Ask Lafeber

Question:

September 11, 2019

My new born love bird


My new born love birds died one after another.3 dead ready.
We have 2 more the hatch .How to make sure they survive..We feel so sad.


Answer:

Hi Steven,

I am so sorry to hear about the chicks. It is very sad to lose a clutch at this stage.

Most likely the parents are not feeding the chicks and this can happen for several reasons. If the parents are too young, they simply don’t know what to do. Generally it is best to wait and breed them when the male is at least a year and a half and the female is at least two years old. While they can breed much earlier, they often are not mature enough to take care of the chicks or know what to do. Often even if they are old enough, they fail to feed the first clutch of chicks. Some parents never learn to feed their chicks. It is important for breeding birds to have a balanced diet and extra foods in their cage when breeding. Seed mixes are not adequate nutrition for pet or breeding birds. They need a pelleted food or a diet like we offer which is nutritionally balanced the same as a pellet while still containing whole ingredients. They also should be offered fresh fruits and veggies, multi grain bread and cooked eggs, including the egg shell. A cuttlebone is also a good idea to make sure the female gets enough calcium. There are also commercial egg foods you can find at some pet stores and you can offer them a dish of that. Usually it consists of dried eggs mixed with other ground ingredients. If they are fed only seeds, sometimes they will stuff the chicks with whole seed and it does not digest, instead impacting the crop and the chick dies.

Sometimes an inexperienced pair will injure, crush or accidentally smother the chicks by sitting too hard or scrambling around in the nest box. Some parents push the chicks aside and let them get chilled and they die. And if disturbed too much, some parents will abandon or kill the chicks. All of these are reasons why breeding birds is not easy and takes a lot of patience and some skill. Lovebird chicks are very hard to handfeed from day 1 but it is not impossible. However, you would need an expert to show you how and still they might not survive.

While it is hard to see chicks die, the best thing to do is wait and see if the parents instincts kick in. If these last two hatch and do not survive, remove the nest box immediately and give the parents about 6 months to rest and get a bit older. Then you can replace the box and let them try again. If they show signs of mating without the box, you might have to split them up for a bit and let them be in cages side by side. But I would not let them breed again right away because it is too hard on the parents and you may get the same result. If they do manage to raise these last two, then once the chicks are weaned, you still need to take the box away and give them a few months to rest. After the rest period, you can replace the box and let them try again. If they allow the chicks to die again, I would not let this pair have a nestbox and breed anymore. Some birds never make good parents. But let’s hope they just need some time to mature and figure out what to do and if not these two chicks, they figure it out with the next clutch.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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