The Lovebirds

The Lovebirds
Perfect Pairs

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Estimation of Uric Acid in Lovebirds Droppings

Lovebirds dropping contain both urine and feces. Isolated fresh dropping gives the best information and hence fresh dropping of birds was used for estimation of uric acid. In birds, uric acid is the normal product of nitrogen metabolism and is the catabolism of purine and protein in birds, whereas in mammals, it is only the end product of purine catabolism.

Synthesis of uric acid occurs in liver and kidney, the precursor being the xanthine and reaction is catalyzed by enzyme Xanthine oxidase. Uric acid is excreted mostly by the kidneys and partly by gut; Estimation of uric acid is an important step although serum uric acid is a better parameter for study, fresh isolated dropping obtained in the study birds randomly were subjected to uric acid analysis.

It is noteworthy to mention in this regard the blood concentration of uric acid is 2-15 mg/dl in domestic bird and 5-39 mg percent in female parakeet and 5.71 mg percent in male parakeet.

Need for Uric Acid Estimation
  • To find out renal insufficiency
  • To analyze the feed conversion ratio
  • To find out deficiency of minerals and vitamins
  • To analyze the water intake

Monday, February 26, 2007

Learn About Madagascar Lovebirds

Zoological Name: Agapornis cana

The Madagascar lovebirds are native of Malagasy Republic and neighboring islands. The male birds are green; silver-gray head to breast, whereas the females are green from head to breast.

Generally the Madagascar lovebirds live in large groups, though remaining in pairs. They tend to perch on the fringes of woodland and descend into the rice fields and plantations, where they do great damage.

In the past, Madagascar lovebirds were very common and cheap to buy. Nowadays, the Malagasy Republic has banned their export and they have become rarities. Newly imported specimens are shy and catch cold easily.

It is best to keep them in the house, in a bird room or family room. In a small cage they are rather nervous and this detracts from any pleasure you may have in them.

In my experience, they will breed and sleep in a Budgerigar nest box by choice. My birds only used a few sunflower seed husks and two dried leaves as nesting materials. But my friends with Madagascar lovebirds have reported that their birds used Cranberry leaves, pine and larch needles, willow bark, small strips of newspapers, chick weed, and grasses. Some of the breeders noticed that the Madagascar lovebirds constructed and nest out of straw.

A clutch almost always consists of four to five eggs, which the female incubates for twenty-two days. After five weeks, the young one emerged out of the eggs. Young males emerge with a silver-gray head.

Once the young have emerged out of the nest it is the male who takes care of them because the female immediately becomes broody again. My Madagascar Lovebirds youngones were reared almost exclusively on a diet of millet. They over winter in the cold weather as long as it remains frost-free. It is not a good idea to house them with another species.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Coccidiosis in Lovebirds

This is a dreadful diseases of lovebirds. The main reason for this disease is a protozoan parasite viz., Eimeria aratinga. The affecte birds show red tinged diarrhea. Weight loss associated with chronic diarrhea may suggest the disease of many birds, when they overcrowded in an enclosure. It is really a a life-threatening problem to an especially young or small pet like lovebirds.

Growth of this protozoan paraite is noticed in the digestive tract of the lovebirds. The main reason for the out break of the disease is unhygenic maintanence of the cages.

  • Bloody droppings
  • Anemia
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Droopy
  • Tend to huddle
  • Consume less water and feed
  • Emaciated and dehydrated
  • Microscopic examination of the droppings for identifying the cocci organism
  • Previous history of the occurrence of the disease
How to Control Coccidiosis?

Controlling coccidiosis in lovebirds is really a Herculean task. The prevention can be achieved by strict sanitation. By adding a coccidiostat (Amprolium, Bactrisol, etc.) in the feed, the growth of coccidiosis can be prevented completely. treating the water before providing the same for drinking purpose is also being advised.

A vaccine to control the coccidiosis is also available commercially. Always seek a specialist in pet birds before opting for a vaccine is always appreciated.

Monday, February 19, 2007

How to Mate Lovebirds?

I think now you have become as a lovebird breeder as your pet shows signs of mating. Now the big question in your mind is "How to mate lovebirds?" The first and foremost thing is that closely related lovebirds should not be allowed to mate each other. (e.g.) Brother and sister or father and daughter.

As lovebirds are the smallest members of the parrot family, these beautiful little creatures are charming to interact with and exhilarating to watch. The best way to mate the lovebirds is to select the appropriate pair and transfer them to a separate cage.

You should maintain an appropriate breeding ratio, if you're maintaining a community of lovebirds. If you are maintaining ten birds, the ratio should be 5:5. This will help to reduce infighting among them. Fresh water must be constantly in supply. Provide a Cuttlebone for better results.

You can easily confirm that your hen is in breeding mood, once it can be seen tucking nesting material in her neck or beneath her wings. Even you can provide newspaper at the bottom of the cage. The hen will shred the newspaper to use it as the nesting material. Even you can provide bark, fruit and popular branches or small willow for them to build nest.

The nest box should be either 10 inches x 6 inches x 8 inches, which should be made up of strong plywood. Once a pair bonded each other, they will mate each other. As you think, breeding lovebirds is not a fun experience it is VERY scary.

Foreplay starts when the male feeds the female. After few hours of foreplay, the actual mating of lovebirds occurs that may be lengthy and repetitive several times a day for several days. The male mounts on the female back and coitus occur after holding her flight feathers for a perfect grip. This mating behavior is noticed among the pairs until it reaches five years old.

Don't think -- Lovebirds are monogamous--they will mate only with a specific pair. Nooo!!! If you allow the particular male to another female of the next group, they will start building nest for their progeny. Actually lovebirds are leading a life of social monogamy-living in pairs but sexually unfaithful.

You may ask which is the best monogamous mammal (mating and bonding with one partner for life). As you think-Humans are not one of these naturally monogamous animals, it is nothing but- Prairie voles, termites, and black vultures…

Friday, February 16, 2007

Egg Drop Syndrome in Lovebirds

Whether your lovebirds are laying shell-less eggs or thin shelled eggs? It may be suffer from egg drop syndrome, which is shortly called as EDS. This is an infectious disease of laying lovebirds caused by an adenovirus.

Although the natural host for this disease is ducks and geese, lovebirds are also susceptible for infection. Transmission is mainly through the infected home birds like fowl, geese and ducks. This infection is more predominantly noticed in the mixed farming situation. Vertical transmission is also being noticed.

Clinical signs include shell-less or thin-shelled eggs and also you can notice loss of color in the eggs. Egg production drastically reduced-only one egg may be laid.

The probe FN-96 is a perfect diagnostic reagent to identify adenovirus infection in lovebirds. Other diagnostic methods include virus isolation from droppings and also from alantoic fluid or embryo of the eggs.

There is no treatment for this disease. Hence hygienic procedure adoption may fetch you good results in containing this disease. Controlling the vertical transmission may also be advocated.

Preventing EDS in lovebirds is possible by vaccinating the birds with Egg Drop Syndrome Vaccine at least 4 weeks prior to the onset of egg production fetches immunity of high level to protect your lovebirds. Consult a vet for vaccinating your lovebirds against EDS.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Gout in Lovebirds

Gout is a metabolic disorder characterized by deposition of urates and uric acid crystals in visceral organs or tissues of the lovebirds. Articular gout is regarded as chronic form. Visceral gout is regarded as acute form. Signs are not specific in visceral gout but in articular gout a typical tophi with whitish yellow centers can be seen around the joints, ligaments and tendons.

Symptoms of Gout

The general symptoms noticed among the lovebirds with gout are-
  • General swelling of the foot
  • Bumps on the feet
  • Change in temperament
  • Abnormal droppings
  • Lethargic
  • Decreased appetite

Diagnosis of Gout in Lovebirds

Diagnosis can be achieved by-
  • Diet analysis
  • Environmental factor analysis
  • Availability of fresh and clean water

Confirmative diagnosis involves blood tests, X-rays, biopsy and joint fluid analysis. Presence of uric acid crystals in the joint fluid, blood and tissues confirms the presence of gout in your lovebirds.


Affected birds must be treated through out its life. Subject the bird on a low protein diet and may supplement with Vitamin A, if the cause is dietary factors. Allopurinol, a uric acid reducer also being administered to the affected lovebirds on consultation with your avian practitioner. Adequate inclusion of vitamins through greens and vitamin supplements help to minimize the damage to the tissues and joints.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Understanding Black-Cheeked Lovebird

Generally black-cheeked lovebirds are 14.5 cm long. The male and females are having dark brown upper head and cheeks. The rear of head and sides of throat are yellow-green. The younger birds are duller in color. Both the sexes possess white eye ring with red beak.

Black-cheeked lovebirds are inhabitant of Northen Zimbabwe.

Now-a-days black-cheeked lovebirds becomes very rare. Pure breeds bear no black color on the head.

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These lovebirds are smaller than Nyasas. Moreover they can be sexed unlile other lovebirds. They are friendly towards their own kind and other birds. Sometimes you can get three yields (three broods) per year.

Substantial losses are observed among these birds when these birds are kept below 15 degrees celcius. Sometimes black-cheeked lovebirds can tolerate a few degrees of frost also. Yellow and Lutino of these kind of lovebirds are very rare unlike Nysaa.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Get to Know Nyasa Lovebirds

Zoological Name

The Zoological name of Nyasa Lovebird is Agapornis lillianae


Normally the Nyasa lovebirds are inhabitant of Northern Zimbabwe to Malawi


The bird is about 5 to 6 inches length.The brow, crown, sides of head and throat of the male and female Nyasa lovebirds are scarlet in color.The color of the nape is olive green in both sexes.

The upper part of the body shows green color with white eye ring. Usually the beak of the Nyasa lovebird is red. The beak, head and body of the female is sturdier than male.


Of late, this race has become rarer owing to the reason that the Government of Nyasaland implement restrictions against its export.

Nyasa's are usually smaller than Fischer's lovebird and posesss perfect green color in the uppper plumage on the tail.

Breeding Nyasa Lovebirds

You can easily sex these lovebirds simply noting their behavior. Generally these birds are very peaceable attitude towards each other and also towards other birds. It is really a Herculean task for a breeder to breed the Nyasa lovebird because they tend to lay many number of infertile eggs. In addition to this, the mortality among young ones is also very high.

You should be very careful in keeping the Nyasa lovebirds during winter because they can't withstand the temperature lower than 10 degrees Celsius.

You can notice the mutations among the Nyasa lovebirds and also generally found in California. The mutations include Yellow and Lutino Nyasa.