It is common knowledge that lovebirds mate for life. They are monogamous and stay together throughout their lifecycle.
The mating behavior in lovebirds involves rituals like feeding, preening, and nest-building. A female lovebird lays eggs approximately after 10 days of mating.
Lovebird owners looking to breed lovebirds have a lot of questions about lovebirds laying eggs and how to take care of them. Here is everything you need to know about lovebird eggs.
How do lovebirds lay eggs?
The female lovebird lays eggs between 5 to 12 days after mating. The bird lays eggs every day or every alternate day until all the eggs are laid.
Generally, the hen (female lovebird) lays eggs during the night. There are approximately 3 to 7 eggs in a clutch. The bird will begin to brood the eggs, once the second egg is laid.
In some cases, the bird can lay 3 to 4 eggs in a couple of days and then again lay some more eggs after a short interval of 7 to 10 days.
Lovebirds lay eggs throughout the year. They can lay up to 5 to 6 clutches in a year.
Can a lovebird lay an egg without mating?
A female lovebird can also lay eggs without mating. However, the eggs will be infertile without the mating process. The egg-laying process in female lovebirds begins around the age of 9 to 12 months.
Do male lovebirds lay eggs?
Male lovebirds do not lay eggs. A male lovebird helps to breed the eggs but can never lay eggs. Both male and female lovebirds of most species look alike. So if your lovebird has given eggs, it must be a female.
Why are my lovebirds not laying eggs?
Female Lovebirds mature and are ready to lay eggs from 9 to 12 months of age. There are many reasons for delayed or absent egg-laying in lovebirds. Some of them can be
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Health conditions
- Hormonal issues
- Both the birds are male
- Lack of privacy
- The birds may not be sexually mature
- Excessive use of antibiotics
- Old age
It is recommended to consult an avian veterinarian if your mature lovebirds are not laying eggs. The vet can find out the problem and address the issue.
How do you get lovebirds to lay eggs?
Egg laying is a natural phenomenon in birds. You should give your lovebirds ample time to bond and mate.
Breeding lovebirds is very challenging as some birds are very choosy about egg-laying. They need the right environment, temperature, lighting, cage, etc., to mate and lay eggs.
Steps to encourage egg laying in lovebirds
1. Set up a breeding cage
Place the birds in a breeding cage. The cage should be set up in a manner that provides sufficient room for the birds to play, fly and move around.
2. Ensure proper light and temperature
The light and temperature inside the cage can play a crucial role in egg-laying. Install a full spectrum light above the cage or place the cage in a well-lit area of your home. Ensure that the birds get at least 10 hours of darkness every night.
3. Fix a nest box to the cage
Get a nest box and install it under the cage. Provide sufficient nesting materials such as wood shavings, paper, etc.
4. Give a well-balanced diet
Diet plays a critical role in egg-laying. Provide a well-balanced nutritional diet to the lovebirds. Serve warm and cooked foods to encourage egg-laying behavior. Include calcium supplements in the diet of your female lovebird as egg-laying can deplete calcium from the bird’s body.
5. Keep the pair with other birds
The sounds of breeding lovebirds can encourage breeding behavior in lovebirds. So if you want your lovebirds to lay eggs, consider keeping them in a room with other breeding lovebirds.
Food for lovebirds to lay eggs | What to feed lovebirds to lay eggs?
Nutrition plays a significant role in influencing the breeding behavior of lovebirds.
Feeding the right kind and amount of food is essential to ensure that the lovebirds are healthy and can lay fertile eggs. Here is what you need to feed your lovebirds to lay eggs-
- Pellets – Feeding specially created pellets can improve nutrition and help to address any deficiencies in the birds’ diet.
- Vegetables – You can feed vegetables like sweet potato, parsnip, tomato, and zucchini to the lovebirds to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals.
- Fresh fruits – Fruits are an essential part of a lovebird’s diet in the wild. You can feed fruits such as bananas, citrus fruits, apples without the seed, peaches, papayas, melons, and all other types of fruit.
- Grains and Cereals – Grains such as whole wheat, whole rice, amaranth, barley, oats, etc. can be included in the diet of the birds to keep them healthy.
- Green leafy vegetables – Cabbage leaves, spirulina, seaweed, and broccoli are some of the leafy greens you can feed the lovebirds.
- Legumes – Legumes such as peas, beans, nuts, etc. provide the necessary protein for the birds.
- Supplements -Hens of breeding age must also be given calcium supplements to maintain the calcium levels in their body.
When do lovebirds lay eggs? At what age?
Lovebirds get sexually mature by the age of 9 to 12 months. Some birds may not lay eggs until 18 months of age. However, 12 to 18 months is considered the right age for the birds to mate and lay eggs.
How long does it take for lovebirds after mating to lay eggs?
Generally, lovebirds lay eggs between 7 to 10 days of mating. It is normal for these birds to continue mating during the process of laying eggs.
The hen lays one egg at a time with a gap of 1 to 2 days in between. The process continues till all the eggs are laid.
The bird starts incubating the eggs after at least 2 eggs are laid. Some birds incubate only after the completion of the egg-laying process.
In which month do lovebirds lay eggs?
The natural breeding season of the lovebirds is spring and early summer. However, in captivity, these birds can lay eggs throughout the year. They produce 5 to 7 clutches in a year, with each clutch consisting of 3 to 7 eggs.
How do I know if my lovebird is going to lay eggs?
You can know that the lovebird is going to lay eggs when it starts exhibiting nesting behavior. The bird will start gathering leaves, and other materials and tearing them into strips to prepare a nest for her eggs.
The lovebird exhibits certain subtle changes in its behavior and personality when it is about to lay eggs.
- Less physical activity – Female lovebirds limit their physical activity to conserve energy for making and laying eggs. The bird may spend most of its time perched on a single spot or hiding in a corner of the cage.
- Increased aggressiveness – Lovebirds become aggressive before they start laying eggs. They become highly territorial. Keep a close eye on their behavior patterns to know when it is going to lay eggs.
- Slightly swollen abdomen – The bird’s abdomen will become slightly swollen and puffy. The change is not very noticeable unless you observe closely.
- Weight gain – Just before laying eggs, the lovebird will gain some weight.
What to do when your lovebird lays an egg?
If you notice that your lovebird is about to lay eggs, check the nesting cage every morning. They mostly lay eggs during the night, so it is important to check in the morning.
If the bird has started laying eggs, you can expect to see more eggs laid every 24 to 48 hours until a span of 8 to 10 days.
If you notice eggs in the bird’s cage, it is better to leave them as they are. The bird will incubate the eggs once it has laid two or more eggs.
Incubating is important for female birds as it helps to regulate the hormones and signals the bird to stop laying more eggs. The eggs will hatch within 20 to 25 days of incubation and you can see baby lovebirds.
If you do not want the eggs to hatch, you will have to take out the eggs and replace them with fake ones.
However, you have to be very careful while replacing the eggs to ensure that the bird doesn’t notice that the eggs are taken away.
If the eggs are not fertilized, you can still let the bird incubate the eggs. The bird will stop incubating after the normal incubation period of 3 weeks. You can then take the eggs out and discard them.
Why does my lovebird keep laying so many eggs?
The egg-laying depends on the hormones and health of the lovebirds. Some female birds lay more eggs than others.
While it is normal for lovebirds to lay 5 to 7 clutches in a year, excessive egg laying can affect the health of the bird.
The external environment also plays a role in increasing egg-laying in lovebirds. Increased exposure to light, availability of highly nutritious food, and the availability of dark enclosed spaces can trigger egg production in female birds.
Sometimes the owner’s behavior can also lead to chronic egg laying. Stroking or petting the bird too much, allowing the bird to stay up till late, or removing the eggs as they are laid can also lead the bird to lay more eggs.
Lovebirds are one of the bird species that lay eggs throughout the year. They lay eggs in clutches, which consist of 3 to 9 eggs.
Once the bird reaches the age of sexual maturity, the female bird will start laying eggs whether they mate or not. However, a bird with a mate lays more eggs in a year than a single bird.
Do lovebirds eat their own eggs?
Lovebirds do not eat their eggs or chicks. However, sometimes they can break their eggs or throw them out of the nest.
While it is rare for lovebirds in the wild to destroy their nests and eggs, it is common in pet birds. Some of the reasons for this behavior are
- Infertility – Lovebirds stop incubating their eggs after the normal incubation period of 3 weeks. If the eggs do not hatch within that time, the birds simply abandon them or sometimes push them out of the nest.
- Same-sex pairs – Sexing lovebirds is very difficult as both sexes appear the same. Same-sex pairs can abandon their eggs or destroy the nest if the eggs do not hatch.
- Competition due to colony breeding – If there are more pairs of breeding lovebirds in a cage or aviary then there is competition for space and resources. In such circumstances, the birds can destroy nests, break eggs and kill chicks of the other pair.
- Stress – Stress is commonly observed in captive birds. Stressed birds exhibit destructive behavior such as egg breaking, killing chicks, or abandoning the nest. Some factors that can cause stress in lovebirds are external noise, the presence of hunting animals such as cats and raccoons, constant lighting inside the cage, people roaming around the cage, owners taking out the eggs, or checking the nests constantly, etc.
- Captive conditions – Captivity alters the natural behavior of birds. Some lovebirds can become excessively aggressive and show behaviors such as egg breaking, killing chicks, and destroying nests.
Love birds laying eggs the first time | Will it know how to incubate and take care of it?
Laying eggs is part of the normal reproductive cycle of birds. All birds know how to incubate and take care of their eggs and chicks.
Sometimes, if the lovebirds are very young they may not show the inclination to incubate or take care of their eggs.
It is significant to ensure that the bird is above 12 months of age before breeding a lovebird. However, 18 months is the best age for lovebirds to mate and breed.
If you are breeding lovebirds, ensure that both the birds are at least 2 years old before they mate.
How long do lovebirds sit on their eggs?
Lovebirds incubate their eggs for about 18 to 27 days. There may be a slight alteration to the number of days both ways as some eggs hatch faster and some take more time.
The hen starts incubating the eggs after it has laid the whole clutch or after at least a couple of eggs are laid.
To calculate the hatching date, you have to consider the day the hen starts incubating the eggs as the first day.
The female lovebird sits on the eggs, while the male bird feeds it. Once the eggs hatch, both the parents will take turns taking care of the chicks.
Lovebird egg development | How do love birds fertilize eggs
Egg fertilization happens inside the body of the female lovebird. The cloaca is the reproductive organ for birds.
During the mating process, the male lovebird rubs its cloaca on the female bird’s cloaca.
The sperm from the male bird travels inside the body of the female bird through the cloaca, it reaches the reproductive system and fertilizes the eggs.
The process of rubbing the cloacas is known as mating. Lovebirds can mate several times in a day. It is also normal for lovebirds to continue mating during the process of laying eggs.
The female lovebird starts laying eggs from a week to ten days after mating.
You can observe subtle changes in the bird’s behavior once it is ready to lay eggs. However, even after mating, it is not necessary that all the eggs in the clutch are fertilized.
There might be some unfertilized eggs in the clutch that will not hatch.
How to take care of lovebird eggs?
Lovebirds are very possessive about their eggs. They become territorial and do not allow others to come near the eggs. It is best not to touch the eggs and allow the female lovebird to incubate the eggs for three weeks.
If the lovebird abandons the eggs or throws them out of the nest, you may have to incubate them artificially. However, before incubating them, you must first ascertain whether the eggs are fertile or not.
Why are my lovebird eggs not hatching?
Infertile eggs won’t hatch. So if your lovebird has incubated the eggs for 3 weeks and still they are not hatching, the eggs are infertile.
Female lovebirds lay infertile eggs when they lay eggs without mating. Sometimes even after mating, the female can lay some infertile eggs in the clutch.
Here are some reasons for lovebird eggs laying infertile eggs
- Age – when the eggs are too young or too old, the eggs do not fertilize. The bodies of young birds are not ready for fertilization, while in older birds the reproductive system may be damaged due to continuous egg-laying.
- Same-sex pairs – If both the birds are female, the mating process does not take place and the eggs are infertile.
- Nutritional problems – Nutritional deficiency in lovebirds can affect the fertilization process and may lead to infertile eggs.
- Inbreeding – Inbreeding in lovebirds can cause genetic issues that lead to dysfunctional reproductive systems and cause infertile eggs.
- Stress – Stressful environment and lack of privacy can cause stress and affect the mating and fertilization of eggs.
- Physical deformity – Any physical deformity in the birds can hamper the mating process and cause infertile eggs.
- Lack of space – In a colony setup, the breeding pair can lay infertile eggs when they are disturbed by the other birds during mating and egg-laying.
- Temperature – Lovebirds prefer warm climates. If the temperature is too cold or too hot, it can affect the fertility of these birds.
How to tell if a lovebird egg is fertile?
Candling is the only way to check whether the lovebird egg is fertile or infertile. However, it is not good to candle the eggs frequently.
You have to candle the eggs only after 1 week of incubation. Another milestone for candling is 14 days or after 2 weeks of incubation.
Egg candling is the process of holding a candling light above the eggs to check for signs of life developing inside.
Candling is done inside a dark room so that you can clearly observe the blood vessels inside the egg.
Here is how to determine fertility using candling
- Place the egg under the light. You can use a candle, torch, or specially designed candling equipment.
- Have a close look inside the egg to notice a network of blood vessels developing inside. You will also see a dark outline at the center of the blood vessels, which is the embryo. Healthy embryos respond to light and move slightly.
- You can identify an infertile egg if the yolk is clear without any blood vessels. There will be no embryo, no blood vessels and the egg will glow under the light.
- If you notice a red circle on the inside of the shell, it indicates that the embryo has stopped developing and the egg will not hatch.
Why is my lovebird not sitting on her eggs?
In rare cases, the female lovebird refuses to incubate her eggs. This can happen for many reasons such as
- The bird is very young and is not mature physically. It does not know what to do with the eggs.
- The eggs are infertile as mating did not occur.
- The breeding pair does not have privacy and is disturbed too much.
- The location of the cage is not good with too much exposure to lighting and heat.
- The nesting box does not have enough nesting material
- The temperature inside the nesting box is uncomfortable ( too high or too low)
- The bird does not want to incubate the eggs
How to incubate lovebird eggs if the lovebirds are not doing it properly:
If you notice that the lovebird is not incubating the eggs or is not doing it properly, try to help the bird. You can observe the bird and know the reasons for the behavior.
Once you rule out the above-mentioned causes, the last resort is to artificially incubate the birds using an incubator or by using any of these methods.
- Find a substitute hen – Place the eggs near another female lovebird in the breeding process. The hen will take the eggs under its wings and hatch them.
- Use a cardboard box – Take a cardboard box. Wrap the eggs in a towel and place them in the box. Place the box under a lamp with a 40-watt bulb. Ensure that the lamp is on for at least 12 hours every day.
- Use a heating pad – place the egg in the center of the heating pad. Keep the pad on a heat-resistant surface and switch it on. Make sure that the pad is set on its lowest heat setting.
- Use a rice-filled sock – fill a sock with rice and tie the end. Place the rice-filled sock in the microwave at a medium heat setting. Heat it for a minute and wrap the hot sock around the egg. Keep heating the sock every time it gets to room temperature.
There are many other methods such as using hand warmers, using artificial feather bags, etc.
Whatever way you choose to incubate the eggs, it is crucial to maintain the right temperature and humidity to improve the success rate.
How to hatch lovebird eggs at home using an incubator?
Hatching lovebirds at home is the alternative when your lovebird is not incubating the eggs or has thrown them out of the nest.
Sometimes breeders choose to artificially incubate the eggs. In either case, you can hatch lovebird eggs using an incubator.
Once you determine that the eggs are fertile, you can start the process of hatching the eggs.
- Sanitize the eggs – clean the eggs by washing them with water. Always use warm water to clean the eggs as cold water can damage the egg. Cleaning eggs is essential to keep bacterial infections at bay and ensure that the chicks are healthy.
- Wait for a week – if you have taken out the eggs as soon as they are laid, clean the egg and place it on a clean and dry tray for about a week. On the other hand, you can allow the female bird to incubate the eggs for ten days before you pull them out.
- Get a lovebird egg incubator – Lovebird eggs are smaller than chicken eggs. A specially designed incubator for smaller eggs will improve the success rate of hatching. Select an incubator that helps control the temperature and humidity inside. Turning also plays a crucial role in hatching, opting for an incubator that can turn the eggs at the right intervals.
- Maintain the temperature and humidity – Lovebird eggs need a temperature of 98.3 to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit to hatch successfully. The humidity must be maintained at 65 % for the first 18 days and at 75% for the remaining days.
If you follow this simple procedure, the lovebird eggs will hatch within 18 to 24 days and you can hear cute little lovebirds chirping.
Best incubator for lovebird eggs
An incubator is the best device to incubate lovebird eggs as it helps to maintain the right temperature and humidity.
There are many incubators available online and on the market to hatch lovebird eggs at home. Here are some incubators and their features.
|Magicfly Digital Fully Automatic Egg Incubator||A-grade ABS material Can incubate 9 to 12 lovebird eggsLED display is Portable and convenient|
|Brinsea Products Small Full Featured Brooder||Digital temperature control Easy-to-use menuTemperature alarms Digital humidity display TLC advanced humidity pump to adjust humidity Air filtration unit inside the incubator Internal lights which can be switched on and off Clear door which can be removed for visibility|
|Manna Pro Harris Farms Nurture Bright incubator||Automatic egg turner360 degree visibility Digital setting panel for temperature, humidity, and airflowEgg candling button External water pot to add water 360 degrees induced airflow|
|Safego Egg Incubator||Built-in fan for air circulation High-intensity egg candling lampAutomatic egg turnerDigital display with temperature and humidity control Warm jacket to save energy and maintain optimal temperature-humidity alarm|