how to breed love birds at home

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The amount of time and energy you have is the most crucial factor to take into account before choosing to breed lovebirds. Breeding birds must be in optimal health; they cannot be kept in filthy cages or fed only seed. They need to be fed a varied and healthful diet. A good pellet mix like Dr. D’s or Mazuri and a premium seed blend like Volkman are essentially just supplements. The fresh veggies and grains are what will keep your birds healthy enough to produce eggs and raise robust offspring.

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See our nutrition page and recipe page for suggested diets.

Read How to Buy a Bird for details on how to obtain high-quality, healthy breeding stock.


Lovebirds are not sexually dimorphic. This means that merely observing a lovebird will usually not reveal whether it is a male or female. There are some minor variations between males (cocks) and females (hens), but for each trait I list, there is someone out there who will tell you they have occasionally seen that same trait in the other sex. DNA testing is the most accurate way to determine a lovebird’s sex. To do this, you must first order a kit from one of the many laboratories and draw blood from your bird. The simplest method for doing this is to slightly clip a toenail higher than usual. Make sure you have flour or styptic powder on hand in case the blood flow stops when you’re done. This self-testing generally costs between $15 and $22. For those of you who are squeamish, many bird shops will collect the sample, send it to the lab, and provide you with the results. This typically doubles your cost, though some stores only charge $5 for shipping. 00 sample-taking fee. Granted, this may be your best option if your lovebirds are the biting kind. Veterinary specialists for birds will, of course, take samples, but if you’re testing a large number of birds, the expense may be too high.

Hens differ visually from males in a few ways, including: hens typically stand wider on the perch, they tend to be slightly bigger, and their wider pelvic bones can be felt (gently!) with the index finger. Additionally, the hen’s pelvic bones have a tendency to move slightly when touched, which facilitates the passage of eggs.

Moreover, hens will tuck nesting material under their wings to carry it to the nesting box, but cocks will shred it if you put it in a cage. Males will try to do this, usually unsuccessfully.

Again, there are going to be exceptions to these universal traits.


Lovebirds can be bred in two different ways: either by individual pairs in separate breeding cages, or by large aviary groups. I employ the latter technique because I want to meticulously regulate the color changes in my lovebirds. Additionally, having separate cages for lovebirds makes it much simpler to “keep the peace” among them. When it’s breeding season, you can take pairs out of their flight cages and put them in smaller cages that are better suited for breeding. Obviously, the bigger the cage the better. The birds ought to be able to “beat their wings” without constantly colliding with objects. They should be able to climb and play for exercise. You’re probably not in a position to breed birds right now if you don’t have enough space for this.

A common belief is that providing toys and similar items will deter birds from nesting. This doesn’t seem to be the case in my opinion, and birds that live in a variety of environments are happier and thus more likely to be good parents. Remember that lovebirds are feisty, clownish animals that require a suitable “stage” for their antics.

The nestbox is your next consideration. Although many people use large parakeet or cockatiel boxes, I’ve discovered that English budgie nesting boxes work best for me. These open on the side via sliding, two-part door. There is a small elevated platform at the entrance, followed by a lower area where the hen will make her nest. These are nice because the hen won’t be crowded while she is nesting and the cock can sit on the perch over the raised platform or sleep directly on it. Because they dive on the raised platform first and then descend to the nesting area, I believe it also reduces the likelihood that eggs will be cracked in the event of a panicked rush into the nestbox.

Make sure the sliding doors on your nesting box are not “swollen,” as this will make it very challenging to examine the eggs. I take the doors out of the grooves, file or sand down the edges, then replace them and check to see if they slide easily. If you don’t have to wiggle and force the door open every time you want to take a peek, your hens will be less agitated. You can decide whether to keep the piece of concave wood that is typically included with budgie nesting boxes or not. Lovebirds typically don’t need nests because they build rather elaborate ones. To prevent eggs from rolling around in the nestbox, you might want to keep this wooden piece if your lovebird is a sluggish nest builder.

I use wire cutters to make a hole in the cage wall after hanging the nestbox outside. Make sure to round off any jagged edges on the sliced wire. Ensure that the rain won’t wet the nestbox. I use plexiglass to cover my outdoor cages year-round. It shields them from intense heat in the middle of summer and keeps them dry when it rains.


For lovebird eggs to hatch successfully, humidity is crucial. Wetted palm fronds are provided as nesting material by numerous lovebird breeders in Southern California, an area known for its extreme dryness. This is a favorite food of lovebirds, who will tear apart the long fronds and tuck them under their wings until they resemble tiny pin cushions. After that, they carry them into the nestbox and start constructing their nests. I also occasionally use dried grasses, eucalyptus, and shredded, unscented white paper towels. For the nest, lovebirds will also use their own lost feathers. Even after the eggs are laid, I keep providing nesting material because it helps to maintain the proper humidity level and keeps the nest fresher (the wetted fronds do this) Pet supply stores also sell nesting materials, but these are not really necessary purchases. I manage this by only using palm trees in my yard, but please keep in mind not to give leaves of any poisonous plants or plants that have been treated with insecticides! This might be challenging if you don’t live in a southern climate, but you can look into suitable, nonpoisonous alternatives in your area.


It should be clear to you by now that I am talking about outdoor breeding. Not everyone has this choice because the climate elsewhere is not as mild as it is in Southern California. There are some particular factors to take into account if you intend to breed birds indoors, such as how much “sunlight” the birds will get during the day. Investing in specialty lights for this use is a smart move because they more closely resemble the sun than standard incandescent bulbs. These can be easily obtained through a catalog or at bird supply stores. Look for advertisements in BIRD TALK magazine or even on any online avian suppliers.


Lovebirds are busy-bodies. Without hesitation, they will ply every other bird’s business with their noses. I think it’s ideal for lovers to be able to hear but not see one another. I put opaque barriers between cages. Naturally, they make a point of “visiting” their neighbors, and some couples have gotten really good at moving these partitions, which operate similarly to sliding doors. I then use clips to keep them in place.


The health and quality of your lovebird breeding pairs and offspring are determined by their nutrition. It is what, after you have selected healthy, genetically diverse stock for breeding pairs, ultimately determines the quality of your offspring. Diet must be largely fresh, whole foods. Feeding wheatgrass to lovebirds is the easiest way to provide them with a healthy diet rich in greens. To learn more about wheatgrass, please visit our page on it. It will save you time and money. Most lovebirds will take to it quickly. It requires little maintenance (just a little “grass” to pick up), is simple to feed, and provides an extensive range of vitamins and minerals. We recommend that you buy Ann Wigmore’s inexpensive book, which will teach you how to grow it yourself.

Additionally, we feed Volkman’s Hookbill Super, Roudybush pellets, Crazy Corn (lovebirds especially enjoy Kung Fu Yum and Rainforest Rice Pudding), corn on the cob, sprouted beans and seeds (lovebirds especially enjoy sunflower sprouts), brown rice, and other vegetables and grains. In terms of triggering mating behavior, the fresher the vegetables, the more “stimulating” they are. For birds, fresh food signals the arrival of spring in the same way that longer daylight hours do.


Other than stating the obvious, I don’t think this topic needs much explanation: if the perch is loose, the male can’t make good “contact” with the female. They could perform the dance, but it will be ineffective. You get the picture.


Bacterial infections, inadequate nutrition, the hen not sitting on the eggs (cold eggs), infertility, etc. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out why some eggs simply don’t hatch. According to my observations, one or two eggs typically just don’t hatch. It’s usually the last eggs laid. Consider the obvious: a hen lays six eggs. The first few are going to get the “best stuff”. This may seem basic, but in the natural world, the smallest baby frequently does not survive; thus, the term “runt.” A few runts I had eventually fared pretty well; they just needed more attention and a longer weaning period. The youngest in the clutch has produced some of my sweetest and best-loved children. Nature knows best. Not all eggs are meant to hatch. Of course, you should be concerned if none of your eggs hatch. However, I don’t think it would be too concerning if one or two didn’t hatch in a pinch; I believe that many people overreact to this. I assure you that not all eggs in nature hatch every time.


You can spot it when you see it: a poor chick with its legs spread wide apart from its body, unable to gain balance and sit up with its legs correctly beneath its body. Splay legs can be very traumatic for the novice breeder. The best course of action in this case is to PREVENT it. A simple substrate for the nest box should be provided, even for the most skilled nest builders. I recommend Care Fresh. It is nontoxic and easy to get. Put about 2-3 inches into the nest box. Then give the hen nest-building materials. She will build her next on top of the substrate. This keeps the chicks from getting stuck on the slick wooden floor at the bottom of the nestbox where they can’t get a firm grip. Additionally, it protects them from overbearing mothers who place excessive pressure on them. If the chicks in the nest are already hitting the wooden floor, remove the chicks and the mother’s nest (try to keep it mostly intact), add two to three inches of Care Fresh, replace the mother’s nest on top of the substrate, and then replace the chicks. Problem solved. The best course of action for babies with splay legs is to double band the legs, tie the legs together under the body with dental floss, and place the infant in a cushioned cup to help hold it in the correct position. Since the string between the legs can strangle other chicks in the nest, it is obvious that this calls for removing the baby from the nest and handfeeding it apart from the others. If things are tough for you, take the child to the veterinarian. Since these birds are frequently severely crippled and will require special cages and ongoing assistance throughout their lives, you do not want to disregard this.


All of my lovebird babies are raised by hand to become gentle, devoted companions. I have some gorgeous color mutations, so sometimes people buy these adorable babies and let them “go wild” so they can breed them. Hand-raised lovebirds are incredibly easy to breed, in contrast to some other parrot species. Please visit our page, Raising Baby Lovebirds, for more details on this next stage of lovebird breeding.

Read Part II: Hand-Feeding Baby Lovebirds

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Nesting Requirements

A nest box is required for lovebirds to lay their eggs. A lovebird’s nest should measure roughly 12 inches on each side, with an entrance hole that is roughly 3 inches in diameter. The nest box should be filled with appropriate nesting material, such as shredded paper.

How Do Birds Mate?

After mating, female lovebirds lay five to twelve eggs. Until they are all laid, many lay one egg every other day. Each clutch usually contains between three and seven eggs.