African Love Birds.

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GK

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I’m finishing off an aviary that I’ve been building for a while now as an extension to my veranda, which I’m planning to populate soon. I originally had my heart set on buying a few breeding pairs of African Lovebirds, but now I’m not so sure. It has recently occurred to me that African Lovebirds, being parrots and therefore gnawers, might try to chew their way out of the aviary, since it is made of wood. That really wouldn’t be a good conclusion to all my bother.
If there was enough meat on an African Lovebird to make a decent soup I would just buy a pair just to try and see how they go, but there isn’t, so I’ll ask here if anyone has experience with these birds and their propensity to gnawing.
Are they likely to not chew the cage to bits or would I be better off with a few Diamond Doves, Canaries and Zebra Finches?

Cheers,
Glen
 

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GK

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jlsem said:
Very nice work, Glen. Maybe there is some kind of treatment for the wood that will prevent gnawing. You could ask the local zoo.

John

P.S. Vultures would be cool, but the novelty would probably wear off in a short time.:)


Thanks. Dunno about vultures though. Maybe something that can mimic the human voice, so can teach it to squawk obscenities.
I once heard a story (BS, most likely) about a crow taught to say "show us yer ***s" whenever it saw a young woman.
I think I'll just ask a bird breeder and see what they say Lovebird gnawing.



Nordic said:
... I hate the little critters though... been bitten by them at nearly every opportunity in life...


LOL.
 
Nice work on the aviary Glen. Is it jarrah? It would be too hard for most birds to chew. Put plenty of softer wood perches in so they have something that is easier than the cage to chew. Whatever they do they arent going to get through a large piece of wood overnight, screwing a piece of tin over any favourite spots should be enough. Unless you're buying tame, hand raised birds with clipped wings I suggest you add a double door so they don't get out. A couple of hooks for a curtain to be hung over the door (if it opens inwards) will work quite well instead.

Fully believe the thing about the crow. We had a tame cockatiel who, when introduced to a new cat, asked "Is he a good boy?" before approaching it. That was the only time he ever used that exact phrase. A university in the US had an African Grey who could pick out or identify the correct coloured shape on command (as in blue square). I've seen a video of an Eclectus singing you aint nothin but a hound dog the whole way through.
So "show us your ...." is actually pretty easy to teach a tame bird.
I'm trying to teach ours "gee, your breath stinks" when people peer into his cage. His latest thing is barking to upset the dog next door.

If you get fruit or nectar eating parrots they don't bite very hard, seed eaters (budgies, cockatiels) can bite extremely hard. Our Eclectus can get his beak around a broom handle but he has never hurt anyone. Never had lovebirds but Lorikeets are great fun to watch and play with. they have a lot of personality and love to hang off you as you go about the house.
 

GK

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OzMikeH said:
Nice work on the aviary Glen. Is it jarrah? It would be too hard for most birds to chew. Put plenty of softer wood perches in so they have something that is easier than the cage to chew. Whatever they do they arent going to get through a large piece of wood overnight, screwing a piece of tin over any favourite spots should be enough. Unless you're buying tame, hand raised birds with clipped wings I suggest you add a double door so they don't get out. A couple of hooks for a curtain to be hung over the door (if it opens inwards) will work quite well instead.

Fully believe the thing about the crow. We had a tame cockatiel who, when introduced to a new cat, asked "Is he a good boy?" before approaching it. That was the only time he ever used that exact phrase. A university in the US had an African Grey who could pick out or identify the correct coloured shape on command (as in blue square). I've seen a video of an Eclectus singing you aint nothin but a hound dog the whole way through.
So "show us your ...." is actually pretty easy to teach a tame bird.
I'm trying to teach ours "gee, your breath stinks" when people peer into his cage. His latest thing is barking to upset the dog next door.

If you get fruit or nectar eating parrots they don't bite very hard, seed eaters (budgies, cockatiels) can bite extremely hard. Our Eclectus can get his beak around a broom handle but he has never hurt anyone. Never had lovebirds but Lorikeets are great fun to watch and play with. they have a lot of personality and love to hang off you as you go about the house.


G’day Mike.

I built the aviary out of Permapine which is quite soft. When I was sawing the stuff it was still moist inside and oozing the copper arsenate solution. I guess it won’t start to rot for quite some time.
I was exaggerating a bit about the birds eating their way to freedom; I don’t really expect that to happen, I am just a little concerned that the buggers will make a mess of my handiwork. They would probably die of arsenic poisoning before that got through the woodwork anyway. :)
WRT to the crow story I was a bit sceptical because the claim was that the bird could differentiate between male and female humans (it was also, allegedly, trained to tell the blokes to f%# off!).
Scepticism aside, crows are pretty smart though. I do a lot of outback driving and the crows seem to be the most adaptable when it comes to avoiding traffic. If a solitary crow is pecking at a road kill in the middle of the tarmac, probably 2 times out of 3, it will just leisurely walk off to the side of the road when it sees you coming and patiently wait for you to pass. They can obviously figure out that the vehicle is just going to continue in the direction of the bitumen.
I’ve never seen another species act this way. Flocking birds such cockatoos just lift off in all directions and wedgetail eagles almost invariably fly straight into your windscreen.
As for my aviary, I was contemplating just going to go for an assortment of doves and canaries with a few quails running around the bottom, but I’m told that nectar eating parrots don’t have the gnawing tendencies that a species like the African lovebird is apparently renowned for. I think that some rainbow or red-collared lorikeets might be an option.
My parents bought me some quails for a Christmas present :rolleyes: which are currently living (with the exception of the one that broke loose and got caught by their cat) in their aviary.
BTW, it sounds like you are seriously into parrot keeping there. Cockatiels are as common as Zebra finches, but I think I’ve only ever seen an exotic species like the Eclectus in a zoo.

Cheers,
Glen
 
We had a small colony of zebra finches, they were fun to watch. A predator somehow managed to tip over the cage but we still see a few of them in the garden occasionally. We had a breeding pair of Burke's parrots but some disease took them one at a time, then our cockatiel got it as well. All of that within a year, not a good run. We kept everything sterilised and well separated for a while after that.
We only have the Eclectus and the Rainbow lorikeet now.
There's a couple of Eclectus in our town and a couple of people breeding them in Perth, They make good pets but are very shy. A hand raised one will sell for about the same price as a good quality dog. They make smaller poo than a dog, don't dig holes, are just as smart and live for twice as long.

Lorikeets are entertaining birds, they play and wrestle a lot.
 

GK

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OzMikeH said:
We had a small colony of zebra finches, they were fun to watch. A predator somehow managed to tip over the cage but we still see a few of them in the garden occasionally. We had a breeding pair of Burke's parrots but some disease took them one at a time, then our cockatiel got it as well. All of that within a year, not a good run. We kept everything sterilised and well separated for a while after that.
We only have the Eclectus and the Rainbow lorikeet now.
There's a couple of Eclectus in our town and a couple of people breeding them in Perth, They make good pets but are very shy. A hand raised one will sell for about the same price as a good quality dog. They make smaller poo than a dog, don't dig holes, are just as smart and live for twice as long.

Lorikeets are entertaining birds, they play and wrestle a lot.


Sorry to hear that your birds fell off their perch. Hopefully that won't happen again.
Saw a couple of Eclectus at the bird store I went to on the long weekend. They had a price tag of close to $600 each. Magnificent birds and as you say, rather shy.
I'd like to own a few of these one day, but I can't afford the time required to look after them ATM. For the same reason I had to pass on the Rainbow Lorikeets. Their dietry requirements take a bit too much bother.
I’m (reasonably) regularly away for several days at a time working, so I need a bird that can fend for itself for a while on a big dish of water and a big dish of seed. Anyway, I ended up with four diamond doves, seven canaries and four quails. I will add a pair of zebra finches soon.
The aviary is 95% complete. I don’t have any problem going in and out of the main door (the birds are easily shooed to the other end of the cage, but I still have to add small access door down the bottom, just for access to the feed and water dishes. A partition to enclose some nesting trays behind the panelled-in section on the right of the aviary will also be added shortly.
 

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Four of the seven canaries. Two ***** paired with five hens to avoid fighting over the avaliable females. These four are yellow, but one of the others is white and one is brown, looking more like a sparrow.
 

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GK

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No rats here mate – it’s the neighbourhood cats! When I was building the aviary (before the door went on) they used to visit in the night to dig up the pea straw and s$#t in it. Now they turn up to watch the birds.
 

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I guess that you could eat one if you really wanted too, but it wouldn’t really be worth the effort. The quails that are bred for the plate are at least three times the size and have a lot more meat on their bones than these do.
Although I might reconsider if I’m woken up at 2am again (you would not believe just how loud the little bastards can squeak).
 
Our rainbow lorikeet died sometime last night / early this morning.

There are some ropes strung around his cage for him to climb and swing on. He'd chewed out the end of one and frayed it.

At some stage his foot got tangled in it and he panicked. we found him hanging by his foot. Poor little thing must have had a heart attack from the panic. The big parrot was quite distressed and kept calling out to him.

We've had birds for years and never had anything like that happen.
 
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