Bird Brain

I am sure we have all heard that derogatory comment that someone is a “bird brain.” Well it turns out that if someone calls you a bird brain, you should take it as a compliment. After scientific research was done on African Grey parrots and Crows, birds have been proven to be highly intelligent problem solvers.

Dr. Irene Pepperberg has done life-long research on Alex the African Grey parrot and sadly, Alex has passed on, but she continues to work with other African Greys and has come to the scientific conclusion that these birds posses the IQ of a small human child and are capable of excelling at problem solving tasks.

ALEX THE AFRICAN GREY

As previously stated, not only are parrots very interactive and playful, but it has been scientifically proven through years of study that these animals are highly intelligent. Dr. Irene Pepperberg conducted a series of studies based on problem solving tasks and experiments that Alex, the African Grey was proven to excel at.

She went on to write a book entitled “Alex and Me” and from what I understand it is a tearjerker as unfortunately Alex passed away and I believe she wrote the book shortly after his death.

After working on a daily basis for many years and doing her research, I am quite sure that she and Alex developed a very strong and special bond. He was featured on shows like Nova and other scientific research and animal focused programs that proved just how intelligent he was.

For more information you can check out the book “Alex and Me” at www.amazon.com just be prepared for a sad ending. YouTube also presents a few videos on Dr Irene Pepperberg and Alex working together.

It is well-known in the parrot community that African Greys are the most intelligent parrot that you can own and some posses a vocabulary of well over a thousand words and phrases that they use to form sentences. This is not just mimicking their owner’s speech as many people would believe that a parrot can do.

 

CROWS AND RAVENS

According to scientific research done on Crows, they have proven to be the most intelligent species of bird and may place in the top 10 intelligent animal species compared with apes and dolphins. After being tested on all types of problem solving puzzles and scientific experiments, these animals have also proven to possess the IQ of a small human child between 3-5 yrs old.

Who would have thunk it?

LOVEBIRDS

Being that this site is dedicated to lovebirds, just remember that lovebirds are in the category of Parrots. They are small but still scientifically classified in the Psittaciformes order of Parrot in the Genus Agapornis.

Do not underestimate a lovebird’s intelligence and this is why I stress that you do not want to neglect or abuse these birds. They are highly sensitive and have an excellent capacity for memory.

Known throughout the pet trade as “pocket parrots” don’t let the small size or lack of talking ability fool you. These are still highly intelligent animals and should be treated with the care and respect they deserve.

 

CONCLUSION

Keep in mind that even though a bird is small and not as interactive as some dogs and cats, they are very sensitive and smart. This has been proven through years of scientific research and studies, not just an opinion.

Please respect these animals and treat them with as much love and care as any other pet that you would own. They mate for life and are extremely sensitive to abuse and neglect. They love to play and perform tricks to showoff for their owners and feed off the attention that we give them.

They will also keep you laughing!

 

 

 

 

Air Quality

I want to touch on a subject that is of upmost importance to your bird’s health. All parrots and in particular lovebirds, have an extremely sensitive respiratory system and certain fumes can actually be deadly.

I don’t mean to scare you here but it’s very important that you know the facts. Basically, you want to keep the air quality near and around your birdcage fresh, natural and as healthy as possible.

SMOKING

If you are a smoker, I would highly advise that you leave the bird room or any proximity to a bird’s cage and keep the door closed so that you can keep the smoke outside of  the bird room.

Second hand smoke will not kill your bird, but over time it is harmful to their lungs just as a human being would have the same problem. With a small parrot like a lovebird, this is intensified because of the extra sensitive lungs of a bird

This would include cigarettes, cigars and marijuana. Anything that produces an odor and a smoke is just not good, folks. Please be aware and respectful of your birds and don’t smoke around them. Better off, smoke outside the home or on a whole different level of your living situation.

This is pretty simple for me because Lovey lives upstairs and there are no smokers in the house. I also try to keep the windows open with a screen of course on nice days when the temperature allows it.

I do have an air conditioner because it gets hot upstairs, but I make sure that the cold air is not directed anywhere near her, and she has the ability to fly around my room anyways. Believe it or not, too chilly is not as dangerous as too hot for a lovebird.

SCENTED CANDLES

Scented candles and any kind of air diffuser that propels a fragrance through the air is harmful as well. I don’t know about you, but I love scented candles. However, sometimes if they burn for a while I notice a headache so you can imagine how that would affect the extra sensitive respiratory system of a small parrot, or large for that matter.

Potpourri is not as bad, but I would use it in another room aside from your bird room or proximity to the cage. Basically, anything that emits a strong flowery or fruity odor is going to bother your bird’s respiratory tract. Keep the air natural and pure.

BOUQUET

I love a nice bouquet of flowers but I don’t keep them near a bird. Not so much that the respiratory system will be affected, but if your bird free flies around the room like mine does, she could start nibbling.

Many flowers, although not all, are toxic to birds. Please check the list of toxic vs non-toxic flowers as some birds can eat certain flowers and they are very nutritious. Some are just plain poison.

AIR PURIFIERS

I would recommend that you purchase a small air purifier for your bird room. I use a Himalayan Salt Lamp from www.amazon.com and it works wonders. It also happens to be really pretty and I use it as a night light as well. You can adjust the intensity of the light bulb so that it’s very bright during the day, and dimmer at night.

I keep it right near the living quarters of Lovey and I. It’s also natural, in case she decides to peck at it. Although I will state that salt is not good for birds, it won’t kill them either. I have never seen her touch it and chances are your bird won’t either.

CONCLUSION

Keep your windows open on nice days (screened obviously) and the air quality in your bird room as pure as possible. You want to keep them away from any smoke that they could inhale and don’t forget fireplace smoke too.

Anything with a strong scent would include candles, a diffuser, potpourri, perfume, harsh chemicals, that sort of thing. Please refer to the TOXIC! post that I have written because it covers other fumes that are dangerous if not deadly.

Use your common sense but remember if it has a strong odor, whether it’s paint, glue, perfume or some other beauty supply with an aerosol spray, don’t use it near the bird. Just go into the other room and come back later. Fresh, pure and natural is the air quality that you want to attain.

VIP: DO NOT IRON CLOTHES NEAR YOUR BIRD! MANY IRONS HAVE A TEFLON FLAT SURFACE WHICH WILL KILL YOUR BIRD.

Non-stick cookware and any Teflon products are deadly. This goes for all parrots. I would hate to see someone spend 10 thousand dollars on a Blue McCaw only to see it die of Teflon fumes from an iron or sauté pan.

I would also like to add that if you are having any form of construction done to your home, particularly if it’s interior work, I recommend that you remove your bird from the house and let them stay with a friend or boarding facility.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them in the comment section below. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Adoption vs. Buying

Hello lil Peeps I am back to talk about yet another subject on lovebird ownership and that is adoption vs. buying your bird. Adoption is a very noble idea and one that should not be overlooked but you need to really think about it as well. Many people buy birds and for whatever reason cannot keep them.

Maybe they had to suddenly move or perhaps the bird was too noisy for the apartment complex that they live in. Whatever the case, they had to give the bird up and guess where it ends up? In a bird rescue facility.

Adopting a bird can be challenging but very rewarding as well. You are rescuing a bird and giving it a second chance. Who doesn’t love that idea? It’s chicken soup for the soul, really.

Just keep in mind a lot of rescue birds have behavioral problems. This mostly relates to larger parrots like Cockatoos and Macaws, but lovebirds ARE parrots and they are just as intelligent and sensitive.

 

ISSUES

I cannot disagree that adopting a bird is a wonderful way to acquire a new baby, however, you must be prepared for some behavioral issues. Many times a bird is given away because it is too aggressive or noisy.

Keep in mind lovebirds can be aggressive, but unless you have small children at home, it should not pose a huge threat to your living situation. They are still quite small and even though a bite can hurt, rarely would it be dangerous.

Perhaps your abandoned lovie was separated from her bonded mate. Let’s hope this is not the case, but you never know. This bird will be depressed, angry and could become a plucker.

Now remember some pluckers just pluck but MOST pluck over an emotional issue. Maybe the bird was very attached to its former owner, but whatever the case may be, you could be adopting a sad little bird.

If you are anything like me, you would want to nurture and help this little bird get over their problems and be happy again. I am always routing for the underdog and in most cases, love a challenge as well. An adopted bird is going to be a challenge.

 

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Adoption is a great way to get to know a bird before taking the next step to ownership. Many rescues and in particular a bird rescue facility, will let you meet the bird, interact with the bird and give you some form of a background on the history; sad or otherwise.

This is a positive because many times there is a chemistry between you and your bird. They may take to you right away or you feel a certain tug at your heart to protect and love this little LB. Just remember you will be adopting the emotional baggage as well. They may hate you at first, due to abandonment issues or you may get lucky.

As stated before, this problem is much more intense with a Cockatoo or larger breed of parrot, but nonetheless LBs are smart, sensitive creatures and we cannot count them out.

Depending on the rescue facility and their policies, you may not even get the bird that you want. Some facilities, knowing that you are taking on a challenge, will want to know your prior experience with aviculture (bird keeping). Some can be quite strict and you will have to prove that you are willing to take on the time and energy required for ownership.

They may interview you on your knowledge, the type of home you can provide, where you live, people in your household and so forth. I am not kidding, it can be tough.

Mainly these facilities do not want to see a bird bouncing from rescue to rescue as each time becomes more stressful for the bird.  They want to make sure that it’s a good fit for you and the LB, and more importantly a PERMANENT fit.

BUYING

If you go with just buying the bird, there is never an interview and most of the time the bird has been hand-tamed and very young. This is a huge plus for bird ownership. You will really be raising your baby and they will see you as the only parent and the bond is stronger than a LB that has been bounced around from rescues and other homes.

As a first time bird owner, I really recommend this route but please do your research and don’t be one of those people that changes their minds and gives the bird up for adoption. It’s a vicious cycle and I realize some situations are very tough and it’s your only choice, but many just don’t think about owning a bird thoroughly and the responsibility that entails.

BLEEDING HEARTS

Many aviculturists will swear up and down that the only way to acquire a new bird is to adopt. Being a bleeding heart softie myself, I cannot dispute this.

If you are a first time bird owner, however please adopt a small parrot. Although you will run into challenges, they will not be as overwhelming as adopting a Cockatoo in which case you are really taking on a problem that may be too much to handle.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Cockatoos and my dream is to own a Galah aka Rose Breasted Cockatoo sometime down the road, but until I can provide the best home and care for the bird, not to mention writing up a will for it (yes that’s right) I wouldn’t even think about it

CONCLUSION

This is a very personal choice and if your heart is dead set on saving a bird, then by all means go for it. Remember to start out small with a budgie, LB or parrotlet and build from there. Unfortunately with many rescue facilities being rather strict, you may not even get the bird that you want.

Google the adoption facilities in your area, call them and talk to someone that works there. See if you can meet the bird, and go from there. We have a HUGE bird rescue facility here in New England that fosters all kinds of exotic birds and large parrots. They offer tours and meet and greet but I know they are also very strict in who can adopt a bird.

Don’t forget these places are not a tourist attraction but a tragedy as many of these birds are nothing short of heartbroken. Whatever choice you decide on, I wish you the best of luck in your search.

http://fosterparrots.com

 

 

 

 

Aviculture

Aviculture is the fancy term for the hobby of keeping pet birds (Class Aves) in captivity. In some cases an aviculturist could merely be keeping one companion bird, or perhaps an aviculturist is breeding birds for profit. The name still applies to all levels of domestic bird care and ownership using a controlled environment.

Aviculture should not be confused with the hobby of bird-watching, however. That is a hobby that consists of observing and studying birds in the wild from afar. If you own a companion bird, you are automatically an Aviculturist.

TYPES OF AVICULTURE

Among the hobby of keeping birds are several sub-cultures within the hobby itself. For instance, Psittaculture is the specific hobby of keeping parrots. Canariculturists only keep and/ or breed canaries.

Not only do Aviculturists keep domestic birds as pets, but some focus on the preservation of certain endagered species in the wild in hopes that they will not become extinct.

Many aviculturists provide ongoing education for certain species of birds along with research on the behavioral patterns of some of these species. Of course, many are breeders for profit in the pet trade.

 

SOCIETIES

There are several Avicultural societies around the globe including the Avicultural Society of America that was founded in 1927. These societies tend to be more prevelent in the USA,  Europe and Australia.

Most of these societies are non- profit organizations with a mission to nuture the hobby and provide educational information through periodicals like magazines and newsletters.

So to all the Aviculturists out there, cheers and have a great day!

 

 

 

 

Cuttlebone and Mineral Block

If you are not aware of the importance of a cuttlebone in your birdcage you should be. Cuttlebone provides the calcium needed for your bird’s optimal health. To be on the safe side, I would provide a cuttlebone and in addition a mineral block as well.

ESPECIALLY FOR FEMALES

Cuttlebones and mineral blocks can be clipped right on to the side of your bird’s cage and neither is that expensive. While recommended for all lovies, they are especially important for a female lovebird who will naturally develop eggs.

If she does not get the proper balance of calcium and other important vitamins and minerals, she could become egg-bound. This can be very painful and dangerous for your bird and an expensive vet visit would be necessary.

To prevent this and keep your birds in optimal health, please provide a cuttlebone and a mineral block at all times. Your LB will naturally chew on them when they need the extra vitamins. Their bodies just seem to know when to peck at the minerals so there is no need to guide them as long as the blocks are readily available at all times.

Amazon sells both products, and because they are so inexpensive, you can probably purchase them as add-ons.

CUTTLEBONE

Higgins Cuttlebone is a great choice. They usually come with up to 5 in a pack and should last you a few months for one bird.

MINERAL BLOCK

I love things that are pretty so I found a really pretty mineral block in yellow that is shaped like a rose and it fits in with my décor for Lovey’s play area. I notice she chomps on that and the cuttlebone several times per day.

Remember that these are essential items for your bird’s optimal health and should not be overlooked. Don’t worry  because they both are relatively inexpensive, unless you go with the designer mineral block like I did.

 Mineral Block

DIET

Yes, it’s the dreaded D word again, but guess what? This time it’s not about you restricting your calories,  it’s all about your Lovebird’s diet.

There are right and wrong ways to go about this and we will go over a few things to avoid. I encourage anyone who checks out this blog to please look at the TOXIC!  section on my site. There are plenty of dangerous foods that you could be mistaking while feeding your LB and they can be potentially harmful, if not deadly.

Please use caution and do your research; for instance raw beans are toxic to a lovebird and it would seem like a perfectly safe food, but alas, it’s not. I am not referring to green beans here, but black beans and lentils when I say this.

 

SEED MIXES

When shopping for seed mix, most people go straight to the local pet store and buy mixes formulated for Lovebirds, Conures and Cockatiels. Although this isn’t the worst thing to do, it’s really not the best either.

Your lovebird will tend to pick through the mix and only eat the sunflower seeds. Though it won’t kill your bird, sunflower seeds are high in fat and low on nutrition.

For optimal health, most Avian vets will recommend a pelleted diet along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Please be aware that some veggies are toxic, for instance Avocado, so be aware of the right choice of vegetable and fruit . Furthermore, apples are excellent for your bird, but the seeds are dangerous, so please be sure to cut the apple and avoid the core and seeds.

If you are confused about anything to do with your bird’s diet, please talk your Avian vet to be on the safe side. They are the experts, after all.

You may Google any of this information or Amazon.com has great books on proper Lovebird care including diet and toxic food to avoid. Don’t do all of the guess work, but instead do your research……. please.

 

PELLETS

Pellets are the recommended diet due to the fact that all of the vitamins and nutrients are available in a pelleted diet. Unfortunately, many birds don’t like pellets. You may have to wean your bird off of the seeds and slowly incorporate the pellets until they are eating mostly pellets.

Most lovies will go straight for the sunflower seeds but they are the equivalent of French Fries in our diet. Although they are yummy, they are not particularly nutritious and pretty bad for us in the long run. Particularly if your bird is not flighted,  seeds can cause weight problems and other health issues.

PEOPLE FOOD

While you can offer some people food for your lovie, it’s not particularly recommended. Hard boiled eggs are okay and most fruits and vegetables are fine. Heavily salted, sugary or fatty foods are not to be ingested nor chocolate as it could kill your bird. Alcohol is a “no no” as well.

It’s a great way to bond with your bird by sharing a plate, but not the healthiest or the most sanitary. Personally, I don’t want to share my plate with my bird for cleanliness purposes alone and furthermore human saliva is not good for a LB.

HEALTHY STUFF

Cooked beans are an excellent choice but as I firmly state COOKED. Corn on the cob is great too, as well as popcorn. Pretty much anything you see in a salad is fine and remember if it’s healthy for you, its generally healthy for your lovie. To avoid all confusion, just try to wean them on commercial pellets.

Birds love to forage, so I prefer the LAFEBER’s Nutri-berries. They are vitamin fortified and give your bird a reason to work for it’s food given the hard ball-like shape that they come in.

For foraging toys that are healthy you could try hollowing out a green pepper, get rid of all the seeds and stuff it with millet spray or other goodies, hang the pepper in your birds cage, and they will be in heaven. Plain old corn on the cob works great too!

CONCLUSION

Although a seed mix won’t necessarily hurt your bird, over time it does not provide the proper vitamins and minerals your bird needs either. A fully seeded diet is the equivalent of a junk food diet for us, lots of fun to eat but not so good in the long run. Non flighted birds can develop health problems and obesity.

Providing lots of millet sprigs are great because birds love the taste and it’s healthy, A real win/win for your LB and you. Try to wean your bird on a mainly pelleted diet and I especially recommend LAFEBER’S Nutri-Berries. They are great for foraging and super healthy for your bird. Most Avian vets will agree with me on this.

It may take time to switch your bird from seeds to pellets but well worth it in the long run. If you have the time to cook for your bird, broccoli and cooked beans are excellent as well. Just remember to do your research and talk to your Avian vet.

RECOMMENDED:

MILLET SPRAY    

www.amazon.com

LAFEBER’S NUTRI-BERRIES

www.amazon.com

 

 

 

 

To Clip or Not to Clip

To Clip or Not to Clip….. that is the question. What I am referring to here are your bird’s wings. My Lovey is fully flighted because I prefer it this way, but there are drawbacks to a fully flighted bird and we will go over the pros and cons.

If you do decide to have your bird’s wings clipped please leave this to a professional. Avian vets offer this service as do most bird specialty stores. Perhaps your bird’s wings are already clipped as many pet stores and breeders do clip the wings before selling a bird.

FULLY FLIGHTED

As previously mentioned, I prefer a fully flighted bird. Namely because the bird gets it’s proper exercise by having the ability to fly and it’s just more natural for the bird. Also, it may be a better option if you have other pets in the house or small children who could unintentionally hurt the bird. With the bird’s natural ability to fly, it can easily get out of harm’s way from a dog, cat or other predator trying to hurt or hunt it down.

Having a fully flighted bird will require you to keep him/her caged or at least in a bird safe room. Absolutely no fans, ceiling fans in particular, open windows or large glass windows as they can fly straight into them and seriously hurt themselves or die.

Rosy-faced Lovebird flying, Agapornis roseicollis

Yes, you do run the risk of your bird flying away if they get out through a door or window. Very rarely will a small parrot like a lovebird fly back home. Once they are gone, they are gone for good so use caution and make sure that they are in a safe area to fly freely without escaping

My lovebird is not tame, nor has she ever been tame because sadly, I bought her from a large chain pet store and I am almost certain she came from a bird mill. These birds have been roughly shuffled around the pet trade and are generally frightened of human hands.

I have considered having her wings clipped for this reason alone, so she will be more familiar with human hands but have not done so thus far.

CLIPPED WINGS

The major advantages to clipped wings is obviously that they cannot fly away and you have more control over taming your bird.

They will have no choice but to be handled with the inability to fly and you will be able to hold your bird, cuddle with your bird and teach it more tricks and head scratches will be more prevalent. Head scratches are a great way to bond with your lovebird. Just beware of bites, and yes a lovie’s bite can hurt.

Avian vets and specialty bird stores offer wing clipping services. There are instructional videos on YouTube that show you how to clip your bird’s wings but I do not recommend it. If you happen to cut too low, draw blood or clip a blood feather, the bird could easily bleed to death. I don’t think you would want to take that risk and neither do I

Fear not, as a wing-clipping is similar to a hair cut, it’s not permanent! If you decide you would prefer your LB to be fully flighted just wait about 6 months and her wings will be grown back to normal. Having said that, you will also have to keep the clipping up every 5-6 months if you want to keep it non-flighted

IN CONCLUSION

As you can surmise, to clip or not to clip is purely your choice. Take into consideration your living conditions and the safety of your bird. These are the most important determining factors.

I prefer a flighted bird, but I have the rare living situation in that no other pets or small children are around.  She also lives upstairs and NEVER leaves her bird-safe room. There are no open windows, doors, dogs or cats that can pose a risk to her well-being. I have bird-proofed her room and she never leaves the vicinity of this area. In some ways she is trained, but not enough to let me cuddle with her.

Who knows, maybe in time

DIY

Feeling crafty? If you are anything like me you may feel the urge to craft some fun projects here and there. It can save you money, bring a little joy to your life and give you a great sense of accomplishment.

My favorite part is the fun that it brings to the table. Here are some great ways to save money on your bird supplies by putting your creativity to the test and having a few laughs while you do it.

DIY Bird Toys

There are some Bird Toy kits that you can buy at specialty bird stores or on Amazon that can really get your creative juices flowing. I recently bought the Living World set and made a few cool toys that hang from Lovey’s perch. (For those of you just tuning in, my lovebird’s name is Lovey Howell named after Mrs. Howell from Gilligans Island)

DIY BIRD TOY KITS SOLD HERE:

www.amazon.com

Unfortunately, these bird toy kits don’t come cheap so if you are looking for money-saving projects, I cannot say this is the one, but loads of fun just the same.

For cheap ideas YouTube has some great vids and I would suggest going to the Dollar Tree to pick up your supplies. Just make sure all items are bird-safe including your wood and plastic items.

As we all know, birds love to chew and you wouldn’t want your baby chewing on anything toxic. Food coloring is safe to use on bird-safe wood and colorless twine should be fine for stringing beads. If in doubt, buy human baby toys to string, considering if the plastic is safe for babies, it should be safe for a lovebird

DIY Perches

This idea can really save you a lot of money. Have you seen the price of Java wood bird perches? The large floor perches can run all the way up to 500 dollars. Don’t get me wrong they are gorgeous but that’s a lot of money for a bird perch. Anyway, fear not because you can use branches that you find right in your back yard that will do the same job, if not better.

CAUTION: Make sure the wood is bird safe! Some types of wood are toxic to birds so please check the list carefully.

http://www.mdvaden.com/bird_page.shtml

Having stated that, white birch is safe and because it’s easy to recognize here in New England, I chose this wood to make my perch. All I did was use an old flowering pot filled with soil, stuck the branch into the soil after thoroughly cleaning the wood (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP) and covered the soil with decorative rocks and sea shells. Voila, I have a wooden perch that my bird uses and loves. If you are worried about messes, just put some newspaper under and around the pot.

Many table perches that are sold in bird pet stores with the attached tray at the bottom are expensive. The way I got around this was by purchasing a Grape wood vine separately on Amazon made for a reptile cage and propped it into a glass terrarium vase that I had around the house. I then filled the vase with seashells for support and for visual appeal, and there I had a gorgeous Grape wood vine perch for my table.

 

GRAPE VINE WOOD PERCHES SOLD HERE:

www.amazon.com

 

 

It happens to be Lovey’s favorite perch where she sleeps every night. It’s also in front of a mirror and I often wonder if that’s why she likes it so much.

As I have mentioned before, Grape wood vine is excellent for a lovebird grip and healthy for their little feet as well. You can also use Cholla or Manzanita wood (or a bird safe wood from your back yard) Personally I think Java wood is too slippery unless you are willing to wrap twine around your sloping branches for a better grip, but that would be your call.

DIY Bird Bath

Lovebirds like to bathe and you really need some form of a bird bath that is not the water bowl that they drink from. I used the glass lid from a terrarium bowl and flipped it upside down, stuck it in a tumbler glass that I got for free from the last job I had at a liquor store (They were giving them way) and Voila, a beautiful decorative bird bath! MY Lovey uses it 3-4 times per week. For extra decorative qualities I used a turquoise bracelet to line the bottom of the tumbler and I think it looks quite pretty.

MAKE SURE THAT THE WATER IS NOT TOO DEEP AS YOUR BIRD COULD DROWN. Water should be just a few inches deep

DIY FOOD AND WATER BOWLS

Most cages come with plastic food and water bowls that clip onto the side of the cage or perch. I use small decorative glass bowls for my bird since she is never in her cage. Besides, I am an artist/decorator at heart and love pretty fun, creative items around my house. Make sure that your bowls are not toxic or have any sharp edges and please clean them daily. Old ashtrays work well for food and water bowls around your bird room

Plastic is okay, but I prefer glass because your bird can’t chew it up. Just remember no sharp or jagged edges and keep them in a spot that they will not fall from.

Conclusion

Use your creativity because DIY projects can be lots of fun. More importantly, make sure every detail of your project is bird safe all the way down to the type of wood, plastic or twine you are using.

Birds love to chew on stuff so everything needs to be bird-safe and toxic free. No paint, glue or chemicals! Thanks for reading and any questions please feel free to comment below. Lastly, YouTube has some great step by step videos on DIY bird projects to save money and Happy Crafting!

 

 

 

 

 

Breeder vs. Pet Store

There is always that question in your mind when you decide you want to own a Lovebird. Should I go to a pet store and look around or contact a breeder? Quite honestly, I prefer the breeder route even though I bought my lovebird at a pet store. I know, shame on me.

WHICH IS BETTER?

Well that really depends on a lot of factors. If you just have to have your lovie right away (and that is after doing A LOT of research) I would go with checking out some pet stores.

Ideally, if there is a breeder driving distance from your house, than that would be your best choice. However, this is rare for most people. I live in a metropolitan area and there are really no breeders near me.

It’s a great idea to check out some local shops. Some specialty bird shops are very reputable and you can always just walk in and look at the health of the birds and perhaps talk to the owner.

I would not recommend the large chain stores like Petco and PetSmart since they do not specialize in birds. Find out the reputation of the shop and maybe check out the reviews on Yelp or Facebook. Are the birds healthy looking? Does the owner know a lot about the species or are they just interested in your money?

You will be able to figure it out by browsing and asking questions. Many of these specialty shops have a nursery to hand feed the baby birds before putting them up for sale.

It is critical if you want a tame bird to make sure it has been hand-fed as a baby. Especially with lovebirds, as they are difficult to tame if they are older and not trusting of human hands.

Many of these birds have been grabbed at and thrown into cages in the pet trade. Another good reason why you don’t want to go with a large chain pet store,  as many are frightened of human hands and it can take a long time to get them over this.

BREEDERS

I recommend a good breeder with an excellent reputation. You can usually find this information right on the internet. Unfortunately, they are usually far away and you will have to have your bird shipped to you. This idea makes me nervous, but they do it all the time so I guess it’s safe. I just think birds are so fragile and skittish.

You will usually get a quality bird through a breeder, however. Many if not most will be hand tamed and very well cared for from the beginning. As much as I hate the shipping idea, at least you know that is the ONLY time the bird has been transported. You can always chat with the breeder online or hopefully over the phone to get a better idea of the bird’s history.

PET STORES

As stated before, a pet store should be your second choice. There ARE some specialty bird stores in my area that have excellent reputations and a few that don’t. Be sure to find out! You do not want to bring home a sick bird, and especially if you have other birds.

Always put a new bird in quarantine before introducing it to your present flock. Find out if the store has a vet on location or if they offer a guarantee  on the bird’s health.

You should avoid large chain stores that sell lots of pets. They simply don’t know enough about birds and most just want your money. More than likely the bird has been mishandled and quite possibly be ill.

Lovies are known for being hardy and healthy but the risk is not worth it. Besides, I think most of these places only carry Budgies and Canaries.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Before deciding to own a lovebird you should do a lot of research on ownership, the types of lovebirds available (there are 3 in the US) how they will fit into your family and whether you can afford to own one. I have a post related to this subject entitled Is Lovebird ownership right for me?

Check it out and do some further reading with e-books or the library. You don’t want to have to surrender your lovie to a bird rescue. We have a large one here in New England where thousands of parrot species live. It is a tragedy as most of these birds are suffering from depression and self-destruction.

Of course there is always the option of adoption, but not if you are a first time bird owner. Many of these birds come with emotional baggage and are problematic unless you are an expert. You will be in over your head, but it’s certainly a noble idea. It’s a great way to get to know a bird, visiting a rescue but heartbreaking as well.

IN CONCLUSION

Give yourself some time to shop around. Check out local bird stores, ask the staff as many questions as you deem necessary. Go to the library and get books on lovebird ownership or check out Amazon for some e-books.

Going with a pet store is not a bad idea as long as the business has a good reputation and the birds are healthy. Make sure that the bird is hand fed and not afraid of humans. It will take you a long time to gain the trust of an older lovebird that has been mishandled or neglected. I recommend a good breeder before any other option but if that doesn’t fit into your plan, no problem

 

 

 

 

Play Stands

First of all let me just state that the play stand is of UTMOST importance when owning a lovebird.  As I have mentioned in other posts, I am not a huge advocate  of keeping your birds in cages all day long.

I realize most people work for a living or have to be away from home the better part of the day, but when you ARE  home and have the time to devote to your bird, you should be letting them out of the cage as often as possible. It is healthier for the bird’s mental well-being to feel less trapped in a cage. They simply want to be with you and to be part of the flock . In doing so, they feel happier on the outside of the bars, please trust me on this.

Some and many cages will come with a play stand type of gym for your bird on the top of the cage and that is fine. Once the bird is comfortable with their stand or gym, they will gravitate to that particular spot and favor it. They are creatures of habit very similar to us.

Once your bird is trained, mainly they will listen to you and stay where they are supposed to be. Not always, however (as lovebirds especially) can be bossy and willful particularly if you own a female. Yup  it’s true as I own a female lovie. As long as there are toys, shredders or food near the stand they don’t readily feel the need to look for other perches. This is usually after they have flown around the room to exercise.

Be sure to check out my post concerning  HOW TO BIRD PROOF A ROOM. …it is very important that you do this

www.amazon.com has some great bird stands made of natural wood (which is much better IMO) than plastic or metal. Remember, you want your bird to feel that they are as close to their natural habitat as possible.

If you happen to purchase a cage that already has a perch/play gym on top that is fine. As stated before, I recommend real wood mainly Manzanita wood, Cholla wood and Grapevine wood (I highly recommend Grapevine wood ) Java wood stands are advertised a lot, and they are excellent for larger parrots but they are super expensive and quite honestly, I think Java wood is too slippery for a lovebird grip.

Whatever you do, don’t go with plastic as your bird could develop BUMBLEFOOT which is a disorder that affects the feet and can cause lesions and deformity in severe cases. Always opt for a natural wood perch inside and outside the cage for optimal health concerning your bird’s feet. VIP

IN CONCLUSION:

www.amazon.com feature some great wooden bird play/gym stands for lower prices than most retailers. Try to go with a natural wood as opposed to plastic or metal as it will be safer for your bird’s feet in the long run.