Lovebirds are so small, compared to larger parrots, that they need only a relatively small cage. They take up little space, making them ideal both for apartments and homes. These little birds are hardy and suffer from few illnesses if kept clean and fed a balanced diet. Some of the larger birds delight in tearing up phone lines, cabinets, baseboards, books and doors, in short, anything they can get their beaks on. Larger birds have strong beaks, so anything they can grab, they can usually destroy. The lovebird’s smaller size makes this an unlikely scenario.
Compared to the call of a macaw or a cockatoo, which can be both deafening, but can also upset neighbors far and near, lovebirds are relatively quiet. A lovebird will call to her owner when he or she is out of sight, but the sound will rarely carry through walls unless the windows or doors are open, and then it barely competes with the noise of wild birds.
These tiny birds come in so many beautiful colors. Lovebirds are flock birds, and they need companionship, but not necessarily another bird. If you buy a single bird, he will rely on you for attention. You will become the flock for this sociable little creature. Lovebirds don’t hide their feelings. This expressiveness makes them a joy to be with and to watch.
When choosing the right lovebird, one important consideration should be age. Young birds are easier to tame than older birds. Ideally, the best bird is one that was hand-fed: A person fed the baby instead of her parents. This method causes the bird to become used to humans and to learn to trust them. A hand-fed bird will bond to you as she did to her feeder. That doesn’t mean you will have to work with your bird to achieve a great relationship. It means that you and your bird will have a much easier time establishing a connection.
You will want a bird that is between 6 and 8 weeks old; weaned from hand-feeding formula. If he is not already weaned and eating regular food, that will become your job. Although some people want to do this and some also want to take over the hand-feeding of their new baby lovebird, it is not recommended. Even for experienced bird keepers hand-feeding and weaning are time-consuming, anxiety-inducing pastimes.
In addition to being more trustful, hand-fed birds are less noisy than parent-raised birds. Perhaps best of all, many of them like to cuddle. As small as he is, a lovebird may look like a creature, you can easily bend to your will.
Unfortunately, not all hand-feeders are committed to the well-being of the bird and will not handle her regularly. This results in a bird that is as untrusting of humans as a wild-caught bird.
How can you tell the difference? When you have chosen a bird, ask to hold her on your hand or finger. If she shies away from you in fright, she was probably not hand-fed properly, and it will take extensive training to accustom her to humans. If she seems confident enough to step onto your finger or shoulder, she was hand-fed as she ought to have been. You can tame a hand-shy bird, but be prepared for a larger commitment of time and patience.