Love birds! An introduction for beginners!
Let me introduce the new love in my life; Chuckey Babey is a Peach-faced Lovebird. He was my mother’s day gift from my children. He was handfed since day one.
He is just about the sweetest little bird I’ve ever seen. I've had quite a few cockatiels in the past, mainly rescue birds but also a couple hand-raised ones, but they were never as tame and loving as Chuckey Babey. I actually don't know if he's a he yet but I figure if in 10 months or so he decides to lay eggs, he is not a he and I'll drop the Chuckey part of the name and she will be know as Babey only. (As all other small birds I could get him/her DNA tested but I really do not care either way so why bother. I'm getting ahead of myself though.) This little guy/gal would much rather live in my shirt pocket or hood then in his/her cage.
Love birds are small, stocky versions of parrots, with a hooked upper beak. From what I gather the most common lovebird species worldwide is the Peach-faced Lovebird - which come in a wide array of beautiful color mutations.
There are nine species of lovebirds but only eight of them are available as pets. The Masked, Fisher, Lilian or Nyasa, Black-Cheacked, Peach-faced, Abyssinian, Red-headed, Grey-headed, and Black-collard lovebirds all average roughly the same size of 5-7.5” (12.5-19cm) and weigh in at 2 to 2.5 ounces (50-70grams). The life span of these littlest members of the parrot family can vary greatly and range from 15 to 25 years. Mainly depending on how life treats them.
A Love Bird is aptly called so as it is a very sociable little bird. If two love birds are placed together into a cage and they bond with each other, the rest of the world just doesn't matter as long as they can be close together. I was told by the breeder that if I wanted a really sweet little friend to not give him/her a bird companion as I would want him/her to bond with me. Well she, the breeder knows what she is talking about, she was right Chuckey Babey and I are a team now. If it were possible he would hang with me 24/7 and as sweet as can be curled up in my neck, sleeping in the hood of my jacket, playing with my hair, he loves to sit on top of the sewing machine and even helps 'untangle' the thread on my sewing machine (obviously the thread company doesn't know that thread should be bunched together in a big ball instead of on a spool). He loves to drink my coffee, hates beer but keeps going back to test it, just in case the taste has improved in the last couple of minutes. He sits beside my plate and shares my lunch. (his fave is banana on toast--obviously an Elvis fan) But what gets me each time is that whenever he finds a fabulous piece of fruit or a big plump raisin in his food dish he flutters over to me with it and gives it to me to share.
Now don't get me wrong a Love Bird can get out of sorts too...then watch out for that sharp parrot beak of his. He's not at all above giving you a good nip when you've displeased him in any which way or form. ( Like stayed away from home too long, played with the dogs instead of him or forgot to open the cage door when HE thought it was time to come out.) If I'm cooking or vacuuming, when there is company in the house (the ones that do not know how to close the sliding door when they go out on the deck) then Chuckey babey has to be in his cage with the door closed. According to him that is a mortal sin. He goes in and out of his cage all day long and even plays with his toys in there but heaven forbid I close him in. Without a doubt he lets me know that that is unacceptable in his eyes.
A Love bird is a seed, vegetable and fruit eater so with other words a vegetarian. The breeder suggested that I start giving him a mixture of fruit and vegetables from small on so he would get used to it. He loves celery, carrots, broccoli, spinach and parsley. Lettuce and cauliflower do not interest him one bit. The tiny little cubes of dried papaya are the first to get eaten out of his seed mix. He prefers the large Thompson raisins to the sultanas ones, any fresh fruit except oranges. Watermelon, watch out, he takes a dive into it then he needs a bath as he's all sticky . Cantaloupe he loves and honey dew so so, only if there isn't anything else. Now if I want to give Chuckey babey the treat of all treats I give him berries...straw berries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries.... any of them he'll go absolutely bonkers over.
He likes plain popcorn while we watch TV and sunflower seeds while we read with an occasional piece of the book just to mark how far he read on the page. The sudoku and crossword puzzle booklets are also a favorite treat. (I think that proves Chuckey babey is an intellectual and very smart...wouldn't you agree?)
He even loves to go for car or train rides. When I go visiting overnight he comes along, he just sit on his little swing and watches the world go by with wide open eyes and not a pips of complaining the whole trip. He loves to spend time with my granddaughters and there he can also visit with his sibling Gonzo. (My daughter also got a love bird for 'moms day'... it was quite a trick when she was doing all the arranging for mine and my son-in-law called the breeder and arranged for a second bird).
Everyday life with Chuckey Babey is interesting and full of fun. He loves to be a little ham, he plays peek-a-boo, he jumps and flutters from here to there. Obviously I do not have the ceiling fans on when he is out and about, but he loves nothing more then when momentum makes it rotate slowly. At times I push the ceiling fan paddles with the broom handle and he goes round and round. He is just like a kid on the merry-go-round at the playground. When it slows down to a stop he chirps loud enough until I push it again.
He taunts the dogs, tweaks their noses, plucks at the ears, pulls at their fur and then settles in for a quick siesta snooze in the Shit tzu's soft warm fur. Chuckey Babey sits on the windowsill chatters with the birds outside through the open window. I'm not sure if his dialect is the same as that of the outside birds but they seem to be answering him back .
Love Birds, like cockatiels and budgies are totally messy, messy, messy. The seed hulls get flung around in an at least two foot perimeter from the cage but their companionship is well worth that little inconvenience of 'flung food' (my granddaughter calls it).
Love birds need a good sized cage so they are able to perform their acrobatics. They need a lots of toys so they do not get bored. Keep changing them every day then it's like getting a new toy daily. The parrot toys are great. Make sure you buy them from a reputable store because you do not want your babies to play with items that are painted with lead filled paint. Chuckey Babey even plays with cat toys, he especially loves the ones that have bells in them. His 'sleeping bag' is an out-grown hat from my daughters that I hung in his cage by the ties. A piece of the dryer vent hose (you know the 5 or 6" diameter that has the wire spiral in it and leads from the dryer to the window for heat and dust exhaust) is his favorite. He plays in his tunnel daily.
There is not much more I can tell you about this little friend of mine yet. Except that from now on I'm sold on Love Birds. They are totally lovable little clowns that just love to ham it up, then become mischievous little imps that want to nibble on a beauty spot or two, then they are little cuddle bugs that can't get close enough to snuggle, all within an hour.
Update! 4 Months...
It's been over four months now that the Chuckster has been my 'new love interest'. He now has developed into his/her new personna...
He/she is a total little clown who loves nothing more then to ham it up, then becomes a mischievous little imp that wants to nibble on a beauty spot or two, then he/she bcomes a little cuddle bug who can't get close enough to snuggle, all within an hour...............
Funny that almost feels as if I've said that already...I did...in the last paragraph...well sorry but that's what Chuckey is all about. He is a loving little companion that I would not trade for the world.
Chuckey Babey is a boy.... yup without a doubt. My daughters little friend Gonzo (rechristened Gonzette) as it turned out she's a girl. There is quite a difference between the two... lucky for me the Chuck-meister has stayed his loving self but watch out for the little girl lovebirds.... they can be quite moody and snippy. She's been laying eggs and then sitting on them for hours on end (obviously without any results as she doesn't have a 'beau' in her life.) (I've not been taking Chuckey over as they're both toooooo young for any kind of serious commitment... haha). She shreds every little scrap of paper into tiny little pieces ... for nesting purposes... funny to watch actually. she ripes them into long stripes first in the bottom of the cage... stuffes them under her wing then jumps into her hat (her nest) and uses the strip to build additions onto her nest.
Quite great little birds.
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