of oatmeal flakes in the mix to give some consistency along with Classic Egg Food granules for added vitamins. I will be keeping this baby as the other ones never hatched. The next time around I was told that there will most likely be more fertile eggs as this was my females first time being mated with our male.
It is very exciting to see the stages of the babies from day 1 to when they will be able to go to their new homes. I cannot wait to do this full-time when my boss retires. Thank you for all the great information, as you have helped answered many of my many questions.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on September 19, 2018:
@Kamalam Hi! :) You will get the baby lovebird formula in a local pet store near you.
Kamalam on September 19, 2018:
Can you pls say what powder is used for food making (suggest for baby ).......
Ada on July 08, 2018:
How old should they be in order to drink water?
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on June 19, 2018:
@Rahul Janghel Hi! :) That's wonderful news. Congratulations! I'd suggest the mother lovebird to feed the chick till he/she is 2.5-3 weeks old. This is because the mother regurgitates essential enzymes and nutrients to the chick, which is necessary for his/her healthy growth.
Mumu was 3 weeks old when we had brought him home. Also, it's safe to handle the chick (since we can hold them well) when he/she is 3 weeks old.
Rahul Janghel on June 18, 2018:
Hi Sakina, Thank you for writing this article, it helped me a lot to understand about bird care.
Since yesterday I am very excited as my love bird's egg has fetched, at the same time I am worrying about chick's feeding. I believe Mumu was more than a week or two old when you started feeding him. Could you please suggest how and what I should feed to under week chicks, it will be really helpful. I am expecting few more chicks may be today or day after as my lovebird is with 4 more eggs now. :-)
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on June 11, 2018:
@Ahmad Hi! :) Thank you. The feeding totally depends on your lovebird's requirement. You will know when to feed him/her when the crop is flat (the image can be found in the article). You need to feed your lovebird every 2-3 hours (if he/she is three weeks old) approximately, but it may differ from bird to bird. As the bird grows older, get him/her used to eating seeds and fruits.
ahmad on June 10, 2018:
Good method but tell me how many times a love bird need feed
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on June 06, 2018:
@Christopher Thanks! Lovebird babies make awesome pets. What do you disagree with?
Christopher on June 05, 2018:
Nice article, disagree with a few things but overall its pretty good!
Amanda on June 04, 2018:
Good day!! What is necessary to make a brooder? Thinking of getting a baby lovebird...
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on May 08, 2018:
What is the brand name of the formula? Some formulas are thin/thick even after adding water. If they're thick and heavy (it takes time for them to digest). If the formula is thing and light, they will digest it quickly and get hungry after 2-3 hours.
Do you check the crop of the babies before feeding them? You will notice bulging stomachs and two bubble-like formations on the back if they're full (You can see the crop's picture in the article). Do no feed after this.
If they are hungry, their crops will be flat and they will make small crying sounds.
They will be tamed, they are babies still. :) Give them a little time to get used to the injection and formula.
If they don't eat even after their crops are flat, a vet might help.
I hope this helps. Good luck!
Rhubberie on May 08, 2018:
I have a serious issue right now. I just got 4, 4 weeks old love bird. I am having problems feeding them. They won't open their beaks voluntarily and I have to forcefeed them. I am afraid that I might dislocate their beaks, break it, or I can cause wounds on their beaks. The seller told me they are fresh from the nest. So that means he haven't tried handfeeding them. Someone also told me that they can't be tamed anymore and can be stubborn. I'm afraid they'll die. Currently they are eating only 1ml of baby bird formula. And I can forcefeed another 1ml so they won't be hungry. I have handfed a budgiekeet(I got her when she was 2 weeks old) and 2 cockatiels(I got them when they were 3 weeks old). And all those baby birds haven't acted the way my new babies have acted. Was it because of the age? Was it because they're still adjusting? Please of you can help me it'd be great.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on May 02, 2018:
@Melody Hi! :) That's really sweet of you. Lovebirds are fun to observe and make amazing pets. They love playing!
Melody on May 01, 2018:
Good information! I want a lovebird tooooooo they are so cute unfortunetly I don't have time I have a dog. Keep writing, love Mumu.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on March 14, 2018:
@Anthony Emmanuell Hi! :) Oh my! I'm so sorry to hear that. You can buy a brooder for the babies, they will stay warm in that. You can hand feed the babies once they are 3 weeks old. I used to feed A 21 Nutribird formula to my lovebird. It was really healthy. I don't know if it's available there, but you can consult and buy the best formula available for lovebirds.
Hope this helps. Good luck! :)
Anthony emmanuell on March 13, 2018:
Hi my question is this for the third time my agapornis love birds killed all the babies just when they are about to leave the nest so I need help finding a good food or formula so I can hand rise the babies let's say from week 4 there after and avoid their parents killing them I like them not like a pet really so my intention is only to save their lives right now the hen has 7 eggs last time she had 6 lost 1 and kill me 5 so I am pretty sure this time she will have the seven so I do not want them to go the way of the dynosours please help thanks
bookpaw on March 09, 2018:
hi i wood love to have loyal and loving lovebird and i sure that they are great company
bookpaw on March 07, 2018:
i would love a loyal and loving lovebird
bookpaw on March 07, 2018:
i would love a loyal and loving lovebird
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on February 22, 2018:
@bookpaw Hand raising lovebirds is a beautiful and learning experience. Hand raised lovebirds are loyal, loving and a great company. :)
bookpaw on February 22, 2018:
i would like to raising a baby lovebird or to have a grown up lovebird
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on February 09, 2018:
@bookpaw Hi! Thank you! :) Mumu is all grown up now.
bookpaw on February 09, 2018:
i like mumu he is cute
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on January 27, 2018:
@Carolina Hi! :) That's great news. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.
You can start hand feeding lovebirds when they are 2.5-3 weeks old. :)
Good luck! :)
Carolina on January 26, 2018:
Hi! This is a very helpful article! I just found out my one of my tuki’s eggs hatched. When can you start hand feed baby love birds?
Zahin Abtahi on December 16, 2017:
whats an ultra red lamp?where can i find it?
Engineer on October 28, 2017:
Make me meet him!!!
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on September 17, 2017:
Hi Normunds! That's a good thing. Do you find the eggs changing color from white to a light gray? If the mother lovebird is sitting on the eggs regularly, there is no need for an ultra-red lamp. Thank you for asking this question. Please let me know the progress. Good luck! :)
Normunds on September 16, 2017:
Hello, I also have two love bird ! Mom sit on the eggs ! Is there a need for an ultra-red lamp for heat?
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on July 27, 2017:
Thank you so much Mrs. Jean Kanoff! :) I'm happy I could be of help to your friend. Lovebird babies are really sweet and require patience, love and care to raise into amazing pets. They're just like human babies. Please let me know the progress of your friend's pets. :) Mumu is doing great and so is his mate, Lulu. :) Thank you for asking. Have a nice day!
Mrs. Jean Kanoff on July 17, 2017:
Ps, I couldn't have put this together any better and I'm sure this will help my new friend,
Also it has refreshed my mind if what it was like to have babie birds.
Mrs. Jean Kanoff on July 17, 2017:
Thank you so much for your insight and information, i sent this to a lady who has a pair of love birds and they have a baby, I remember all this great worktat went into loveing our lovebirds, you put it all together awesomely.
Thank you again and I hope you and mumu are doing great.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on February 07, 2017:
That's sweet! Cockatiels are pretty gentle and quiet birds. I had the pleasure of petting a male cockatiel once. They are very sweet. Lovebirds are great too but they can be very naughty at times. They are playful spirits and love to try out new things. :) Thanks for sharing my article with your sister.
carolynkaye from USA on February 04, 2017:
My niece is raising baby cockatiels now and also likes Lovebirds, so I told her about your article.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on February 04, 2017:
Thank you so much! I am so glad you could find my article helpful. Do you have baby lovebirds at home?
carolynkaye from USA on February 03, 2017:
Great article about baby Lovebirds, Sakina. There's so much helpful info here. Thanks for sharing.
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on January 18, 2017:
Thanks a lot for stopping by and reading my work. I will give your compliments to Mumu. LOL. My lovebirds react the same way when they hear sparrows or pegions chirping.
simplehappylife on January 18, 2017:
I loved this ❤ Mumu is so cute and sweet! LOL...I played the videos and all of my dogs started going nuts, barking and running around the house :)
Ashi on October 09, 2016:
Al right :)
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on October 06, 2016:
Yeah, I will write it soon... :)
Ashi on October 06, 2016:
Oh wow that's awesome :)
I am eagerly waiting for it :)
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on October 04, 2016:
Thank you so much Ashish! :)
Yeah, I am planning to write another hub; you will get to see more photos of Mumu in there. ☺
Ashi on October 04, 2016:
Haha..wow that's awesome. I would love to see more photos of Mumu :) :) Please with me :)
I really admire the way you are taking care of this lovely birds. You are so beautiful, soul. :)
Bless you my dear :)
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on September 29, 2016:
Thank you so much! This means a lot. Mumu is a like a baby to me. ☺ God bless you too. ☺
Ashi on September 29, 2016:
Dear Dr. Sakina ;)
You are such a beautiful soul. I can't believe you are raising a baby lovebird by yourself. That is soo beautiful task to do that. I am sure you will be God for Mu mu. You will be so blessed to such unique work and on top of that, you are sharing your experience with everyone. I am soo pleased to see that you have given step by step guide for their food and preparation and stuff.
You are sooooo skilled lady.
May God bless you give you lots of success in your life :)
Bless and regards,
Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on September 11, 2016:
Thank u so much !
Hand-Raising a Baby Lovebird: A Personal Experience - pets
PO Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )
Lovebirds belong to the genus Agapornis. Lovebirds can be classified as aggressive birds to other birds as well as their own species. The Madagascar lovebird was once held but has not been seen since about 1990. The 5 species currently listed on the "Inventory of Exotic (non-native) Bird Species known to be in Australia, 2002" held in Australia are from Africa. Masked and Fischer's Lovebirds are members of the white eye-ringed group of lovebirds.
Agapornis = Agape + Ornis, the Greek words for Love + Bird = Lovebird.
Lovebirds were so named because of the way they snuggle together on a branch or perch often preening each other.
The Peachface is probable the most common of the Lovebirds. The common species are good birds for the beginner breeder. Can be good pets and generally not too noisy. Hand raised birds can make good pets or companion birds. They do not make good talkers. They range in size between about 140 to 150mm (5.5 - 6 inches). Lovebirds are monomorphic i.e. accurate sexing is almost impossible. DNA or surgical sexing may be required.
Some of the more common species come in colours such as Lutino, blue, olive, cobalt, cinnamon, pied and the list is increasing each year. The proliferation of colour mutations has resulted in the genetically pure "normal" colour birds becoming very hard to obtain.
In the wild in their native country their numbers vary from some species being classified as endangered while other species are treated as "pests" in other areas. The "pest" birds are often destroyed to minimize local bird damage.
Lovebirds will mate for life and their "home" is their nestbox. They may roost in their nest box all year round.
If 2 birds are actively building a nest, and the eggs are infertile/clear, it could be 2 hens making the nest and acting as a "pair". Have the birds "re-sexed".
They can be bred in a colony in a suitable size aviary or as an individual pair in a cage. Many are bred as a single pair per cage to produce a particular colour. Will breed year round if conditions are suitable and can have 3 clutches per year. Each clutch is about 4 - 6 eggs. Some may lay up to 8 eggs per clutch. Incubation is carried out by the hen and incubation is about 23 days. Fledge at about 6 - 7 weeks and independent about 2 - 3 weeks later. Young are generally removed to another aviary as soon as they are fully independent. Young bred in a cage must be removed from the parent birds to another cage or aviary. This will minimize the risk of aggression from a parent bird. After 3 clutches the pair should be given a rest from breeding. Young can be leg rung at 2 - 3 weeks of age. Most breeding birds will tolerate nest inspections. As Lovebirds are monomorphic, DNA or surgical sexing are the most accurate methods of determining the true sex of each bird.
Most adult pairs are prolific breeders and are good parents. Birds best breeding years are till about 7 years of age but may be successful for several more years. Achieving 8 - 10 years of age is common with 15 year lifespan being possible.
If a colony of lovebirds is established, the addition of a new bird or birds may result in the death of one or all of the introduced birds. Once a "colony" is established it can be very risky to change the dynamics of that colony. If one bird dies, the only safe option may be to just remove that bird's mate and leave the remaining birds as the new "colony". A colony of breeding birds may result in the more dominant pairs being the most prolific breeders. Some of the less dominant pairs may have poor or no breeding success. An individual pairs in a cage maximizes the number of young bred per season.
When purchasing a bird from the breeder, try and obtain the genetic (colour mutations) pedigree of the bird so you can get some idea of the possible colour outcome of any future breeding with that bird.
Lovebirds will use a variety of shapes and designs of nest boxes. Designs vary from vertical boxes, horizontal boxes to inverted L shaped boxes as shown below. The vertical and horizontal nest boxes should have a landing perch placed just below the entrance hole. The landing perch should be about 15 - 20 mm diameter and can be about 200 mm long. The perch can be a natural branch such as eucalypt or gum tree.
Commercially made lovebird breeding boxes can be purchased cheaply form most bird dealers, pet shops and bird clubs. Boxes are usually timber and the lower part is about 200 - 250 mm long, 150 - 200 mm wide, and about 200 - 250 mm high. A top part is about half that length with an entrance hole of 40 - 60 mm diameter located towards one end of the box. The nest box requires a top above the nest that is either removable or hinged so the nest can be inspected and cleaned. The birds make a chamber at one end of the box.
Inverted "L" or "Inverted Boot" shaped nestbox can be used for a variety of parrots, including Lovebirds.
Inspection hole on left hand side of the nestbox. Dimensions vary according to the size of the species.
Climbing structure attached inside the box in the lower section on the front wall. This will allow access to the upper internal platform.
Unlike other parrots, it is best practice to have all the boxes the same size and design and all positioned at the same height. More nest boxes should be in the aviary than there is pairs. Dirty or damaged boxes can be replaced as required with minimal disturbance.
The nest boxes can be placed high up in the aviary and preferably in the darker part of the sheltered portion, but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages. Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.
Unlike most other parrots, lovebirds carry nesting material into the nest box. Sufficient suitable nest material must be available at all times during the breeding season. The preferred nest material is green fronds of the Christmas Island date palm. The shredded green pieces of the date palm will aid the hatching by maintaining an adequate level of humidity in the nest. Other nest materials include pieces of long grasses, fresh leaves, pieces of bark, bamboo leaves, rootlets and other plant materials the hen likes. Plants, shrubs, bamboos and grasses growing in pots can be a good source of fresh nest material for an aviary with a concrete floor. The pots of plants can be rotated to maintain optimal plant growth. Always check to ensure no birds or nests are in the pot or plants before removing them from an aviary !!
The nest building is done almost exclusively by the hen. The hen carries the nest materials by tucking them into the feathers on the rump area of her body. The hen likes to cut the nest material into strips so long pieces should be offered to the birds and allow her to cut the strips to the length she prefers. If 2 birds are actively building a nest, it could be 2 hens making the nest.
The lovebird species will interbreed so care has to be taken to only house one species per aviary or cage.
Lovebirds can breed prior to reaching 6 months of age but this should be delayed till they reach the age of about 10 - 12 months. Delaying the breeding age of the hen till about 10 - 12 months of age will allow the hen to be fully sexually and physically mature and may result in better breeding results both in her first attempt as well as in future years. Lovebirds are monomorphic and not easily visually sexed.
Birds that are bred to have a particular visual colour or a specific genetic combination are leg rung with numbered, coloured, closed metal leg rings so each bird can be individually identified. Suitable rings can be purchased from most bird dealers, pet shops & bird clubs and how they are put on the baby birds can be learnt from an experienced breeder or avian veterinarian. Specialist Lovebird clubs/societies are established in many large cities.
Birds enter through the top opening into a upper or roosting nest and proceed down a tunnel to the nest which is used to lay, incubate and raise the babies. In a birdroom, the nest box can be attached externally to the cage.
A thin layer of grass can be placed in the nest box to stimulate the birds to commence nest building duties.
If you are purchasing new young birds, try to find out what style and size nest box those birds were bred in. This is impossible when purchasing bird/s from a retail outlet but is often available when purchasing young birds from a private breeder. Some birds will be eager to nest in a design and size as similar as possible to the one in which it was bred.
Refer to " Feeding Birds " web page for additional general details on the feeding of Parrots.
Commercial Lovebird seed mixes are available. A basic mix consists of canary, millet, Panicum and sunflower seed. Like most other parrots, they will consume seeding grasses, soaked or sprouted seeds, and some fruits and vegetables such as corn-on-the-cob, apple, orange, broccoli and grapes. Milk thistle, chickweed and green leafy vegetables such as silverbeet, cos lettuce, endive will be consumed. Multi grain or wholemeal bread can be offered in small quantities as a treat.
Source of grit and calcium should always be available. Cuttlefish bone is ideal as a source of calcium.
With a good balanced diet, mineral & vitamin supplements should not be necessary. Keep in mind with supplements the correct dose rate should give good results, but, if more than the prescribed dose is administered it could be toxic or even fatal to the birds and / or the babies. Seek advice from an avian veterinarian before adding a "mineral & vitamin" supplement to a bird's diet.
The toxicity level for an adult bird could be very different to the toxic dose for a baby or fledgling bird. What may be safe for an adult may be toxic for a baby or fledgling bird.
Exercise can help in the absorption of calcium, minerals and vitamins.
Refer to " Housing Birds " web page for additional general details on the housing of Parrots.
Lovebirds are inexpensive, easy to breed, easy to feed. One pair can be housed indoors in a "Budgie" breeder type cage of about 900mm long, 500mm wide and 500mm high (36 x 20 x 20 inches). Larger numbers can be housed in an outside aviary. Suspended cages can be used and be the same size as stated for the cages. The common species are good birds for the beginner breeder. The 5 species in Australia can be bred in a colony in a suitably large aviary or individual pairs in a cage/ cabinet. Many are bred as a single pair per cage to produce a particular colour.
Rosemary Low in her article ABK Vol 14 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 2001 Page 622-625 states that the minimum size aviary for 5 pairs in one aviary should be at least 4.5 metres long and 2.7 metres wide (14 ft x 9 ft approx). Colony breeding needs a lot of aviary space to be done successfully and without aggression.
Fully enclosed or partly open aviaries are acceptable. Lovebirds will bathe in the water bowl.
They chew timber including nest boxes. Metal framed aviaries are required. An aviary with a concrete floor is preferable.
Lovebirds will chew up plants and perches.
Non-toxic leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up. This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds some beak exercise. Natural branches of various diameters, and placed at various angles, can be used for perches. These natural perches may be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly. The birds may chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches.
Lovebirds will use the nestbox for roosting year round.
Double wiring between aviaries is advisable to prevent injuries by neighbouring birds.
Government Regulations & By-Laws: Refer to " Government Laws " web page.
General References: Refer to references listed on " Book References " web page.
- Australian Aviculture
- A/A Vol 60 No. 4 Apr 2006 Page 69-71 (Advantages & disadvantages of Bird keeping in hot climates)
- A/A Vol 59 No. 11 Nov 2005 Page 252-253 (Use of crop needles)
- A/A Vol 59 No. 10 Oct 2005 Page 233-235 (The case for feeding Green foods - by Dr D. Madill).
- A/A Vol 51 No. 11 Nov 1997 Page 243-250 (S. Gelis - Nutrition)
- A/A Vol 50 No. 3 Mar 1996 Page 75 (Black cheeked lovebirds)
- A/A Vol 48 No. 2 Feb 1994 Page 38-39 (For beginners)
- A/A Vol 47 No. 6 Jun 1993 Page 149 (Sexing)
- A/A Vol 37 No. 12 Dec 1983 Page 284-286 (Feather plucking in Agapornis).
- A/A Vol 37 No. 11 Nov 1983 Page 263-266 (Madagascar Lovebirds)
- A/A Vol 37 No. 2 Feb 1983 Page 33-41
- A/A Vol 36 No. 4 Apr 1982 Page 72-74
- A/A Vol 35 No. 4 Apr 1981 Page 71-72 (Nest box designs)
- A/A Vol 33 No. 12 Dec 1979 Page 211-212
- A/A Vol 30 No. 10 Oct 1976 Page 162-163 (Breeding box)
- A/A Vol 28 No. 1 Jan 1974 Page 7-8
- A/A Vol 25 No. 4 Apr 1971 Page 45-51.
- A/A Vol 20 No 10 Oct 1966 Page 136-137.
- A/A Vol 19 No 2 Feb 1965 Page 18-22.
- A/A Vol 19 No 1 Jan 1965 Page 1-6.
- A/A Vol 17 No 5 May 1963 Page 68-69.
- A/A Vol 15 No. 7 Jul 1961 Page 96.
- A/A Vol 14 No. 11 Nov 1960 Page 153-156.
- A/A Vol 14 No 4 Apr 1960 Page 60.
- A/A Vol 5 No 4 Apr 1951 Page 50-51.
- A/A Vol 4 No 2 Feb 1950 Page 26-27 (West African Lovebird).
- A/A Vol 2 No 3 Mar 1948 Page 24-25 (Birds of yesteryear, Still valid in 2005).
- The Bulletin No 28, Feb 1945 Page 3 - 5 (Lovebird family - Part 2).
- The Bulletin No 27, Jan 1945 Page 3 - 7 (Lovebird family - Part 1).
- The Bulletin No 20, Jun 1944 Page 2 - 3 (Cultivation of the abnormally coloured).
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 18 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 2006 Page 741-745 (The social lives of wild parrots)
- ABK Vol 18 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 2006 Page 733-737 (Enrichment for juvenile parrots)
- ABK Vol 18 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 2005 Page 665-668 (Beaks for every purpose - R. Low)
- ABK Vol 18 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 2005 Page 608-611 (Cracking the chemical code behind the red colours of parrots).
- ABK Vol 15 Issue 3. Jun-Jul 2002 Page 143-145 (in Thailand).
- ABK Vol 14 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 2002 Page 678-682 (Genetics).
- ABK Vol 14 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 2001 Page 622-625 (R. Low).
- ABK Vol 13 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 2000 Page 290-291 (Lovebirds).
- ABK Vol 13 Issue 1. Feb-Mar 2000 Page 30-34 (Lovebirds)
- ABK Vol 12 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 2000 Page 587-591 (Lovebirds)
- ABK Vol 11 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1998 Page 238-239 (Lovebirds)
- ABK Vol 11 Issue 3. Jun-July 1998 Page 121-124 (Lovebirds)
- ABK Vol 11 Issue 1. Feb-Mar 1998 Page 10-12 (Lovebirds)
- ABK Vol 10 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1997 Page 346-347 (Lovebirds)
- ABK Vol 5 Issue 6. Dec-Jan 1993 Page 290-296 (As pets)
- ABK Vol 4 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1991 Page 472-473
- ABK Vol 2 Issue 12. 1990 Page 478-483 (Suspended Cages)
- ABK Vol 2 Issue 11. 1989 Page 445-448 (Suspended cages)
- ABK Vol 1 Issue 6. 1989 Page 208-209
- ABK Vol 1 Issue 4. 1988 Page 120-121 (Parrot Nutrition)
- ABK Vol 1 Issue 4. 1988 Page 124-126 (Aviary Management)
- ABK Vol 1 Issue 1. 1987 Page 7-10
- ABK Vol 1 Issue 1. 1987 Page 22 & 23
Hand Raised Budgerigars for Sale
Budgies often live up to 10 years old and are very social birds. When taming your budgie, its suggested you begin with a single young budgie and play with it for a minimum of 10 minutes a day for the first 3 to 4 months. Once the bird has reached a certain age it will generally always be tame. The early days are the most important time to bond with your budgie. When you are watching TV is the best time to tame your budgie as you are relaxed, just let your feathered buddy out to watch it with you and you will quickly have a friend for life.
Like all birds when you give your budgie time to bond with you it will get tamer and tamer. If your budgie is in a group with other birds it will display more bird like behaviour but when you take your budgie home and train them and they start bonding with you it does not take long before they become very tame. Aslong as you put the work in early.
It is important to spend lots of time with your budgie and give them plenty of toys, bells are a favourite. If you do not plan to spend a lot of time with the bird it is advisable to get a second bird for company. If a single budgie is left by itself frequently it may develop depression and health issues in the near future.
Bringing your new Budgie Home
For detailed information on feeding and keeping baby budgies click on Budgie care sheet, for more details on hand raising click on hand rearing page
Many Budgies can become easily stressed when being introduced to a new environment. This is why i recommend all budgies that arrive to a new home to be given sulfa 3 or sulfadim for 7 days. It is a mild antibiotic that stops enteritis which is caused by stress and can easily kill a budgie. We also recommend if you have budgies and introduce a new bird to give this to them a long with a millet sprays and a good quality budgie mix as change in food quality can put budgies into stress as well.
Avoiding to much stress is important such as excited kids or even a dominant bird with a young bird placed in the same cage, when the new arrival gets used to the surroundings they will adjust quite well.
Budgies wanting for a feed
Cage for tame Budgies
Selecting a cage for your budgie will depend a lot on your personal taste, the area the cage will be kept and your budget. It is importatnt to select the largest cage that is suitable to ensure the bird will have an adequate area to move around, even when toys are added.
A cage with a large front door is a good idea for when you are taming your budgie, as it makes it easier to get the bird in and out when it is on your hand. Visit birdsville and have a look at all the different cages, as their is many different shapes and sizes. Some cages are unsuitable if your un sure ask one of our team.
This video may help some people with training there bird its not the method i would use but there is always different ways to get the same result.
Toy’s and Environmental enrichment
are also very important, like all small parrots, as they love to play. Ladders, swings and bells are ideal toys for a Budgie. Things that they can chew on and interact with are also ideal for these birds. The happier your bird and the more mental stimulation they get the better they become as a pet. They should have at least 3 toys of different textures, bells, luffa, and possibly wood. A ladder and a swing, some also enjoy a place to hide in, depending on the bird.
Links to our bird toys below
Diet for hand raised budgies
The bulk of a budgies diet is seed mix and water, sadly I encounter people all too often who only supply their bird with seed and water which isn’t quite adequate for any bird.
Seed– Always give your bird a good quality seed mix, be wary of many supermarket seed mixes and remember, seed doesn’t stay fresh forever and just because it is in a pretty packaged box, doesn’t mean it is quality. If you have one budgie it is not advisable to purchase a 20KG bag of seed, as you are better off buying small amounts of seed at regular intervals. A 5kg bag is the best value for money for even one bird. Many supermrket seed mixes stock low grade seed with alot of filler with coloured bits, large inedible seeds, soughum, useles coloured bits and shell grit. If you are not sure about the seed you are using, take it into any bird specialist store and they will be able identify and explain the seed mixes. A top quality seed really makes a big difference to your birds health.
Greens– Try to supply your budgie with some vegetables such as broccoli, spinch carrot, beetroot, snow peas, green beans and celery. Try fruit but budgies are not naturally fruit eaters and there for un likely to eat it. They also love pieces of fresh grass, be careful the grass wasnt sprayed.
Calcium and Iodine– added to the water will add many of the essential vitamins and minerals that a budgies captive environment does not supply. This is essential for the over all health and vitality of your bird. Many budgies are also deficient in iodine so make sure you supply them with iodine bells and shell grit for a source of calcium. Ensure your budgie not only survives but thrives! Many vitamin supplements also contain iodine. This can also be added to their diet in liquid form mentioned below.
Calcium is unable to be absorbed without vitamin D, please read below. Remember birds have hollow bones unlike mammals so they can not store minerals and calcium as well and need alot from the feathers they grow.
Calcium and vitamin D– Make calcium available to your birds the best of all for budgies comes in a grit mix form containing charcoal, baked egg shells, shell, crushed cuttle bone and lime stone. Vitamin D is essential for all birds absorption of calcium this comes from the sun. For a bird to absorb the vitamin D from the sun this means they must have un filtered light hit them for at-least half an hour a day. If the light comes through a window then this light is filtered and no vitamin D is absorbed and there for Calcium supplements are almost useless. If you bird is not able to get access to unfiltered light then there is Vitamin D supplements available.
Interestingly when we do bird nail clipping for customers we can actually tell if your bird has a calcium problem. Birds lacking in calcium get a whole list of issues and a shortened lifespan. Many of these customers with birds that have a calcium problem say oh but my bird gets lots of sun. My bird lives next to the window and the sun shines on them everyday. Unfortunately glass filters the sun and you can’t get vitamin D through glass. Birds need around 10 hours a week of unfiltered sunlight to get the right amound of vitamin D.
listed Below are links to Avian vitamin D supplements we stock in store is – Vetafarm soluvite D – Vetafarm D Nutrical and Vetafarm Calcivet Liquid. If you are unsure which to use, visit your local bird expert store and they should be able to help you.
Vitamin supplement– To add many essential vitamins that a captive environment does not provide. There is many great bird vitamin supplements available in Australia. Vitamins are not necessary if your Budgies is fed crumbles as they already contain them. Links to popular vitamins are linked – ornithon – vetafarm breeding aid plus – multi vitamins, passwell multi vite
Pellet’s– Some people feed there budgie’s budgie crumble always slowly introduce this to your bird as a bird that is not used to this new diet may actually starve to death especially if the budgie is a baby it takes months to wean a budgie onto pellet’s We sell budgie crumble which i prefer to give budgies as a supplement to the diet. If you want a low fat mix then increase the amound of french white seed in your birds seed mix.
Millet sprays‘- Budgies love millet sprays and its good for them. This is a very fresh millet seed which encourages baby budgies to eat more and adult budgies just enjoy them. there are a number of kinds of millet although i find french white to be the healthiest option for your bird.
Introducing your new budgie to existing birds
If you already have a budgie at home, your new budgie should be kept in a separate cage to allow the bird to adjust to it surroundings and both birds to each other. Use this time to handle your new budgie away from your older budgie. Always allow at least 2 weeks before introducing the two birds, making sure to keep an eye on them and seperate if interduction don’t go well and try again in another weeks time. Mixing budgies
The cage requires regulars cleaning and old food shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate in the cage, on perches or in feeders. Water should be changed daily basics.
Using bird friendly cage cleaner comes ready to use with no need to dilute it. Simply spray onto your pet’s cage and wipe with a cloth to remove stains, soiling and odour.
Aristopet or vetafarm cage cleaner designed to keep your cage clean safe, non toxic and easy to use.
Removes dirt and debris easy as well.
Gently deodorises without strong fragrance that could upset your bird.
Another great way to keep your cage tidy is using shellgrit as a substrate, this is what we use for our birds and it makes cleaning your cage very easy. Visit your local bird store and they will have this is a regular supply.
Medicating your budgies
Liquid majic for keeping budgies healthy. Aside from certain illnesses that these mild antibiotics are good for i recommend anyone who gets a new young or older budgie to treat them with this anytime they move as stress can often give them the runs. Sulphadim or sulfa 3 calms them down and stops them from getting the runs and therefor stops them becoming de hydrated.
Your cockatiel will need to be wormed in a few weeks to two month after being taken home check with the staff from Birdsville, when purchasing). Young birds that have been recently weaned have a delicate bacteria’s developing in there gut, worming at this stage could harm the bacteria’s development and your new bird. Worming will need to be done
every 6 month. Worming your bird is essential for the health of all parrots in captivity.
Worming your bird is actually very easy it will simply go in the water supply for amounts simply check the label on the bottle, or on some bottles peel back the label.
Why are worms bad for your bird and you?
Worms cause a range of deseases, the severity of which depends on thespecies of worm they are infected with. Paracitic worms have an inderect lifecycle with many insects such as flys, beetles, other insects and feacies acting as intermediate hosts.
Worms cac weaken your birds immune system which inadvertantly can kill your bird from a virus that a bird with a strong immune system can fight off.
if your bird is not wormed regularly and after some time you do worm your bird, the dead worms can cause intestinal or respiratory blockages, in sick adult birds it may be a good idea to worm them with a half dose first. This is at Birdsville we recommend worming every 3 months at least.
Below is a common and wide variety of worms of worms including Tapeworm Worm (Choanotaena spp, Raillietina spp), Thread Worm (Capillaria spp.) Roundworm (Ascaridia spp.), Ceacal Worm (Heterakis gallinarum), Hook Worm Acuaria spp.) in both Aviary and caged Cockatiels.
These are the two most common parasites of cage birds and their environment, but are easily controlled with a Mite and Lice spray, available at Birdsville. When using spray, spray bird, entire cage, perches, nesting box and toys, remember to remove all water and feed and avoid spraying in birds’ eyes. Your bird Lice and mite bottle will explain how to use, remember avoid the mouth and eyes. Your cockatiel should be sprayed every 3 months. list of lice and mice medication below for cockatiels, if your unsure of which one to buy, visit your local bird store, vetafarm avimec – inca pestene powder – aristopet scaley face and leg treatment – avitrol bird mite and lice spray – mite and lice spray
Why is lice and mites bad?
It can eventually kill your bird in severe cases, as it adds stress to your bird through sucking its blood and making your bird anemic. Lice and mites can cause plucking and skin conditions due to itchyness. These things can weaken the immune system and make your bird susceptable to desease that yur bird would normally fight off.
list of lice and mice medication below for cockatiels, if your unsure of which one to buy, visit your local bird store, vetafarm avimec – inca pestene powder – aristopet scaley face and leg treatment – avitrol bird mite and lice spray – mite and lice spray
Scaley Face is a microscopic mite that gets under the skin that is easily treated with medication but if left to its own devices will eventually kill your bird.
Early stages of scaley leg on the same budgie pictured above this will be easily cured with scaley leg and face ointment. If left untreated can make the leg swell and bleed which can be harmful for budgies with leg rings and will eventually Kill a budgie if not treated.
Training Your Budgie
Training is an important factor of having a well behaved hand raised budgie. When you first get the bird home, let it settle down and get use to their new environment for a day or two. After these initial days, the budgie should be handled in a quiet, relaxed situation. Spending time with your bird while watching TV or reading is perfect, but don’t over stress your bird in the first few weeks of taking it home, babies need their rest. The more time you spend with your bird, the better your bird will become. For more training tips, see the training page.
You can usually tell the sex of your budgie by the colour of the ‘cere’ (nostrils). The hen will have a brown cere and the males will be blue. In some mutations such as yellow, pied or white budgies it can be more difficult to determine their sex. When sexing baby budgies the young hen will usually have and opaque cere whilst the males will be a light pink-ish colour. This is more difficult than sexing adult birds.
Bathing is important for all birds its important to get them used to bathing from a young age or they will not bath as an adult bird.
Out and About
13 Wednesday Jul 2011
As Ferdinand has grown to fly with a little more grace, recognize the cats as something to leave alone, and gotten into the habit of coming back to check on me while he is out, he has been allowed free flight while I am working on the computer. As I am both an author and graduate student, I spend a lot of time at the computer so this suits Ferdinand just fine.
There are no interior doors in the house apart from the bathroom (our one rescue cat has a very bad reaction to closed doors) so I have rigged a sort of curtain across the door that is pulled close when he is out. He has yet to investigate, but knowing starlings it really is only a matter of time.
Right now his attention is taken up by exploring the cage of the baby diamond dove that holds court from atop my computer desk. The dove has no idea what to make of the starling, and Ferdinand is quite interested in the sounds the dove makes. He spends a lot of time exploring the exterior of the cage muttering to himself and looking down at the dove.
I finally managed to get some pictures of his ‘stars’ as they start to come in along his breast bone. Taking pictures of starlings is harder than one might initially assume. Little fellow never holds still. Then again, that merry inquisitiveness is part of what makes him such a fantastic companion so its an even trade, even for someone who is as into photography as I am.