Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Peach Faced Love Birds: Like an Old Couple That Never Strayed

Caring, Feeding and Breeding
By Eduardo Gonzalez
We often forget that the best things in life are all around us.  The people we love, the solidity of home, and the peach faced love birds.  Okay, they are not around us (unless you really widen your mental circumference to include Africa).  But if you lived in an African jungle they would be free, because they are the most common love birds of all.
They are also the most liked love birds by people.  Maybe because we all love a good love story, and the peach faced love birds are like a married couple that has already grown old together. 
These love birds like to spend most of their time together, and they do everything in twos. They coo together, preen together and do kiss and fondle together (duh).  Perhaps this constant togetherness is what makes them sturdy and easy to care for.
In their home country, Africa, they are highly esteemed for their beautifully colored bodies, delightful personalities, tiny stature and as pets, easy maintenance.  Truly, love makes one stronger if you are a peach faced love bird.
The voice of these love birds is vibrant and you will understand what writers mean when they use the word, “chatter”.  Someone must have listened to peach faced love birds when they coined the term.  They emit short, high pitched shrieks. Are they just happy to be alive?  You sometimes wonder.
Very few love birds can be taught to speak.  Of the few, the end result is a thin sound that may be difficult for some people to understand, but recognizable to others.  These parakeets are not natural speakers.
Grown up love birds, especially the females, are known for biting excessively but they can be trained not to do so.  Now if I did not belabor this enough for you from the start, THEY NEED TO BE KEPT IN PAIRS. Don’t feel left out, they make great people companions if you adapt to the “everything together” rule.
For example, when you hold them—hold them together.  That will make them livelier and more playful when  they are with you.  They will perform more tricks and do more of the antics that peach faced love birds tend to do, just because they are doing them together.  You will find it very entertaining. 
To recognize a peach faced love bird look for a lovely, shiny green color with peach or pink patches over their faces that reach to their throats. Grown up birds have a pink or red frontal band over their crown. Their beaks have a horn-like color and their eyes are black. Their hind parts are shiny blue.
Peach faced love birds like to keep their plumage in good condition.  They may be jungle dwellers in the dry wooded Southwestern Africa country all the way to Angola, Namibia and South Africa, but even in the wild they are vain.
Food and Diet
Feed your peach faced love birds small nutritious pellets and for treats, seeds.  They also should be given tiny tidbits of dark green veggies, apples melons, grapes, sprouts and other kinds of fresh foods. Commercially available egg foods are perfect for love birds who are in the breeding stage.
Owners must make sure that there are no wet and damp foods left in their bird’s cage. Their love birds must also be given the right amount of vitamins, which can be placed in their water bowls.  However, if their daily diet is pellets, the vitamins will not be so important.  Wash their water bowls daily.
Breeding Ways.  These birds breed easily and they will raise their birdies in front of their humans and family. They are not bashful.  You can’t easily tell the male from the female because they look alike.  If you plan to breed them, get them a separate breeding cage.  They can also breed in flight cages.  They can start breeding at the age of one.
A breeding cage should be at least 24 inches long, 20 inches tall, and 24 inches in width. There should be a small wooden box placed on one of the top corners of their cages. The box must be at least 6 inches x 6 inches x 8 inches. Woody vines like honeysuckles or palm leaves make good nesting materials.
The females will lay four to eight eggs, one to two days apart from each other. Incubation will start with the second or third egg. The eggs may differ in size, from the older to the younger birdies.  Younger birdies may get into deep trouble because of this.  Incubation will last for at least twenty three days. Upon coming out of their shells, the birdies will weigh at least three grams. The birdies will fledge at thirty to thirty five days and will wean between forty five to fifty five days.
When you call a people “love birds”, make sure they are married.  Because these birds are usually in a rush to breed, and even after they will eagerly get to breeding again and again. 
I guess, because they raise such plentiful families, they couple may abuse they birdies to force them to leave the nest.  They may bite the birdies or their feathers are plucked out.
Humans will have to rescue the birdies.  The parents are probably harassed from too many children.  Humans can start hand feeding the birdies which is good as it will be the start of their domestication.
But hand feeding can be quite difficult when they are tiny.  Don’t worry, it will be easier after two to four weeks, so don’t give up.  By then, they will be much easier to hand feed.  Use an eye dropper or 1 cc syringe for feedings, and give them the standard formula for hand rearing that you get from bird and pet stores.  Always read the instruction labels.
You will need a gram scale to determine their body weight. Ten percent of the birdie’s weight is usually the gauge for how much you give them every feeding time. 

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