Maryland Pet

The Lovebird

If you’ve seen lovebirds in a pet store, you may have been told that these birds must be sold in pairs and don’t actually make good pets. However, while it isn’t a good idea to split up a pair of bonded lovebirds, a single handfed baby can be kept alone and will be quite content to be a family pet. You will need to be sure to handle your bird daily to keep it sweet and tame. If you neglect to handle it for a few days, it may become skittish and nippy.

There are nine lovebird species available, including the peachfaced, Fischer’s, masked, Abyssinian, Nyasa, black-cheeked, redfaced, black-collared and Madagascar lovebird. With the exception of the Madagascar lovebird, these birds are native to Africa. The only lovebirds readily available as pets are the peachfaced, Fischer’s and masked varieties.

However, since there are so many different color mutations in these lovebird species, deciding which lovebird you want can almost be overwhelming. For instance, there are actually seventeen different color mutations for peachfaced lovebirds, but the mutations have been bred together to create thousands of additional colors. Interestingly enough, the sweetest pets are those peachfaced lovebirds with a peach cap. The normal and lutino mutations, which have red faces, are often a bit more aggressive and are usually louder.

Since lovebirds are so small, many people use parakeet cages for their birds. However, these birds are so playful and active that a slightly larger cage is really a better fit. This way, they can have a set of rings, a swing and a few other toys in the cage without being crowded. Of course, a smaller cage makes it easier for lovebirds to play with several toys at once, which is a favorite occupation for these high energy little guys.

Lovebirds do well on a varied diet, including cockatiel seed mix, cockatiel pellets, vegetables, bean mix and whole grain cereal. An occasional orange slice is also a good idea. Your lovebird should also have a cuttlebone or calcium block to chew on.

While lovebirds are not known for their talking ability, these little birds can actually learn a few words. Their little voices are not very clear, but they can readily learn to say ‘hello’ and their names. Lovebirds excel in learning simple tricks, such as playing dead.

This bird’s spunky, playful personality and active nature makes it the ideal companion for someone who is wheelchair bound, as long as someone else is nearby to help return the bird to its cage if it gets tired of hanging out and hops down. In fact, the lovebird is often found in retirement and nursing home communities because it is so amusing to watch.

So, if you are looking for a clownish, but cuddly, pet that is small enough to ride around in your shirt pocket, then you may want to take a close look at the lovebird. These birds may be small in size, but they have a big personality.

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