Hand Raising a Baby Lovebird: A Personal Experience

Updated on April 11, 2018
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

Hand raising a baby lovebird is a huge responsibility. It is just like raising a child. Given proper care and attention, hand raised birds make the most loyal and loving pets one could ever find. It is like having a constant companion with you everyday. In this article, I have written about the following main topics, under which several pictures, videos and callout capsules are included. Read on below to find all about hand raising your baby pet:

  • Steps on Feeding a Lovebird
  • Preparing the Formula
  • How to Feed the Baby?
  • What to do After Feeding?
  • Baby Lovebirds' Growth Progression (Week 3-6)
  • What do Weaned Lovebirds eat?
  • Important Points to Remember
  • 10 Unique Facts About Mumu

Adorable Isn't he?

Mumu is my baby lovebird. He is waiting to be fed.
Mumu is my baby lovebird. He is waiting to be fed. | Source

Steps on Feeding a Lovebird

To be honest, I was literally scared to touch my baby pet named Mumu. We had bought him from a pet shop on 12 March 2016. I had never raised a baby bird before therefore, I was rendered clueless. The internet proved to be an immense help, guiding me in my worried state. Nevertheless, I gathered courage and decided to feed him. I opened the brooder and gently lifted the sleepy baby out. He was clearly surprised and lunged forward to bite me. I stifled a laugh at his trivial attempt to scare me off. Eventually, I started feeding him.

Be very gentle while holding your baby bird.

Preparing the Formula

You will need boiled water, baby bird food powder, a syringe and feeding spoon (when your baby gets older).

  1. Boiling the water is essential to kill germs that could harm your baby bird.
  2. Mix a little amount of powder and water till the consistency is fine (neither too thick nor too watery).There shouldn't be any lumps in the formula.
  3. Fill the syringe between 6-8 ml. Check the temperature of the formula on your palm. (Caution: high-temperature formula could burn your baby's throat).
  4. Feed this amount of formula every 3 to 4 hours depending on your baby's need. Check your baby's crop ( the area around the stomach, check the image below).

What is a Crop?

The picture shows the full crop of my baby lovebird Mumu. See the bulging crop in this image. It indicates that your baby doesn't require anymore feeding.
The picture shows the full crop of my baby lovebird Mumu. See the bulging crop in this image. It indicates that your baby doesn't require anymore feeding. | Source

How to Know Your Baby Needs Feeding?

If the crop is bulging it means your baby is full; if it's flat it means your baby is hungry.

How to Feed the Baby?

You need to be very gentle while feeding your baby bird. The technique is simple but it should be done with utmost care and caution.

  1. Feed your baby when he/she is the most hungry. You will know this when you show him/ her the syringe. He/she will make crying sounds and jump forward eagerly.
  2. The head your baby bird should be tilted upwards.
  3. Gently place the tip of the syringe in your baby's beak and start feeding. If done properly you will see your bird swallowing food. While swallowing your bird will bob his head or show body movement. Do not rush... always feed slowly.
  4. Check the crop; if it has bulged, you should stop feeding your bird. You will also notice two bubble-like formations at your baby's back. Do not feed after this.

Warning ⚠

Never feed your baby bird with his/her head bent downwards. It could lead to choking and even death in some cases.

Correct Way of Feeding your Baby Bird

Source

What to do After Feeding?

  1. Clean your bird's beak with a clean towel.
  2. Put your bird to sleep by gently caressing his/her feathers.
  3. Give your bird plenty of rest.

Caution ⚠

Do not play with baby birds.They are too young and do not have that much energy. Give them plenty of rest, without any disturbance.

Put your baby bird to sleep gently.
Put your baby bird to sleep gently. | Source

How Baby Lovebirds are Hand Feeded?

Baby Lovebirds' Growth Progression

It is important to note growth progressions of your baby bird. It helps to understand feather growth and your bird's health. Given below are details and pictures of the growth progression of my pet Mumu.

Week 3

Mumu was a little baby with minimal feathers. His tail was blue in color and like a set of plastic darts. His stomach was bare and his skin was showing. His back just had a line of feathers. Inside his wings, the skin was featherless but there were slits from which his wings would grow.

Three Weeks Old Baby Lovebird

Peach faced baby lovebird sleeping in a brooder.
Peach faced baby lovebird sleeping in a brooder. | Source

Week 3, Day 4

Tail endings were prominent and had a mixture of colors. More feathers started appearing at the back and on his wings. His wings were growing.

Three Weeks Four Days Old Baby Lovebird

Three and a half weeks pied peach faced baby lovebird.
Three and a half weeks pied peach faced baby lovebird. | Source

Week 4

His size had increased. His wings were almost fully feathered. Tail was growing longer and tail endings were taking the shape of leaves. But his cheeks and head still had some spots left to be covered.

Four Weeks Old Baby Lovebird

Beautiful pied peach faced baby lovebird.
Beautiful pied peach faced baby lovebird. | Source

Week 4, Day 5

He was almost completely feathered at this stage. He looked like an adorable little fur ball. He was onto becoming fledged (having wing feathers that are large enough for flight; able to fly).

Four Weeks Five Days Old Baby Lovebird

Cute peach faced baby lovebird sleeping.
Cute peach faced baby lovebird sleeping. | Source

Week 5, Day 3

He was fully feathered and his beak was properly formed. Tail and wing feathers were finely developed.

Five Weeks Three Days Old Baby Lovebird

Cute peach faced baby lovebird Mumu sleeping on my leg.
Cute peach faced baby lovebird Mumu sleeping on my leg. | Source

Week 6, Day 2

Fully grown and fledged.

Six Weeks Two Days Old Baby Lovebird

Beautiful peach faced lovebird sitting on a perch.
Beautiful peach faced lovebird sitting on a perch. | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
My lovebird Mumu is sleepy.Mumu is sleeping.
My lovebird Mumu is sleepy.
My lovebird Mumu is sleepy. | Source
Mumu is sleeping.
Mumu is sleeping. | Source

Growth Progression of a Baby Lovebird since Day 1

What do Weaned Lovebirds Eat?

You discover that your baby lovebird is weaned (accustomed to managing without something which they have become dependent on) from hand feeding formula. What should you do?

Here is the answer:

Offer seeds, fresh fruits, and vegetables every day. Corn is especially important in their diet. Your baby can eat almost anything you can.

A lovebird's favorite fresh food list includes:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Mangoes
  • Plums
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Pasta

Remember how you care for your bird will determine how healthy and loyal he/she will turn out be. Lovebirds are playful and sociable. Give them loads of attention and love them for who they are.

Warning ⚠

Never feed your bird chocolate, alcohol, avocado, oily food, milk products, concentrated salt or sugar. These foods are life threatening. Never leave food in cages that could spoil, go sour, rot or breed mold and bacteria.

Baby Lovebirds can be Scared of Food too!

Once you feel that your baby needs weaning, introduce new foods to him/her. Feed corn, bananas, and seeds. Your pet may be scared and cry (make small short sounds) as a result. He/She may fluff out their feathers and try to attack the new food. Show the new foods daily and attempt to feed them. They will reject it initially. Continue trying to feed them, till their fear is removed. This happened in my case and can happen in yours too.

Baby Lovebirds may Bite in Their Defense!

Baby love birds are not mean, rather they may be frightened. They use aggression as their defense. Never hit or yell at your bird they have feelings which get hurt too. Always talk calmly and ignore bad behavior in case there is.

Important Points to Remember

It is very important to remember these points for the safety and well-being of your lovebird.

  • Leave fresh water for your lovebird. It only takes a second to change water.
  • Keep perches and dishes scrubbed clean as birds nibble on everything. Be sure to rinse very well after using detergent or disinfectant.
  • Never use Lysol, etc. It is difficult to get all the residue washed off.
  • Take your bird outside with you if the weather is pleasant.
  • Supervise your bird with children or strangers.
  • Supervise all animals when they are around your bird.
  • Do provide a cage large enough so that your bird has MORE than enough room to move and flap its wings.
  • Provide different and stimulating toys for your bird to chew.
  • Do not cook with Teflon; when overheated, the gas emitted could be fatal to your bird.
  • Do not smoke around your bird. Nicotine is deadly to birds.
  • Do not cook with a bird on your shoulder. Kitchens can be very dangerous.
  • Do not let your bird chew on surfaces or plants that can be fatal or toxic if ingested. Be aware of lead and zinc toxicity.
  • Do not purchase toys for your bird that have dog leash type clips or jingle type bells. (Toes can be caught easily).
  • Do not bring any other bird that has not been tested first by an avian veterinarian into contact with your bird.
  • Do not assume that a bird is 100% healthy because it has never been "sick".

Teaching a Lovebird Tricks (Shaking Hands with Mumu)

Baby Mumu Learning how to Follow Commands!

Have you ever raised a baby bird?

See results

10 Unique Facts About Mumu

  1. He was unusually fast in running since the beginning.
  2. He used to walk backwards to pass poop.
  3. He used to follow us whenever we were going away.
  4. His heart-warming way of snuggling to my stomach when he felt sleepy.
  5. He understood commands even though he was so little.
  6. He used to chatter a lot making different sounds. Currently he has the rare ability to say 2-3 words.
  7. He imitates kissing sounds even before we kiss him. Adorable!
  8. He mimics our actions. If we hold a mobile phone he jumps on the screen imitating to use it himself. Yeah, we love his silly antics.
  9. He has an obsession towards the metal Gold. He holds the record of breaking two chains and one ring! (It's a pun.)
  10. He is very curious and loves to explore his surroundings. There is this cute question mark look on his face whenever he sees something new.

Happy Hand Raising!

Cute Lovebird Wearing a Hat!

Peach faced baby lovebird wearing a cute hat.
Peach faced baby lovebird wearing a cute hat. | Source

© 2016 Sakina Nasir

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    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 4 days ago from Kuwait

      @Rahul Janghel Hi! :) That's wonderful news. Congratulations! I'd suggest the mother lovebird to feed the chick till he/she is 2.5-3 weeks old. This is because the mother regurgitates essential enzymes and nutrients to the chick, which is necessary for his/her healthy growth.

      Mumu was 3 weeks old when we had brought him home. Also, it's safe to handle the chick (since we can hold them well) when he/she is 3 weeks old.

    • profile image

      Rahul Janghel 5 days ago

      Hi Sakina, Thank you for writing this article, it helped me a lot to understand about bird care.

      Since yesterday I am very excited as my love bird's egg has fetched, at the same time I am worrying about chick's feeding. I believe Mumu was more than a week or two old when you started feeding him. Could you please suggest how and what I should feed to under week chicks, it will be really helpful. I am expecting few more chicks may be today or day after as my lovebird is with 4 more eggs now. :-)

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 12 days ago from Kuwait

      @Ahmad Hi! :) Thank you. The feeding totally depends on your lovebird's requirement. You will know when to feed him/her when the crop is flat (the image can be found in the article). You need to feed your lovebird every 2-3 hours (if he/she is three weeks old) approximately, but it may differ from bird to bird. As the bird grows older, get him/her used to eating seeds and fruits.

    • profile image

      ahmad 13 days ago

      Good method but tell me how many times a love bird need feed

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 2 weeks ago from Kuwait

      @Christopher Thanks! Lovebird babies make awesome pets. What do you disagree with?

    • profile image

      Christopher 2 weeks ago

      Nice article, disagree with a few things but overall its pretty good!

    • profile image

      Amanda 2 weeks ago

      Good day!! What is necessary to make a brooder? Thinking of getting a baby lovebird...

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 6 weeks ago from Kuwait

      @Rhubberie

      What is the brand name of the formula? Some formulas are thin/thick even after adding water. If they're thick and heavy (it takes time for them to digest). If the formula is thing and light, they will digest it quickly and get hungry after 2-3 hours.

      Do you check the crop of the babies before feeding them? You will notice bulging stomachs and two bubble-like formations on the back if they're full (You can see the crop's picture in the article). Do no feed after this.

      If they are hungry, their crops will be flat and they will make small crying sounds.

      They will be tamed, they are babies still. :) Give them a little time to get used to the injection and formula.

      If they don't eat even after their crops are flat, a vet might help.

      I hope this helps. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Rhubberie 6 weeks ago

      I have a serious issue right now. I just got 4, 4 weeks old love bird. I am having problems feeding them. They won't open their beaks voluntarily and I have to forcefeed them. I am afraid that I might dislocate their beaks, break it, or I can cause wounds on their beaks. The seller told me they are fresh from the nest. So that means he haven't tried handfeeding them. Someone also told me that they can't be tamed anymore and can be stubborn. I'm afraid they'll die. Currently they are eating only 1ml of baby bird formula. And I can forcefeed another 1ml so they won't be hungry. I have handfed a budgiekeet(I got her when she was 2 weeks old) and 2 cockatiels(I got them when they were 3 weeks old). And all those baby birds haven't acted the way my new babies have acted. Was it because of the age? Was it because they're still adjusting? Please of you can help me it'd be great.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 7 weeks ago from Kuwait

      @Melody Hi! :) That's really sweet of you. Lovebirds are fun to observe and make amazing pets. They love playing!

    • profile image

      Melody 7 weeks ago

      Good information! I want a lovebird tooooooo they are so cute unfortunetly I don't have time I have a dog. Keep writing, love Mumu.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 3 months ago from Kuwait

      @Anthony Emmanuell Hi! :) Oh my! I'm so sorry to hear that. You can buy a brooder for the babies, they will stay warm in that. You can hand feed the babies once they are 3 weeks old. I used to feed A 21 Nutribird formula to my lovebird. It was really healthy. I don't know if it's available there, but you can consult and buy the best formula available for lovebirds.

      Hope this helps. Good luck! :)

    • profile image

      Anthony emmanuell 3 months ago

      Hi my question is this for the third time my agapornis love birds killed all the babies just when they are about to leave the nest so I need help finding a good food or formula so I can hand rise the babies let's say from week 4 there after and avoid their parents killing them I like them not like a pet really so my intention is only to save their lives right now the hen has 7 eggs last time she had 6 lost 1 and kill me 5 so I am pretty sure this time she will have the seven so I do not want them to go the way of the dynosours please help thanks

    • profile image

      bookpaw 3 months ago

      hi i wood love to have loyal and loving lovebird and i sure that they are great company

    • profile image

      bookpaw 3 months ago

      i would love a loyal and loving lovebird

    • profile image

      bookpaw 3 months ago

      i would love a loyal and loving lovebird

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 4 months ago from Kuwait

      @bookpaw Hand raising lovebirds is a beautiful and learning experience. Hand raised lovebirds are loyal, loving and a great company. :)

    • profile image

      bookpaw 4 months ago

      i would like to raising a baby lovebird or to have a grown up lovebird

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 4 months ago from Kuwait

      @bookpaw Hi! Thank you! :) Mumu is all grown up now.

    • profile image

      bookpaw 4 months ago

      i like mumu he is cute

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 4 months ago from Kuwait

      @Carolina Hi! :) That's great news. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.

      You can start hand feeding lovebirds when they are 2.5-3 weeks old. :)

      Good luck! :)

    • profile image

      Carolina 4 months ago

      Hi! This is a very helpful article! I just found out my one of my tuki’s eggs hatched. When can you start hand feed baby love birds?

    • profile image

      Zahin Abtahi 6 months ago

      whats an ultra red lamp?where can i find it?

    • profile image

      Engineer 7 months ago

      Make me meet him!!!

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 9 months ago from Kuwait

      Hi Normunds! That's a good thing. Do you find the eggs changing color from white to a light gray? If the mother lovebird is sitting on the eggs regularly, there is no need for an ultra-red lamp. Thank you for asking this question. Please let me know the progress. Good luck! :)

    • profile image

      Normunds 9 months ago

      Hello, I also have two love bird ! Mom sit on the eggs ! Is there a need for an ultra-red lamp for heat?

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 11 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank you so much Mrs. Jean Kanoff! :) I'm happy I could be of help to your friend. Lovebird babies are really sweet and require patience, love and care to raise into amazing pets. They're just like human babies. Please let me know the progress of your friend's pets. :) Mumu is doing great and so is his mate, Lulu. :) Thank you for asking. Have a nice day!

    • profile image

      Mrs. Jean Kanoff 11 months ago

      Ps, I couldn't have put this together any better and I'm sure this will help my new friend,

      Also it has refreshed my mind if what it was like to have babie birds.

    • profile image

      Mrs. Jean Kanoff 11 months ago

      Thank you so much for your insight and information, i sent this to a lady who has a pair of love birds and they have a baby, I remember all this great worktat went into loveing our lovebirds, you put it all together awesomely.

      Thank you again and I hope you and mumu are doing great.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 16 months ago from Kuwait

      @carolynkaye

      That's sweet! Cockatiels are pretty gentle and quiet birds. I had the pleasure of petting a male cockatiel once. They are very sweet. Lovebirds are great too but they can be very naughty at times. They are playful spirits and love to try out new things. :) Thanks for sharing my article with your sister.

    • carolynkaye profile image

      carolynkaye 16 months ago from USA

      My niece is raising baby cockatiels now and also likes Lovebirds, so I told her about your article.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 16 months ago from Kuwait

      @carolynkaye

      Thank you so much! I am so glad you could find my article helpful. Do you have baby lovebirds at home?

    • carolynkaye profile image

      carolynkaye 16 months ago from USA

      Great article about baby Lovebirds, Sakina. There's so much helpful info here. Thanks for sharing.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 17 months ago from Kuwait

      @SA Williams

      Thanks a lot for stopping by and reading my work. I will give your compliments to Mumu. LOL. My lovebirds react the same way when they hear sparrows or pegions chirping.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      sannwi 17 months ago

      I loved this ❤ Mumu is so cute and sweet! LOL...I played the videos and all of my dogs started going nuts, barking and running around the house :)

    • Ashish Dadgaa profile image

      Ashi 20 months ago

      Al right :)

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 20 months ago from Kuwait

      Yeah, I will write it soon... :)

    • Ashish Dadgaa profile image

      Ashi 20 months ago

      Oh wow that's awesome :)

      I am eagerly waiting for it :)

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 20 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank you so much Ashish! :)

      Yeah, I am planning to write another hub; you will get to see more photos of Mumu in there. ☺

    • Ashish Dadgaa profile image

      Ashi 20 months ago

      Haha..wow that's awesome. I would love to see more photos of Mumu :) :) Please with me :)

      I really admire the way you are taking care of this lovely birds. You are so beautiful, soul. :)

      Bless you my dear :)

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 21 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank you so much! This means a lot. Mumu is a like a baby to me. ☺ God bless you too. ☺

    • Ashish Dadgaa profile image

      Ashi 21 months ago

      Dear Dr. Sakina ;)

      You are such a beautiful soul. I can't believe you are raising a baby lovebird by yourself. That is soo beautiful task to do that. I am sure you will be God for Mu mu. You will be so blessed to such unique work and on top of that, you are sharing your experience with everyone. I am soo pleased to see that you have given step by step guide for their food and preparation and stuff.

      You are sooooo skilled lady.

      May God bless you give you lots of success in your life :)

      Bless and regards,

      Ashish

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 21 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank u so much !

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 21 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank you so much Hamza

    • profile image

      Hamza 21 months ago

      Great work.. I am not so fond of keeping birds at home as a pet but after reading this i really appreciate the things you have done and the article is amazing and it will definitely help the people who finds difficulties in handling the baby bird.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 21 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank you Mohammad

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 21 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank u so much everyone!

    • profile image

      Ashly 21 months ago

      Wow! You just made me want to purchase a new baby bird!

      Keep up the good work.

    • profile image

      Khalid Lodhi 21 months ago

      Well done, Sakina. I appreciate your research and the way you have presented the whole thing. I wish I would have read your article when I raised and kept a parrot baby in my childhood !

    • profile image

      Suraksha 21 months ago

      A very good article and how you hAve cared for it

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 21 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank you so much

    • profile image

      Hatim 21 months ago

      Extremely wonderful. Well done and good luck for ur next hub.

    • profile image

      Abdul Lathif 21 months ago

      Birds are angel,we should love them

      They are unique. Good work sakina. All the best for ur future

    • profile image

      Tasnim 21 months ago

      Extremely delighted to learn about lovebirds and their nature.keep up the good work

    • profile image

      Tasneem 21 months ago

      Very interesting story sakina keep it up.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 21 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank u so much all of you. This means a lot to me.

    • profile image

      Nasir 21 months ago

      A very good Article.

      Sup

    • profile image

      Tasnim 21 months ago

      Extremely delighted to learn about lovebirds and their nature.keep up the good work

    • profile image

      Tasnim 21 months ago

      Extremely delighted to know about lovebirds and there nature,a very valuable information. Keep it up

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image
      Author

      Sakina Nasir 21 months ago from Kuwait

      Thank you Maryam and Murtaza for your comments. I would also like to say that birds have complete freedom in my house.

    • profile image

      Murtaza 21 months ago

      Hello everyone i believe that every bird have own life and nobody have rights to kept and block freedom

    • profile image

      Maryam 21 months ago

      Good work keep it up

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