Last Updated on: 27th September 2023, 08:49 am
A male lovebird will court a female during the breeding season. If the hen accepts his invitation, the pair will be instinctively driven to breed to advance the species.
If you intend to breed lovebirds, get a bonded pair of reproductive age (usually around 10 months old).
The breeder will give you a lovebird breeding chart for a bonded pair. This will have vital information about their names, ages, sexes, species, pedigree and parentage, and color mutations.
As you breed the pair, keep adding to the chart to create a family tree. Note which lovebirds you’ve mated and whether the coupling was successful and led to healthy eggs and hatchlings.
Avoid mating siblings with each other because inbreeding leads to weak and unhealthy chicks. Also, don’t crossbreed different species of lovebirds because this can lead to unfertile offspring.
Do Lovebirds Breed Easily?
Lovebirds are among the easiest parrots for a novice or beginner to breed.
They’re usually monogamous, bonding with a single partner for life, hence their name. If bonded partners are of the opposite sex, they will likely mate in captivity.
Do Lovebirds Have a Mating Season?
Breeding season for wild lovebirds is species-specific.
African lovebirds like Fischer’s lovebirds (Agapornis fischeri) breed during the dry season at the turn of the year until midsummer. Peach-faced lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis) mate during the spring and fall.
Captive lovebirds can mate at any time of year if the environment meets their needs.
Spring is considered the optimal time to breed lovebirds because the temperature will better meet the needs of the embryos once the eggs have been laid.
How Do You Know When Lovebirds Are Ready To Breed?
Lovebirds have courtship rituals that are indicative that they’re ready to breed. Check for mating behavior in lovebirds because they’ll likely mate shortly afterward:
- Preening and parading, demonstrating strength and virility through bright and healthy feathers.
- Sharing perches, only leaving each other’s side when gathering food or lining the nesting box.
- Allogrooming, with each bird helping the other to maintain its appearance.
- Mutual feeding involves the hen opening her beak and the male regurgitating food.
- Building a nest or lining a nesting box if one has been provided.
As explained by Behavior, females are likelier to respond to the call of a bonded mate.
These could be demonstrations of affection between 2 bonded lovebirds and won’t always lead to mating. Usually, these actions will immediately precede breeding.
How Long Does It Take Lovebirds To Mate?
Most lovebirds reach sexual maturity at 10 months old. Many breeders keep lovebirds until they reach this age because they anticipate that buyers will want to breed them.
Once lovebirds are sexually mature, they won’t automatically start breeding. The two birds must form a strong bond before mating, which takes time for the pairing to establish.
Not all pairings will get along. Even if they bond, they may not breed successfully.
How Do You Breed Lovebirds?
Let nature take its course if the lovebirds are bonded and ready to breed. However, the two birds are considerably likelier to mate successfully if you follow these steps:
While this sounds obvious, you must ensure the breeding pair is a male and a female. Same-sex lovebirds can bond and become close companions but obviously can’t reproduce.
A lovebird breeding chart will provide the information you need (if you get lovebirds from a breeder). If you lack this information, apply for Polymerase Chain Reaction DNA testing.
This service is available online. You’ll be asked for a DNA sample for each bird, like a feather from the bird’s plumage. This will be used to determine the lovebird’s X and Y chromosomes.
Healthy And Strong
Before allowing lovebirds to make, take them to the vet for a health check-up. If both lovebirds have a clean bill of health, you can safely proceed with breeding.
If a health issue is revealed in one or both lovebirds, it’s advisable not to proceed. Many avian diseases are hereditary and will be passed onto their chicks, possibly leading to embryo mortality.
Female lovebirds need more mineral-rich food during the breeding season.
Egg production is a resource-intensive process. If a bird doesn’t get enough calcium, it’ll lead to decalcification of the skeleton (osteoporosis), where the bones become fragile and break easily.
Insufficient calcium leads to weak and vulnerable soft-shelled eggs, leaving the hen at risk of becoming egg-bound (dystocia). Non-dairy foods, like kale and collard green, will be beneficial.
You could also provide calcium supplements or attach a cuttlefish bone to the inside of the cage.
Lovebirds usually mate in the spring when it’s warmer, the days are lighter, and food is plentiful. Sun exposure is essential for vitamin D3 synthesis and calcium absorption.
Avoid covering the cage early in the evening because this suppresses the hormonal desire to breed. Also, under your supervision, put the bird’s cage in a sunny (partially shaded) place outside for a few hours.
Prepare A Nesting Box
Wild lovebirds lay their eggs in dark, secluded locations like hollowed trees or logs, so you must replicate this nesting setup in captivity as well as possible.
A lovebird nesting box should be solid and no smaller than 12 inches on each side.
The box needs an entrance of around 3 inches, so it’s large enough for a lovebird but not so big that other animals could easily access it (if they were living in the wild).
This nesting box should contain lining material, like shredded paper or Aspen shavings. The hen may remove some of her feathers to insulate the best if you don’t provide lining.
How Do I Know if My Lovebirds Are Mating?
Following a successful courtship, the male lovebird clicks his beak and approaches the hen from behind. The male will place one foot on the hen’s wings to hold her in place and mount.
Both lovebirds will then open their wings to maintain balance.
When lovebirds are in season, the cloaca – an orifice that releases avian waste and eggs – will be swollen. They’ll push their swollen cloacas together (called a cloacal kiss).
If the breeding is successful, sperm will be transferred from the male’s cloaca to the hen’s. This is transported to the hen’s oviduct, and an egg is formed.
This may take seconds, at which point the male will dismount the hen.
How Often Do Lovebirds Breed?
If you maintain optimum breeding conditions, lovebirds may mate several times a year. It’s surprisingly common for captive lovebirds to lay eggs 5-6 times in 12 months.
Just because lovebirds can breed this often doesn’t mean they should. Breeding lovebirds excessively reduces the body’s calcium stores, making complications from further laying likelier.
Some parrots become chronic egg-layers, to the detriment of their health and well-being.
What Happens After Lovebirds Breed?
In the immediate aftermath of breeding, a hen may be less affectionate toward her mate. She may become more territorial and protective of food while continuing to line the nesting box.
The lovebird will lay her first egg about 7-10 days after copulation.
How Many Eggs Do Lovebirds Lay at a Time?
The average clutch of eggs for a lovebird is 4 to 7. However, a lovebird won’t lay all her eggs at once. Lovebirds release an egg every 24-48 hours until all eggs have been laid.
If the eggs are fertile, both parents will take turns sitting on them. If the lovebirds seem disinterested, the eggs may be diseased or unfertilized. You can check if an egg has an embryo by ‘candling’ it.
A few days after the egg has hatched, hold it a foot away and shine a small flashlight against the shell. If the egg is fertilized, you’ll see red veins within the shell and a small, dark shape. This is the embryo.
Unfertilized eggs will have a yellow yolk but no spider-like veins.
How Can I Keep Lovebird Embryos Alive?
Lovebirds’ eggs usually take 18-24 days to hatch. If the egg hasn’t hatched after 28 days, it’s unlikely that the embryo survived and evolved into a healthy chick.
Common causes of embryo mortality in lovebirds include:
- Illness has spread from the parents or nearby eggs.
- A lack of calcium leads to weak, misshapen eggshells.
- An absence of warmth after laying or excess heat before hatching.
- Impact on the egg, like rolling out of a nesting box, causing physical damage.
- Unsanitary conditions cause bacterial infection.
- A lack of ventilation or humidity makes it impossible for the chicks to breathe.
- Tough eggshells can’t be pipped, leading to oxygen deprivation.
Not all the lovebirds’ eggs will hatch, so these small birds lay multiple eggs per clutch.
Why Aren’t My Lovebirds Breeding?
If the lovebirds aren’t mating and producing fertilized eggs, you must find out why this is the case.
Lovebird breeding problems include the following:
- Incorrected sexing (two males or two females have been paired).
- One or both lovebirds are infertile.
- The female considers the male unhealthy.
- Incompatible pairing (they don’t get along).
- Insufficient light and warmth.
- Not fed a nutritionally balanced diet.
A lovebird can lay a single unhealthy egg, but if the entire clutch doesn’t hatch (and it has happened several times), try a different pairing to see if this yields more favorable results.