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

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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

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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Best of…Reviews and Recommendations

These are recommendations of all products and necessities  you will need for a solo or pair of lovebirds. Keep in mind I am NOT a breeder and these recommendations are for pet ownership only.

  • CAGE
  • CARRYING /TRAVEL CAGE
  • TOYS
  • SWINGS/LADDERS
  • MIRROR
  • NATURAL PERCHES
  • WATER/FOOD BOWLS
  • CUTTLEBONE
  • MINERAL BLOCK
  • PLAYSTAND
  • TREATS
  • FOOD
  • A GOOD AVIAN VET
  • TIME DEVOTED TO YOUR BIRD  (not a product but very important!)

 

 

REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

Here you have it folks…. I am recommending all products and supplies needed to own a happy, healthy lovebird. You may certainly purchase any item you want, but I took the guess work out of a lot of the decision-making and the best part is that most of these products are fairly CHEAP! Yes, as in inexpensive because we like cheap here at BIRDSRUS.

For instance, if you are THINKING of owning one of these little cuties…

Here are my:

CAGE RECOMMEDATIONS:

First off, let me just state that NO cage is really ever going to be big enough for your pet lovie. These are very active, playful birds and they need a lot of exercise in order to stay happy and healthy. Having said that, in reality you will need a cage when you are not home, when the bird is sleeping and obviously various other reasons. Yes, you HAVE to own a cage for your bird.

The minimum size should be no smaller than 18x18x24 inches and bar spacing should be 1/2 inch  x  1/2 inch so that your bird cannot get it’s head stuck between the bars and possibly strangle itself. Yes, it can happen!

I absolutely LOVE antiques so I can understand if you are roaming that flee market or yard sale and find a really cool old-fashioned birdcage that would look stellar in your home.  DON’T BUY IT!  At least not for your bird.

If you want it for decoration purposes be my guest, but there is a strong chance that the metal is toxic to your bird, or the paint could be as well. It is better to not take this chance as your bird will constantly be chewing on the bars of the cage. It’s just what they do….

I prefer the Prevue Hendryx line of birdcages, which can be purchased at most pet store chains like Petco or PetSmart, however I prefer www.amazon.com prices. For one thing, if you are a Prime member, many times you can get a discount on top of your lower price item anyway. I am a HUGE fan of Amazon as I have gotten many things on there for nearly free with my rewards.

Prevue Hendryx  are bird-safe in every way, not too expensive and the BEST PART IMO is that they are extremely easy to clean. They have a removable tray that pulls out on the bottom of the cage and really all you need to do is remove the newspaper (or whatever dropping paper you choose) and a slight quick wipe down . Voila!  ….. and your cage is clean for the next few days/or week.

Keep in mind lovebirds actually smell GOOD and rarely do the droppings have an odor, but bacteria can build up and I recommend that you keep up with at least weekly cleaning of your cage. In particular, you want to wipe off any toys or perches  with a bird-safe cleaning product or simply water works just fine.

You can find some great low priced Prevue Hendryx cages right on the internet and there are quite a few different styles to chose from…. just remember not too small!

PREVUE HENDRYX BIRD CAGES FOUND HERE:

www.amazon.com

TRAVEL CAGES:

I recommend that you have some form of small travel cage for your bird mainly for vet visits or bringing him/her to a boarding facility. As I have stated before, I really don’t think you should do a lot of traveling with your lovie because it’s stressful for them, especially if you have a new bird or a skittish one.

Some lovies can become “Velcro birds” as the term implies– that they always want to be near you. If your bird is a Velcro, well use your best judgement. I have seen and heard about owners bringing their birds to work, in the car, etc. but this is an exception and only if you feel that your bird would enjoy it. Most do not! 

Now getting back to the travel cage, I would go with a Prevue Hendrix once again, but this is your call. If you can find a cheaper, safer alternative that’s cool but don’t use a shoe box with holes in it for heaven’s sake unless you are desperate.

You want your lovie to be riding in style don’t you? Just kidding but you will need a decent carrying cage in the event you need to bring him/her to the airport, veterinarian, etc.

PREVUE HENDRYX TRAVEL CAGES FOUND HERE:

www.amazon.com

TOYS:

As far as toy recommendations, well there are lots of options here. I will say that I have my favorite brands and one of which is PLANET PLEASURES. Most of these are earth friendly natural products made from palm leaves, coconut and bamboo. They are also artisan hand made and especially good for birds that need foraging toys (Most lovebirds do BTW)

You can find them at most Petco and PetSmart locations and specialty bird stores, but again I recommend  www.amazon.com  for the convenience and low prices. A lot of them come in piñata type hanging foraging palm leaves, but if you are undecided I would start out with the Rainbow Shredders which are just one long braided strip of naturally dyed palm leaves.

www.amazon.com

I GUARANTEE your lovebird will enjoy them. The best part is that they will last a long time. All you do is cut the strip to the length that you want, and once your birdie rips them apart, just cut another one. One shredder package will last you for months. This will also deter your bird from wanting to chew on wood because honestly, they prefer to chew paper products and palm leaves anyway! Don’t forget it’s natural. If they were back in Africa, chances are high they would be chewing on palm leaves and they naturally love to shred stuff anyway.

PLANET PLEASURES FORAGING TOYS FOUND HERE:

www.amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Grapevine

I highly recommend these grapevine perches to prevent bumblefoot (pododermatitis) which is a condition that negatively affects your bird’s feet over a period of months and/or years. Often bird cages are sold with plastic or wooden dowels, used for perching– however they aren’t the best.

Specifically plastic perches can create problems with your bird’s feet over time and to prevent this, we really need to go with an all natural branch that offers varying widths.

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