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Are Lovebirds Good as Pets: The Pros and the Cons

I never would have considered getting a bird as a pet, but our lovebird, Gregory, has been a wonderful addition to our family.

I have never been snuggled by a bird before, but Gregory is as snuggly as lovebirds tend to be...

I have never been snuggled by a bird before, but Gregory is as snuggly as lovebirds tend to be...

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). 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.

Is a Lovebird Right for Me?

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 are very friendly and have great personalities.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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 accustomed 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.

petlovebirds

How to Care for a Pet Lovebird

  • Cage and Contents: According to an article by Doree Bedwell on African Bird Society.com, “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 bathe.
  • 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 week: 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.
  • Breeding: We have not tried our hand at breeding, but we 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 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 family.

Lovebird Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What Is unhealthy for A lovebird to eat?
    • Avocados
    • Bananas
    • Apples
    • All of the above
  2. How do lovebirds react around humans?
    • Shy
    • Vicious
    • Friendly, but may nip
    • Scared
  3. How often should you have your lovebirds wings/nails trimmed?
    • Every day
    • Every week
    • Every 4 to 5 weeks
    • Once a year
  4. Where do lovebirds originally come from?
    • Japan
    • Africa
    • China
    • All of the above
  5. How often do lovebirds make droppings?
    • Every 10 - 15 minutes
    • Every hour
    • Twice a day
    • Once a day
  6. Why are lovebirds called "lovebirds"
    • They like to groom and curl up with their mate
    • They like to kiss alot
    • They sing love songs
    • All of the above

Answer Key

  1. Avocados
  2. Friendly, but may nip
  3. Every 4 to 5 weeks
  4. Africa
  5. Every 10 - 15 minutes
  6. They like to groom and curl up with their mate

Take the lovebird poll

In Memory

In January 2017, Gregory was found dead in his cage. He showed no signs of illness. I was deeply distressed. He was five years old. I buried Gregory under my wild bird feeder where his wild friends gathered. I have yet to talk myself into another bird as Gregory was one of a kind. Sincerely, Carla J Behr (2017)

Comments

Tylenol on August 11, 2020:

Thanks alot now I know a lovebird is a very loving pet

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on April 14, 2020:

I have a good friend named Pablo, he is a sweetheart. I like Pablo best!

theanimalwhisperer on April 13, 2020:

which name best suits a boy lovebird? Pablo or Romeo?

Nova’s flock on January 08, 2020:

Hi Carla, thank you for sharing your experience caring for Gregory, your sweet lovebird. Very sorry that you lost her so suddenly. Every figure out what really happened? Since her passing, have you taken in another lovebird?

Our lovebird, Nova, turned out to be a boy! We’ve had him for almost 3 years now, and he’s mellowing out with age. Less biting, less noise, less mischief, in general. We do not clip his wings, except when spending extended time with relatives. Nova is bright & bossy, flying all over the place, but he has learnt (with our help) to do a lot more of his poops on his freestanding perches or on the faucet over the kitchen sink. He also loves to shower with us, and has a special shower perch for that too! He loves to be a scritched around his neck and cheeks, and likes to preen our ears, eyebrows & eyelashes, gently. Loves to cuddle behind ear/neck, under your chin, or inside your shirt!

All of this affection took time. Time out of the cage. Lovebirds need a lot of attention from you. Do not leave them home alone for too many hours, especially not caged up. Spend time with them every day. Patience, slow gestures, and soft talking... Trust is a huge thing with birds. They will not bond with you until they feel safe in your company. Owning one lovebird allows better bonding with human owners. The whole family should socialize with their lovebird pet, even if the bird choses a favorite pet human! Good luck!

Nelson on May 31, 2019:

I like your story ,about your love birds, thanks,I learn a lot

Booboy on January 29, 2019:

I have a lovebird

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on January 18, 2019:

The article is written so a person might make their own decision, but that said I personally think love birds make great pets. I would recommend that an owner obtain a hand-fed love bird who is tame enough to be enjoyed. Also, if one is annoyed by bird noises, this bird may also not be for them. They are not cuddly animals like cats or dogs, but for those who are allergic or not in a situation that allows cats or dogs, a love bird is a perfect pet. With any animal ownership comes responsibility and although I feel that a bird is a very low maintenance animal compared to some, they do need to be cared for, kept clean and taken to see the vet once a year. I hope you find this helpful.

Anil kumar Nair on January 11, 2019:

Love birds at home are good or bad.

Please clarify

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on December 03, 2018:

Hi, I am not skilled in answering a question about wild birds. I do know that my love bird was always a biter and no matter how often I held her, she remained a biter. It seemed ingrained in her. I would check with a vet and especially one trained in bird care. A bird professional would be the best one to answer the question. Best to you.

Michele hajek on December 02, 2018:

Our bluebird was found outside... I’ve had him for 6 weeks. He bites but can he be tamed? If so ... where do I start? Thank you

Miss our Blue. on September 18, 2017:

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how painful it is. Our 3.5 year old parakeet Blue past away in April and I have yet to get over her death.

Fran Burland on July 02, 2017:

When do we offer water to a hand raised 5 week old

Carla on January 12, 2017:

I do see that the Peach-faced love bird may indeed be from Africa - however, there are now some wild population in Phoenix Az as well.

Shawn on January 11, 2017:

My mistake it's the grey headed lovebird that lives in Madagascar

Shawn on January 11, 2017:

Actually peachface lovebirds are from Angola Africa not Madagascar I believe it's the black masked lovebird that lives in Madagascar

Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on September 25, 2016:

Great job ! I also have a peachfaced male lovebird named Mu mu ...I have hand-raised him and another female white faced violet lovebird named Lulu. Lovebirds are adorbale ...I loved reading your hub, God bless you ☺

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on February 26, 2016:

I think that you should exchange it. Sick parakeets will always be sickly. Most generally they will catch colds and be vulnerable to every sickness that is around them. I hope your exchange happens. I would hate for you to lose the bird since you just got her.

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on February 26, 2016:

My bird bites as well - I am unsure if there is any way to stop that. I would definitely visit the shop. I have given two birds back that were not conducive to my situation. It is important to have a pet that you can connect with. I would not feel bad about it.

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on February 24, 2016:

I'm both playing the ocarina, singing and talking to her. The problem is that it bites me (even strongly) and not my brother and every time I take it off the cage it flies inside and sneeze as if to say No I don't want you. I really think it has got a cold. Tomorrow I'll go to the shop to show it to them and say it's a female and they have cheated me. I wanted a male to be sure it could get along with me well, because if the owner is of the opposite gender, the animal is more lovely and friendly. Also there must be something wrong with this bird, because budgies are known to be curious and this one is not. It also never drink and is hydrophobic, so I'm wondering if it's sick or not. A sick bird is not good...

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on February 24, 2016:

Females are still beautiful. They aren't as likely to talk but they still sing. If you talk to them everyday a lot of people say that they can mimic and make beautiful birdsong. If you make sure there is no mirrors in the cage while you do your practice words with her or tunes you whistle or play on the ocarina, she is more apt to copy you.

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on February 24, 2016:

I hope it's possible to keep them both, because I feel like an evil if I'll give it back to the shop.... However I was cheated because the seller said it's white and will remain white and it's a male, instead it's female and it's gradually becoming grey....

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on February 24, 2016:

Hi Mickji - lovebirds are a form of a small parrot and very friendly. I have had lovebirds though that act wild and I suspect this is because they were never held by humans as babies. I do not know what a budgie is, but I have seen a lot of birds that are very wild acting. Perhaps you can find a hand-tamed lovebird to replace your bird. Maybe work with a breeder. Hope this helps.

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on February 24, 2016:

I've bought my first budgie, but it's very difficult to get along with it because it's very different from the lovebird I had in the past. It's not friendly, nor play with paper, colors, balls or toys in general. When I try to take it off the cage it flies inside in less than a second. Do you have any tips or tricks to make it your best friend like with the lovebird? Because I'm already tempted to give up with it...I wanted it to be friendly and lovely and it's not...at all.

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on January 23, 2016:

I thought an injection was required. This is very easy and not painful, it's a good news and better than guessing from the thighs

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on January 22, 2016:

There's really no way to know without DNA - this could simply be done by plucking a feather and sending it to a company for testing. We thought our bird was a male and named her Greg - turns out, she lays eggs.

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on January 21, 2016:

I've been told that you don't need a DNA test to know if it's a he or a she. You just have to touch between the thighs, if it's tight then it is male else if it is wide and flat then it's female. I'll try it when I'll buy mine, hopefully I'll get the gender right...

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on January 20, 2016:

You are most welcome - they are fabulous pets!

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on January 19, 2016:

This is a great news! I was scared to try to buy it (because I saw one almost all white with some light blue shades at the end of the wings and I felt in love with it so badly) because I thought I will be a bad person for keeping it alone without other of its similar and maybe a boyfriend or a girlfriend and because of this, making it sick. Because I can only care for one at the moment and probably in the future too. Because I'm planning to go living alone if I'll find a good job. I'm so happy to read this, it's time to prepare the best bird cage of the world! I really thank you carlajbehr.

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on January 19, 2016:

Hi Mick - it not true. We've tried two mates for our lovebird and she didn't get along with either. She has lived alone most of the 3 or 4 years I've owned her and is happy, healthy and fine.

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on January 15, 2016:

Is it true that lovebirds and budgie become sick if they don't have a mate? I've been told that I must always have 2 if I want to buy a new one.

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on January 10, 2016:

Awww.... I understand - pets need to get along

Mickji from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object on January 09, 2016:

I had a lovebird for 13 years. He was the best pet I've ever had. We had to bring him to the shop once the dog grew up because it was trying to kill him and there was no way to protect him. So he went back to the shop and had a really nice female, he was always singing and made a lot of childrens ;) good boy!

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on February 05, 2013:

Thank you - I remember that as well.

Dianna Mendez on February 04, 2013:

What a sweet idea for a pet. I remember these birds on the movie The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock. They were the only birds that remained benign. Anyway, love your sharing on your experience with your pet.

Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on February 01, 2013:

Hurrah!! Thanks for participating!

Kathy on January 31, 2013:

Loved the "quiz" option! I got 4/6 and learned something about lovebirds.