Good Breeding Stock You need healthy parents to get healthy young. In other words, the parent birds must be selected with care. Not to discourage you, but just because you acquired a male and female lovebird doesn’t mean you can count on a successful breeding season. First of all, it’s no foregone conclusion that birds will accept the partners we select for them. In general, birds bred in captivity won’t present much of a problem in this respect. My preferred method of pairing birds up is to place open rings of different colours on a number of males and females, then place them in an aviary and watch who pairs off with who. If you see two birds that consistently keep each other’s company, remove them from the group and put them in a separate breeding cabinet or aviary, nature will take care of the rest( HOPEFULLY ).
Birds must be of breeding age. They must be at least 10 months old ( 12 or13 months is preferable ). Birds older than 5 – 6 years of age should be retired from breeding. I colony breed my birds in a good-sized aviary. Do not skimp on space where possible, the more room the better. Never put unpaired birds into the aviary for this leads to trouble. Birds need the right kind of feed to come into good breeding condition. You must get your birds in the best condition possible for the best results and that means a good balanced diet. Provide privacy in outdoor aviaries. Grow plants along the outside and hang basket plants on the corners to create the peaceful atmosphere that’s needed to make your birds feel safe and secure. If you don’t place the nest boxes in direct sunlight, you won’t have to worry much about the humidity. If there is a long spell of dry or warm weather, gently spray the nest boxes with the garden hose each day. The best breeding results come about if you have chosen good stock, prepared this stock and provided a suitable environment.
Lovebirds come in 9 species and are broken into three groups: The white-eye ring group, the intermediate group, and the sexually dimorphic group. Within these groups are many different colors and types of lovebirds. The white-eye ring group consists of Masked lovebirds, Fischer's lovebirds, Black-Cheeked lovebirds, and Nyasa lovebirds.
The Masked lovebirds (Agapornis personatus) have a blackish brown head, the chest and lower neck are yellow and the beak is red. They have a green body with a bluish rump and they are about 6- 6 1/4 inches (15-15.7cm).
Fischer's Lovebirds (Agapornis fischeri) have an orange forehead, cheeks and throat, with a red beak, green body, and blue rump. The beak is red and they are 4 inches (10cm) long.
Black Cheeked lovebirds (Agapornis nigrigenis) have an overall colour of green, with brown/black cheeks and forehead. The back of the head is yellow/green, and the throat is orange. They have a red beak and these birds are 4 1/2 inches (11cm).
Nyasa lovebirds (Agapornis lilianae) are mainly green birds with a red beak, red forehead, and an orange/red throat and cheeks. The beak is red and these birds are 4 1/4 inches (11cm).
The Peach-Faced lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis) are the only type of lovebirds in the intermediate group. They have a green body with a vivid red face and throat. They have blue rumps and a green tail. For the hobbyist, the peach face lovebird sports over 75 mutations. They are 6-7 inches (16-18cm) long.
The last group, the Sexually dimorphic group (meaning that the adult sexes can easily be distinguished by appearance) includes Abyssinian, Madagascar, Red-Face, and Swindern's Black-Collared lovebirds (although in this group, the Swindern’s sexes are very similar).
The Abyssinian lovebird (Agapornis taranta) is mostly green, with the males having a red brow. The eye ring in males is redder, while the female has a green eye ring. The beak is red and they are 6- 6 1/2 inches (15-16.5cm) long.
In the Madagascar lovebirds (Agapornis canus), the male has a gray upper body and head while the female has a lighter green. The rest of the body of both sexes is varying shades of green with black feather tips and a hazy yellowish color on the chest. The beak is grey and they are medium sized lovebirds at 5 1/2 inches (14cm).
The Red-Face lovebird (Agapornis pullarius) is green with some yellow on the under parts. The forehead is red in males, but the females have a lighter orangish red. The rump is bright blue and the beak is red.
Swindern’s Black-collared Lovebirds (Agapornis swindernianus) are without a doubt the most rare lovebirds of all. They have a green body with an unmistakable black collar around the back of the neck.
Notice how all the above photos show these brilliant little parrots in cages “EXCEPT” for the Swindern, very special lovebird this one.
If you’re keeping birds, you want to keep them in good health at all times, and you can go a long way towards this goal by practicing good standards of avicultural hygiene. Hygiene is the science, or art, of preserving good health (or preventing disease and bad health, whichever way you wish to look at it). In keeping groups of birds under close confinement, hygiene is of utmost importance. Infectious diseases can spread very rapidly from one bird to the next unless strict and logical hygienic measures are taken. Hygiene often sounds more complicated than it really is; all that is really required is thoughtful and thorough management of your aviary.
I give my aviary a good going-over once a week RELIGIOUSLY. Keeping the perches clean is a very important step in your hygiene program. Your birds wipe their beaks on these, and this makes the perch a prime source of infection due to dirt and food matter being deposited on it that can become a haven for bacteria. As perches become difficult to clean they should be replaced.
All water containers should also be washed in warm water and given a thorough scrubbing inside and out. A tip to keep them clean is to put a cap full of Apple Cider Vinegar in them before you fill them with water again.
Your seed dishes or hoppers must always stay dry and clean, and always make sure they’re full and free of husks.
I brush the concrete floor of my aviary first, and collect most of the discarded materials in a pan. I then scrape the hardened droppings on the floor with a paint scraper to loosen them up. After brushing the floor again I get my old Hoover and give the place a once over (my birds don’t seem to mind the noise, probably because they’ve been brought up with it). When the floor is spotless I give it a good wash down and scrub with warm water and to finish it gets a hosing out.
Once a month the aviary gets sprayed with Avian Insect Liquidator, which can be purchased at any good pet store.
Provided with the correct nourishment and kept in clean, dry and vermin-free quarters, birds should remain in good health and live to a ripe old age.