Ask Lafeber

Question:

July 23, 2021

Lovebird died


Hello lafeber,
I was given two lovebirds a six months ago, but sadly one has died overnight. The lady who gave them to me, said the birds were a few years old. Although she could not remember due to memory loss.
I have other birds (Indian ring necks, Budgies and Cockatiels) in a very large octagonal aviary 30m in diameter and at its peak 5m in height. The locals in my home town call it the (“Aviary Mahal”). The aviary itself had four extensions legs built off the flats 3m x 3m one of which I sectioned of for the lovebirds.
The other birds are well and are looked after like they are in a five star hotel, and the aviary is rodent and pesticide free.
I do not know, if it was a male or a female bird that died, as I could not tell them apart.
The only sign the bird showed was the day before it was sitting on the bottom of the aviary.
Although, I did notice its wing drooped a bit and had greyish hue to the feather around the eyes.
The remaining bird is ok so to speak, but what do I do now? Why would it have died?
Any assistance you could provide will, be appreciated
Regards
Dusty Miller


Answer:

Hi Dusty,

I’m so sorry your bird died. As to why, there are so many possibilities. When you saw the bird on the cage floor, with the wings drooped, this is a sign of a very sick bird. Birds will try to hide signs of illness, so once they show they are sick, they have generally been sick for several days. If it was the female, she could have been egg bound – meaning she tried to lay an egg and it got stuck. It could have been an infection of some type, or a disease. Wild birds carry diseases and parasites, and even if they can’t get in the cage, they can poop or possibly land on the cage and this can expose your birds to something. The birds could have been older than the lady remembered. Anything would be a guess. When you keep birds outdoors, there is a trade off. They get the benefit of being outside and flying in a large aviary, but there is the risk of diseases, parasites, predators or weather. I never recommend keeping a pet bird outdoors, but when you have birds that don’t like being handled, I’m sure being free in an aviary is more enriching for them than being in a cage indoors.

I’m not sure what to recommend about the remaining bird. Lovebirds can be very aggressive and would be a risk to your parakeets & cockatiels, and maybe even the ringnecks. You could try to slowly introduce a companion, but there is no guarantee they would get along. The only way to tell the sex is a bloodtest. For now, just observe the bird and make sure it is eating. With the other birds nearby, it won’t be entirely alone.

Take care,

Brenda

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