There are a few reasons a lovebird might not sit on her eggs, but the most common reason tends to be that she is too young, and isn’t mature enough to incubate the eggs. It could also be due to a range of factors like stress or even disease. A vet will likely be able to tell you.
So, there might be one or a handful of reasons that your lovebird is not sitting on her eggs.
Breeding lovebirds too early in their lives is a very common problem with lovebird owners, so this is something you need to consider first.
Let’s find out more.
Why is my lovebird not incubating her eggs?
There could be a number of reasons that your lovebird is not incubating her eggs.
Let’s look at the most common reason first.
When and how to breed a lovebird is a sensitive topic, and a few months can make a big difference in how successful they are in breeding.
What often happens is that eager lovebird owners attempt to breed their lovebirds at a very young age.
Naturally, lovebirds are not capable parents at just any age.
Like any of us, they have different things on their mind during adolescence.
They may mate and lay the eggs in the first place, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are behaviorally mature enough to nurture the eggs to hatching.
Once they’ve laid the eggs, they may simply be unsure of what to do.
They haven’t yet developed the drive to incubate, so when their eggs are laid, they aren’t sure what to do—or perhaps they just neglect them entirely.
At the very least, a lovebird should be around 18 months old before you start to think about breeding her.
Ideally, she will be closer to two years old.
At this point, she is a lot more likely to be mature enough to have the drive to incubate the eggs without any encouragement.
It is, in most instances, a simple question of maturity.
If the lovebird is old enough, she will most incubate the eggs.
That said, there’s really no guarantee of this.
Lovebird owners will tell you that some lovebirds just don’t have the instinct to be good parents in general.
This is by no means common, but it is a possibility—your lovebird just doesn’t have a strong drive to breed or incubate.
Give her a few month’s rest and try again—if she still doesn’t incubate, it’s best not to breed that lovebird anymore.
On the other hand, eliminating these two possibilities, any number of factors that are affecting the lovebird’s general behavior could be the reason she isn’t incubating her eggs.
She might just be stressed for one reason or another, she might even have a disease or illness of some kind.
What if she stopped sitting on her eggs suddenly?
Why did my lovebird stop sitting on her eggs?
If your lovebird was incubating but stopped suddenly, then this is likely a different story.
The most likely reason this would happen is simply that she has realized the egg is infertile.
The general incubation period is between 18 and 24 days—if you’ve passed that mark and the egg hasn’t hatched, then it’s likely infertile.
Your lovebird will eventually realize this, though some may have a harder time coming to terms with it than others.
In any case, if your lovebird suddenly stops sitting on the egg, it is most likely infertile and you should dispose of it once she stops sitting on it.
Do they always sit on their eggs?
Do lovebirds sit on their eggs all the time?
More or less, yes, your lovebird will sit on its eggs all the time.
During the incubation period of 18-24 days, she will sit on the eggs continuously with only small breaks here and there.
Naturally, the whole point of incubation is to keep the eggs at the temperature they need to be in order to properly develop and ultimately hatch.
While they can do on their own for a little while without their mother’s warmth, she can’t stay away for long.
So, for all intents and purposes, your lovebird should be sitting on its egg more or less all the time.
If she is not, then something is wrong, either with her or with the clutch of eggs.
There may even be an egg or two from the clutch that she doesn’t sit on, while caring diligently for the others.
That egg is likely infertile.
How long is the whole process, then?
How long do lovebirds sit on their eggs?
So, again, generally speaking, the incubation period for a lovebird is between 18 and 24 days.
This is the time it should take for the whole process to play out, from the day that your lovebird lays the eggs to the day that they begin to hatch.
During that time, she will really only get up very occasionally to stretch her legs and eat and drink.
Your lovebird will probably sit on its eggs for the majority of the day, perhaps being off them for less than an hour a day.
This can vary a lot between birds, and it’s also part of the reason younger birds have a harder time properly incubating.
Without the instinct, they don’t know how long they need to incubate, and they may let the eggs get too cold and the embryos die.
For around three weeks, then, you should expect your lovebird to be sitting on their eggs for the majority of the day.
What can you do if they aren’t incubating, then?
What to do if your lovebird is not sitting on its eggs
There are a few things you can do to try and address the problem of your lovebird not sitting on its eggs.
Again, the first thing to do is just consider the lovebird’s age.
The lovebird should be at least 18 months old, but for some this may even still be too young.
If your lovebird is less than 24 months old and won’t incubate, just wait until she gets a bit older.
If, however, your lovebird is fully mature and doesn’t want to incubate its eggs, then there are a few things you should check.
Think about the fundamentals, first of all.
Make sure she has enough food, and a good variety of it—she may even want a bit more when she is incubating all day.
Make sure she has plenty of space, is getting enough light during the day, and that she has somewhere private to incubate.
Your lovebird will want a nesting box of some kind to incubate in—just something where she can feel safe and alone.
If you’ve checked all this and still she will not incubate, then your next option is to take her to a vet.
She may be ill in some way or another in a way you can’t diagnose yourself.
If you’ve checked all these bases and she still won’t incubate, then you should just accept she is not a breeding lovebird—it is more common than you might think.
Do lovebirds abandon their eggs if you touch them?
No, your lovebird will not abandon their eggs if you touch them.
This is based in a very old myth about birds in general, that they will smell your scent on their young and abandon them if you touch them.
The truth is that birds in general have a pretty terrible sense of smell, so even if they were inclined to reject a chick because of this, they wouldn’t really be able to tell.
But the idea that birds would abandon their eggs even if they did sense you on them remains a myth in itself.
That said, you should obviously do your best to avoid touching the eggs as much as you can.
Make sure to set up somewhere comfortable that your lovebird can lay its eggs before you breed them, so that you never need to touch the eggs once they’ve been laid.
Your lovebird won’t reject her eggs if you touch them, but she won’t like you touching them, either.
So, again, there, unfortunately, is no one simple answer as to why your lovebird is not incubating her eggs.
The most common reason, undoubtedly, is that the lovebird has been bred too young, and doesn’t have a strong enough drive to incubate.
On the other hand, she might be ill or stressed in some way that is distracting her from incubating.
The only person who can tell you for sure is a vet.