Lovebirds Breeding Period
Prior to laying, the hen will take more cuttlefish bone, which must
be freely available, and her droppings often become larger. Eggs are
usually produced every other day, and the clutch may vary in size from
one to eight eggs, although between four and six is usual. The hen
incubates alone, but the cock may join his mate in the nest for periods
and feed her during this time.
The incubation period is approximately twenty-three days for all
species, but this is somewhat variable, depending partly on when
incubation actually began in earnest. Many hens do not start sitting
until they have laid two or three eggs. This in turn ensures that the
chicks are of a more even age when they hatch, and thus improves their
chances of survival. If the weather is cold, it is likely that the
incubation period will be prolonged slightly.
The youngsters generally fledge when about six weeks old but are
still fed, largely by the cock, for a short time until they are eating
independently. If the hen is preparing to lay another round of eggs, she
will almost certainly attack, and may even kill.
Problems During the Breeding Season
Failure of eggs to hatch is a relatively common problem, which can
occur for two reasons, either they were not fertilized or the embryos
died in the shell. In the latter instance, the egg appears opaque,
rather than relatively clear, when viewed in a good light. The degree of
humidity may have been at fault, or mineral deficiencies could be
responsible. Indeed, any shortcomings in the diet will be emphasized
when the birds are breeding, so that poor hatching, sickly chicks and
feather plucking may result from poor nutrition.
As a suggestion, a diet of seed alone is deficient in various
respects, especially with regard to protein, therefore it is preferable
to offer supplementary foods throughout the year, and simply increase
the quantities when chicks are in the nest.