My Lovebird Lost His Mate
What Happens When a Lovebird Loses Their Mate?
The change in my male lovebird Mumu's behavior wasn't instant. It was subtle. After he acknowledged the death of my female lovebird Lulu, he did seem okay, or so I thought. I had kept him out of his cage for around four hours (in one sitting) as he didn't want to go back. I took the time to observe him and below is what I noticed.
Mumu chirped a lot usually and did scream happily as birds do, but the type of screaming he did after Lulu died was different. It was louder, seemed painful and was continuous.
2. Confusion and Sadness
Mumu seemed confused. He couldn't comprehend the changes happening. He was a happy bird most of the time, but after his mate died, he seemed grim. He wouldn't chirp or wag his tail and lost the sparkle in his eyes.
Mumu started searching for Lulu. He flew to the spots they had played on, eaten and preened each other. This was followed by anguished screams and confusion.
4. Biting More
Mumu has been a biter since he was little (I had hand-raised him). He did occasionally nibble and bite my fingers but most of it was out of love. After Lulu died, he repeatedly bit my fingers hard, wanting more of my attention as he was lost. It was saddening to see all this.
5. Loss of Appetite
Mumu mostly likes eating fruits and corn. His favorite food is the seed of a corn kernel, but even that wouldn't tempt him to eat in his sadness. I started getting worried.
The Steps I Took to Help Mumu
I knew this was a difficult situation because he was mourning his mate and I was mourning my loving pet who had stayed with me for over 3 years. I knew she couldn't be replaced, but I had to be brave and care for my sad bird. It was new for me as I hadn't witnessed the death of one mate in a pair of lovebirds. I took these steps hoping they would help Mumu:
- I kept him outside his cage for longer hours as he didn't want to be left alone. The minute I would keep him in his cage he would start screaming in anguish.
- I gave him lots of attention and love and pampered him with kind words.
- He likes sleeping on my palm, so I let him do that.
- I encouraged him to eat, even if he refused.
- I tried to be there for him as much as possible. Grief is grief, be it a human, an animal or a bird. It takes a toll on us.
I Decided to Bring Mumu a New Mate
Despite all my efforts, I couldn't get Mumu to be happy. I had thought that since he is hand-raised, he would eventually be okay without a mate, but I was wrong. So, I decided to bring home Mumu's current mate, Juju.
How Mumu Reacted
Mumu's reaction was priceless. Juju was a big ball of energy and innocence. She took Mumu completely by surprise. She was extremely excited to meet him, since the minute I put her cage on the floor. Mumu, on the other hand, chirped loudly (he hadn't done that since 2 days after Lulu died). In that moment, I knew he was going to be okay.
The Difference Between Mumu's Mates
Mumu's first mate, Lulu was a sweetheart, but she could be stubborn and unyielding as well. She and Mumu had taken around half a year to become mates. After she died, Juju (Mumu's current mate) was introduced to Mumu.
She followed him around everywhere and played with him a lot. Within a month they came closer and Mumu started feeding her. They became mates soon and are inseparable since.
Fun Facts About Juju
- She is very chirpy.
- She is fearless and like exploring new things.
- She is playful and energetic.
- She enjoys breaking bread into pieces and likes its crumbs.
- She doesn't know what to think of fruits and doesn't touch them.
- She likes chasing Mumu in the cage.
- Her favorite toys are tissue papers, threads and ropes.
- She likes to climb and walk around the house.
- She breaks seeds in her water bowl and eats them (it reminds me of Lulu).
- She likes all types of green leaves.
Losing a pet bird is hard, the moments and memories are in your heart even though you get new ones. It is harder on a lovebird who has lost his mate. During this time it is important to keep these points in mind:
- Be patient. You and your bird are grieving and need time to be okay.
- Shower love on your sad lovebird and try to cheer him/her up.
- Please buy a new mate for your bird as soon as possible. The longer it takes, the harder it will be to keep your bird happy.
- Let the bird adapt to the new bird. In my case my birds accepted each other readily, but it may not be so in all the cases.
- Monitor your lovebird even though he/she seems happy. Your pet should be eating, active and playing as usual.
- Give attention to the new bird as well, don't forget him/her!
- If your pet is little moody or bites you during this stage, bear with it. Say no firmly but don't be harsh. Your bird will feel abandoned.
- Never talk to your bird angrily when he/she is grieving. Your bird may seem difficult to handle but always keep calm and understand the situation.
- Lovebirds can understand what we are trying to say (they understand vibes, at least mine do). Always be loving and caring towards them.
- Lovebird Courtship and Mating: What We Learned
Given the fact that lovebirds choose mates and bond with them for life, bonding and "falling in love" isn't always that typical. The following article depicts the unconventional tale of my two pets.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Sakina Nasir