Breedings Tips for Beginners
by Doug Bedwell
Welcome to tips for beginning breeders. This section of the site has been designed with novice in mind, though even experienced breeders can probably find something of interest here. The information here is based primarily on my experience with peachfaced lovebirds, though many of the ideas and principles will apply equally well for the other common species.
Spoon-feeding baby Nyasa lovebirds
I’ve organized this section by general topics. You can read through each one in the order they are listed, or simply pick and choose the ones that interest you. If you are totally new to breeding birds, I would strongly recommend that you read the first article "Do I really want to do this?" before moving on to other topics.
These articles are built around the way I house, care for, and breed my birds. Many breeders feel that their system is the only "right" way to do things, and to some extent I am guilty of that prejudice as well. However, I know breeders who manage aviaries which are very different from mine, and have terrific success. Sometimes these differences are based on simple preference, sometimes on the facilities, budgetary considerations, or simply the location. My experience has been working with a mid-sized indoor aviary in the American Midwest. A breeder managing a large outdoor aviary in Florida, California, or elsewhere in the world will certainly enjoy advantages, and encounter problems, very different from mine.
There is an enormous amount to learn about raising lovebirds, but you don’t need to learn it all at once. There is a lot of material here for you to sift through, and I hope to expand this section from time to time, as there is so much to cover, and even after eight years of breeding lovebirds I am still learning new things all the time. You can’t possibly learn everything there is to know before you begin, but it definitely helps to learn all you can.
How to Make the Love Birds Lay Eggs
Lovebirds are small, brightly colored parrots that are popular in the avian pet trade. There are many different species and mutations of lovebirds, making them a popular bird for beginner and intermediate breeders. Breeding lovebirds and encouraging them to lay eggs can be a challenge. Providing the birds with the right environment, including lighting, cage type, diet, perches and nest box, is key in the breeding process.
- Set up the breeding cage. Place wooden perches strategically around the cage to allow room for the lovebirds to play and fly.
- Set-up and install full spectrum lighting. Position the lights no more then 1 foot above the breeding cage. Plug the timer into the light and set the timer to allow the lovebirds a minimum of ten hours of darkness each night. Regulating your birds' light schedule can increase breeding behaviors.
- Install the nest box onto the cage. Place in an area that you can check the box periodically to monitor for any eggs that are laid. Place clean wood shavings into the nest box to create about 1 inch of lining. The love birds will kick some of these shavings out and arrange them to their liking when they are nesting.
- Consider placing the pair of lovebirds you wish to breed into a room with other lovebird pairs. Lovebirds can be encouraged by the sound of other breeding lovebirds in the room.
- Change the lovebirds' diet. Add a calcium supplement to your breeding birds' diet. Egg laying can drain your female of calcium, so you want to replace that calcium using an artificial or natural supplement. Additionally, serving warm and cooked foods can encourage nesting behaviors.