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A challenging

but enjoyable Hobby

Breeding Lovebirds

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Most species of Lovebirds are relatively easy to breed. It's
an enjoyable site to see these lovebirds hatch and then quickly
grow to size.

There is no certainty that the two birds you select will mate
with each other, if it doesn't happen, then try another pair or
other mates. Most generally birds bred in captivity do accept
each other.

Also remember that lovebirds don't always pair up male and female,
sometimes a male and male will pair and sometimes a female and
female will pair. If a female does lay eggs, they will be infertile,
obviously males don't lay eggs. If this happens, separate the pair
and get new mates.

In order to breed, lovebirds must be at least 10 months of
age. Birds older than 5 to 6 years should be retired from breeding.

Really there's not a lot for you to do other than:

1. Make sure the birds are eating an optimum diet
2. Make sure the birds have access to pure, fresh water
3. Make sure the air the birds are breathing is pure and fresh
4. To avoid difficulty with the eggs being hatched, keep the humidity
     levels close to 65%
5. Provide an adequate nest box for the eggs to be laid
     (diameter of the hole should be 2 to 3 inches)
6. Provide nesting material: limbs from trees, grass, leaves, spray
     millet, and/or cage paper.
7. Provide a cuttlebone
8. Provide at least 12 hours of daylight

How Lovebirds "Make Love"

Courtship begins when the male feeds the female. Then mating will
happen which may be lengthy and repeated several times a day for
several days. The male climbs onto the females back, often holding
on to her flight feathers for a good grip.

Male lovebirds have no external organs, but they do have two
testes. In the breeding season, the male's testes grow hundreds
of times bigger. The female bird's ovaries also grow larger.
The male keeps sperm in their cloaca (the exit hole for most body fluids)
and gives it to the female by pressing their cloaca together.
This is how the eggs are fertilized.

Next the nest area is selected and nest materials are brought to it.
The female can become very protective of this area.

Eggs can be laid as early as 3 to 5 days after mating.

When the Funs over, it's time for Parenting

It will help if you record when the birds breed and when the eggs
are laid.

The first egg is laid about 10 days after mating, then one or more
every other day. Typically the clutch contains 4 to 6 eggs. First
time mothers may lay less.

When a hen is brooding, they may not come out of the nest box very
often. The male will feed her by regurgitating. This is also how
the chicks are fed. Initially the female will feed the chicks,
but in time the male will begin to help.

You can help this process by providing a variety of soft foods.

If you notice the chicks are on their backs, this is the normal
feeding position for them.

Incubation time is approximately 23 days. It can take up to 24
hours for the chick to fully come from it's egg, it's best not to
interfere with this process. The egg sac contains needed nutrients
the chick will absorb.

Occasionally a hen will become aggressive towards or not accept
a chick. If this happens, you will have to hand feed.

See: Hand feeding Baby Lovebirds

The parents will do a good job of feeding and weaning the chicks
on their own, without your help in most cases. Do make sure the parents
are provided a top quality diet and plenty of variety during this
time. Read the page on hand feeding to see particulars about
feeding and weaning chicks.

Even though some species of lovebirds can breed and raise 3 clutches
a season, the birds should be given a good rest of 6 months before
breeding again.

Is the Egg Fertile?

After 5 or 6 days hold each egg against a good light. If you clearly
see a dark spot surrounded by some blood vessels, the egg is fertile.
If so the egg will turn darker and have a bluish haze after about a week.

If the egg is transparent and turns yellow, it's infertile.

Brooding is the time when the hen is sitting on the eggs
Chick is a young bird still in the nest
Clutch is the group of eggs in a nest
Fledging is a young bird that has left it's nest
Hen is the female bird of breeding age
Piping is when the chick begins to break through it's shell

Newly Hatched Lovebird Chick

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