If you’ve decided to breed lovebirds, getting a pair to mate is just the first step of the adventure. Setting up a male and female in a nesting box and having them mate is relatively easy, but all bird owners should be prepared to help care for the babies that their lovebirds produce. Part of that care involves knowing when the baby lovebirds will be ready to leave the nesting box.
A Baby Lovebird's First Week
Newborn lovebirds should not be handled by humans during their first week as they are very fragile. It is best to leave the mother and her babies alone during this time, as the mother will be able to provide the babies with the food they need. During the first few feedings, she will provide them with a clear liquid filled with nutrients and enzymes to aid in their digestion. After that, she will regurgitate food from her dish for the babies to eat.
Hand Feeding a Baby Lovebird
Chicks can be hand fed roughly 8 to 10 days after hatching, but if you are not already experienced in hand feeding baby lovebirds, you should not attempt this. For those owners who do have experience, don’t remove one baby at a time as this will cause the mother to reject him. Instead, remove all the babies and place them in a brooder or other warming enclosure. Most babies adapt well to hand feeding, and this process can help them bond with humans.
Leaving the Nesting Box
Baby lovebirds will begin to develop feathers over the course of several weeks. During this time, they also will begin exploring the nesting box or whatever enclosure they are being kept in and will practice flying. Their mother will begin weaning them during this exploratory phase, and after about 8 weeks they should be fully weaned and eating on their own. At this point they will be inclined to leave the nesting box, and if they stay too long the mother may harm them because of her instinct to nest again.
After the Nesting Box
If you own young lovebirds, you may need to have a vet clip their wings so that they don’t accidentally fly away. After they have become fully independent, you can move them from the nesting box or brooder and keep them in their own cage. Make sure that each bird has enough room to beat its wings without hitting the edge of the cage. Some owners choose to give or sell some of their lovebirds to other bird enthusiasts, so that their home does not become overcrowded.