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Teeth, and Ears and Paws! Oh My!

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It should come to no surprise that regular and proper maintenance of your pet insures a happy, healthy and pro-active life! But all to often it’s the little things that seem to build up, often times overlooked or neglected. Many people come in for both cats and dogs to get regular grooming but many are unaware of the importance of what might seem as “the small stuff.” In this blog post we’ll tackle three most commonly overlooked body parts of your cat and dog that often times impact their health.

Teeth are an essential aspect to a carnivore like a dog or a cat, obviously their used for eating. Dog and cat dentistry is vitally important to keep up those healthy purly whites of theirs. Without proper maintenance you can run into a serious risk of loss of teeth. This is one reason why it’s important they have hard foods over soft foods to eat, this will help reinforce the teeth. The most common aspect of lack of animal dentistry is gum problems. It’s estimated that 85% of canines (for example) over the age of 4 develop some form of gum disease. Other common problems with teeth include cracking, the loss and crooked teeth which can cause infection.

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The loss of teeth is usually due to some sort of gum disease in older dogs. It’s important to understand that if this happens it’s important to make an appointment with your vet ASAP as this could be a sign of illness. Mangled teeth, or crooked teeth, can cause problems with eating. It’s important to use proper toys, for both dogs and cats. A good indication if a toy isn’t good is if there is blood left over after the animal has played with set item. The real problem comes when plaque begins to build and is left untreated.

Plaque untreated can cause gingivitis and eventually cause periodontal disease among other gum related problems.

Though it’s quite important to have hard things for dogs especially to chew on, it’s also important to understand when items are too rough or problematic. Chewing the wrong thing can cause tooth trauma, and eventually this could potentially lead to cracking or crooked teeth and left untreated can cause infection.

From a cracked or broken tooth comes tooth root abscess, this is a very painful and problematic bacterial infection. This happens when the root of the tooth comes into contact with bacteria, and thus causes an infection. If this has happened it’s important to see a veterinarian immediately. It’s a very painful and agonizing experience for your pet.

There are many, many wonderful products for breath, mouth and teeth found in pet stores specifically for the mouth of your pet; often times they are toys, sprays, liquids, treats, foods and brushes geared for protection and maintenance of teeth, gums, tongue, breath and mouth!

Moving away from teeth and moving unto ears.

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Ears that consistently have build up, that has been left unchecked, can cause problems of infections and temporary deafness. Not only that, the build up in ears can encourage the presence of mites. Ears are very sensitive, especially in cats. Without proper maintenance of your pets ears you run the risk of damaging the ear which can lead to further problems down the road. Another common problem is blood blisters, this is where blood accumulates in the ear flap. This usually comes due to mites, fleas and infections.

Lastly the paws.

Though nails are common, people just seem to overlook it. If nails aren’t properly maintained it can cause walking problems and nerve problems in the nails. It can be very painful. Overgrowth is quite common, in minor cases it causes discomfort and difficulty of walking. In extreme cases it can cause separation of toes, arthritis, problems with the paws themselves and bone problems. With paws themselves, they can be easily scratched and torn open, which can lead to infection. That’s why dog boots are very much encouraged for those who walk their dogs in forested areas for example. The protection of your cat and dog pads and nails is crucial.

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When all of these things are taken into consideration and properly looked after, not only will you have a healthy, happy pet but one where you minimize the risk of severe problems in the future. A healthy pet, is a happy pet, and a happy pet is a happy you!

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Indian Ringneck Parakeets

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Ten years ago you probably wouldn’t have seen these birds on the market nearly as much as you do today. They are by far one of the fastest growing medium sized parrots in popularity due to their high intelligences and their remarkable abilities to speak. Not only do they possess unique and wonderful abilities to entertain and captivate us, they also have a variety of mutational colours–from whites, blues, yellows to exotic colors like browns, reds and purples.

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In India and Pakistan it’s not that uncommon to see the remarkable birds performing–with their intelligence they are quick to pick up tricks and routines that other similar birds tend to struggle with. It isn’t uncommon to see the birds ridding suitably formed bicycles, running along rope upside down and even playing basketball.

Their intelligence paired with their vocal skills have made this particular species of parakeet by far the most popular of its species. They also happen to be sexual dimorphic (except in a few mutations such as albino), meaning you are quite able to tell the males and females apart. Generally speaking females have a vague ring around their necks that is sometimes hard to spot, but the males often have a beautiful black ring around their neck that turns into a moustache. Lutino males (yellow feathered mutation) often have a soft pink ring that goes around their neck into a moustache.

They make wonderful and loyal pets. This parakeet species is by far the most misunderstood, and one only needs to look at their history to understand why. It’s best to have a hand raised and reared bird as they tend not to be as flighty.

Though they are quite capable of entertaining themselves on a regular basis this doesn’t give an owner the excuse to ignore and neglect their bird. It’s understandable to be hurt and even put off by the behavior of a bird that seems like it wants nothing to do with you, but the truth is Indian Ringnecks are careful observers. It takes them awhile to gain trust, but once you have it it’s almost unshakable. Sometimes the process is fast, and in others can take a very long time (just ask Darla and John! Nikki has taken almost a year to fully get comfortable with people, and even now she’s still flighty, and John once had an Indian Ringneck and he can attest to the time and effort it takes to train them!).

These birds also require a bit of time, especially in the beginning, we recommend at least 1-3 hours a day with this particular bird species. Eventually that standoffish nature that put you off will gradually reshape itself into curiosity and enthusiasm with everything you do. You’ll find them actively seeking your attention, time and affection.

In general Indian Ringnecks, unlike other birds, have steady personalities. Far to many owners get rid of these beautiful birds when the Bluffing stager (or puberty) gets to much… not knowing that AFTER the bluffing phase that once aggressive bird settles down, becomes stable and steady. After the bluffing phase the Indian Ringneck often goes an aggressive bird to the bird people want.

One that is tame, one that is obedient and one with remarkable skills. If you are able to preserver, remain patient and consistent with this bird you will reap many rewards and all that time and affectionate given will be rewarded tenfold.

They tend to pick favourites and prefer quieter households, but they are quite adaptive able to fit any household situation. They are also quite quiet, they don’t shriek nearly as much as some other bird species, making them suitable for apartment dwellers as well. One thing that should also be noted is that they aren’t particularly cuddly, but they are more than happy to express their affections in other ways that are quite unique. Such as running up to, leaning forward, and saying “Muah! Kisses!” Indian Ringnecks make excellent pets for the right home. They have stable personalities and can cope with minimal attention during busy times (does not mean they are content alone and as mentioned above ), and are great companions.

Due to their curious natures they are also avid learners, they love nothing more than learning new concepts, ideas, tricks, sounds, words etc. It’s important to keep these birds stimulated with a variety of toys in and outside of their cage. Due to their long tail feathers (as all parakeets have) it’s also important to have an appropriate sized cage to be able to support it’s tail (height is more important that length at this point).

Due to their stable personalities they are wonderful to interact with, they aren’t nearly as quick to bite and aren’t easily frustrated. They bond incredibly strong bonds with the members of the household, even if they choose a favourite. Making each and every relationship unique and special in it’s own way. Though this kind of bond can cause problems to outsiders, as they tend to chase away, bite and lunge at what (or who) they perceive as being an intruder. For those people they don’t like, luckily they are more opt to stay away from that person altogether.

Overall, this particular parrot can be a challenge at times (pushing your patience to the limits at times) this doesn’t detour from the fact that they make wonderful and excellent companion birds. With their intelligence, clear vocal skills and their strong forging bonds they can easily become one of the most memorable and best pet one could ever have.

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Green Cheek Conures

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We just had three lovely Green Cheek Conures in the store and they sold quite fast. Green Cheek Conures are by far one of the most common and among the most widely loved and cherished of the small/medium sized parrot world. Not only do they have striking colours of greens, blacks, browns, blues, beiges and reds. With their small stature they are easy to handle and easy to tame, very quick to form strong and lasting bonds with all members of the household.

Though Green Cheek Conures are known for their abilities to mimic human speech, often times this vocalisation of words tend to be rough, squeaky and sometimes difficult to understand. They are perfect for apartments, though they can be quite loud when they want to be, they are known for their overall quiet voices, much preferring to whistle, squeak, chirp and communicate softer than other species of parrots.

Clownish, and sometimes described as mischievous, Green Cheek Conures are remarkably intelligent, and with proper training and daily handling this bird will not disappoint. Proper social interaction is important they can be quite aggressive to people they do not know and their little beaks have quite the bite behind it. They love to perform and love to entertain, and with their outgoing personalities it isn’t hard to see why they are so popular.

With their popularity came the rise of various colour mutations, ranging from cinnamons to pineapples, though the mutations can sometimes be hard to find at times the majority can be easily found and obtained.

This parakeet species is found in Brasil, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay. Commonly found in woodlands and forests, living in relatively small flocks of 10-20, searching the land for food. Due to the difficulty of finding food (hence the small flocks) they tend to not be picky eaters, making it easy for you to feed them assorted greens, veggies, fruits and other interesting food elements.

Green Cheek Conures can live up to 30 years, though 10-20 years tend to be the average life span of this bird in captivity. They only reach about 10 inches, and their red gorgeous tail often makes up most of this length.

They make remarkable and loveable pets for any household. With their ability to mimic alongside their clownish ways they will keep you entertained and deeply enthralled. Great with children, with the supervision of parents, these birds will love nothing more than to make you laugh and cheer as they perform their tricks for you. Not as picky as other bird species they won’t mind taking a few things off your plate. Overall, Green Cheek Conures make marvellous pets–it isn’t hard to see why they are so popular.

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Cockatiel

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When people come into the store wanting a bird, but never had one before, we often recommend a budgie: generally because budgies are small, easy to manage, can learn tricks, readily bond and they can learn tricks! Not everyone, though, see the budgies like we do, and want something bigger; sometimes these people want to dive right into owning a large parrots, the majority however are often to scared to own a big bird so the cockatiel is our next choice.

Cockatiels are a member of the cockatoo family, and are native to Australia. They can reach lengths of up to 33 cm (or 13 inches), and that makes them the smallest member of the cockatoo family. Cockatiels, like all members of the cockatoo family, they are famous for their distinctive erectile crests, it is through this crest of theirs that owners are able to interpret the mood of their bird: whether it be excited, startled, happy, flirtatious and scared to name a few.

These largely nomadic creatures in the wild, are bundles of energy in the home. They love nothing more than to explore, with their curious natures they need to be supervised at all times or else they may get themselves into sticky and sometimes potentially dangerous situations. On average, a cockatiel will live up to 10-15, good owners will see their birds reach their twenties, and there have even been reports of these little birds living up and past their thirties! These are lifelong commitments, and any family potentially looking into getting a cockatiel should think long and hard before the big purchase.

It’s because of their popularity that we now see a wide range of selections of colour mutations, the most common are the greys, whites, albinos, cinnamons and lutinos. They are flock birds, meaning they usually live in numbers, and therefore require at the very least a minimum of 1 hour of interaction each day, preferably and ideally of up to 3 hours a day.

People often ask us if Cockatiels can talk, and the answer is sometimes difficult to answer. The truth is, just because a species of bird is said to be able to talk, doesn’t mean all of them will talk–just the chances of it learning to talk is greater. On average, Cockatiels are more likely to pick up various sounds, songs, whistles and calls, rather than words and phrases. This makes them wonderful pets for those willing to challenge themselves, and their bird, to learn a variety of songs and tunes for you and your household to listen to.

This is where one of the downfalls of having a cockatiel may emerge, this very same gift that allows them to sing, whistle and talk, can also cause problems. Although they aren’t known for their screaming, Cockatiels are chatty, and will often enjoy using their new found knowledge of tunes. For some, this can be quite unbearable, and their high pitched single (sometimes repeating) contact call can get to some. However, if you are willing to preserver Cockatiels have more than just their lovely voices to share to the world.

They also have a remarkable talent for picking up tricks, such as playing soccer, or ridding a bike. They are witty birds, willing to use their intelligence to entertain and amaze! Their intelligence also makes them escape artists, so make sure your cage is well prepared. Also, because of their intelligence, Cockatiels require stimuli to keep themselves happy and healthy. In part, this is where you (as the owner) will come in, providing the appropriate amount of time and affection, but a lot of the time we are at work, or school, where we won’t be in contact with our bird and not every workplace will allow you to bring in your pet. This is where the toys come in, you should avoid plastics, mirrors and anything with faces with these particular birds. The rule of thumb is 3-4 toys, and 2-3 cages outside the cage, routinely rotated on a weekly basis. This will keep your cockatiel happy and content while you work away.

Cockatiels are sometimes described as lovers, and not fighters. They tend to be push overs, and aren’t big bitters (be aware, that anything with a mouth can bite!), that said if provoked they can give a wicked bite that can even draw blood. They are quick to warm up to people, and because of their flock instincts they will bond readily with each member of the family. A cockatiel may have its favourite, but the good news is (unlike other species) a properly socialized bird will mean wholesome and heartfelt relationships with all, instead of just one.

They are loveable, it is this very trait why so many have turned to them! They enjoy receiving scritches, pets and scratches by their owners and the people they hold dear. They love to share food, and love to be with everyone, whether it be on your shoulder going about your daily business or on top of the cage watching TV as you watch TV. They truly are magnificent pets and birds.

They should have a mixture of foods, and a balance diet of seeds, pellets, fruits and veggies. They are prone to fatty tumours, and with their hearty appetites, seeds and other fatty foods should be closely monitored. Other diseases and ailments commonly found in Cockatiels include (but aren’t excluded to) respiratory infections, polyoma, canlida and chlamydiosis. Females can have calcium deficiencies, due to chronic egg laying and egg binding.

Cockatiels are also notoriously known for their dust, these dust particles are created from the feathers. Some people are allergic to this dust. In general, the dust is messy and left un-kept can produce a fowl odour. A good way to keep down dust with Cockatiels is to bathe them regularly.

These are just some of the things one should keep in mind before buying a Cockatiel, just like anything in life there is the good and there is the bad. Overall, the cockatiel is a fine starter bird, with its rather docile nature, the larger size, beautiful voice and its wonderful feather orientation.

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Road to bite free hands

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Hey Chris how do I get my bird to stop biting when I ask it to step up on my hand.

This has to be something that I hear several times a month from customers. While there is no simple answer as to why birds bite, the simple one is (in most cases) they’re not biting! We joke at the store that if there is no blood then it’s not a bite. Anyone who has been bitten by a bird knows how strong that beak can be regardless of its size. While there can be several reasons, exploratory territorial hormones to simply just I plain don’t want to right know. I thought I would offer suggestion for the last reason for biting.

The first thing to do is to learn to watch your birds body language, are the eyes pining (pupil getting smaller then growing larger). There is a reason for this, is the bird agitated excited or nervous any one of these or all of them can cause a bird to bite. Do you you offer your hand to your bird to step-up on and it leans away then don’t force the point they’re trying to tell you something. So you want your bird to step-up after seeing any of the reasons try waiting a minute or two just talking to your bird and changing its mind. Then try a second time try again, if the bird still does not step-up with out trying to bite then you have to try something different. The distraction method is one that works well. Offer it a toy or treat and when the bird is occupied with something else slip your hand in and give it a slight push to step-up, most of the time the bird won’t even know what it is doing and will just go with the flow.

If this does’t work and the bird is on a play stand or something that can be lowered down low to the floor that is great, do this most. Birds are not fans of being down low and will willing forget about biting and step-up on anything offered as they want to get to a higher place. If all else fails then there is always the perch method where you have a small perch in your hand and offer it when asking to step-up; the bird can bite away and you do lose any blood. In a second or two of it being held in front of them they will give up and step-up onto the perch, if not simply push it gently along the stomach. Remember, that when trying to correct negative behaviour that short training sessions are always better than long ones where you and the bird get into a fight no one wins; just more problems down the road. Always finish on a positive note good luck and happy training!

How to get your bird to step-up…

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Ah the infamous “Step-up!” is among one of the most useful and one of the most important basic training for any parrot species. It not only inspires confidence in the owner to tame his or her bird, but it also is one of the first building blocks to establish and create a working and functional relationship between you and your bird.

Although other species of birds can be tamed and trained (such as canaries, pigeons and quail) most people use methods of training birds strictly for parrots, these techniques that will be described herein can easily be adapted to any bird really but for the sake of this article we are focusing on parrots.

We will be describing two popular methods to train your bird, and also explain some of the importances of both techniques and why you should train your bird in both these techniques.

Although it is possible to train a bird that is flighted, it is harder to tame a bird that is. For this sake, we highly recommend that you get your bird’s wings clipped–now don’t panic! We know the debates about letting birds fly, and maybe in the future you will let your bird fly, but there are just as many pros and cons to allowing your bird fly then letting your bird not fly. One of the reasons we don’t necessarily want our birds to fly is because it is harder to tame a bird that can simply fly away, it is harder to make that connection, but also because allowing a bird to fly in your home can be potentially hazardous; birds can easily fly into walls and kill themselves or seriously injure themselves.

Getting wings clipped is not as bad as it sounds, it liking to us getting a hair cut. The feathers will grow back.

THE FINGER METHOD

It is everyone’s dream who own a bird to have their bird step-up onto their hands or fingers. It is one of the most amazing feelings in the world when finally that small budgie, or even African Grey, steps-up unto your hand or finger. To see it standing there so majestic.

Finger training or hand training a bird to step-up is beneficial because it will inspire great confidence in the owner, it is the essential building block of developing a good working relationship. By knowing the basic step-up you will be able to set boundaries for your bird, and in turn the bird will learn to trust you, and you will begin to trust it. Trust is a big thing between a working partnership with a bird and a its owner.

Many bird owners use what is known as positive reinforcement, this is because birds have a different way of thinking. Although you should never hit or yell at your bird, a bird is able to read your body language you can say “no!” but in general and reinforcement (negative like yelling, or positive like praising) is still a form of reinforcement and a bird will feed off of this reinforcement.

The easiest way to use positive reinforcement is to use treats, depending on the bird you want to use different things, and many people do this. However, not every owner of a bird agrees to this form of positive reinforcement, others use what is known as praising and enthusiasm to encourage their birds to succeed, when the bird does something right you may get all happy, and in a squeaky baby voice say “GOOD BIRDIE!” birds LOVE drama and energy, if you are a boring person you will have a little difficulties keeping the attention of your bird.

Here is a simple method to training your bird to step-up unto your finger:

1. Most likely when you take a bird home it won’t want to leave its cage. There are exceptions, but in general not all pet stores hand train their birds. In this case, the first stage, and probably the most important, is to get to know your bird. Understand what it likes and doesn’t like. This might sound easy, but the truth is it isn’t, let the bird get adjusted to a schedule, and allow the bird to adjust to the fact it will have hands in its cage. Slowly offer food to the bird, and eventually it will eat from it, once it started to get use to your hands it is time to teach your bird!

2. Sometimes when you go to a pet store the birds are already adjusted to people using their hands, and most often these stores already taught the birds to step-up. This makes it much easier for you as the new owner to work with the bird. Chances are you will simply need to say step-up, but sometimes when a bird is new to their surroundings they get spooked and avoid you. Most new birds will turn their back (if they are larger birds for example), or if they are smaller they tend to run along the bars. This is normal, you should never trap your bird in a corner, but you should gently prod the belly of the bird to get it to step-up on your hand, this may take a while. You want to establish a key word here, a key word is a word (or sometimes a gesture) a bird will be able to recognize with an action, in this case as you are trying to get the bird to step-up unto your hand or finger you are simply saying STEP-UP or UP-UP!

3. Once the bird is on your hand, you want to wait. This allows the bird to adjust to your hand, often times it will jump off within a matter of seconds, however, if you keep this up eventually the bird will simply sit on your hand. It is at this time you want to offer positive reinforcement.

4. Eventually the bird will be very comfortable on your hand, the next stage, is obviously to slowly take the bird out of the cage. You should never, under any circumstances unless it is an emergency and you know your bird, force your bird to anything it isn’t willing to do. This will damage your relationship and birds can hold grudges. Most likely, the bird will want to go back to a perch or go within the cage, this is fine, let bird do so. Just keep trying until eventually you are able to get the bird out of the cage without to much difficulty. Don’t forget to praise the bird when it does exactly what you ask it to!

5. Turn your back to the cage, you don’t want the bird to see its cage, it will want to go back to it. It is ideal for you to leave the room completely and go to another one. Here is where the real training begins.

6a. Do some “ladder training,” ladder training is simply getting the bird to step unto your finger over and over again, from one hand to the next. Make sure you repeat the key word here, in this case it could be UP-UP or STEP-UP! Eventually it will seem like you are making a ladder, praise the bird. This is not only fun for you, but birds of all sizes seem to enjoy it. However, larger birds tend to get bored with this exercise very quickly.

6b. Another method that is gaining speed is placing the bird on a perch, a birdie gym, a counter, the back of a chair or even the floor. Essentially what you will be doing is getting the bird to step-up unto your hand from that spot, and than returning the bird to that location (this is known as step-down, which is another useful skill to teach your bird).

6c. To get your whole family involved, do hot potato! From one person to the next, you get the bird to step-up unto each family member until you make a full circle, and you keep doing this. This is among one of the most beneficial of the step-up training, because you are establishing good bonds between the whole family and not just one member and this can reduce aggression found in birds who only bond to one person.

There you go, this is the basics of step-up training unto your finger or hand!

THE DOWEL METHOD

Not all birds come tamed and ready to go, as you can imagine from the above statements. These birds can sometimes be potential bitters, and bites hurt! With some of the larger species of parrots these can be potentially scarring, the problem here is that all birds will bite. It is just like saying your child will never throw a tantrum, it will happen, and no matter how well behaved your child is when she/he pulls a tantrum you are stunned, it is the same when a bird bites. Sometimes you will be able to tell and other times it just happens. Thankfully, birds once properly trained are not big bitters towards their owners and if properly socialized towards any other living being.

This is where the dowel method comes in, a dowel is essentially a long wooden rod that resembles a perch (and often is).

Dowel training is perfect for those who are afraid of their medium to large parrots, it is a slow steady process to eventually getting the bird unto your hand or finger. However, we recommend that all parrots be trained with dowel as well as hand tamed, this is because in obvious cases you won’t always be able to reach your bird, and if a bird isn’t dowel trained or trained to step unto a perch they are less likely to do so, and will most likely be scared of the dowel and try their best to get away from it.

Dowel training is just like the finger step-up training, but this time you want them to get use to the dowel been pressed up to them, to get them to simply come up unto the dowel you may use a treat to lure them unto such dowel by revealing the treat just out of reach of the dowel, forcing them to step up.

This is a great method to get territorial birds out of their cages, such as quakers and Indian Ringneck parakeets, and some larger species much prefer this method than the hand. As an owner of the bird we like to think that the bird needs to conform to our ways, but the truth is we do more sacrifice of ourselves for the bird than the bird does for us, compromises need to be made; on both sides.

WHAT IF MY BIRD BITES ME!?

Birds, especially large ones, can be scary when they bite. Especially when they are well behaved and you aren’t expecting it. Even small birds like budgies and lovebirds have a wicked bite, sometimes they draw blood. It happens. The truth is, you won’t always be able to avoid been bit, you need to understand that the beak of a bird is its hands, it is the way it explores its world and it is how it rewards and punishes.

The trick, and it isn’t always easy, is to not be afraid of been bit and not to be afraid of the beak. You don’t necessarily need to be on edge every moment you own a bird, when or how you will be bit, just understand that it will happen. It isn’t a matter of could, it is a matter of when and what circumstances provoked the bite.

As you grow as a bird owner you will be able to better predict when, why and how your bird bites. You will be able to read the body language of your bird, but even this experience can’t guarantee that you won’t be bit, anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

When dealing with a bird that bites, it is best not to react.

You can push into the bite, to make it uncomfortable for the bird, but you should never pry the mouth open. You shouldn’t hit your bird, another method to make a bird understand that biting is wrong is simply pinching the beck and in a firm voice say NO! or NO BITE!

By reacting to the bite you are encouraging the bite. Don’t react, act normal, and return the bird to its cage and ignore it for about 15 minutes, think of it as a time out, and by the time you come back to see your bird he should be in a better mood.

If you stick to these simple rules, the risk of a bite is minimum and both you and the bird will be happy.

Lovebirds

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We are getting into that season again, and Christmas is a time where the hearts of people tend to warm towards the lovebird. Lovebirds have quite a bit of myths surrounding them, anywhere between “they don’t make good pets because they are aggressive”, to the most played “they can only be bought in pairs.”

In this blog post we will be discussing lovebirds, what they are like pets, what they are like in the wild, animal husbandry for these animals and dispelling some of the more common myths that surround these little birds.

First thing’s first, what is a lovebird?

A lovebird (“Agapornis”) is a small African bird, with the traditional African built (stocky body, small tail feathers and larger beaks). Eight out of nine of these species of lovebirds are on the market, but only three of these eights will be the easiest to find; the peach faced, masked and the fischer’s lovebird.

In this article, however, we will only be exploring the peach faced lovebird, this is because they are the most commonly kept species of lovebird, and this is generally because they are much easier to tame, handle and they come in a variety of different mutations that appeal to the wider audience. However, this information provided can easily be adapted to the other species of lovebird because they all share a similar diet and have similar needs.

Lovebirds are small birds, just a little bigger than a budgie, but unlike some of the other small birds you find on the market, they are a species of parrot, as such they are highly intelligent and sociable creatures. They are a lot of personality jammed pack into such a small body. Many parrot owners recommend a lovebird for first time parrot owner, because these birds are very similar to some of the larger parrot species, just in a smaller body. Therefore, the new time owner will be able to have some experience as to what it is like to own a larger bird specie without the fear of those large beaks.

Lovebirds are loud, or at least they can be, and although calling shouldn’t be completely eliminated, very few owners aren’t prepared for the high pitched call that a lovebird can make. The first week is always the worse, but by proper training you will be able to minimize this annoying sound, and those annoying sounds will turn into pleasant little chirps.

Lovebirds are not known to talk, although a few have been known to learn a few words, but they more than make up for it in their clownish personalities and their abilities to learn a variety of tricks.

Like any parrot, you need a good size cage, that way you are able to put in a lot of toys (birds need something to keep their minds occupied and they are chewers!), but not only that, lovebirds are unique for a parrot species in that they much prefer to sleep in a wheel, a nesting box or a plush triangle, and that requires room to set one up. Your cage should be big enough to be able to fit the bed comfortable, and have at least three toys.

Despite the common belief, lovebirds do NOT need to be paired off, especially if you will become its flock mate of sorts. The common myth that they need to be paired off was probably from some pet store long ago wanting to make some extra cash, and was easily able to sell it because you will be able to understand why they are called lovebirds when you look at them. In groups, they tend to pair off and snuggle close together.

This behaviour, of snuggling close, means in general lovebirds are wonderful cuddly birds, who enjoy nothing more than receiving scritches (petted), or snuggling up to your neck. They are little cuddle monsters they can be.

However, because of this behaviour, most people who own a lovebird have found that they can develop aggressive tendencies towards other members of the family. This happens because the bird was not properly socialized with other members of the family, this includes your dogs, cats and yes even sometimes your fish. Lovebirds by nature bond with one thing (and I say thing because sometimes they bond with their favourite toy) rather strongly, however, just because they bond strongly towards one member, does not mean they won’t make a good pet in a large family household.

On contrary, lovebirds make excellent pets in larger households because even in the wild they are found in small flocks, they just have that “favourite” person and that generally means more responsibility on that person’s part. A lovebird that has bonded to one person but is in a large household is less likely to be aggressive because of the socialization, this often means less biting–however, the person it has bonded to is often the receiver of these bites because lovebirds can get jealous easily when their mated pair is interacting with everything else but itself, they are more likely to bite their partner then the other person!

A proper socialized lovebird, means a well behaved and loveable lovebird.

Diet is another factor, lovebirds get fat very fast on seed base diets. They require a good balanced diet (who doesn’t?) of pellets and seeds (seeds are important because of the fats), but you also need to be feeding your lovebird a good chunk of fruits and veggies. Make sure you do your research on which foods are appropriate for birds, there are many that is poisonous to birds (did you know avocado is poisonous to birds?). Lovebirds can be considered messy birds, not that they throw food around (although they can; they can be a little dramatic) they enjoy making soup by adding their food to their water, hence soup. This perfectly natural and should be encouraged, the water changed after you wake up and before you go bed, to prevent any dangerous bacteria growth that may occur.

These birds, because of their large brains and their sociable natures, should be played with outside of their cages at LEAST an hour a day, where they will have time to interact with the family and reaffirm their connections with their one-and-only.

When choosing a lovebird the best case scenerio is to get a young (the beak should have some black on it, but not all mutations have this!), hand reared and hand tamed bird. You should look for signs of illness, and lastly it should be a bird that takes an interest in you–this will make it much easier for the bird to adapt to their new surroundings. You should already have a cage set up in your home, with the toys and feed ready.

The best part about these birds is that because they are highly energetic birds, they are able to put in quarters where there may be a lot of movement and loud noises, some of the smaller and larger species can easily be spooked and are rather sensitive to these movements and sounds. Not lovebirds, after all they’ve been known to take on dogs. Make sure the cage is at a good elevation, and not placed on the floor, this will promote a sense of confidence in the bird and will also reduce some of the screaming that a lovebird may create.

Lovebirds make amazing pets, for the right people. If you are looking into getting into larger parrot species, but are afraid of them, the lovebird will give you a run for your money. If you are looking for a loving, cuddly bird but can also take care of themselves independent, than this bird is for you! If you are looking for an overall intelligent, loyal, and affectionate bird the lovebird is right for you.

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