Caring for Newborn Lovebirds

Updated on December 4, 2017
SakinaNasir53 profile image

Sakina loves birds. She had 2 IRN parrots and 2 budgies. Now she has 2 lovebirds, one of which is a peach-faced male hand-raised by her.

Introduction

A newborn baby lovebird is a wonderful bundle of joy. Its birth is both a happy moment for the owner and for its parents. In this article, we will take a look at the signs of hatching in lovebird eggs, how to care for newborn babies, and how to care for the parents as well.

Signs of Hatching in Lovebirds

Lovebirds lay a lot of eggs after mating, but not all of them will hatch into chicks. Generally, one or two eggs will hatch out of ten eggs. Sometimes, none of the eggs will hatch! At times, it may happen that one chick may be hatched after a mother lovebird lays around 40-50 eggs. This happened in my case with my female lovebird, Lulu.

Let us look at the signs of hatching in lovebirds:

  • Changes in Egg Color
  • Incubation
  • Nesting Behavior
  • Aggression
  • Regurgitation

1. Changes in Egg Color

The white color of the eggs changes from a light gray to a dark gray. This indicates that a baby is growing inside the egg.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lovebird eggs, light gray in color after some days of incubation.Lovebird eggs, turning darker at the end of incubation.
Lovebird eggs, light gray in color after some days of incubation.
Lovebird eggs, light gray in color after some days of incubation. | Source
Lovebird eggs, turning darker at the end of incubation.
Lovebird eggs, turning darker at the end of incubation. | Source

2. Incubation

If any of the eggs laid by the mother lovebird contain babies, she will sit on them (incubate) continuously without much break. She will appear fluffy and slightly bigger than her normal self. This way, she provides the necessary heat for a chick's growth. This is another obvious sign that a chick may hatch after this period.

Lovebird, Lulu incubating her eggs.
Lovebird, Lulu incubating her eggs. | Source

3. Nesting Behavior

While sitting on her eggs, the mother lovebird will shred paper that you provide for the nesting. This behavior will increase significantly during incubation (nesting behavior). This way she builds a nest for her upcoming babies, which is another sign of hatching.

Lovebirds playing with paper.
Lovebirds playing with paper. | Source

4. Aggression

A mother lovebird tends to be aggressive, especially when we touch her cage. They feel that we may try to harm her eggs. She may try to bite the male lovebird, too. At this stage, try your best to give her space and don't do anything which annoys/angers her.

Lovebirds may get cautious (when their chick is born) when we come closer to their cage.
Lovebirds may get cautious (when their chick is born) when we come closer to their cage. | Source

5. Regurgitation

The mother lovebird sits on her eggs and doesn't eat. The male lovebird feeds her (regurgitation) every few hours and this is an obvious sign of an egg hatching.

My lovebird. Mumu feeding his mate, Lulu by regurgitation.
My lovebird. Mumu feeding his mate, Lulu by regurgitation. | Source

Newborn Baby Lovebird

The first sign of a chick hatching will be its cry. It will make small crying sounds every now and then. I still remember how my lovebirds, Mumu and Lulu, had their first chick hatched. It was born earlier this year on the 13th of January.

Mumu had chirped continuously from his cage, but we didn't know why. We had assumed that maybe he was simply chirping. When I opened his cage covers, I noticed a newborn baby kicking its legs in the air!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Newborn lovebird chick.My lovebirds, Mumu and Lulu preening (cleaning) their chick's feathers.
Newborn lovebird chick.
Newborn lovebird chick. | Source
My lovebirds, Mumu and Lulu preening (cleaning) their chick's feathers.
My lovebirds, Mumu and Lulu preening (cleaning) their chick's feathers. | Source

Caring for Baby Lovebirds

Baby lovebirds are tiny and delicate and require lots of care. It is really important to follow these points I've mentioned below so that your baby lovebird gets cared for properly:

  • Support
  • Food
  • Warmth
  • Cleanliness
  • Sleep

1. Support

Make sure that the baby lovebird is placed in the nest box. It should be kept between two unhatched eggs for support. This way if the baby rolls around, it will stay remain in the same position.

Lovebird eggs in a nest box. When a chick is born, place it between two eggs for support.
Lovebird eggs in a nest box. When a chick is born, place it between two eggs for support. | Source

2. Food

Make sure that the baby is being properly fed by the female lovebird; you will notice her feeding the baby. She will bring up food in her beak and feed it to her chick.

Be sure to provide fresh water, healthy foods like corn, spinach, seeds, apple, banana, and crushed egg shells to both the parent lovebirds.

In some cases, it's possible that a female lovebird won't feed the chick properly. In such situations, you should gently take the baby in their hands and try to feed it a little lovebird formula.

You can feed the chick by using a syringe. It might reject the food from you in the beginning, but do try until it accepts the formula. Do make sure that the formula is thin, without lumps, and slightly warm. Avoid crop burn by making sure the formula is just below body temperature—a thermometer can be used.

3. Warmth

Warmth is something that is necessary for a chick's growth. Along with healthy food, it also needs warmth and proper sleep to stay healthy.

Cover your lovebirds' cage even during summers. You can use light pillow covers to do this. In winters, make sure to put baby blankets around the cage so that the chick as well as its parents, stay warm.

If your area has extreme winters, make sure to cover your lovebirds' cage with heavier blankets to provide extra warmth.

Warmth is essential for a lovebird chick's growth. Also, it is important to keep your pets warm during winter.
Warmth is essential for a lovebird chick's growth. Also, it is important to keep your pets warm during winter. | Source

4. Cleanliness

Your lovebirds' cage should be cleaned daily, along with the seeds and water bowls, too. Fresh food should be provided whenever required and no food should be kept in the cage for more than two hours.

Towels, papers, and magazines can be used to put over the base of the cage. Besides helping in keeping the cage warm, female lovebirds require papers for shredding and playing.

Clean the dried grass inside the nest box whenever you feel wetness. Ensure the grass is never wet or else the baby might get sick.

5. Sleep

Newborn baby lovebirds are really tiny and require lots of sleep. Ensure that the chick is getting proper and peaceful sleep at all times.

Caring for Parent Lovebirds

  • Make sure they are well fed.
  • Fresh water and healthy foods should be made available at all times.
  • Seed and water bowls should be cleaned properly.
  • The cage's base should be covered with paper.
  • Make sure your lovebirds are not bored or frustrated. It's important to give them attention too.
  • Let your pets out for playing and make sure they are happy.
  • Ensure that your lovebirds are getting peaceful and uninterrupted sleep for at least 12 hours.

My Lovebirds Playing Chase

Conclusion

Hand-raising newborn lovebirds is a difficult task, but with proper care and attention, they can grow into loving and healthy pets. My lovebirds' chick didn't survive for long, but I'm happy that I got the opportunity to raise my male lovebird, Mumu.

Happy hand-raising!

Questions & Answers

© 2017 Sakina Nasir

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    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      11 days ago from Kuwait

      @Chandana Hi! :) Give your lovebirds seeds, apples, bananas, corn, spinach leaves and crushed egg shells. These foods help them stay healthy. The babies will be fed by the mother lovebird.

    • profile image

      Chandana 

      11 days ago

      Hi....,..I want to know that what are the best food for love birds and their babes....

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      8 weeks ago from Kuwait

      @Mimi2008 Hi! :) That's a common issue in lovebirds, especially females who tend to get aggressive. What you can do is, separate the baby lovebird and put him/her in a small brooder or cage if preferable (since the chick is 5 weeks old). Keep the door of the chick's cage open so that the mother lovebird can get access to it. Do keep it mind that the chick may find it uncomfortable if placed in the cage. So, keep him/her at least for one hour in another cage and put them back near the mother lovebird. The father lovebird, if kept in another cage, will feel lonely without the female. So, I don't think it's okay, but if the problem continues, do try keeping the male away and see what happens. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Mimi2008 

      8 weeks ago

      HI !☺,I have a few urgent questions that I would really like you to awnser please.the mother keeps attacking the father because she is being protective over her 5 week old baby, and the mother keeps on being extremely aggressive and won't let the father eat or drink .we are wondering if we should move the father out of the cage and seperate the mother from the father . And if we should seperate them, then how long should we seperate them?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      8 weeks ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 That's good to hear. :) Are the baby lovebirds liking this three-tier cage? Are the parent lovebirds okay with it?

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      8 weeks ago

      Ok ty I also built a large cage into a three tier and put them on top with access to middle cage where mom and dad are that can be sealed.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      8 weeks ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 If this is the case, keep the baby lovebirds in their own cage for an hour or so, not for the whole day. Since it's a new environment, they will take time to settle in.

      I did mention before that if the bird doesn't like the cage, he/she will show discomfort. Please don't let them be depressed.

      Let them stay in the cage for an hour or so and let them out and place them with their mother. Don't let them cry for that long. :(

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      Ok I put them in their own cage for only the day they kept crying and mom did too so I will let them spend days in their own cage for a week before permanently moving them. My heart was breaking from the crying.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      Dfair13280 Yes, you can put your lovebirds in a cage and make sure you include safe toys and perches for them. Since they're new to that environment, they may take time to settle in it.

      Do keep those 3 tents at the base of the cage as well, they will get a sense of familiarity.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      Can I put them in their own cage now?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Mimi2008 Hi! :) Okay, what you can do is, place the chick in a brooder. You can feed him/her lovebird formula by now. (If you want to, you can check out my article "Hand-Raising a Baby Lovebird: A Personal Experience" for more information.)

      So, when you place the chick in a brooder (close to the cage), you can feed him/her and also keep the lid open. The mother lovebird can come out of the cage and climb the brooder if she wants access to the chick.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Mimi2008 

      2 months ago

      Hi, My baby bird is 3 weeks and 4 days old and when I try to take it out of the cage the mother becomes EXTREMELY aggressive, when I take it out it's very difficult to put the baby back in the nest box. I am not sure if I should be removing the nest box and if I should keep the baby in the same cage. I want to be able to play with baby but still give access to the mother to feed it.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 Those sound exquisite. :) Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      Bella and Archimedes

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 You're welcome! I'm really glad to hear the progress and amused too. The mother lovebird seems really particular and cute. :D

      P.S. The chicks' names are really cute. What are the names of the parent lovebirds?

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      Thank you I also put in 3 separate tents at different levels and this has helped. Yes the oldest is eating on own and the middle too. The mother only seems concerned about the youngest. She even bites the dad for feeding the other two. I have named them Red(because has red spot on tell), Comfort (because very secure), and Hope(because so tiny).

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 Yes, it's better to separate the oldest lovebird and place him/her in another cage. I think the mother lovebird is biting the chick because he/she is old enough to eat on their own. Is this chick not eating on his/her own?

      Also, you can lock the cage door with the main cage by thick nylon threads. This way the male lovebird can't escape. They tend to escape because they are clever. :)

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      Hi the oldest bird gets bit by mom now when in the brooder or when returning to brooder or begging for food should I intervene? I have a cage that can be separated should I separate or put him/her in own cage? Also the male bird keeps getting out I don't know how but when I come in he's out and can't get back in.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Mimi2008 You can put the baby lovebird in the cage for little periods of time.

      And no, the parents lovebirds won't abandon the chick. Do let interact for a few hours every day. They will feed the chick as long as they find it necessary. You can feed formula during this time period too (make sure the bird is 3 weeks old, that way it's easier to hold them).

    • profile image

      Mimi2008 

      2 months ago

      @Sakina Hello and thank you for your prompt response. If I move the baby bird to a brooder now, how will the parents access it?and will the parents continue to feed it until the 3rd week passes and I can feed the formula. Also if I start the baby on formula on the 3rd week will the parents abandon feeding it?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Mimi Hi! :) You can take out the lovebird chick from the nest box and place him/her in a brooder now. Once the chick is around 3 weeks old, you can feed lovebird formula then.

      The parent lovebirds will stop feeding the chick and will encourage him/her to feed themselves (the weaned stage) when he/she is around 1.5-2 months old.

      You can throw the old eggs away since they're not fertilized.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Mimi 

      2 months ago

      I have 2 adult love birds and 1 layed 7 eggs and only 1 hatched. It hatched on May 21st .i have a couple of questions.I am wondering when I can take out the baby chick from the nesting box and if I feed it formula will the parents continue to feed it or will the parents abandon the baby and stop feeding it?And what should i do with the eggs that did not hatch should we keep them or throw them out?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 I think the mother lovebird wants him/her to become independent and get used to the cage.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      The mom keeps trying to bite or block him/her from the box but eventually let's him her back in should I do? The dad feeds him/her mom doesn't.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 That's nice to hear. The lovebird might want to explore the cage. You can put him/her inside it and observe the activity. If the bird likes it, he/she will stay inside. If not, you'll notice discomfort.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      Ok I will also the oldest bird got flew back to cage from about 10 feet away I was cleaning their box and the cage. Is it time to put in a cage? He/She is also eating seeds.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 My lovebirds are crazy about spinach leaves. Do try and let me know the progress. Crushed egg shells help their calcium levels grow. You can sprinkle that over their food twice in a week. Please make sure the egg shells are tiny.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      The male will only eat carrots apples corn. The female will only eat apples and corn. I have not tried egg shells, grapes, or spinach leaves but I will.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 Yes, I think they lack vitamins in their diet. Do incorporate banana, apple bits, grapes (once every week), crushed egg shells, spinach leaves and corn in their diet. Make sure they don't eat any seeds of fruits.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      The two oldest one is getting feathers on it's back but you can still see spots should I be worried? The youngest one has all his/her feathers. Do they need vitamins?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 They should have gotten their feathers around 6 weeks of age. Where are they missing feathers?

      Beating wings is a good sign, they will learn to fly soon. Also, you can transfer them into cages once they are 2 months old and give them a bath then too (place a vessel full of lukewarm water next to them and see if they jump in).

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      Ok I put them down for a little but put divider in the mom tried pulling baby through the bars the baby is ok geez scary so I will put up a board on the lower half so she can't grab the babies. Also the older two are eating seeds they still don't have all their feathers though. The little one is usually alone and hungry he/she will eat the formula. The older two also are starting to beat there wings. When can I give baths? When can they go in their own cage?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 If the older lovebird doesn't want to stay at the bottom of the cage, you can put him/her back. You can put the bird at the bottom of the cage for a little time every day.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      Hi the oldest baby bird flew out of box today down to bottom of cage. I let him/her stay for a little but he/she started to struggle to get back in the box. Should I have not put him/her back. I also put the middle one back also a few days ago this one is very confident though. The older one is timid and nervous so I was shocked to see him/her fly down.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 You can start giving seeds to the chicks born on April 27 and May 3. The chick born on May 8 shouldn't be given seeds now.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      April 27th May 3 and May 8th are when they were born.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Mari Hi! :) The lovebird formula should be slightly warm to touch, preferably lukewarm so that it doesn't burn the chick's throat.

    • profile image

      Mari 

      2 months ago

      What temp should the formula have?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      2 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 Hi! :) How old are the chicks? If they are older than 1.5 months, you can start to give them seeds, soft fruits like banana and mashed apple and small bits of spinach leaves.

      The parents probably don't want to wean (get accustomed to feeding on their own) their chicks yet.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      2 months ago

      I have had all three in brooder with parents having access. The small one is always hungry and I pull to feed when I can the other two will not feed from me. When can I put them in their own cage I have tried to put seedin the brooder but the parents push it out and even nips at older two for trying to eat it. What can I do at this point?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      3 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 That's nice to hear. The male lovebird is afraid, that's why he yells and nips at her. Eventually, he'll get rid of his fear and take treats from your hand as well.

      How are the chicks doing? Have they settled well in the brooder?

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      3 months ago

      Yes the mom is coming out more and more and taking treats from my hand but the male won't take treats while she is out he yells and nips at her

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      3 months ago from Kuwait

      Dfair13280 That's a good idea. And no, the parent lovebirds won't reject their babies if you touch them. :)

      But, if you find them getting anxious or leaping towards you to bite your fingers, then don't touch them at that moment.

      Are the parent lovebirds pets?

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      3 months ago

      I will put brooder inside cage on bottom with hole for parents to have access I will have access some way from exterior. Are you sure if I touch the babies they won't reject them

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      3 months ago from Kuwait

      Dfair13280 That's great. Hope your lovebirds stay happy and healthy. Do share the progress. :)

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      3 months ago

      Ok ty so much I will permanently move them all Thursday

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      3 months ago from Kuwait

      Dfair13280 Hi! :) That's good to hear. A brooder will keep the baby warm. There's no need to place a heating pad under it.

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      3 months ago

      Thank you I put new cage against the cage and they are going back and forth on Thursday I will close it after they are comfortable and move babies to the new nesting box. I'm not sure about a brooder because I don't have heating pad to place under it. Any other suggestions?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      3 months ago from Kuwait

      @Dfair13280 Hi! Do you let your birds out for playing? That is the easiest way to clean a cage thoroughly if they are out of it.

      If you don't let them out, you can open the cage door and tie it to the main cage with a nylon thread. Then, place your smaller cage (with an open door) just opposite to it with a little space between them.

      Once they move to the smaller cage, you can remove the nesting box and place the babies in another one.

      The chick born on April 27th doesn't need to be in a nest box, you can buy a big brooder. You can place the chick born on May 1 in the brooder after a couple of days. Also, the last chick needs to be placed in the brooder once it turns three weeks old. (If you do this, please make sure the parent lovebirds have access to their chicks in the brooder.)

    • profile image

      Dfair13280 

      3 months ago

      Hello, I have a few questions. My love birds laid five eggs 3 hatched. They are in a big flight cage but I need to move them to a smaller cage because I'm downsizing. Should I move them to new cage and babies to new nesting box? The cage they are in is in need of thorough cleaning too and I don't have access to check the babies only through the hole the mom and dad enters through. I try cleaning cage but the male is aggressive when I open the door, can I remove mom and dad clean the cage and put them back? I really need to change there cage though for the move. First baby born april27 second may 1 and 3rd may 8th.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      6 months ago from Kuwait

      @Cindy M Hi! :) That's good news. Are your budgies and lovebirds friendly with each other? If so, it's okay to let them be in the same cage. If not, you can move your lovebirds, the eggs, and the nest box in the smaller cage.

      Good luck! :)

    • profile image

      Cindy M 

      6 months ago

      I have 2 budgies and 2 love birds in a large cage together and today I discovered 3 eggs in my love birds nesting box. I have a smaller cage like the one showed in your article and my question is should i move my love birds and the eggs (and nesting box) to the smaller cage?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sakina Nasir 

      7 months ago from Kuwait

      @Isabella Rodriguez

      Hi! :) Please don't touch the baby chicks if your bird is not comfortable.

    • profile image

      Isabella Rodriguez 

      7 months ago

      What do I do if my parakeet does'nt let me touch her baby chicks?

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      8 months ago from United States

      I'm so sorry the chick did not live, but thank you for sharing your experience. Hopefully, you'll have another little Mumu to raise someday.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      8 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Congratulations on your new family members! I really like the way you set it let us know all of the correct steps. Good luck.

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