While my other articles each
deal with just one topic, I want to address some small, yet important, items in
Cage SizeIs Grit Necessary?
All About Perches
A Visit to the Veterinarian
- What kind of cage
is good for my Lovebird?
Lovebirds are very active birds and need
a cage large enough to accommodate this need. Square cages that are roughly
20" x 20" x 20" (50.8 cm x 50.8 cm x 50.8 cm)or larger are good for lovebirds.
Since lovebirds tend to fly horizontally rather than vertically, rectangular
long cages are a better choice than rectangular tall. Bar spacing needs to
be 1/2" or 5/8" (1.27 cm or 1.60 cm). Round cages are unsuitable for Lovebirds
due to the placement of their eyes. Round cages appear as solid walls and
have no safe corners where the lovebirds can hide. This is actually true to
for all birds.
- Does my Lovebird need grit
Lovebirds are hookbills and shell their
food. The purpose of grit and gravel is to remove the outer shells of whole
seeds, so only birds that consume intact seeds, such as doves, need grit in
their diet. Once the outer covering is gone, the Lovebird's digestive system
is capable of breaking down the seed.
- What kind of perches
are good for my Lovebird?
When choosing a perch for your Lovebird,
minimum size would be one where the foot does not wrap completely around the
perch. This should be the determining factor when selecting perches for your
Natural perches are best, as they provide comfort plus a good source for chewing.
Lovebirds enjoy removing bark and demolishing perches, so you will find that
these have to be replaced on a regular basis. When selecting branches from
trees, try to find those that have not been sprayed with insecticides or pesticides.
Perches can be cleaned with 10% bleach solution and rinsed very well. Safe
wood for natural perches includes apple, ash, beech, birch, cactus wood, cottonwood,
crabapple, dogwood, elm, fir, mulberry, manzanita, pine, poplar and willow.
Cement perches can be used to help keep nails trimmed. Since these can be
very hard on the feet of a Lovebird, put them only in places where your Lovebird
goes everyday but does not spend a lot of time there. Placing them in front
of food and water dishes is one possibility, but you will find that your Lovebird
will also use these as an area to wipe its beak so they will have to be cleaned
frequently. In order to be effective, select a size that only allows the foot
to go 3/4 of the way around the perch.
- How do
I know when to call my veterinarian?
One of the most important things you can
do when you purchase a bird is find an avian vet or one who specializes in
birds. Birds are experts at hiding the symptoms of illness/disease because
to appear sickly in their natural habitat is allow themselves to be vulnerable
to attack by predators. By the time you see real signs of illness, you usually
have a medical emergency that will require immediate medical attention. It's
far better to have an avian vet and not need one than to need one and not
have one. Since many medical emergencies seem to happen after
normal veterinarian office hours, I make sure I have a phone number for any
emergency clinic that can care for a sick bird. Those numbers are posted next
to my phone so I never have to look for those them. Remember, seconds count
when you have a sick bird.
Any behavior out of the ordinary for your bird can be a valid reason for seeking
medical attention. Fluffed feathering, overly quiet, or change in eating habits
can all be early signs of a problem. A Gram Stain is an easy, inexpensive
test that can be used to determine the presence of bacteria or fungus. These
are much easier to treat in the early stages than they are once the gram negative
(bad bacteria) count or the yeast count become very high. When you suspect
that your bird is sick, instead of asking a friend what might be wrong or
trying over the counter medications that are available at your local pet shop,
call your avian vet. Many illnesses have similar symptoms and tests are needed
to determine the real problem. No medications should ever be given unless
you know what you are treating. The wrong medication will not work and can
alter results of any testing that might need to be done.
2002-2010© Lovebirds Plus Aviary All rights
to Articles Index
to Main Page