It is preferable to obtain birds bred in captivity, rather than birds caught in the wild. Wild birds may harbor diseases such as avian polyomavirus. Captured wild lovebirds also may mourn the loss of association with a mate or a flock. Their age is likely to be unknown, and they may have an unsuitable personality for domestication. Currently, lovebirds are no longer imported from the wild in the United States. Contrary to what their name might suggest, lovebirds are not necessarily best kept in pairs; paired lovebirds are less likely to have intense relationships with humans. Birds socialised from a very early age, while being brought up by parents, make very good pets. The practice of hand-feeding young psittacines, including lovebirds, outside of a medical emergency has been outlawed in the Netherlands since 1 July 2014 and lovebird chicks should stay with their parents until they can eat independently, at minimum 55 days after hatching. However, single birds require frequent attention to stay happy, and if the owner has limited time to spend daily with a single lovebird, it is preferable to give the lovebird a companion of the same species, or a companion of another parrot species known to get along well with lovebirds. It is important to use cages suitable for smaller birds, as wide-spaced bars can cause damage to these small hookbills. Lovebirds can become very interactive with humans, and when comfortable, will willingly perch on a finger or shoulder, though this can take quite a while.

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