CHENNAI: Their brilliantly-coloured plume, fun personalities, friendly and intelligent natures makes lovebirds the first choice of any first-time pet owner. “Watching them play and do their tricks in the cage is probably the best thing to do after a tiring day,” says city-based Ashwin Ramesh, a pet lover, who grooms 14 lovebirds in his house.
But like any other pet, grooming these intriguing birds is highly essential. Their needs must be taken care of at the right time, periodically.
While many owners prefer trimming and clipping their wings, vets advise against it. “It is not advisable to trim their wings. It assures them a means to fly away from harm. But sadly many trim the wings, “ says Veterinarian R Sokkalingam, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
While their wings do not require trimming, their nails and beaks do. “I trim the tip of my bird’s nails almost every month, because the bird might start bleeding when it scratches itself,” says Smitha Singha, a homemaker from Anna Nagar. However, vets suggest that it is advisable to trim the nails once in six months and must be preferably done with the help of a professional, to avoid complications.
“Overgrown nails become curved and are tough to cut. But if left that way it would cause serious injury to the bird. Moreover, it would become impossible to trim them later as they become rough and hard. At that stage, the entire nail will have to be removed causing severe pain to the birds,” adds Sokkalingam.
While nails need extra caution, the beak tips can be trimmed easily, but with little caution and the help of a nail file. This would help the birds feed easily.
Bathing is another essential part of grooming. While Lovebirds love to play with water, keeping a bowl of water in the cage for them to bathe is unsanitary and should be avoided, specially because these birds shed their feathers every six months. “You can instead spray water on them. But it is important to keep their surroundings clean,” Sokkalingam adds.
Lovebirds live up to 40 years and attain maturity when they are 10 months old. It is suggested that they be de-wormed every five months. Fruits, green vegetables and grains are the best foods for these birds as they are rich in Vitamins A, D and G. Neem twigs can be given to them for chewing as it a great source of energy.