There is some debate on when you can bring a lovebird home successfully. Some owners sell them sooner than others.
Baby lovebirds will develop their feathers over the first few weeks. They may begin to explore their habitat during this time. Birds may even begin to practice flying during this time. However, while they are somewhat mobile after a couple of weeks, that doesn’t mean they can be removed from their mother.
While they are exploring, their mother will begin to wean them. By the time they are 8 weeks old, most birds are fully weaned. At this point, they will likely leave the nesting box. If they don’t do this by themselves, the mother may harm them because she will begin to nest again.
Most breeders remove the birds at around 8 weeks and put them in their own enclosure. During this time, they can be adopted into new homes. It is important not to remove the bird before they are fully weaned. Otherwise, they can develop serious health problems. Lovebirds are meant to be taken care of by their mothers for 8 weeks.
At this point, most lovebirds are referred to as “fledglings.” However, they should not be removed from their home until they are fully independent.
What’s the Best Age to Get a Lovebird?
You don’t want to adopt a lovebird before it is fully independent. Even after birds are hopping around their enclosure and seem to have all their feathers, they may not be fully independent of their mothers.
Most birds start caring for themselves completely between 6-8 weeks. A sure sign that a baby is ready to be adopted and moved away from the mother is them leaving the nesting box. After they are no longer returning to the nesting box, it can be assumed that they are independent. Sometimes, the mother may become violent and territorial towards the babies if they don’t start to leave on their own.
If it is difficult to tell whether or not the bird is independent, many breeders will wait until 8 weeks, just to be safe. At a minimum, birds should be at least 6 weeks old.
What Happens If I Get a Lovebird Too Young?
You should never adopt a lovebird without first asking for the age. However, sometimes breeders are untruthful about the age of the bird, or you may purchase from a pet store that gets their birds at very young ages. If this becomes the case, you may end up with a bird that is far too young.
While 6 weeks old is the youngest a bird can be adopted, this is sometimes too young. If the breeder automatically removes all birds at six weeks, certain birds may be removed too early. Not all lovebirds are ready to live independently at this time. They may need the extra 2 weeks.
If your lovebird was removed from the mother before they were ready, many problems might develop. They may not eat correctly and develop nutritional problems. They may also be more aggressive and territorial than other birds. This is due to the absence of proper socialization.
When Can Baby Lovebirds Leave Their Parents?
Lovebirds will leave the nesting box for short periods before they are independent. They do not simply leave and then never return. Most will explore outside of the box when they are still developing their feathers. Others will stay in the nesting box for quite a long time and only leave a few times before they truly leave.
They will be weaned during the 4 to 8-week period. Some will be weaned before this, while others won’t be weaned until right at 8 weeks. The mother will often push late-bloomers out of the nest, as she will begin nesting again.
In captivity, breeders will often remove babies at eight weeks if they haven’t already. This helps avoid injuries to the baby as the mother attempts to chase them away.
Do Mother Lovebirds Kill Their Babies?
If the babies do not leave the nesting box before the mother starts to nest again, they can become harmed. The mother will begin to nest again instinctually and will see the old babies as invading her space. In the process of the mother chasing the babies away, she may injure some.
The mother usually won’t start nesting again until they are 8 weeks old, so many leave the box before she becomes threatening. If they don’t, the breeder will often remove the babies right before they turn 8 weeks.
Lovebirds may also kill their babies if they develop an illness. Deformed babies may also be killed. Usually, the mother will eat the remains or push them out of the nest to protect the other babies. Some first-time parents may not know what to do and may accidentally kill their babies.
Lovebirds should be adopted between the ages of 6-8 weeks, with 8 weeks being preferred. The particular time depends on the bird. Some are ready before others. It is impossible to know if a bird is ready unless they are 8 weeks or over.
- Related Read: How to Tell the Age of a Lovebird (With Pictures)
Your best bet is to find a breeder that you can trust. Ask them how they determine when their babies are ready to be adopted out. Investigate where the birds are kept and ask how much they socialize the babies. This should give you a good idea of whether or not they remove the babies at the proper age.
Featured Image Credit by: Shark_749. Shutterstock