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Lovebirds' Egg-Laying Process: A Personal Experience

Sakina loves birds and has had pet parrots and budgies. Now she has two lovebirds, one of which is a peach-faced male she hand-raised.

Lulu, my female lovebird, laid her first egg on 6th October 2016.

Lulu, my female lovebird, laid her first egg on 6th October 2016.

Juju, my female lovebird (Mumu's mate) laid an egg.

Juju, my female lovebird (Mumu's mate) laid an egg.

Lovebirds Egg Hatching Time

In this article, the following common questions and topics about egg-laying in lovebirds will be addressed in detail.

  • When Will a Female Lovebird Lay an Egg?
  • How Many Eggs Will a Female Lovebird Lay?
  • Signs of a Pregnant Lovebird
  • Finding a Suitable Nest Box
  • Nesting Materials for Lovebirds
  • Egg-Binding in Lovebirds
  • Calcium Supply for Your Lovebirds (Table)
  • A Healthy Recipe for Lovebirds
  • Infertility in Lovebirds
  • What Are the Causes of Infertility?

When Will a Female Lovebird Lay an Egg?

Many novice breeders have this question in their minds at some point in time. A female lovebird will lay an egg with or without a mate when she is around 9–12 months of age. Of course, without a mate, the eggs laid will be infertile. Sometimes people end up buying two females or two males. Housing them together may lead to a clutch of infertile eggs in the former case, or no eggs in the latter.

When mating occurs between a true lovebird pair (male and female), the eggs laid will be fertile—though infertile eggs are possible too, as in the case of my pets Mumu and Lulu.

Mumu, my male lovebird, went to see the egg laid for the first time. He wagged his tail out of happiness.

Mumu, my male lovebird, went to see the egg laid for the first time. He wagged his tail out of happiness.

How Many Eggs Will a Female Lovebird Lay?

Eggs will be laid within 7–10 days after mating. In my case, Lulu laid an egg exactly a week later, on October 6th, 2016. Interestingly, we had no idea that she was pregnant! Usually, a hen (female lovebird) lays a clutch of 4–6 eggs, in a gap of 1–2 days. She then broods over the eggs, usually after laying the whole clutch.

The incubation period is between 21–23 days, after which the chicks are hatched. There may be exceptions, too. The chicks may even hatch out by the 24th or 25th day. Make sure you count the days so that you can approximately calculate the hatching date.

Lulu had laid four eggs continuously every alternate day. Then after a gap of 7–10 days, she had laid five more eggs.

Signs of a Pregnant Lovebird

  • She walks slowly.
  • She is unable to fly/flies with difficulty.
  • She shows slight weight gain.
  • Her body shows a clear "baby bump."
  • She looks tired.
  • She sleeps a lot, fluffing her feathers.
  • The male feeds her rigorously.
  • She may bob her tail.

Finding a Suitable Nest Box

A nest box is an essential component in lovebird breeding. Upon learning that Lulu laid an egg, we immediately bought a nest box. The pet owner had mistakenly given a round nest made out of steel, which was actually meant for canaries. Surfing the net, I realized that lovebirds need wooden nest boxes. The exchange was made, and we bought a small nest box/English budgie nest, which my lovebirds readily accepted. Remember to provide your pets with nesting materials.

Placing the Nest Box

  • The nest box can be placed outside the cage and attached to the cage wall.
  • Attach the nest box inside (with S-shaped hooks)
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In my opinion, placing the nest box inside is better. My pets love to sit inside the box together, for warmth. They doze off inside it sometimes, too, as the temperature here is cold. However, you can place it according to your wish.

(P.S. You can place the nest box wherever you want, according to your pet's comfort level. There is no hard and fast rule for that!)

Nesting Materials for Lovebirds

Lovebirds require nesting materials to make their nests. These are required to keep humidity in the nest, as it is essential for egg laying. Both males and females make long strips of whatever material is available, carrying them into the nest box. While the female tucks them in her wings and tail, the male tries to do the same, though he often remains unsuccessful. However, there can be exceptions (Mumu has mastered the ability to shred paper and tuck it in his tail)!

What Can Be Included in Nesting Materials?

You could buy nesting materials from a local pet shop or provide the following:

  1. Palm leaves (Lulu simply adores these)
  2. Paper towels
  3. Dried grass
  4. Lovebird's own feathers (lost ones)
  5. Leaves of non-poisonous plants (lovebird-safe)

Egg-Binding in Lovebirds

The most common egg-laying problem in lovebirds is egg-binding. This means that your bird is unable to pass an egg easily. This can be fatal to your bird. A vet must be consulted immediately when this occurs. If a vet cannot be consulted, you could do a few things to help your bird expel the egg.

In my case, Lulu had passed 9 eggs easily. The 10th, 11th, and 12th egg had been passed with difficulty, in a gap of 5–7 days. She didn't keep well, started vomiting, and slept a lot. She stayed like this for one day. The next day her egg would be passed, and she would be normal and active again.

Signs of Egg-Binding

  1. Straining
  2. Fluffed feathers
  3. Sitting at the bottom of the cage
  4. Tail bobbing
  5. Difficulty in breathing
  6. Weakness
  7. Loss of appetite
  8. Large droppings/Minimal droppings
  9. Sleeping a lot (in Lulu's case)
  10. Vomiting (in Lulu's case)
  11. Fever (in Lulu's case)

Remedying Egg-Binding at Home

  1. Place the bird on a warm towel (heat allows the dilation of muscles, thus helping in passing the egg.)
  2. Place the bird in a bowl of warm water. Your bird is likely to pass the egg in water.
  3. Giving calcium supply (crushed egg shells and small pieces of egg-white).
  4. If your female bird is not eating, feed the male with the calcium supply mentioned above.
  5. Give plenty of rest without any disturbance.
  6. Keep the cage covered in a blanket for warmth.
  7. Keep the cage clean. Your bird is likely to pass large droppings which may wet the cage floor, making it colder.

Foods With Calcium for Your Lovebirds

The following table shows the different sources of calcium , which can be provided to your pets. Calcium is essential for healthy bones, proper feather growth and overall health of birds.

VegetablesFruitsOthers

Broccoli

Kiwi

Egg shell

Cabbage

Dried fig

Egg white

Celery

Orange

Sunlight

Collard greens

Apricot

UV light

Chinese cabbage

 

Cuttle bone

Kale

 

Mineral block

Arugula

 

 

Turnip greens

 

 

Mustard greens

 

 

Spinach

 

 

A Healthy Recipe for Lovebirds

Ingredients

  • 4–5 fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 whole egg (shell, yolk, and white will be used)
  • Fresh corn kernels

Instructions

  1. Boil 4–5 spinach leaves and an egg.
  2. Dry the spinach leaves in the sun and crush them.
  3. Crush some of the egg shell into tiny pieces/powdery form and add to it.
  4. Take some egg yolk and egg white, too.
  5. Take fresh corn and dry them till they are hardened. Mash them into tiny bits and add to the mixture.
  6. Toss all of them and serve it fresh to your pet/pets. Either sprinkle it over their food bowl or give it separately. It alleviates weakness and strengthens your bird.

Infertility in Lovebirds

Infertility may be caused in a lovebird hen, leaving the eggs empty/without chicks. This is in the case of my bird Lulu. Till now she has laid 12 eggs in total, but there aren't any chicks hatched. She sat on all of them for a while, but her brooding wasn't continuous. It is very saddening yes, I had always wished to see what color would be inherited by their chicks. My male lovebird Mumu is a medium-green heavy pied peach-faced while the female Lulu is a white-faced violet roseicollis peach-faced lovebird.

What Are the Causes of Infertility?

  • Nutritional Factor: If the hen lacks minerals and calcium, her eggs will remain infertile. A healthy diet with all the essential minerals and calcium may help in reducing infertility.
  • Loose Perches: Ensure that the perches are fixed firmly. The hen needs support to carry the male on her back. If the perches are loose, mating won't happen properly.
  • Mutation: If your bird is a mutation, she may or may not be infertile.
  • Age: If your bird is too young or too old, the eggs may remain infertile.
  • Environmental Factors: There should be enough humidity for successful mating. Heaters and humidifiers may aid in creating such an atmosphere. A nest box is also very essential for mating.

Egg-Laying Is a Wonder

Lovebirds are a beautiful species and their reproduction and egg-laying process a wonder of nature. Unfortunately, I am not lucky enough to see the hatching of my pets' chicks. Nevertheless, I still hope that one day I might see their babies, hopefully.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have a female lovebird who lays eggs. The eggs are fertile but the chicks are not able to break the eggs and die inside. Why is this?

Answer: This is a common issue in lovebirds. Survival is difficult, so the probability of hatching is less in most cases.

Question: It’s almost a month why are my lovebirds' eggs not hatching?

Answer: Your bird might be younger than one year of age, might not be mated well, or may be infertile. Please throw those eggs away. The hatching period is 21-25 days.

Question: My lovebird laid eggs twice but both the times when they were supposed to hatch, she threw them out of the pot, why is this happening?

Answer: I think your lovebird knows they are infertile eggs and they won't hatch. Did you touch the eggs by any chance? Birds don't like it if you do so and might think they are spoilt.

Question: Why have my lovebirds laid 5 eggs and tried to hatch the eggs for almost 1 month or more?

Answer: If 1 month goes and the eggs don't hatch, please discard them.

Question: I adopted a lovebird. I'm not sure how old she is (at least 4 years) and she never had a mate I think. My issue is that she lays eggs. Now, I know there's no babies but I took the first 3 away. She laid 3 more in a week's span. Does it make her sad when I take her eggs away? It breaks my heart. As long as the eggs are there, she doesn't sing or talk like before. What should I do to make my lovebird happy again?

Answer: Please get your female lovebird a mate. I think she feels lonely. If she is introduced to a mate, she might start going back to normal, sing or talk like before.

Question: How did you train your bird to roam around your house so freely?

Answer: I've been letting him out since he was a tiny bird. That's why he's so comfortable. If it's a new bird, you can let the bird out and maintain distance. Let the bird trust you and get used to the house. This takes an ample amount of time.

Question: I bought two couples of lovebirds a week back and kept them in a cage. When will they lay eggs?

Answer: Are the pairs of lovebirds mates? If so, give them time to mate. Once that's done, they will lay eggs a week later. If the pairs aren't mates, it will take some months for them to get bonded.

Question: I have three birds: one boy two girls. Two of them are mating, but the other one is always being threatened. Why?

Answer: The loner is being threatened because the other birds have become mates. Please buy a female lovebird for him and put them in a separate cage (after observing their behavior - they shouldn't be fighting).

Question: Ruby, my lovebird, has just laid her first egg, we don't want her to have babies. At the same time, I would feel so horrible just taking them out and trashing them. Plus, I have heard that if you do this, it could cause her to hold it in any other eggs. What do I do? I don't want the eggs to hatch, but I don't want to hurt her feelings either.

Answer: I understand your feelings. You can replace the freshly hatched eggs with dummy eggs. Ruby might sit on the fake eggs or might not, but once the eggs are laid, remove them immediately. Eggs start forming into chicks at least 10 days posterior incubation.

Question: My male lovebird flew away two days ago and the female is pregnant. What should I do?

Answer: Please get a new lovebird for her immediately.

Question: My lovebird keeps laying eggs continuously and won't stop sitting on them. I don't know what to do. It's honestly like she's neurotic. What do I do?

Answer: Does she lay them with or without a mate? If she's alone, please get her a male lovebird. If she's mated and doing so after that, then please discard the infertile eggs (21-25 days after laying) and replace them with dummy eggs.

Question: My lovebird's egg is out of the nest box. Can I put the egg back? Will the lovebird accept this egg?

Answer: First place the egg back in the nest box and see if the mother lovebird accepts it or not.

Question: My female lovebird had laid 4 eggs. Today, I bought a bigger cage and shifted the birds and the same breeding pot. But now, the bird is not going to the pot and doesn't sit on the eggs. What is the reason?

Answer: I think your female lovebird doesn't like change. Shift them to the old cage and see if she sits on the eggs.

Question: My budgie laid an egg but she is not sitting on it. Will she deliver the next egg today or tomorrow?

Answer: She might deliver it every alternate day.

Question: My lovebird has only laid 2 eggs. This is her first time, is that normal? She is sitting on the eggs though.

Answer: Yes, it's okay, give her time. She may lay more eggs. If not, it's okay.

Question: My lovebirds lay a lot of eggs and they aren't hatching. I throw them away after a month (sadly) but I am concerned. They have been together for almost 2 years and she has only had 3 successful babies. I need advice. I feel so bad of how many eggs I throw away every month. What should I do?

Answer: This is all a part of nature. I understand how sad it makes you feel. I have been through the same thing. You can give your birds multivitamins and crushed egg shells (twice in a week), but this will only make them stronger. It won't guarantee chicks.

Question: Is it good to put a rooftop over the Lovebirds' nest?

Answer: That is okay if the birds are fine with it.

Question: Hi, my lovebird hatched 2 of 3 eggs yesterday, when will the other 3 hatch?

Answer: The lovebird's eggs will hatch as per the dates they were laid. If you know the date of laying, you can guess the date of hatching. Eggs hatch after 21-25 days.

Question: I have a pair of African lovebirds. The female had laid 4 eggs, but suddenly she died. The male continued to sit on the eggs. It is the 25th day today. The male has started making too many sounds since the 24th day. Today he is hardly sitting on the eggs. Will the eggs hatch? What do I do?

Answer: Please get a female lovebird for him as soon as possible. The eggs won't hatch since 25 days have passed. Please discard them.

Question: How long after the first egg hatches does the rest of them hatch?

Answer: It depends on when they were laid. An egg hatches after 21-25 days.

Question: I was given a pair of lovebirds at the beginning of the year. About two months later, I had three birds, the baby was fully feathered and out of the nest. I just noticed there are three more baby birds in the nest. How do I keep them from hatching more eggs?

Answer: To prevent hatching, the couple must be separated, but I'm against that. What you can do is, remove the eggs from the nest just after the female lovebird lays it. That way, they won't be warmed up by her and chicks won't form.

Question: Why are my lovebird's eggs not fertilized? This pair had bred successfully three times previously.

Answer: Fertility isn't guaranteed in each case in lovebirds. Maybe, they will have chicks later on.

Question: Is it bad to take my lovebird's eggs if I'm not able to take care of more babies?

Answer: It would be bad if your lovebird is too attached to the eggs. Do you find her sitting on them just after they are laid?

Question: I have four lovebirds. The pairs laid eggs one and two respectively. Now I am observing the 1st pair is not going to the nest and sitting in the other box. What should I do?

Answer: Do you mean to say that the female lovebird is not sitting on the egg? Maybe it's infertile, that's why she isn't.

Question: I know that lovebirds feed their chicks the first two weeks, but what food do they need to feed them?

Answer: The mother lovebird secretes a clear fluid during the first days. Later on, she feeds the chick what she eats. So, do make sure she is eating healthy foods like seeds, apple, banana, corn, and spinach leaves. Crushed egg shells do help in building calcium levels.

Question: After the first egg hatches, could I take it out of the nest box and hand-feed the chick? Also, what will the hen eat to feed her babies?

Answer: You can hand-feed the chick once it is three weeks old. It is easier to handle them then. The hen will eat whatever you provide her with. Give her healthy foods like corn, banana, apple, spinach leaves, and crushed eggshells (sprinkle the bits on their food).

Question: Should we separate the male and female Lovebirds after laying eggs?

Answer: No, the male and female lovebirds shouldn't be separated. The male lovebird will feed the female, and inturn the female feeds the newborn chick.

Question: I thought we were not supposed to touch the eggs of a lovebird or she will kick them out the nest?

Answer: Yes, please don't touch the eggs.

Question: My lovebird is laying eggs and her feathers from the belly have fallen. Can you please tell me why has this happened?

Answer: My lovebird has lost a few feathers from the belly region as well. This can happen due to the strain of keeping and laying eggs. The feathers will grow back with time. You can include vitamin supplements to your lovebird's diet and crushed eggshells (calcium source). Please don't worry.

Question: My lovebird has laid four eggs and in that, one egg has hatched. How do I increase the hatching rate? Why are many of the eggs not hatching?

Answer: There is no way to increase the hatching rate. The natural process works on its on way.

Question: If we cannot touch the eggs, how can we tell if they are going to be born?

Answer: You can lift the egg(s) with a spoon and view them under light. If red veins are visible (posterior 10 days of laying), it means a chick is growing inside. If it's infertile, the egg will appear empty.

Question: How can we identify hatched eggs in African lovebirds?

Answer: The hatched eggs will have chicks in them.

Question: What if my bird doesn't like water? How can I put her in warm water?

Answer: Place a bowl of water near her, if she jumps in, you will know she is okay with it. If not, you have to hold her and place her in water.

Question: How can I tell if my lovebird is a male or female?

Answer: It's really difficult to distinguish between them. However, these signs may tell them apart:

1. The most obvious sign is that the female lays eggs. If you have two females, then you will have two clutches of eggs. If there are no eggs, it means both are males.

2. Female lovebirds are a little heavier than males. They perch with a wider stance.

3. Female display nesting behavior--they love shredding paper, leaves and whatever they think might make a nest. So, the next time you let your lovebirds out, give them a sheet of paper each. See who tears it in shreds and places it in their back first.

Do remember that there can be exceptions.

Question: My female lovebird’s last egg hatched. She fed her chicks well, but a few days later the youngest chick died. Why did it die? The older chicks are still alive.

Answer: Survival is difficult in nature, especially in smaller birds and animals. I have faced the same.

Question: What happens if I touch a lovebirds' egg?

Answer: If you touch a female lovebird's eggs, she will think they are contaminated and won't sit on them.

Question: My lovebird has laid eggs outside the nest box... What should I do?

Answer: You can use a spoon and place the eggs in the nest box.

Question: My budgie laid an egg for the first time on August 7th in the nest box. She laid another one on August 9th, but on the cage floor. It cracked, so I got rid of it but she didn't lay a third egg. She is also not sitting on the first egg that's in the nest. What should I do?

Answer: She might be upset about the cracked egg. It doesn't matter how many eggs she lays at a time. They can be one, two or more. Give her time. If she doesn't sit on it, it means she knows it's infertile. My female lovebird used to do the same. If 21-25 days pass and the egg doesn't hatch or she doesn't sit on it, please throw it.

Question: My birds have mated over month ago, but no eggs were laid. Why is this?

Answer: Your female lovebird might not be old enough to breed yet.

Question: My African Lutino lovebird laid four eggs, but they are not hatching after 30 days. This is first time she has laid eggs. Is there any problem?

Answer: It's common in lovebirds to lay infertile eggs. There's nothing to worry about.

Question: Can I check my lovebirds' eggs? I have heard that people try to touch their eggs, they can break?

Answer: No, you can't touch their eggs with your fingers, but you can definitely look at them.

Question: My lovebird laid an egg. It’s been two full days, and she has not laid another one. Should I worried, and if so what can I do?

Answer: Egg laying may get delayed if the lovebird is tired or feeling weak. Please give her crushed egg shells (which will help her calcium levels rise). You can also place her in a bowl of warm water. This will relax her muscles, and she may lay the egg.

Question: I have 2 pairs in the same cage. Two of them are paired, the other two are in the preadult stage. Will there be any problem for the paired ones to mate?

Answer: No, the paired lovebirds won't have any problem while mating.

Question: When will a lovebird lay eggs?

Answer: A lovebird lays eggs with or without a mate. With a mate, she can lay fertile eggs.

Question: I have 9 lovebird pairs and all of them have stopped laying eggs, but previously there was no problem, what is the cause?

Answer: I think it must not be the breeding season for them now. How long has the egg-laying not happening?

Question: When can we separate the lovebirds after hatching?

Answer: A 2-3 weeks stage is a good time to separate the babies from their parent lovebirds. They are easier to hold and feed then.

Question: If you don’t have a nesting box then will a lovebird just lay her eggs on the bars of her cage?

Answer: Yes, that's what will happen.

Question: My lovebird laid only one egg. Will she lay more?

Answer: The mother lovebird will lay more eggs every alternate day. She will sit on them and provide them warmth.

Question: What can we do so that lovebirds mate?

Answer: Lovebirds mate if they feel comfortable with each other. We can't do anything other than wait.

Question: My female lovebird has laid only one egg. Should I be worried?

Answer: No, you shouldn't be. She will lay them every alternate day.

© 2016 Sakina Nasir

Comments

Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on August 26, 2020:

They know at times and sometimes they think the eggs are spoilt. Let the eggs be there with her for at least 21-23 days and see what happens.

Sabreena Campbell on August 21, 2020:

I have a lovebird that later three eggs and didn't even sit on them. What if she knows that the eggs are fertilize or not . Cause I'm worried

Sakina Nasir (author) from Kuwait on August 05, 2020:

It's better if she has a companion. :) It's okay if she stays at the bottom of the cage as long as she is healthy and active. If you think there's egg binding, please place her in a bowl of warm water.