The small lovebird is one of the most popular parrots to keep as pets.
In fact, I have many friends that have brought lovebirds into their family.
Recently a friend of mine was surprised to find an egg in her lovebird’s cage.
She hadn’t even realized she had a female!
This got me thinking about lovebird egg laying habits.
We bird lovers always want to make sure we keep our parrots in optimal health, so I knew I needed to become more informed about this tiny gem of a parrot.
Here is what I have learned about lovebirds and their reproductive cycles, including one of the most pressing questions asked by owners.
How often do lovebirds lay eggs?
Lovebirds are very frequent egg layers and can lay up to 5-6 clutches per year. Each clutch has an average of 5-6 eggs, laid every two days until the full clutch size is reached. In captivity lovebirds can lay eggs year-round, though in the wild their natural breeding season is spring and early summer.
Lovebirds usually lay eggs at night, so morning is the best time to check for eggs.
If lovebirds are a bonded pair, then the hen will lay her first egg about 10 days after mating.
Incubation takes an average of 25 days.
Female lovebirds will lay eggs even if they are not fertilized, so it is not uncommon to find eggs in the cage of a solo female lovebird.
These eggs are naturally not viable, so simply remove them from the cage.
How do I know when my lovebird will lay an egg?
Your lovebird will exhibit many clear signs if she is preparing to lay an egg.
This can happen whether or not she has a mate, so keep an eye on your lovebird.
Lovebirds reach sexual maturity between 6-12 months, so this is when you are most likely to see these behaviors.
The clearest indicator will be nesting behavior.
Your lovebird may start to gather up materials in the cage, for example tearing up paper lining to create a nest.
Watch this carefully because while not inherently harmful, they will use whatever materials are available, including feathers.
Make sure she has plenty of nesting material and isn’t picking out feathers.
What are some common egg-laying problems for lovebirds?
Unfortunately, lovebirds do commonly experience problems with egg laying.
The most common of these is egg binding.
This refers to a problem where the bird cannot expel the egg.
Essentially, it is stuck.
This is a veterinary emergency, so watch your bird closely if she is nesting.
Signs of egg binding include depression, appetite loss, and overall straining and discomfort.
If the situation becomes worse then you could even see the egg bulge where it’s unable to pass.
Solutions include giving the bird fluids and using a needle to collapse the egg and allow it to pass.
Treatment should always be provided by a vet, as this condition could become fatal.
Will my pair of lovebirds have chicks?
While female lovebirds can lay eggs without a mate, you may also have a pair of lovebirds.
The first step would be to try and figure out the gender of your birds.
If you have a male and female pair over 6 months old, then your lovebird eggs may very well be fertilized!
True to their name, lovebirds bond very closely with one another.
If you intentionally keep two lovebirds keep in mind that they bond monogamously and they bond for life.
While they can still be gentle pets, they will be more closely bonded with one another than any owner.
If you do have a bonded pair, then you should create an environment that will be safe and secure for them.
It is important to make sure your lovebirds have a stress-free, comfortable environment.
Make sure that they have a large cage with plenty of toys and stimulation.
Give each bird separate water and food dishes so that they will not be competing for nutrition.
You should also provide a nesting box and lots of nesting material.
Ideally this would be a wooden nesting box placed in a safe and comfortable place in the cage.
Suitable nesting materials include newspapers, palm leaves, dried grass, feathers, and other leaves.
If including plants or shavings always check that they are safe!
If you do find eggs, then it is possible to check and see if they are viable.
First, let your hen brood on them for at least ten days.
Then, as gently as possible, check each egg by holding it up to a light source.
If there is a membrane, the egg is fertile.
If you cannot tell then you can also place the egg in warm water and look for a membrane.
How do I keep my egg-laying lovebird healthy?
Because lovebirds are such frequent egg-layers, keeping your hen healthy is very important.
The foundation of lovebird health will always be their diet.
Ensure that she has a diverse diet, full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Calcium is a critical ingredient for lovebirds, and a deficiency in calcium can cause lots of health problems including egg binding.
Provide a cuttlebone and feed lots of calcium rich plants like dark greens, oranges, and even eggs.
Lovebirds that lay too many clutches could face health challenges.
Chronic egg laying can cause calcium deficiencies and exhaustion.
Their behavior may become depressed or aggressive.
The most important thing to do is discourage more clutches.
You can do this by shifting your lovebird’s environment.
Move them to a darker, quiet area of the house.
Try to limit their light exposure so that you can mimic the shorter days of winter when they would not naturally lay eggs in the wild.
Try to minimize handling your bird and if mated, separate the birds.
Even if they are not fertilized, leave any eggs already laid so that she can sit on her eggs rather than instinctually laying more.
Knowing about lovebird egg laying is the first step towards breeding lovebirds.
Once you have a bonded, egg-laying pair then are well on your way to welcoming newly hatched chicks into your home!