Table of Contents
- So, how to breed lovebirds?
- Starting The Process
- Preparation Steps
- Breeding Steps
Breeding lovebirds for a beginner can be very difficult to perform successfully, especially if the owner wasn’t experienced enough to understand this process from the perspective of his lovebirds. And in general, breeding parrots from different types and species have the same basis. The major difference is the technical part which we will cover here in this article.
So, how to breed lovebirds?
The owner should provide the pair with everything they need to feel safe and comfortable. This should be after the owner has picked a suitable couple regarding sex, species, and age. Providing nutritious food is crucial along with the other environmental conditions like temperature, humidity, size of the cage, and the nesting box are all going essential.
And in this article, you will find the necessary knowledge to succeed in breeding your pair of lovebirds.
Starting The Process
To start the breeding lovebirds process, you have to pick the couple correctly to induce them to breed immediately. And to pick the perfect couple, there are 4 major steps you need to consider. And they are:
With lovebirds, picking the couple can be a bit tacky because of the multiple subspecies. Yes, lovebirds have about 9 subtypes. And some of them can actually crossbreed. But, the process can be difficult for them so, sticking to a couple of the same species is really important, to succeed in breeding these lovely birds.
Knowing the gender of any lovebird is possible by just taking a look at the bird because male lovebirds tend to be a bit larger than females. However, if you are looking to one lovebird lonely in its cage, then there is a possibility that you mistake the gender because there is no mate to compare, and if the other mate is from the same gender, then things can get really tricky.
Identifying the gender, just by taking a look, requires really trained eye. Even though mistakes could occur, and the best way to identify the gender of the parrot is by DNA testing.
The age is really important as well; you don’t want to get an immature couple and wait for them to get older unless it was your choice. And for lovebirds, they mature in 10-12 months, so having the pair while they are still that young may lead them to bond with each other by the time they mature. And this can save time when you get the pair inside the cage for the first time when they are older.
Nevertheless, maturity age for lovebirds is not something to worry about, 1 year maximum after hatching, and the bird will be ready to mate and reproduce. Unlike the African greys and macaws, which usually mature when they are more than 5 years old, and require more attention when picking the pair.
Health is the most important thing when picking the couple. You don’t want to get a couple with bad-looking plumage. The plumage is the number 1 indicator of a parrot’s health. So stay on the safe side and look for the pair that look healthy and active as well. Yes, Active parrots tend to be healthier than lazy and quiet ones. Look at the pair and see how they react and what noises they are making.
In most cases, picking a healthy male and female is all that you should do before starting the preparation for breeding lovebirds. However, if you already got the pair and you are not sure what is their gender, then doing a DNA test is a must. It’s crucial to clarify the genders of your birds before you start following the next steps, which may be a waste if you later found out that your pair is of the same sex.
Apart from that, it’s better to ask for the history of the pair if you are getting them together. The previous owner should tell you some information about their health, their history breeding, how old are they, and sometimes they can tell you what are their gender.
Preparing the place or the breeding cage and providing the optimum conditions is what most owners do wrong, causing the failure of breeding attempts. And every type of parrot has its own requirements. And for lovebirds, they need the following.
The breeding place is where the lovebird will mate, lay eggs, and raise their hatchlings. So, the place should the safe to hold these activities. And it shouldn’t be around any other person or pet. The safer the place, the more likely the pair will breed and lay eggs.
Apart from that, the place should maintain privacy. Yes, the privacy you heard it. Lack of privacy is what is causing the failure of many attempts to breed lovebirds or any other breed of parrots. Surprisingly, just by taking a look online to find out how to breed lovebirds or any other breed of parrots, you will almost find no mention of how privacy is important to success in breeding lovebirds or any other breeds.
So when you choose the place, to provide safety and privacy. Pick a place where no one usually comes across, neither people nor other pets. An attic is a good place, especially if the sun gets in everyday morning or afternoon, but it should be clean with no traces of aunts or bugs. The basement or the garage are also good places.
If these places are not available for you, just pick a room and use it only for breeding lovebirds. No one should go inside except you when refilling the supplies. If the sunlight can’t reach the room, it’s totally OK. you can use ultraviolet lights to imitate the day and night circle.
Ultraviolet lights are always recommended for parrots, not only during the breeding time.
So when you find a safe and private place to go ahead with the breeding process, try to find where you can hang the breeding cage with the nesting box of your lovebird pair. The highest the better, but not too close to the ceiling. Since lovebirds breed and lay eggs in high tree holes, hanging the cage will imitate the natural highs these birds experience in the wild.
Cage & Nesting Box Size
This is also important. And it’s relatively easy to provide your lovebird’s pair with the best cage and nesting box. Ans since lovebirds are small-sized, it’s easy t breed them in their regular cage. However, the best size for the breeding cage is 20 inches tall, 20 inches in width, 20 inches in depth. If you have a bigger cage, it is totally ok, but never use a cage smaller than 16*16*16 dimensions. It’s ok to use a cubic cage, or rectangular as long as it’s not very small.
For the nesting box, you should attach it to the cage from the upper right or left side. And since lovebirds are more likely to mate in the base of the cage, don’t consider changing the perch, just make sure the perch is good and steady. The nesting box size should be about 11 inches in height, 6 inches in width, and 6 inches in depth, with an opening of two inches attached to the cage.
The other side of the nesting box will have a door that looks like a drawer for you to check for any eggs every once in a while, This door should be duct-taped, because lovebirds are very smart, and they will try to open, and if they do, they might escape o put themselves in danger. Any other opening in the nesting box or the cage should be secured.
Apart from sizes and stuff, you should get some wood dust and cover the floor of the nesting box. The wood dust will absorb the feces and urination coming out of the pair or their hatchlings. If you can find some Palm fronds and put them inside the cage, that would be great. Palm fronds will induce the breeding behavior and the pair will start covering the nesting box with these fronds.
Once you get the palm fronds, wash them and cut them into long sticks, and put them inside the cage. So it’s really necessary to find the fronds and use them.
Tempurature & Humididty
These 2 factors are important, and calibrating them successfully will make the breeding season come even in the middle of the winter. So, the best temperature for breeding lovebirds is between 25-27 Celsius. For the humidity, it should be around 45-55% before laying the eggs, and after laying the eggs, the humidity should rise to at least 65% to protect the eggs from getting dehydrated.
The temperature should be stable all the time in the breeding room, attic, or basement. So, use an AC and humidity meter and thermometer to monitor and maintain these two important factors, that in fact crucial to succeed.
For now, everything that comes on you as an owner is done except the diet and nutrition, which we will discuss later with the test you need to follow.
After finishing the first steps and the preparation steps, you can start the steps of breeding itself. And this usually starts with:
The introduction step is where the male and female get to know each other. For smaller species like lovebirds, it’s easy to introduce them to each other, and if you have 2 different cages, then you can put them next to each other for 3-7 days. Day after day, the birds will feel comfortable with each other.
However, the introduction phase should happen preferably outside the place where you decided to breed them, and this is to imitate their natural behavior when they meet in the wild and socialize together and then fly away to find a tree hole to mate and lay eggs.
So, put the 2 cages next to each other in the living room, or where you keep your pair normally.
Do this if your birds didn’t actually meet each other before.
And they already living in the same cage from an early time, then start giving them vitamins and minerals for 3-7 days, and then move the female into the male cage where you previously installed the nesting box (if you are going to follow this method, make sure the nesting box is in the male’s cage), and put the cage into the breeding room, with the palm fronds, and arugula to induce the breeding behavior, don’t forget the calcium supplement for the female, any lack of calcium will cause problems to the female and her eggs.
You can use foods that are high in calcium or any other type of supplement you may find. Use the natural food, and diversify every 3 days with nuts, fruits, and veggies.
So, introduce them together in a place other than the breeding room. Use the introduction days to supply them with vitamins and minerals from external sources (you can stop this when remove to the breeding place).
Remember, when you are refilling food and supplies for your pair, do not come in random times to refill it for them, no you need to follow a pattern so the birds know when you will come. So, you need to know how to provide the optimum safety and privacy to you your live birds.
Let Mother Nature Take Her Course
After you finish introducing them together and move them to the breeding room, all you need to do is to refill the supplies every 2-3 days and observe. You can observe the nesting box, or the cage using a small monitoring camera you can attach, or you can check the nesting box every time you refill the supplies. But I prefer using monitoring cameras to stay on the safe side in regard to privacy and safety.
So, when the lovebirds are introduced to each other, and they live together in the same cage with a nesting box and have plenty of palm fronds, they usually take up to 10 days before starting the use fronds inside the nesting box, so when you see the fronds are being used when you observe using the camera or when you go in to refill supplies, then you know you succeeded with 90%.
Just wait a few more days for the birds to mate, and when you see them mating, just give them 10-11 days and you will see the eggs in the nesting box. And then, give up to 25 days for the incubation. After that, you will see new hatchlings of your lovebirds.
Remember that the pair may destroy the eggs just because they want to have fun, and if they did it for the first time, they will do it with almost every clutch they lay in the future.
My recommendation is once you see the eggs is to remove them directly to the Incubator, with a temperature of 99f, and keep the humidity always between 65-70%. However, this will force you to look and hand feed the babies after hatching. You can’t just return them back to their parents. No one knows what will happen.
How Can I Encourage My Lovebirds To Breed?
To encourage your lovebirds to breed, you will have to provide privacy and safety, as these 2 are really crucial to breed any type of parrot including lovebirds. Other than that, calibrating the weather to 25-27 celsius, with humidity of 45-55%, and providing clean palm fronds in the base of the breeding cage will induce breeding. Serving arugula and putting fenugreek in the nesting box may help.
How Do You Know If Your Lovebirds Are Mating?
The best way to know that is to look at the nesting box, and what they are doing with it. Presumably, you have provided clean palm fronds and left them in the cage base. If you see the palm friends are being used inside the nesting box, then you know the lovebirds are about to mate and reproduce, since this is one of the mating behaviors they do.
How Long Does It Take For Lovebird To Lay Eggs After Mating?
Once lovebirds start mating, count up to 10 days and the female will lay a clutch of 4-6 eggs, in a period of 2-3 days. And once the female finish laying eggs, the male and female lovebirds will incubate the eggs for up to 25 days, and they take care of the hatchlings together.
What Months Do Lovebirds Breed?
In wild, the rainy season is the time where most lovebirds start mating. While in captivity, they can mate and lay eggs all year round if the weather conditions are optimal. So, the mating season is induced by weather, and imitating it in captivity is possible with love birds or any other parrot.