Our mission is to help bird owners of all types of parrots make a better life for their FIDs (Feathered Kids). We know that a happy & healthy bird makes for the best relationship you can have with your bird!

We are the owners of an awesome E-Bird store (stuff for all birds of all sizes!) and Lovebird Aviary in Cary, NC. Our birds are quite popular because of their temperaments and socialization. Our dear Angel passed away on July 30th, 2007 and we lost our Evee on September 11, 2013. We have retired from breeding but are advocates of fostering and adoption!

One Stop Birdie Shopping!

One Stop Birdie Shopping!
Click to check it out!

True Love Aviary's Family

Highlights from 2005-2009


D&S: Retired; RIP Sierra

C&M: Retired; RIP Cody

Check out more pictures and stories by clicking on "Older Posts" at the bottom of the current posts!

Our Birdroom!

BeBe's Set-up for 1 Lovebird!

1 Cockatiel or 2 Lovebird Set-up

Parakeet or Budgie Set-up

Amazon Parrot Set-up

About our lovebirds:

WE NO LONGER SELL OR RAISE BABIES. The below were our guidelines when we did:
  • *They are pulled from the nest box at ~14 days old.
  • *Handfed by us with Roudybush Handfeeding Formula.
  • *Fully weaned and vet checked by a Board-Certified Avian Veterinarian before sold. The vet check is included in the adoption fee.
  • *Fed only the best: Nutriberries, Avicakes, Roudybush Crumble, Crazy Corn, Beak Appetit, & a mixture of fruits/veggies/sprouts/wheatgrass.
  • *Sold only as pets. We do not sell them for breeding as they are tame and well-socialized for human interaction!
  • *When you adopt from us you get (on top of having a vet-checked bird) a care package that includes: a birth certificate, a handmade toy, extra shredables, a week's worth of food/treats, as much time as you need the day you come and pick up your baby for questions & explanations, the ability to come in and play with your baby before they wean, a care guide, and a 15-20+ year relationship with us (if you want it) for questions, help, and products.
  • *We do not ship, but you can come to us! Our babies have gone home to a variety of places (check out the side bar item: Where have our lovie babies gone to live?).
  • Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Taming Lovebirds/Parrots

    This is the article Rodney wrote in response to someone trying to tame their "wild" lovie:

    My Experiences Getting Parrots to Trust Me

    I understand exactly what it is like to want a relationship with a parrot who doesn't want one with me. When I started my life with parrots, the majority of the birds on the market were untamed, wild-caught birds. They where just stripped from their homes and shoved into small cages in a pet store. I can still see their eyes resonating with fear in my mind. The books on "taming" gave advice like restraining them in towels or holding them with gloves so you would not get bitten. Unfortunately, even books by well-known authors today give the same advice. One thing I just read from "Parrots for Dummies" is to towel your birds and scoop them up placing them on your knees. It sounds like good advice, but it isn't. Every time I had to towel a bird, they were breathing heavily in a panic. Would this work on people or even a cat or dog? No. Cats and dogs are so called "domesticated,"(even though I could argue with that!) but birds are not domesticated animals. They live by a code: flight or fight when it comes to defending themselves to live another day. In my experience with all types of species with parrots, I have discovered this one thing about taming parrots: you don't tame a bird; you get them to trust and love you.

    I have worked with one of the most dangerous birds in the entire world. It was a Greater-Sulfur Crested Cockatoo named Louie. Louie was 20 years old and caught from the wilds of Australia. He was purchased by a man for breeding only. When the breeder decided to no longer breed birds, he stripped Louie of his mate, shoved him in a dark basement, and fed him nothing but wild bird seed and dog food. When I got him he was so scarred that he screamed every time I approached his cage. The scream of a cockatoo is deafening and rips straight to the heart. If Louie were to bite me, I knew for a fact that it meant a trip to the hospital. Because of the structure of the beak, a cockatoo’s bite is worst than a macaws. Louie was a biter not a flyer. The first thing that I did for Louie was clip his wings, nails, and got his beak groomed Even though I know how to do all this, I did not do it myself so he would not have the grudge with me. I had my vet do it so it would seem like I came to his rescue when it was over. (We still do this for my lovebirds, and they come just a running back to their mom and dad.) After the grooming, I bought him a playpen to go on top of his cage so he would eventually have something to do while he was out of the cage.

    I placed his cage in a soothing part of the house and at night I placed him in my bedroom. Birds sleep with their flock not predators. If a bird sees you sleeping they will see that you are not out to get them. This makes a big difference compared to you leaving them for 8-12 hours alone at night in another room and then invading their territory (the cage) in the morning. In the wild, lovebirds constantly watch out for predators or invaders from other birds in their space. When you got your lovebird, did you first hold him a lot, and then missed a few days letting him entertain himself in his cage? Lovebirds and other parrots need daily interaction so they will not only stay sweet, but also form a bond with their human. They need to feel like they need their human, their mate. If you leave the bird in its cage, he feels that he has no use for you. So, when he sees people he thinks of one thing: to defend his territory from an invader. What would we do if a strange person invaded our homes? We would freak out also. That’s what your lovebird is doing; simply defending his territory.

    Evee, our 7 month old Dutch Blue started becoming very independent when she discovered her security with flight. She was like” “Why do I have to step-up when I can just fly to where I want to go. And right now, I don’t want you.” So we clipped her wings and now she loves coming to us; even when we don’t want her to sometimes. She will flutter or climb to us from her playpen. Now that she is getting her wings back, she flies to us instead of away. Clipping wings is an attitude adjustment for lovebirds. After Angel got her wings clipped, she let children pet her. Evee will defend her cage after we put her to bed at 7:30-8:00 even though we taught her to step-up from inside her cage since she was a baby. But after bed time, we know not to mess with her. We do not give her the opportunity to bite. We simply kiss her goodnight, tell her we love her, place her in her cage within her tent, and leave her alone. When she is having out of her cage time during the day, we do not force head rubs on her, she lets us know by nuzzling her head between our fingers. Since we don’t force her to do anything, she has no reason to ever bite us. And because of that, she is one of the sweetest little lovebird girls ever. She will also let strangers and children hold her. The only reason we even had an issue with Evee is because she is the runt of our flock. The other lovebirds are larger than her so she naturally has to have a way to defend herself. Our other birds have established their status in the flock so they do not have to resort to biting as much as Evee. Evee then carried that biting to her human part of the flock as well. Now we don’t give Evee a chance to bite. We always stay two steps ahead of her and know the situations when she will most likely bite. If she does bite, I show no reaction at all. If there is a reaction, then a bird will know it needs to bite more often to get what it wants.

    So don’t let your lovebird ever have a reason to bite and if she does, show no reaction. Some people say tell the bird no and place it back into its cage, but that is what the bird wants in the first place. Your lovebird needs to know that its territory is not only his cage, but also in the safe parts of your house. A playpen or food and toys on top the cage will give your lovebird something to look forward to when he is out of his cage. While you are supervising him, open the cage door. If he doesn’t come out, simply take the bottom of the cage off and turn the cage upside down. Lovebirds and other parrots naturally climb up. When he comes out, see if you can slowly turn the cage right side up again while he is climbing to get right side up. Then open his door again so if he wants to, he can go back to his cage. While he is on top of the cage, give him lots of toys, food, and bathing opportunities so he can have something to do while he is on top of his cage. Remember, he needs to know that there is life outside of his cage, and that the world is fun also. If he flutters off his cage don’t go chasing after him (that is what predators do!). Either place his cage near him so he can climb up, lay down on the floor, or sit Indian style to see if he will climb on you. If he isn’t too freaked out, let him explore your home. Place some food and toys on the floor; make his world fun for him, not scary. This step might be too soon for his needs and nerves. But the goal is for him to know that his only world is not just his cage, but also you, your home, and even life outside your door. Maybe you need to start from ground zero like we did for our breeders Dewey and Sierra.

    Before we got breeders, Tamara said they had to be tame. Even though I tried to explain to her that breeders could not be pets, especially with babies. So, I took up the challenge. Dewey and Sierra were five years old and mature parent raised birds; this was going to be fun. I started by letting them out of their cages to get them familiar with us and being around their new home. We did not try to touch them or even hold them. If they wanted to fly around (we will never clip their wings because they can fly in their cage), go back to their cage (we left the door open), or even land on us they could. We let them have fun exploring. Dewey and Sierra have always been afraid of hands and fingers. When I placed my hand in their cage to change their food and water they would freak out (sound familiar?). So I started by eating breakfast beside them to get them used to my presence. They would not accept food from fingers at first, so I placed some of their favorite foods (sunflower, safflower, and millet) on toys and perches where they would normally not find millet. I would eat with them like a flock in the wild. Parrots do not eat with predators. Then I would move my chair closer to them while they were sleeping at night so they did not notice the move. We would eat together. I would talk quietly to them not making eye contact at first. I offered them treats from my hand; weeks went by and they took nothing.

    While they were getting to feel more comfortable around me, we played little games like if they blinked, I would blink or if they yawn or stretched, I would do the same. Birds will stretch to say hello. Since I was consistent everyday and they got used to routine, we made progress. One day a breakthrough happened: Dewey took a sunflower seed from my hand. We still would let Dewey and Sierra out everyday, and everyday their confidence grew. They were terrified of hands so I tried offering my shoulder while they were on top of their cage. Of course, Dewey and Sierra would not step-up the first time, but they were starting to notice me and my actions when I cleaned their cage trays and changed their food and water. When they started perching with confidence on their cage tops and the birds’ playgyms, I tried offering my shoulder again; still nothing. Dewey and Sierra started to hang out more with us. I placed paper and magazines on the couch to see if they would chew on them for their nestbox; and they did. I never tried to touch them; we just enjoyed each others company. We were playing together just like birds in the wild. While I was cleaning their trays from their cages, Dewey seemed very interested with the running of the water. So with confidence, I offered my shoulder and said up. He and Sierra jumped on, ran down my arm to my hands, and took a bath under the sink. I still do this everyday. What a breakthrough!

    Routine is very important to bonding with a lovebird. I figured out that Dewey and Sierra were scared of fingers, so I closed my hands like a soft fist and offered my arm instead. While saying up, they stepped up on my arm. At their previous owners, I learned that they used to bite very hard. They would bring out the blood. But my wife and I never gave them a chance or a reason to bite; we never pushed them to do anything they did not want to do. That’s how we got progress; by establishing a constant, steady routine. Since we cleaned their cage everyday, they got used to us messing with their stuff. Then, when Sierra is sitting on their eggs, Dewey would still crave the attention and play time. So, he would rush to the door, and I would place my arm in their cage for him to step-up. He now knows the rules; if he wants out, he has to step-up.

    I expect more of them now, because they have been with us since last August. Your lovebird can live more than 20 years; if you put in the time and get him to trust you again, then you will not even remember what it was like when he was “mean.” Get him used to your home and you; while he is out of his cage, take the next steps. You never know when the breakthrough will happen. Sierra’s first step-up on my fingers was when she was flying and she missed a branch on our ficus tree. She fell on the floor, and I said, “Sierra Baby, I’m here; Step-up,” and she did. That’s when she saw me as a comfort and friend.

    Also, here is another technique: when your baby calms down enough to perch on a T stand you could start clicker training. It is like playing a child’s game like “Hot and Cold.” Simply lay your hand on the stand on the opposite side of your lovebird. Show a treat in the direction of your lovebird. If he takes even one step, click, praise, and give him a small treat. If he doesn’t move in the direction of your arm/ hand, simply do nothing (completely ignore him). Try again keeping lessons to only 15 minutes. This is how I trained Louie after I got him to trust me in the same fashion as Dewey and Sierra. If he is bonded to his cage, his reaction is a very normal behavior. Also, lovebirds like other parrots go through a challenging adolescence stage where they challenge their humans, flock, and everything around them.

    No comments:

    Board Certified Avian Veterinarian

    Board Certified Avian Veterinarian
    Dr. Greg Burkett, Birdie Boutique

    Dewey & Sierra

    Dewey & Sierra
    Our Breeders: Creamino x Dutch Blue Pied Peach-Faced Lovebirds

    The Next Generation....

    The Next Generation....
    Of Bird Lovers!

    Size Comparison

    Size Comparison
    Each are 2 days apart (Youngest to Oldest: Left to Right)

    Where People Get Their "Pet" Birds

    by Rodney Money

    Here are the options in the USA where people get their pet birds. I did not include shelters and second hand opportunities though; just where you would be more likely to find a parent-raised or handfed baby. Also, I will explain their level of tameness of the birds, care, the knowledge of the people who either work or run the establishments, and any other thing I can think of.

    1. Large, retail petstore chains: (ex. Petsmart, Petco, Pet Supermarket, and other franchises, etc.)
    This is the absolute worst place you could find a bird to call your own. Both Petsmart and Petco get their birds from the Kaytee Preferred Birds program which has two facilities located in Florida. They are also establishing one in Las Vegas. Of the two in Florida, one handles parent-raised small birds such as finches, budgies, and lovebirds which they buy from various mass production breeders, and one that mass produces larger parrot species for intention of handfeeding. All the breeders and babies are fed a medicated diet that includes vitamins and minerals, as well as antibiotics including Doxycycline for bacteria growth. The great use of these antibiotics will weaken the immune system and make the future successful use of antibiotics questionable. Kaytee does not care about the emotional development of their birds since they already have a contract with Petsmart and Petco stating they need to produce a quantity of chicks and not a quality of chicks to keep up with the high demand of sales. All the birds are shipped from Florida or Las Vegas, so you might as well be buying a wild-caught bird from Africa, Central and South America, or Australia. These birds are then quarantined for three days or put out on the floor when stock gets low. The stock room where the birds are quaranteed is a poorly lit dungeon only having human contact during feeding and cleaning. When at the store the birds are fed a very poor seed diet which leads to fatty liver disease and death (so with their weak immune systems, the stress of being shipped, and fatty liver disease, people wonder why their parakeet from Petsmart died in just a week?) The birds when placed out on the floor, especially the smaller birds, are cluttered together in cages with improper food, perches, and little to no toys. The so-called "experts" are usually teenagers in High School or college who could not tell the difference between a cockatoo and a macaw. The only time the birds are handled is if a customer is interested, because the employees and their employers do not want to risk damaging their merchandise. Handfed babies are fed Kaytee Exact Handfeeding formula which is hard to digest in the bird's crop. Employees and Employers are not worried about socialization of the babies; their only concern is to feed them as quickly as possible so they can bag up more fish, the true highest profitable merchandise, for customers. The only way to stop this travesty of mass production of chicks is education to the public to stop buying birds at retail pet centers.

    2. Local Small Business-owned Pet Stores:
    The knowledge of the staff varies greatly depending on the expertise of its people. Even with a very knowledgeable and educated staff, it is near to impossible to socialize each and every bird and care for their emotional needs. Employers and Employees have their minds preoccupied with cleaning cages, feeding birds, stocking, handling accounts, and simply dealing with customers; because first and foremost, it is a business. Many pet stores handfeed their own babies, but even the best bird stores forget that they need to continue socialization and establish a constant routine of playtime after they wean. Pet stores is where I see the vast majority of sweet, handfed babies turn wild after weaning.

    3. Large-scaled Breeders:
    Very similar to the suppliers of babies to the large retail pet chains. Large-scaled breeders mass produce large amount of babies for profit. So unless they have a staff that dedicates their entire time to feeding, playing, and socialization, the emotional needs just can not be met simply due to the sheer numbers of birds. These breeders are contracted to pet stores, other breeders for future stock, and other clients to provide a quantity of birds for future or present profit. Not all large-scaled breeders have inhumane practices. Steve Hartman of Hartman Aviaries and Gail Worth of Aves International not only care about their babies, but also the wellbeing of their parents also. Large-scale breeders also have the means to establish breeding stocks that could develop the possible domestication of parrots through line breeding. Also, mutations and other genetic changes could be studied in a more controlled environment.

    4. Small-scaled Breeders (like us):
    Many of these breeders are hobbyists, though some can make a living and breed for profit. These breeders tend to have a intimate relationship with each baby that they raise. This intimacy could lead in studies of developing co-parenting. Personally, I believe that this is the best place to find a new, loving feathered family member as long as the breeders breed in a moral way with not only thinking of the wellbeing of their babies, but also their parents. Small-scaled breeders tend to keep their pairs within their homes unlike large-scaled breeders who breed in either large flight aviaries or warehouses.

    Our Lovebird Babies!

    Our Lovebird Babies!
    Cute, Tame, Playful, Well-socialized!

    Pepsi or Coke?

    Pepsi or Coke?
    I guess Pepsi, or not Diet!

    Things We Have Learned as Birdie Parents:

    1. Close the lid of the toilet. (It is not fun reaching in and grabbing your bird out. Then torturing them with a bath.) 2. Do not turn on the ceiling fan when your flighted birds are out. 3. Put birds away while cooking, mixing batter, etc (esp. Chocolate... can cause panic attacks when they accidentally fly into it as well as getting chocolate every where when you grab them out and rush them to a bath!). 4. Do not kiss your birds after eating chocolate and guacamole. 5. Do not kiss your birds after they eat hot peppers. 6. Yogurt, milk, and dairy products are not good for them. 7. Neither is high salt and high sugar food items. 8. Never let your bird eat off your plate unless you don't mind them bothering you every time from there on after. 9. Do not take "naughty" pictures of your breeder birds. You will feel guilty later for interrupting them. 10. It's good to cover your bird's cages at night. Just not with plastic. 11. Set routines with your birds. Creates confident and secure birds. 12. Play with your birds everyday! 13. Do not go outside with your bird unprotected! 14. Set boundaries/rules with your bird (or they'll act like little teenagers). 15. Learn as much as you can about a species before and after obtaining your new family member. 16. Make sure your vet is "Avian Board Certified." (See Dr. Burkett at Birdie Boutique!) 17. Join a bird club. They understand it when they get pooped on or bitten! (Online chat/message boards are good, too) 18. Playgrounds and toys are a necessity, not an option. 19. Do not feed your bird only seed. It is fatty and not good for their health and plummage (see photos of our birds for proof). 20. Birds need sunlight for their health and plummage. 21. Socialize your birds with other people. 22. Do not keep poisonous plants in your home. If you're not sure use fake plants for greenage. 23. Be careful if you let your birds loose around the house. Be aware of where they are at all times (not to step or sit on them). 24. Do take your birds in the shower with you. (They don't care how you look!). Clean their cages daily (it makes it easier than once a week)! 25. Love your birds. Spoil them. Hold them. Don't yell or hit them. A little bird poop never hurt anyone!

    Toys, Playgrounds, and Foraging for Parrots

    Toys and playgrounds are not an option, they are a necessity. Four general categories of toys help meet a birds needs:

    1. Destructible toys that appeal to a parrot’s instinct to chew. These toys include: branches with bark, finger traps, bird candy, milled wood, chipped wood, straw, cholla, cork, leather, paper, jute, hemp, weaved palm leaves, etc.

    2. Sound-related toys for the instinct to communicate. These toys include: bells, stainless-steel or nickel-plated liberty bells, metal pipe bells, plastic pipe bells, rattles, and clackers, bird music boxes, sound-repeating devices, and any toy with resonating properties from plastic, paper, or metal cups.

    3. Interactive toys for the bird’s intelligence or emotional needs. These toys include: beads, puzzle toys, foraging toys, snuggling or comfort toys, hiding or peeking-out toys, surrogate enemy toys, foot toys, and mirrors.

    4. Exercise toys for physical activity. These toys include: swings, appropriate perches, platforms, playgrounds or trees, and boings.

    Foraging is simply the act of finding food. Very simple in definition, but great in the impact it can have on the lives of our birds. Having our parrots work for their food is one of the best stimulations that we can provide. It does not matter if you have a budgie, lovebird, amazon, or a macaw, behavior problems will diminish if a parrot has the opportunity to forage for their food rather than eating straight from a bowl. In the wild, a parrot will occupy 60%-80% of their time searching for food. During their mission, a parrot will fly, use problem-solving skills, and manipulate their environment to find that prized morsel. This is a very heart-wrenching revelation considering our parrots, according to recent scientific studies, on the average spend only 15 minutes eating from their bowls and the rest of their time waiting for us in their cage for eight hours while we are working. Our beloved birds want more and deserve more. Our feathered friends have provided richness, stimulation, beauty, and love in our lives; should we not also provide them with anything less? A parrot needs to work for their food to stimulate both body and mind; their health will reap from the benefits also. Providing foraging opportunities is more work on our part, but the rewards are far greater with the antagonists of our selfishness. As our Avian Veterinarian Dr. Burkett states, “We put them in cages, the least we can do is provide the absolute best for them.”

    5. Foraging opportunities for parrots include, but are not limited to, the following: natural foods and treats such as nuts, Nutri-Berries or Avicakes; foraging toys made specifically for birds; shredded paper, paper towels, or toys in a food bowl; supervised foraging on a playgrounds, trees, toy boxes, or baskets; hiding treats wrapped in carrot leaves or dark leafy vegetables, placing food in pinecones or stuffed in children’s toys such as a small dartboard from the local dollar store; taking treats and arranging them in the cage in a sheskabob; shreddable cardboard boxes with hidden treats; wrapping treats in paper and hanging them inside the cage, perch, or playground; placing food bowls in different locations in the cage providing several feeding stations. Wrap food in paper, paper towels, or paper bags and place in some stations while leaving others empty. Then, tape the top of the feeding stations with paper, or a destructible toy, so your parrot will first have to punch through the barrier and then remove the wrapped morsel; placing food in the holes of a cholla perch or destructible toys such as finger traps; hiding food in bird safe, untreated pine toys or cardboard boxes found in a craft store; foraging trays with hidden food and toys placed on the bottom or top of cages, playgrounds, or trees; having your parrot climb a branch, rope, or chain to his food, having your parrot lift a bucket or string to retrieve his food; sticking food in plastic waffle balls, teach flight training and retrieving, and my favorite: either hiding food in your clothes, making a birdie edible necklace, or holding your parrot’s food up high so he has to climb up you to receive his treat and the rewarding positive stimulation of his favorite sound, your voice.

    As you can see, foraging is only limited to the creativity of your mind. It always “cracks me up” when my lovebirds get so excited even when they just find some pellets buried under a mass of shredded paper towels. It will take you a few extra minutes a day to set up foraging opportunities and stations, but the rewards, positive stimulation, and environmental richness will last a lifetime in the lives of your beloved birds.

    ~Rodney Money

    If you would like to use this article, just quote us as the source! That goes for any of our articles on here!

    Bird Protectors

    We DO NOT recommend these for your birds!!!!!!!!

    Chances are that at least once you have been browsing through the bird section of your favorite pet store and come across a product called a "Mite Protector". You may have wondered whether or not you need this product, and if it can really be beneficial to your pet's health.

    A mite is a very small parasite that can infest the skin and feathers of most animal species. Truth be told, the vast majority of birds that were captive bred and have been housed in sanitary environments never experience a problem with mites or any other external parasites.

    The "Mite Protectors" are usually small disc shaped containers designed to hang on the side of a bird's cage. The discs contain chemicals that release a fume to ward off mites, fleas, and other parasites -- but the fumes can potentially be harmful to the very thing you are trying to protect: your bird!

    Birds have very sensitive and specialized respiratory systems, and the fumes given off by these Mite Protectors can be harmful or even fatal to them.

    In fact, these products can pose just as big a health risk to pet birds as cigarette smoke, aerosol sprays, or non-stick cookware.

    If you fear that your bird is experiencing a problem with mites or any other sort of parasite, the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with an avian vet as soon as possible. Keep your pet healthy and happy by forming a good relationship with your vet and doing plenty of research on the bird products you are interested in before you use them.

    Source: The Truth About Mite Protectors

    Takes after his Daddy

    Takes after his Daddy
    Making music in another way!


    Lovebird's Concerto with BeBe by Jamie Williams Grossman

    Feeding Schedule and Socialization Goals

    Most important supplies: scale made for birds, O-ring syringes, Oxyfresh Cleaning Gel, bottle warmer made for human babies, a brooder that stays between 73-83 F, and Roudybush Handfeeding Formula (consistency of split pea soup to a heavy gravy served between 103-109 F with no dry, solid spots. Nothing should ever be added to the formula, and the formula should have the same thickness consistency from two weeks until weaned.) Brooder Set-up:

    2 weeks old: 5 feedings every 4 hours (8:00am, 12:00pm, 4:00pm, 8:00pm, 12:00am.) Many other breeders only feed 4 times every 4 hours the first week, but we do not want the babies crying for food in the middle of the night. Just like human babies, there are small babies (Pixy!) and there are large babies (her brother Jelly Bean!), so the amount of food is going to vary around 3.5-4.5 cc’s. Tamara and I do not say, “Ok baby, you have had 4 ccs, your full!” No, we fill up the babies until their crops resemble a full balloon or when they simply do not want anymore. Feed the babies all at once; competition is your greatest ally. Well-socialization goal: babies should recognize you, have a wonderful feeding response, and have names.

    3 weeks old: 4 feedings every 4 hours (8:00am, 12:00pm, 4:00pm, 8:00pm.) Just fill those crops until they look and feel like a full balloon. At 3.5 weeks old, the babies will start to chew on their bedding. This is the time to introduce “big bird” food. Fresh, chewy Avicakes are the perfect introduction to solid food. Avicakes are highly nutritious unlike seed or millet. After babies are fed baby food, place a very small crumb into their mouths. This works great as a birdie pacifier also. We never feed them mashed-up or soft foods for weaning. Starting them on what they will eat as adults is best. After they are eating “big bird” food, we introduce small foot toys and toys they can shred. Well-socialization goal: babies try “big bird” food, recognize your voice, and step-up on your palm to be fed.

    4 weeks old: 3 feedings every 6 hours (8:00am, 2:00pm, 8:00pm.) We never drop their feedings to three until we know they are eating the Avicakes on a regular basis. This is the time when we introduce crushed-up Nutri-Berries and a small pellet like Roudybush Crumble. Depending on the size of the baby, they should be receiving around 6 ccs at this point. Once again, feel the crop and if the babies refuse, do not force them to eat. After we feed them baby food, we place them over the solid food bowl. This is the time we introduce a small dish of water also. Well-socialization goal: babies play with toys, eating adult food on a regular basis, and cry out not only for baby food, but for attention also. Some of the older babies at this point have a natural protective instinct of their siblings and territory, so to dilute this trait we lay down on the floor, cuddle, play with them with their toys, and feed them adult food by hand after each feeding. When they have fallen asleep, we place them back into the brooder.

    5 weeks old: 2 feedings every 12 hours (8:00am and 8:00pm or 6:00pm if some of the babies are screaming.) At 5.5 weeks of age the babies will start to fly. There first flight is always to us. This is always a true sign that your babies see you more than just the ones who feed you. It is a sign that they love you. This is one of the most awesome milestones for baby’s socialization. This is also the week we introduce seed, because as the babies wean they need that extra burst of energy that the fat in seed has in storage. The fat also fills them up more and helps them strive between feedings. Concerning feedings, some babies at this age take well over 8 ccs of baby food. When we reach 1 feeding per day, they can receive up to as much as 10 ccs. Well-socialization goal: babies fly to you, recognize their names, and are placed in a weaning cage with a tent or cozy to sleep in. The tent needs to be large enough for all the babies.

    6 weeks old: 1 feeding per day at 6:00pm or 8:00pm (babies can feed from 7-10 ccs at this point.) If we have a large clutch, 4 or more babies, the prodigies will normally wean during this week. Well-socialization goal: babies are filling up on adult food in the morning, babies want to come out of their weaning cage to fly, cuddle, and most importantly play with toys independently on a playground. Babies should never be on a person all the time when they are outside of their cages. They have to learn independent play and have foraging opportunities.

    7 weeks old: A baby should wean at anytime now. If they do not cry for their evening feeding, then do not give it to them. At 7 weeks, we introduce cooked foods, fruits, sprouts, and veggies. The babies will see the adults eating the food and will follow their lead. Many breeders and pet stores separate their babies in individual cages so they will not bond with each other. This is one of the worst things they can do for a baby, especially one that has not weaned yet. Birds need that competition of the food bowl, thus learning to eat on their own and whenever food is presented. Lovebirds that also learn to compete for food will naturally compete for your attention also thus making trust issues virtually nonexistent. Well-socialization goal: the babies step-up from inside their cage, and the babies are excited to see you. Babies need a reason to want to come out of their cages such as a playground. That, plus routine, is the key to a well-socialize parrot and not one that is caged bound and only finds security in the confounds of their bars.

    8 weeks old: Weaned. If you decide to clip, never clip a bird before they wean or they might not ever see a reason to get off the baby food. This is nature’s way: stop begging, get off Momma’s fat baby food, and fly! Even though socialization starts as early as two weeks, true socialization actually starts the week babies wean. Too many times we have seen and heard stories of birds that were handfed, but they turned wild. It happens during this week. The babies no longer need you as a source of food, so you need to show them that they still need you for other reasons: love, another source of fun, security, and socialization. During this week, most birds forgot you ever handfed them. All handfeeding does is that it gets a bird use to the presence of humans. So during the week your babies wean, the most important thing any of us can do is to continue a balance of training, positive reinforcement, cuddle time, and independent play. Why is a well-socialized parrot such an important goal? The simple answer is because they will live with people. If a bird is truly trust worthy, affectionate, and socialized, then chances are their humans will see them more than just birds in a cage, but as true family members. Thus, living a full and enrich life in a human household. Well-socialization goal: babies enjoy a great head rub and have first full vet check from an Avian Veterinarian.

    ~Rodney Money True Love Aviary

    Growth Progression of a Baby Lovebird