Are Lovebirds Good as Pets: The Pros and the Cons

Updated on April 20, 2018
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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... | Source

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.

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. | Source

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 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.

CARE

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.

Lovebird Quiz

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After reading this article, is a lovebird the pet for you?

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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)

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Miss our Blue. 

        13 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Fran Burland 

        15 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Carla 

        21 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Shawn 

        21 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Shawn 

        21 months ago

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

      • SakinaNasir53 profile image

        Sakina Nasir 

        2 years ago from Kuwait

        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 ☺

      • no body profile image

        Robert E Smith 

        2 years ago from Rochester, New York

        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.

      • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

        Carla J Swick 

        2 years ago from NW PA

        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 profile image

        Mickji 

        2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

        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...

      • no body profile image

        Robert E Smith 

        2 years ago from Rochester, New York

        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 profile image

        Mickji 

        2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

        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....

      • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

        Carla J Swick 

        2 years ago from NW PA

        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 profile image

        Mickji 

        2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

        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 profile image

        Mickji 

        2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

        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

      • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

        Carla J Swick 

        2 years ago from NW PA

        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 profile image

        Mickji 

        2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

        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...

      • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

        Carla J Swick 

        2 years ago from NW PA

        You are most welcome - they are fabulous pets!

      • Mickji profile image

        Mickji 

        2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

        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.

      • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

        Carla J Swick 

        2 years ago from NW PA

        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 profile image

        Mickji 

        2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

        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.

      • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

        Carla J Swick 

        2 years ago from NW PA

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

      • Mickji profile image

        Mickji 

        2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

        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!

      • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

        Carla J Swick 

        5 years ago from NW PA

        Thank you - I remember that as well.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        5 years ago

        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.

      • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

        Carla J Swick 

        5 years ago from NW PA

        Hurrah!! Thanks for participating!

      • profile image

        Kathy 

        5 years ago

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

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