My friend came over the other day to chat and we got talking, as we almost always do, about our parrots.
We went in to see my lovebirds and how they were doing, and my friend was shocked to see that I didn’t have a nesting box for them.
He told me he had always assumed you needed to have one, and that he had always had one for his.
I had never really heard that it was necessary to have a nesting box for lovebirds, so I decided to look into it.
So, do lovebirds need a nesting box?
Lovebirds only need a nesting box if you plan to breed them. They don’t need a nest to sleep in—they will usually sleep on perches. Lovebirds do not need a nesting box to sleep or for any part of their everyday life. They just need perches and some bedding at the bottom of the cage.
Though many of us tend to assume that birds need a nesting box to sleep in, lovebirds certainly do not.
Indeed, most parrots, and most adult birds, do not sleep in a nest unless they have eggs or hatchlings.
Otherwise, they just sleep perched.
Let’s look further into this.
Do lovebirds need a nest to sleep in?
No, they don’t. Lovebirds do not sleep in nests or nesting boxes, generally.
They tend to sleep perched, as they would on a tree in the wild.
While they may enjoy hanging out in a nesting box during some times of the day, it’s not really necessary.
It certainly isn’t necessary for them to sleep in.
Nesting boxes are a common fixture of cages, but they’re only necessary if you are breeding your lovebirds.
They will want somewhere enclosed they can lay their eggs, but this is about it, really.
Nesting boxes aren’t otherwise much use, and you should only really have one if you are planning to breed them.
As I said, it is generally a good idea to have some form of nesting material in the cage.
They may choose to sleep in it, but they are just fine at the bottom of the cage, and do not need an actual nest or nesting box.
Plenty of perches, at varying heights, is the best way to give your lovebird choice of where it sleeps.
They like to sleep high up, rather than low down, as they would in trees.
Can lovebirds lay eggs without a nesting box?
They can, although if you are actively trying to breed your lovebirds, then you should ideally have a nesting box.
They will feel more inclined to incubate a brood if they have somewhere enclosed they could go.
This is a safety instinct, as enclosed spaces are less exposed to predators.
Lovebirds will often just lay eggs at seemingly random intervals, though, even if they aren’t fertilized.
They can do this with or without a nesting box, though it’s not all that common.
As I said, nesting boxes are really only for breeding.
If you are trying to produce chick lovebirds, then you’re going to have a much easier time if you do so with a nesting box.
But they still do not need it for sleeping.
What do I need to give lovebirds for nesting?
If you are breeding them, then there are many choices of things you can give them for nesting.
It can be hard to know what’s the right choice, so let’s look at a few options.
Saw dust is always a good go-to. As long as it is decomposed and non-toxic, it makes a handy nesting material that they can easily move around and rearrange, and that will keep them warm and their eggs healthy.
The other common choice is corn cob, which is a favored nesting material of many, many species.
Shredded newspaper is also a great option, and even cheaper than saw dust most of the time.
Be sure to shred it up thoroughly.
Straw, dried grass or wood shavings are other good choices.
Make sure the wood shavings are nice and large, so that the birds or the chicks don’t accidentally eat the wood chips.
What does a lovebird need in its cage?
Firstly, they need a lot of space.
They’re highly active birds, so they will need a lot of space to play around in their cage.
The other important thing is perches.
At least four perches per pair is a good rule of thumb, giving them plenty of choices and not having to compete over the perches.
They also need water dishes, as well as a separate area for a bath.
They should really drink and bathe in different containers, although this isn’t always easy to stick to for them!
Then, just plenty of other toys and things to play with.
They are highly active and intelligent birds, and so they need stimulation both from their bird companion, you, and all their toys.
With all this, you’re good to go—no need for a nesting box!
Nesting boxes are unnecessary except for breeding, then.
Even then, it’s entirely possible they will lay eggs without a nesting box.
But if you do want to breed them, then a nesting box is good advice.
Otherwise, give them some material in case they feel like snuggling, but for the most part, they will simply happily sleep on their perches in the cage.
There’s no need to give them a nesting box.