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Small Pets: Meet Picaroon the Lovebird

Posted by yornma on February 24, 2013 in Animal Articles, Small Pets |

Meet Picaroon the Lovebird

How old are you?

My vet believes I’m about 3 years old. My human mom says my “gotcha” day is October 3rd since that’s when she got me (celebrated like a birthday).

How did you come into your parents life?

I sort of “flew” into my human mom’s life. Her dog of 8 years had finally lost his battle to cancer the same day I was found “lost” in a neighbor’s yard. Here’s how it’s told on my Facebook page.
“One day I was flying around free when I saw a sad dog angel sitting outside a fenced yard. I was curious and flew down to talk to him (I’m not afraid of dogs or cats). He told me he was sad because he had to leave his human mom and he was worried about her. He had kept her happy and safe for 8 years and didn’t want to leave her side. He explained he couldn’t cross the rainbow bridge til he knew she was safe. I told him that every animal deserves to cross the rainbow bridge. If he needed someone to watch over his human, then why not me? The dog angel smiled and wagged his tail before crossing over the rainbow bridge.”

What type of lovebird are you?

I’m a Peach faced lovebird, but a special mutation called a “red opaline”. This means my whole head is red instead of just my face and my body is a lighter green than a regular peach face.

Do you have a cagemate? I remember reading that lovebirds need to be kept in pairs, does your mom know if this is true?

I don’t have a cage mate, it’s actually a myth that lovebirds need to be kept as pairs. We are, however very smart and (like all birds big and small) seek companionship and entertainment to enrich our lives. Most lovebirds do tend to bond to ONE person or bird, but I love lots of people! Maybe that’s why I make such a good therapy bird!

Are there any other birds in the house with you?

There’s no other birds in the house with me, but there is a dog and a cat. The cat is pretty sure I’m tasty looking, but the dog is very protective of me and won’t let the cat near my cage. It’s like having my own body guard!

Do you know any tricks?

I’m very good at learning tricks. Right now I can retrieve some objects and put them in designated spots. I can go through tunnels. I ring a bell with my foot. I’m also learning to play Blackjack! Right now I just flip over the cards that are face down, but I hope to learn to deal them out soon! So far it’s only taken me about 5 minutes to get the basics of the tricks. I love to work for millet. It’s my favorite!

Does your mom have any advice for owning a lovebird?

All of us birds need a proper diet and vet care like any other pet. I think sometimes humans forget that we’re just as important as, and live as long or LONGER than, a dog or cat. We’re very smart and need stimulation everyday. It’s sad and lonely being locked up in a cage all the time. With someone that has time for a bird, we can be great pets, but also very messy and noisy, hehe.

Does your mom have any websites or information about lovebirds that she is interested in sharing?

My mom says there’s lot of great bird rescues out there and great birds looking for homes! Here’s a list she found of ones all over the world! http://www.avianwelfare.org/links/organizations.htm

Is there anything else you want to share about yourself?

On top of being a smart and silly lovebird, I also do great work as a therapy pet with a group called Furry Friends Pet Assisted Therapy Services. We go around to different places like nursing homes, hospitals and libraries to visit people and make them smile. I think it’s the best job in the world! Right now I visit two nursing homes and the head and neck trauma unit at the hospital here.


lovebird3

Things to Consider Before Purchasing
(Taken from: http://www.birdguys.com/pet-bird-articles-love-bird.html)

Despite the misconception, love birds can be kept as pets as single birds. If you choose to purchase only one, be prepared to give it a lot of attention or it will become bored, mischievous and quite troublesome. If you don’t have the time to spend with your love bird, then buy it a mate keeping in mind that the affection that would have been for you will now be focused on the partner.

There are numerous types of love birds- some very rare and others quite common. The easiest type of love bird to keep as a pet is the Peachfaced Love Bird.

Love birds are not talking parrots though they can be quite vocal. They are also not that cuddly though this varies from bird to bird as love birds are one species with very strong individual personalities. They can become very attached to their humans, especially when they are kept as single birds. There is some evidence that males are less jealous and territorial than females, so this too must be kept in mind when purchasing your love bird.

When looking for a bird, be sure that you choose a hand raised bird that is very comfortable with human contact. Love birds not constantly handled easily become skittish and nippy. Even a hand raised bird that is later left alone in its cage can revert back and be very difficult to re-train.

Love birds live for up to 20 years so in most cases they will be your pet for life. They cannot be housed with any other species of bird as they can be aggressive and even kill other birds.

Types of Lovebirds:
(Taken from: http://www.birdtricks.com/caring-for-lovebirds.html)
There are nine species of lovebirds; eight of the nine can be purchased as pets. The eight species available as pets are:

1. Abyssinian Lovebirds
2. Red-faced Lovebirds
3. Nyasa Lovebirds (Lilian’s)
4. Black-cheeked or Black-faced
5. Fischer’s Lovebirds
6. Masked Lovebirds (Black-masked or
7. Madagascar Lovebirds Yellow-collared Greyheaded
8. Peach-faced or Rosy-faced

Here’s a neat little chart I found at http://birdboard.com/forum/topic/245843-agapornis-types/, please click on the image to enlarge

lovebirdtypesyp5

HOUSING:
(Taken from:http://www.africanlovebirdsociety.com/lovebirdcare/)
Lovebirds need a cage which has at least two places to perch, with room to fly from one to the other. A cage with a horizontal measurement of 24 inches to 30 inches is appropriate. Anything less than 18 inches would be too small and restrictive. Perches need to be a size which is comfortable for the birds feet, not too small or too large.

It is convenient to have two sets of food and water dishes so that they can be alternated and washed each day. Water must be changed and the dish washed every day. Food dishes can stay longer, with food added each day if preferred, but food dishes do need to be completely emptied, washed, and refilled at least once a week. Caution — food dishes sometimes look full, but only have seed hulls and waste in them, with no good food for the bird!

Lovebirds need activity in the cage to stay healthy. Swings, ladders, and interlocked bamboo rings are favorites. The 6 inch cockatiel swings are the best size for lovebirds. Pet departments or stores have many choices in toys for pet birds. Avoid small toys designed for parakeets and budgies. Lovebirds have very strong beaks for chewing and can break these items. Toys designed for cockatiels and small parrots are the right size for lovebirds.

FOOD:
(Taken from:http://www.squidoo.com/lovebirdcare)
All of our birds are on a mix of roudybush pellets & a good seed mix. Plus lots of fresh foods daily. We start our birds out on fresh food as soon as we can so the birds are willing to accept a wide varitty of foods.

Lovebirds need the same size food as cockatiels and other small parrots. If you plan to feed your birds a seed mix, choose one which contains nutritional supplements to assure a “total diet” to keep birds healthy. Other less expensive seed mixes, or seeds sold for wild birds will not have all the nutrients your bird needs, although they can also be used if you provide lots of fresh foods. I do not recommend a seed only diet. Note –pellet diets like Kaytee Exact or Pretty Bird are nutritionally complete and very good for birds, though some birds will be slow to accept them. Birds that are used to seeds will need to be given adequate time to adjust and learn to eat a pellet-only diet.

Try to give fresh foods at least 3 or 4 times a week. Our birds love apples, broccoli, cabbage, kale, carrots, parsley, and spinach. You can try other vegetables and fruits, too. Our birds also like corn tortillas (not salted tortilla chips) and whole grain breads. Don’t feed anything with high fat, salt, or sugar content, like donuts, cake, or cookies. Caution — remember to remove any uneaten fresh food from the cage before it spoils.

Try to keep cuttlebone in the cage all the time to provide calcium for the bird. Millet sprays, sometimes called “seed trees” are a good treat.

lovebird1
Activities:
(taken from: http://www.mspca.org/programs/pet-owner-resources/pet-owner-guides/bird-care-adoption/bird-care-guide-lovebirds.pdf)
Lovebirds awaken with the dawn, get a drink, eat, and then immediately begin to chirp. They will generally quiet
down by mid-morning and resume their chirping in the late afternoon.
These birds are very active, flying and climbing about, gnawing on wood or chew toys, and grooming themselves
all day. They love toys of all kinds such as seed bells, swings, ladders, mirrors, shiny objects, and wooden
gnaws. They are natural paper shredders, so be sure to provide them with dye-free paper to play with. A lovebird
outside of its cage will not stay on its playpen since they like to explore. Be sure that any room that your lovebird
is playing in is free from open doors or windows, water containers such as drinking glasses and toilets/sinks and
that they are never near a hot stove. You should always monitor your bird when it is out of its cage!


Author’s Note:

Thanks to Picaroon and her mom for answering the questions, you can find her on Facebook under Picaroon the Lovebird. Pictures were used with permission. This article is a part of the Small Pets theme. 

This post is a part of the small pets theme. Please click on the badge below for more interviews/articles on small pets.
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