Lovebirds can make wonderful companions and it's easy to see why so many people keep them as pets. At some point you may wish to breed your lovebirds either as a hobby to add to your brood or as a commercial venture, as there can be a high demand for young lovebirds. Fortunately, lovebirds are one of the easier types of birds to breed if you provide them with the right materials and atmosphere.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Cage or aviary
- Nesting box
- Nesting materials
- Male-female pair of birds
Determine the sex of your lovebirds. Obviously, you need a male and female lovebird in order to breed them. Since you cannot tell the sex of a lovebird simply by looking at it, the only foolproof way to find out the sex is through a basic DNA test. To obtain the test, you can purchase one through a testing laboratory, a bird shop or you can simply take your birds to your local vet. Self-testing is the most affordable way to go if you plan on breeding lots of birds but a vet visit is probably the easiest and fastest way for a single pair.
Decide whether you will be breeding in pairs or in a large aviary group. With a large group, it is easier for the birds to pair up to mate, however, by breeding in pairs, you have more control over the genetics and colour mutations. Another determination is whether you have enough space for an aviary or if you will be breeding indoors in a cage. An ideal size for a breeding cage would be 24-by -18-by-18 inches (60-by-45-by-45 cm).
Purchase or make nesting boxes. Many people use parakeet or budgie nesting boxes but if you prefer, you can make your own. You can purchase a nesting box at any pet supply or bird store. These boxes usually have sliding doors. Make sure that the doors move freely and are not sticky or tight, as it will be hard to check the eggs when that time comes.
Provide nesting materials. You can purchase nesting materials at your local pet store or you can use things from around the home. Use shredded, unscented, plain white paper towels, dried grasses and wood shavings. Do make sure if you are using local materials that they have not been treated with insecticides or other poisons. Also, always check to make sure that your materials are safe for lovebirds. Cedar can be toxic; corncob bedding and walnut shells can also cause problems.
Check for fertile eggs. Once you have put the male-female pair of birds together and provided a nesting box, then it's just a matter of time. Once the female starts laying, she will lay an egg every other day until she has between 5 and 7 eggs. After a few days she will settle in to the nest and sit on the eggs. To check if the eggs are fertile, you will need a candler, an inexpensive tool that allows you to see through the egg. If the egg has veins or a dark centre, it is probably fertile. If it is light coloured and clear, then it is not. After about 23 days, you will start seeing the eggs hatch.
Tips and warnings
- It is normal that 1 to 2 eggs do not hatch in a clutch.
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