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lovebird infanticide

Posted by luvdogs (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 3, 11 at 13:03

I have two lovebirds in an outdoor aviary (brought in during the winter). I was hoping they were two of the same sex. they aren't.

Don't want anymore lovebirds but i've read that if i remove the eggs that the hen will replace them.

I'm willing to let one hatch. How to make the others sterile?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: lovebird infanticide

Is she sitting on the eggs and if so, how long has she been brooding them? Did she lay them in a next box or are they on the floor of the cage?
The hen may or may not go back to nest if you pull all the eggs, but it's less likely she'll lay again if she can finish her brooding cycle.

If these are freshly laid eggs, take a fine needle and puncture both ends of the egg. The idea is to allow enough air in so that the egg dries out. It's best to reopen the holes every couple of days to make sure they stay open.
I did this once to some finch eggs, didn't recheck and they all hatched!

BTW, the fact you have eggs doesn't mean you have a pair of lovebirds. A hen can lay without a male around so it's possible you have 2 hens. If you find more than 5-6 eggs in the nest, then you more than likely have 2 hens.
Have you seen them mating?

RE: lovebird infanticide

Oh yes, she's sitting on them. She's in the nest box with the eggs quite often when i'm out there caring for them. She's had eggs for about a week now - laying one every other day approx.

Yes, i've read that if they lay more than 5 or 6, like you said, that it's a "frustrated hen." So i'm counting them but i had a breeding pair before (again, accidentally) and the behavior is identical. I've never seen them mating though.

Thanks sooo much Annz, for the idea on how to prevent them hatching. i will be bringing a needle out there with me for the next few days.

Since you seem to know so much - can you tell me what is the best way to ensure that i end up with the same sex as a pair? I don't want to be in the lovebird business.

RE: lovebird infanticide

I've included a link since it's exactly what I would end up typing!
As mentioned in the article, DNA sexing is the only way to guarantee the sex of your bird.....if they haven't already laid eggs. :~)
To end up with a male or female, always try to buy from breeders that DNA sex their birds, or find a breeder that is good at visually/manually sexing their birds. Breeders usually develop a good eye at sexing their birds and are also pretty adept at sexing by checking the pelvic bone.

Also, attend some bird shows in order to find reputable breeders.

Good luck with the eggs!

Here is a link that might be useful: Lovebirds

RE: lovebird infanticide

Thank you for not wanting to breed them. Lovebirds are one of the most common parrots found in rescues and in classifieds. Because they breed so readily, a lot of people think that they should breed them. Backyard parrot breeders are just as bad as backyard dog breeders in some places.

Your first problem is that you have a nest box. If you remove the nest box, any nesting material, and anything that they can possibly turn into a nest (including enclosed areas and sheltered corners) or nesting material, it will stop them from breeding or at the very least, lessen the amount and frequency at which they lay.

Lowering the protein and fat levels in their food will also help. Low fat and low protein means that their bodies don't think that there's a surplus of food which triggers hormones responsible for breeding. I didn't see much about this when I was researching how to get my lovebirds to stop laying and being overly hormonal but I have done it so I have first hand experience and have seen the difference that it's made. You can lower protein and fat healthily by avoiding too many seeds (which you should be doing in the first place), not offering too many nuts or beans and no animal proteins, and by offering a low fat and low protein pellet. Roudybush's Low Fat Maintenance is excellent.

It also helps to limit their sun light hours and to move their toys and furniture around frequently.

It is very hard, if not impossible, to get a mated pair to stop procreating. You would be better off with two males. I don't recommend two females unless you want to find a mutilated carcass one day. Or you could house the male and female separately and offer them supervised play time together so you can stop mating as they attempt it. This needn't be stressful for them as you could put their cages right next to each other where they can see and hear each other. Or depending on your avairy, two dividers vertically down the middle with a couple of inches in between.

I don't understand why you're willing to let one of the eggs hatch unless you're planning on getting rid of it when it's weaned. You can't keep three lovebirds together. You either can keep a single pair or a large number of pairs but you can't keep an odd number of birds together and you can't keep a small number of pairs together. They will fight, they will bully each other, there will be self mutilators, and there will almost certainly be losses. Every once in a blue moon these rules have been broken with okay results but it's very rare and not worth the loss of lives.

What you can do is shake each new egg once laid and leave them in there for them to sit on until they get tired of them. And repeat the shaking with each new clutch that is laid. Don't remove the eggs until they reject them or they can keep on laying more and seriously deplete their calcium stores, amongst other things.

I can't imagine that it will be very healthy for them to store up excess nutrients in their bodies with no fledgelings for them to release it to. This can lead to many problems, such as high bile acids which can lead to fatty liver disease and then death.

If you insist on keeping a mated pair, some things that might possibly work are Lupron injections and artificial eggs. Results are mixed.

I just read annz's comment. I realize now that you don't know if they're actually a male and a female. I thought you knew their sex now. If you have two females, they can still lay eggs and assume different gender roles. It's best to prevent egg laying even with two females so you can rule out possible problems such as egg binding, calcium deficiencies, etc.

"Breeders usually develop a good eye at sexing their birds and are also pretty adept at sexing by checking the pelvic bone."

This is largely speculative and unreliable. I've seen many females that sit wide on the perch and vise versa and males that have wide pelvic bones.

You can get them DNA sexed relatively cheap by utilizing a mail order service. Such as You can order a free collection kit and send in a freshly plucked (by you) feather or small smear of blood. Most people obtain that from cutting a toe nail short.

I highly recommend that you know what sexes they are for other reasons besides procreation related ones. You need to know certain things to watch for with female lovebirds. Their hormone levels need to be monitored as they're susceptible to high bile acids and they frequently can harbor low calcium levels. They are also usually more aggressive than the males and much more high strung which means that they will frequently fight other birds and self mutilate, as well as mutilate other birds.

RE: lovebird infanticide

Well, thank you for the wealth of information.... I didn't know that three birds would be problematic - i'll revisit that. I just thought it would be cute but maybe if i do that, i'll try to sell it. The cage they are in is enormous, in case that makes a difference.

Maybe i'll put an ad up to trade the female for a male???

And the nest box is there because they appear to want a place to roost in in the dark hours. Remember, they are outside. If i took it out, they would just be on a perch at night - exposed. Also, as temps fall - they are in there for warmth. I bring them inside during the coldest months. Even when i had two males for five years (they escaped, damn it) they were always in there at night.

RE: lovebird infanticide

"The cage they are in is enormous, in case that makes a difference."

It doesn't. They will seek each other out and look for things to fight over. They will hound each other.

Good luck selling the lovebird. Many people have problems giving them away for free, there's so many of them in places such as Florida, California, etc.

Trading the female for a male would be a good choice, if you're not emotionally attached or even if you are, that sounds like the right thing to do for their own good. You might ask parrots rescues if they'd allow you to exchange the female for a male which would a) get a lovebird adopted and b) the female will likely find a good home, rather than some random person taking it from you and doing God knows what with it.

"And the nest box is there because they appear to want a place to roost in in the dark hours. Remember, they are outside."

That's one of the problems of having an aviary or outdoor cage but it shouldn't be a problem with two males.

It sucks but nature dealt lovebird hens a bad hand. At least until a long period of RESPONSIBLE breeding has been done (to produce pet birds with good temperament and health, not for color mutations) or until spaying becomes a safe option.

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