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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly about Lovebirds

Ankou

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The attributes listed in this thread are the experiences of each individual and your experiences may differ with your individual bird.

I can't believe no one has done one yet, so I guess I'll start. Please add your own experiences, while I have nearly 13 years experience, it's all with the same bird.
Keep in mind every bird is an individual, and as such this will not apply to every lovebird!

My own experience is with a singly-kept, tame, hen, so I will be mainly focusing her. Please keep that in mind.

The Good
Peanut is tame and views me as her mate. She is very sweet and would like nothing better than to spend her entire day near me. She loves scritches, cuddles, and will fall asleep in my left hand while I scritch her. She likes to sit on my shoulder or chest, as close to my neck as she can get, and just huddle there. She loves napping in the recliner with me.

She plays like a velociraptor, running at something, jumping onto it to grab hold with her feet, and bites it repeatedly. She'll flap her wings and make the toy slide everywhere while she "attacks" it. If it's small enough she'll slide it around rapidly with her beak and chase it. She loves to push and throw things off the computer desk and watch them fall to the floor. We play catch, where I'll catch an object and throw it back, and will toss it back and forth until she "wins" and I miss. She's a sore looser though, if it goes on too long she'll carry to the back of the desk and drop it off herself!
She also loves to shred, and it's pretty cute to watch.
Lovebirds, as a whole, are super-adorable. This is fact. :lol:

They aren't known for talking but are able to mimic sounds. Peanut has a small repertoire of clicks, trills, kisses, whistles, and er, fart noises (it's actually a raspberry.) She also surprised me a few years when she started repeating a few phrases. However her voice is extremely high pitched and difficult to understand, most of what she "says" I have figured out simply based on the number of syllables in the squealing. A few months ago she's even started mimicking my laughter. It is the lowest pitched noise she makes and it sort of sounds like I may need to hire an exorcist.

I would say, generally, she is about as smart as an average dog. She could even escape from her old cage, I had to put locks on the feeder doors. The few things she does say, she says in context, especially the laughter! She'll laugh when I wouldn't, but she is doing something she thinks is funny (like pushing a glass of water over and making a bid mess. I didn't laugh, I sighed... she did however.) Kiss noises when she's feeling loving, things like that.
(I do not own another bird I can compare her to, but her problem-solving and general intelligence is pretty much equal to my Labrador mix.)


The Bad
Unlike another lovebird I simply cannot spend the entire day with her. Also unlike another lovebird, at night we each go to our own "beds." Like naps, she would love to spend the entire night near me too but that just isn't safe or practical. It's definitely one of the areas where I feel having her bonded to another lovebird would maker her happier.

However she's also extremely bird aggressive. Female lovebirds are known to be territorial and Peanut has taken this to an extreme. Boarding her at the vet's house revealed she doesn't tolerate any other bird, big or small, in her line of sight. She tries to attack them without any other provocation than existing.

She is very determined to nest. Don't leave important paper around your female bird or it will be bitten into strips, tucked into her butt, and carried back to her nest. Uncashed checks make the best nests.

She is also territorial and will defend what she thinks is hers with her beak. Lovebird beaks are sharp and powerful enough to go through skin if they want. She's even cut me on accident with the tip of her beak it's so sharp. Some of the things she will defend with force are actually mine. She's bitten me before for being too near to her latest nest that was the inside of my shirt I was wearing.
Mostly though she gives clear warnings and I am rarely bitten unless I miss or ignore them. She doesn't want to bite, it is just part of her nature to defend her territory so she will if she feels she has no other option. If I respect her instincts we get along very well, in fact I don't think I've been bitten yet this March.
A few rare objects will elicit an immediate attack though, and they get added to the "banned around Peanut forever" list.

While lovebirds aren't nearly as loud as medium or larger birds but their shrill, piercing contact calls are like nails on a chalkboard to some people. When Peanut wants to be heard, I can hear her anywhere in the house and outside the house with all the windows closed. However she is not loud enough to be heard around 40 feet away from the house.
They will still chew on things they aren't supposed to, like all parrots, but little beaks mean smaller damage.


The Ugly
I'd be inclined to say "there is nothing ugly about lovebirds" due to their status as one of the cutest things on the face of the earth but there is one thing...

Peanut is fearless. She would take on any thing of any size if she thought she needed to. Lovebirds can and do attack other birds of any size, and the results can be ugly indeed.
Smaller or more gentile birds like tiels and budgies have been killed and maimed by lovebirds, and lovebirds have "kamikazed" themselves on much larger parrots, resulting in their own deaths or severe injury. Two lovebirds will even fight and kill each other over territory, females being the most notoriously territorial.

I've even caught Peanut sizing up my dogs from her cage before. My dogs are not small.
(They are never, ever, allowed near the room where Peanut lives while she is out for reasons that are probably obvious.)


I hope this post is adequate, please contribute.
 
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Anne & Gang

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what a very interesting read..
 

Veggieburger

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Thanks for the info... I'm seriously thinking of adding one of those pookie a to my nest... I'm wondering the difference between boys and girls....
 

captmicha

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Bout sums it up perfectly. Pretty much been the experience with my two hens as well. They're almost 12 years old now.

With females, hormones seem to be an almost constant battle. I've found that the standard advice of decreasing daylight hours, rearranging cage stuff, no nesting box, etc. helps to a degree. What else has helped is a diet low in protein and fat. I believe this signals to their hormones that it's not a time of plenty and survival of offspring would be low.

I don't allow any toys that they can shred into nesting material or any cage furniture that encloses off any corners that they might try to turn into a nest. I give them a sleeve like bed and this hasn't led to hormonal behavior besides aggressive guarding if your fingers get too close.

Despite best efforts, hormones can still go nuts and you may find your bird obsessive about egg laying even on a bare cage bottom, obsession over procreating, become extremely aggressive, or even self destructive. Lupron is a God send. You also may find your bird acting ill. Hormones and related issues can lead to elevate bile acids which if uncaught can lead to fatty liver disease, calcium depletion, sore vent from egg laying, etc., etc. Lupron for this also can help. At this point, I'm giving serious thought to Lupron implants.

Getting them to eat seed is no problem and they'll eat only seed, all day long if they could. I find that they do best on a pellet as the staple, with fresh produce throughout the day or for dinner. Some days I switch out the pellets for a grain mix. I only give seeds and nuts for training, foraging toys and good girl treats.

Though they're small birds, cages should be as large as you can possibly get. They will use EVERY INCH. They are hyper little things. The cage should be packed with toys and different perches, both of different width and type. This will exercise foot muscles, trim nails, and allow for beak exercise. They appreciate rotation of toys so they don't lose their novelty. Food foraging toys are a must for a happy, healthy bird.

They can be easily trained with positive reinforcement based training but this is best done is short bursts as they can have trouble maintaining attention and staying still. Learn your lovebird's body language and you'll easily avoid bites. Keeping a log of body language and resulting behaviors will help you learn what your bird is trying to tell you. Good Bird Inc. also puts out a good body language DVD for parrots in general.

They can be quite destructive and I watch them like a hawk every second they're out. They like to find ways to get into trouble.

Plucking can be a definite problem. Causes are varied and psychiatric causes should be taken into consideration as well as medical causes.

Weight your bird weekly at the same time of day and seek veterinary care if you notice any drastic changes. Monitor your bird's droppings for consistency, as off droppings can indicate poor health. Remaining fluffed up and squinty eyed when it's not sleep or nap time is almost a sure fire way to tell that your bird isn't feeling well. I've been able to catch health problems in the early stages this way. They should get a general health exam with blood panel annually or more often if pending medical issues exist.

As said, their calls are like shrieks and while not overly loud (although some seem to have achieved remarkable volume during screaming contests), they can still penetrate walls and grate on nerves. No joke, I wear ear plugs around them.
 

Ankou

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I just thought I'd add, since I can't edit that post anymore on the subject of biting... I kept a bite calendar after that first post and tracked real bites I received. Nips, bluffing, and the time she headbutted me didn't count.

I know the hens are notorious for being aggressive, maybe Peanut is a special case, but with good understanding of her, trust, and respect we went from some time in February (around when I started tracking) to October 7th without a single bite. She didn't bite me for several months. :)

On the 7th, I decided to be an idiot and offer her a palm full of millet while she was throwing a tiny tantrum in a cupboard/perceived nest (I don't remember what she was upset about, but I needed to get her out because I had to leave.) She doesn't like me "touching" her millet at the best of times, but will tolerate it if she's in the right mood. She wasn't in the right mood and I even knew it.

She basically went "Your puny offering shall not appease my wrath" and nailed me in probably what was the tenderest spot on the bottom of a finger. (I was, however, able to pull her out since she latches on like a snapping turtle and somehow get her caged so I wasn't late.)
 

JAM

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I think we've been really lucky with ours. Whilst Fluffy is hands off, he is a nippy thing though he has never really bitten in spite.
Peachy as a hen we have yet to receive a bite from her and she is really friendly now. I know they won't have reached full maturity yet, but so far so good and positive reinforcement has certainly (along with millet) has helped enormously. :)
 

SunUp

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I'll add my experience with my lovebird.
First off, I have to agree with Sondra's statement that lovies are super-adorable is a fact. :lol:

My lovebird, Topaz is an 8 year old male. I've had him since he weaned.

The Good - He's a total sweety. He's never bitten anyone, will go to all the family members (he especially likes dangling off my husband's glasses). He's always in a good mood. He's not as destructive as some of the hens described here. For toys, he seems to prefer things that he can bang around and make noise. He's very cuddly and likes to tuck into the collar of my shirt, especially in the evenings. He's an awesome little flier.

The Bad - He's not afraid of the bigger birds, and so I have to be very careful when I take him out to be sure I close the birdroom door so he can't fly back in to "visit". My grey, for sure, would do him in if she got the chance. Sometimes he'll pick a particular toy or perch to regurgitate to. I often have to remove the toy because he'll "feed" it so much he can lose weight. He's really picky about eating pellets. I have to feed him soaked Zupreem Natural pellets, and he'll only eat them if he's perched on one hand while I pop the soaked pellets in his little beak. :rolleyes: No , he's not spoiled! ;)

The Ugly - There just isn't an ugly with Topaz. He's easy, cheerful, cute, cuddly. Shhhh - don't tell my other birds but he's my favorite. :heart:
 

Bernice84

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My Lovie doesn't eat anything other than his bird food. I've only had him for 2 months. Any suggestions? :unsure1:
 

Blupogu

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The good :-
Extremely intelligent gor such a tiny little bird. Pogo learned to go 'poopoo' in 30 seconds. She knows double tap on any surface means to come here, shes flight trained.
Very cuddly when not hormonal.
Extreme good eater.

The Bad :-
Very hormonal, chronic egg laying is a continual nuicence.

The Ugly :-
Extreme moody, and it took me almost 1 year to somewhat like me.
Territorial & possesive, wont go to any other family member.
 

Brittany

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I love this! Thanks a million! Any advice you could give me? Im a new Lovebird mommy, and im worried about my boy. Hes eating very little formula! Is this normal in baby Lovebirds to reject and only eat a little? Quite worried!
 

hudmaha

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Personally i have two lovebirds. Idk if its a hen or a cock. But well,one of my lovebirds,red faced lovebird as the person says but he looks more like a peached face lovebird,is acting like a hen. And i have one sea green lovebird shortly after a few months. No they dont get along together. :( And i dont know why.
The good: both my lovebirds can be cuddled. They are extremely playful,smart and so cutee. They also know hoe to open their cages so i have to lock the doors.

The bad: well my peach faced lovebird bites. He/she bites everytime she dont want to go in the cage back. Sometimes she/he randomly bites. And the "lovebites" are painful . My sea green lovebird is a :hug8: darling though. He only bites when he dont like what im doing. But both of them CANT get along well with each other. They will start fighting.

The ugly: my peach faced lovebird is always timid. Its hard to teach him/her tricks. My sea green lovebird though have no issues .
I wish i know if they are male or female. :/ these are their pictures. :heart:
 

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hudmaha

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I love this! Thanks a million! Any advice you could give me? Im a new Lovebird mommy, and im worried about my boy. Hes eating very little formula! Is this normal in baby Lovebirds to reject and only eat a little? Quite worried!
@Brittany my lovebirds,one of them dont really like formula. So i just put seeds in its cage and let it learn to eat it itself. I think its quite normal .
 

Happynme

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The good: Happy is almost always happy. She loves kisses , enjoys playing with toys, has learned alot of human words..insists on kissing me alot . Crazy smart! Very sweet and so far as hens usually go...is VERY patient with me. IF i mess up and push her to far or miss understand something she will give me a warning nip. While its not pleasant its not painful. She rarely bites to bite me but the few times she has , it was my error. She is honestly a dream bird. I rarely have a grumpy lovie...though i did learn by trial and error NOT to inturupt her sleep and try to interact with her as normal. She wants her full sleep before being with the humans.
I adore her little antics and can say she truly has a exhuberant personality.

The bad:
There isnt a lot but if i have to say she is fairly picky about food. If she deems it edible shell eat it...if not dont dare offer it you will find it on the floor in the light fixures behind the couch...on planet pluto. She will fling it in every direction and with the power of a leaf blower.
She has one extremely irritating sound thats a combo of a shrill whistle and chirps and if you are standing near her cage and NOT speaking to her she will do this sound until you walk away and or speak to her.
Makes for a long 20 mins while putting grocierys away because she is right next to the kitchen can see you and thinks she should be spoken to if you are.within her sight.

The ugly:
I have nothing.
 

Lomanivirgo88

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Wow this has been one great story I love your lovebird peanut. Sounds like a lot of fun having her. I hope to have one as long as you have a few and yes they are territorial. I have so many I had to split them up into pairs that won't fight. Eventually I want to have trained them to be nice but it's never guaranteed. Takes a ton of hard work I can't wait! Still loving your peanut story.
 

JulieAnn

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I'll add my experience with my lovebird.
First off, I have to agree with Sondra's statement that lovies are super-adorable is a fact. :lol:

My lovebird, Topaz is an 8 year old male. I've had him since he weaned.

The Good - He's a total sweety. He's never bitten anyone, will go to all the family members (he especially likes dangling off my husband's glasses). He's always in a good mood. He's not as destructive as some of the hens described here. For toys, he seems to prefer things that he can bang around and make noise. He's very cuddly and likes to tuck into the collar of my shirt, especially in the evenings. He's an awesome little flier.

The Bad - He's not afraid of the bigger birds, and so I have to be very careful when I take him out to be sure I close the birdroom door so he can't fly back in to "visit". My grey, for sure, would do him in if she got the chance. Sometimes he'll pick a particular toy or perch to regurgitate to. I often have to remove the toy because he'll "feed" it so much he can lose weight. He's really picky about eating pellets. I have to feed him soaked Zupreem Natural pellets, and he'll only eat them if he's perched on one hand while I pop the soaked pellets in his little beak. :rolleyes: No , he's not spoiled! ;)

The Ugly - There just isn't an ugly with Topaz. He's easy, cheerful, cute, cuddly. Shhhh - don't tell my other birds but he's my favorite. :heart:
I would love just once to have a bird like yours. Ive never had a cuddly bird Im so jealous. When you found him what was he like as a baby was he cuddly then, What traits can I look for to find a loving lovebird?
 

SunUp

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I would love just once to have a bird like yours. Ive never had a cuddly bird Im so jealous. When you found him what was he like as a baby was he cuddly then, What traits can I look for to find a loving lovebird?
@JulieAnn
When I went to pick a love bird, the breeder had a bunch of babies at that time. They had all been handfed, and were all adorable. I really didn't know how I would ever choose one, but after hanging out with the babies for a bit, one of them waddle over to me and hopped up on my arm and stayed there. That was it...I had been picked! :D He is a male, which I didn't know at the time but was really hoping for as male lovebirds usually stay much more gentle than the hens. Of course there are sweet hens, but you are stacking the deck in your favor if you get a male. When I brought him home he was a bit nervous for awhile of course, so I went slowly and use plenty of millet to bribe him into stepping on to my hand. Didn't take long for him to become totally trusting with me. My advice is to find a breeder who spends a lot of time with the babies (don't let anyone tell you that the bird "just needs some work" to be tame - that's code for they didn't spend enough time with the babies, imo). And try to let one choose you. And if you can be sure it's a male all the better.
Good luck!! :)
 

Lomanivirgo88

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@SunUp this is true my last and final breeder did not hand feed his lovebirds but handled them enough to stay on my hand and love to hide in my hair but not enough to keep it comfortable enough for being with me so I just paired it with another so it wouldn't be lonely.
 

hannahNala

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Im new to owning birds and my first choice was a lovebird, he/she arrives in two days. I've been reading this thread and now im becoming a little paranoid about owning a lovebird are they really this violent? Are the males this way?
 

fluffypoptarts

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Im new to owning birds and my first choice was a lovebird, he/she arrives in two days. I've been reading this thread and now im becoming a little paranoid about owning a lovebird are they really this violent? Are the males this way?
Don't worry, seriously. Lovebirds are one of the most awesome little birds to have as companions. Males tend to be more mellow and affectionate (while still very spirited) whereas the girls tend to be very feisty. I have 4 boys and 2 girls. The only one I have to watch the beak of is Snerky (one of the girls), lol.

I used to be afraid to have girls because of the talk of how aggressive they were, but it's just learning how to handle them and respect their royal status, lol! Not that I don't get bitten by Snerk, especially when she's displeased with something, but I wouldn't trade her! It's going to happen sometimes.
 
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