Ask Lafeber


March 17, 2023

Nobody knows what’s happening to my lovebird.

I have taken my lovebird to 4 highly qualified Avian vets, they have run every test possible on her, crop swabs, fecal gram stains, x-rays, countless blood exams, cloaca swabs.

She has this odd behavioral issue that they’ve at this point simply ruled behavioral or hormonal-
she’s a single lovebird, she’s 8, but she has chronic regurgitation. It’s all day, and she has these fits of regurgitating- it’s usually dry, like nothing will even come out. Occasionally She regurgitates this white milky fluid and rubs it on all her toys and cage bars with her beak. Or sometimes her food will be what she produces. She naps a lot during the day, she spends all her time, eating, sleeping, and regurgitating- more than she does anything else. She still occasionally plays and is active- but it’s mostly this.
Again, she’s perfectly healthy according to the exams. She doesn’t lose any weight.
They have no idea what else to do, so even they told me to rule it as behavioral and leave it alone.


Hi Lucia,

This actually sounds hormonal to me. Some lovebirds can become chronic regurgitators, just like some become chronic egg layers. Are you certain she is a female? Has she ever laid eggs? If not, have to ever had a DNA test to determine her gender?If there haven’t been eggs and hasn’t had the DNA test, don’t assume she is female. Male lovebirds are usually the one who regurgitate like this, but some female will.

Fortunately there are hormone treatments that may help if she is definitely a female. I would recommend discussing a hormone implant for her. There are also injections, but the implant works better and tends to last longer. It is very successful for stopping egg laying, but I’m not sure about other hormonal behaviors, so this is why you should discuss it. There are definitely some changes you can try that can stop or minimize hormonal behavior. I would recommend trying them to see if it helps. If she has any toys that she “feeds” a lot, then you should probably take those away. I would also remove any mirrors.

You need to do all of these things to discourage breeding behavior. Keep in mind that hormone triggers are longer daylight, warmer weather, abundant food, and a quiet, private environment. Your goal is to reverse these conditions.

Limit her light to 8-10 hours by covering the cage early each evening

Do not give her anything to use as a nest – no bird huts or tents, no box, bowl, etc. If she decides to sit in a food bowl, remove it and replace with smaller cups.

Do not give her anything to shred such as paper or cardboard.

Rearrange the toys in the cage frequently.

Move the cage to a different place in the room. Move the cage about once a week, or whenever she starts back up with the regurgitating.

If you feed a lot of fresh foods, stop offering any for a couple of weeks, and then only offer them in small amounts about 2 or 3 times a week. You can resume normal feeding later when she isn’t the birds aren’t being hormonal.

When she is let out of the cage, do not let her get in any dark cozy places and don’t give her free roam.

When you handle her, limit any petting to only the head and neck – do not pet her on the body. Only a bonded mate is allowed to groom the body. We can’t be a mate, so touching the body is off limits.

If there is no metal floor grate, then do not use any bedding or paper in the cage tray – leave it bare and clean it daily. This keep her from thinking of it as a large nest.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


Subscribe to our newsletter

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter