Are Lovebirds Good as Pets: The Pros and the Cons
Meet Gregory the Lovebird
It was close to Mother’s Day 2011 – a typical day, exhausted I made my way in the front door where my youngest daughter made me close my eyes. That’s how I met Gregory. “You got me a bird!” I howled with surprise. There he was, all regal and colorful.
Gregory is a peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis Roseicollis). Native to Africa, Madagascar to be exact, and Gregory will always be small with a life expectancy of 20 years. Lovebirds are really a small parrot. Gregory's breed might talk, but they are better at learning tricks. Ask Gregory -he can open his own cage door and play basketball. He gets my attention by mimicking kiss sounds that I taught him. It is a true love (bird) affair. In fact, I have never been snuggled by a bird before, but Gregory is snuggly as lovebirds tend to be, crawling up my arms, onto my shoulder and snuggling in under my hair.
If you are considering a bird, you may want to consider a lovebird. First, let's look at some pros and cons.
- Lovebirds are very friendly and have great personalities.
- Lovebirds love being in close contact with people.
- Lovebirds are entertaining.
- Compared with other pets, lovebirds are fairly easy to care for.
Gregory follows me all over the house and even waits outside the bathroom for me. Any chance he has, he’s crawling up my clothing to be near my face. Gregory was hand-raised by his owner so he is particularly tame and will sit on me for long periods of time. He loves to be involved, even shredding paper with his beak while I clip coupons. As I mentioned before, he has mastered basketball and other toys in his cage.
- Lovebirds can be biters.
- Lovebirds can be noisy.
- Lovebirds do need attention.
Do you want a quiet bird? Good luck. Love birds love to communicate and sometimes it’s high-pitched. If Gregory is by my ear, it can be piercing. But he likes to sing along with the TV and music and we have grown accustom to him chiming in. Gregory is also a nipper which means he can inflict a painful bite. We have learned how to handle him so he does not bite us, but on occasion, he gets my earlobe or finger and then it’s back to his cage for a timeout. Gregory is easy to care for, but he does need attention. He craves it because he does not have a mate and sometimes he will chirp until we let him out of his cage.
Cage and Contents: According to an article by Doree Bedwell on African Bird Society.com (you can see her complete article at the link below), “Lovebirds need a cage which has at least two places to perch, with room to fly from one to the other.” She recommends changing water and food dishes every day and notes that lovebirds need activity which means things like toys and swings. Another thing, which we have found with Gregory, is that lovebirds like to bath.
Food: Bedwell recommends pellet diets like Kaytee Exact or Pretty Bird as they are nutritionally compliant. Seed diets, she says, may “not have all the nutrients your bird needs.” She also recommends fresh food 3 to 4 times a weeks - apples, broccoli, cabbages and carrots.
Other Upkeep: We often let Gregory out to flutter around the house. We have his wings clipped every 4 - 5 weeks at the pet store which keeps him from taking long flights. When he flutters around, he is often going to the bathroom, probably about every 10 or 15 minutes we find he is excreting. This can be troublesome and messy. There’s an interesting article at this site in regard to “Potty training” your bird. Petco offers an avian flight suit which also acts as a bird diaper (see links below).
Breeding: We have not tried our hand at breeding, but talk over and over about getting Gregory a mate only because we think he gets lonely at times. In fact, we’re not even sure if Gregory is a male. A simple DNA test would confirm his sex and I am sure we will have the test done before pursuing another bird. If you would like more information about breeding, many sites,like the one linked here, offer very in-depth breeding and sexing information.
All in all, I really never considered a bird as a pet. I thought perhaps they would be boring and dull. But Gregory is interesting, curious, affectionate and interacts with us daily. He has been a wonderful addition to our famly.