Often people will make an impulsive decision when adopting or purchasing a pet and regret their choice later for whatever reason. Let’s focus on lovebird ownership on this site and suppose you are thinking of getting one…
Is lovebird ownership right for me? It’s a great question to ask yourself and I would highly recommend that you do a lot of research before taking the plunge.
START OUT SMALL
I am the first to tell people if you really want to own a parrot, start out small. Budgies, Lovebirds and Parrotlets are a great starter parrot and since this site is dedicated to lovebirds, we will talk about the pros and cons of owning one.
CAN I AFFORD IT?
First off, lovebirds will cost something to own. Obviously they are not as expensive as a Macaw or Eclectus parrot but don’t forget the price of supplies and vet visits. Sit down and crunch the numbers of costs pertaining to cages, toys, play stands, food, etc. While certainly you can find bargains via Craigslist and other sources, Avian vet visits can add up. Please do your research…
DO I HAVE TIME?
Secondly, do you have the time to devote to a pocket parrot aka lovebird? Many people prefer to buy them in bonded pairs hence not worrying so much about the LB being bored, depressed or self-destructive. A bonded pair will still need your attention and love! Water and food MUST be changed daily and cages cleaned at least once per week to keep these birds in optimal health.
Do you go on vacation a lot? It is not recommended that you travel with birds as it can be very stressful on the bird’s health. Finding a good boarding facility is a must! Many local vets offer this service or you may find a specialty bird store that offers boarding services. This can add up as well.
What is your living situation like? Do you have other birds? Dogs and/or cats? Snakes or rats? ….but seriously, you need to decide if a lovebird will fit in well with your family and living situation in general. I don’t think lovebirds are great for small children because they can and will bite—it HURTS!
They are fine for apartment living and close quarters but they are by no means a quiet bird. They have a loud, shrill voice and they chatter and sing constantly . My recommendation would be to listen to the sounds of a lovie either on YouTube or visit a local aviary, pet store… or maybe your friend owns one?
See if you can tolerate the noise level, and more importantly, will people that you live with be able to tolerate the noise level? Luckily these little gems are quiet at night or as soon as the lights go out; but by early morning and pretty much all day long they are extremely vocal.
OUT OF CAGE
What about room for your birdie? Pet parrots of ALL types need a lot of out-of-cage time. It is simply abusive to lock a bird in a cage all day long. They absolutely need to be free for many hours of the day. Would YOU want to be in a small cage all day long? Imagine if you had the natural ability to fly and someone stuck you in a small cage 24 hrs a day? Hopefully you see my point.
I am very passionate about the subject of giving your bird as much free out-of-cage time as possible. My living situation is unique in the sense that I don’t have any other pets and I am home for the better part of the day. My lovie is NEVER in her cage but as I stated, I realize this is a rare situation.
Are you aware that lovebirds live an average lifespan of 15 years? Some captive LBs have been known to live up to 25-30 years. They may very well outlive YOU.
Are you willing and able to take on the responsibility for that amount of time?
Another important consideration is that these birds tend to very feisty and don’t get along well with other birds as a rule. There is a fine line between love and hate as they say.
For instance you cannot just play matchmaker with these birds. They are very particular about how they feel towards other lovebirds and some will fight to the death. That’s right I said it. Particularly, two different species of lovebirds will almost always clash.
They will bully smaller birds such as Budgies and can severely injure them–often to the death. A Fischer’s lovebird cannot be housed with a Peach-faced lovebird or you will have serious problems.
As stated before, two lovebirds of the same species have to bond on their own, it cannot be forced. These are very intelligent creatures and they make their own decisions similar to us humans.
Lovebirds are MESSY! Yes they are small but I keep a vacuum cleaner handy at all times because when they eat, they tend to throw their food around. You will almost inevitably find feathers here and there even when they are not molting.
Female lovies can have issues with egg-binding. There are also many other diseases that these birds can develop or possibly have already, especially if you are adopting one ( I will be touching on the various diseases in another post)
Allergies tend to be low with lovebirds mainly because they do not posses a dander similar to a Cockatiel or Cockatoo, but if you are prone to allergies you may want to ask your doctor about this. As I am NOT a medical professional, I would never give advice either way on this subject. Just as I am not a veterinarian, I would not be able to diagnose problems with your bird either.
If you have a new lovie, whether you have adopted it or purchased it, I advise you have a full check-up through your Avian vet starting out. This way, you can decide if you want to clip your bird’s wings or keep him/her flighted. I have my own views on this subject in a later post.
Take the time and do your research on lovebird ownership. There are plenty of websites, blogs and literature all over the internet. Visit an aviary, pet store or talk to a breeder. Figure out if your lovebird will fit in well with your living situation and in particular others living with you.
They are little joys to have around IF and only IF they are a good fit for you and your household.