Last Updated on May 22, 2022 by Ali Shahid
The amazing and lovely nature of lovebirds compels you to have them as pets. These birds are delicate and require special attention and care. Like the other animals, lovebirds also experience mating seasons and show the signs of becoming broody twice a year.
These adorable little creatures are an awesome addition to your family. During the hormonal or breeding season, lovebirds start showing the signs of becoming broody. These hormonal behaviors are linked to their psychological aspects such as aggression and showing mating displays.
According to a study published on the lovebirds’ mating behavior in Masked Lovebirds by Appleyard in 2001, their age of sexual maturity is about 6 to 8 months. After getting to this age, the bird starts showing his/her normal mating behavior.
Getting proper knowledge about the signs and identification of lovebirds in the broody phase is very crucial. This can save you a lot of trouble if you don’t have any plans for their mating and having lovebirds’ babies.
On the other side, it will help you to manage and provide special attention to your pets in the hormonal phase. Lovebirds are quite sensitive and their well-being is majorly dependent on how you care for them.
Lovebird’s Hormonal Behavior & Diurnal Rhythm
Just like animals, the reproductive behaviors of lovebirds are also linked with the day and night cycles. The diurnal rhythms are synchronized with the day and night cycle your lovebird is experiencing and show the relevant broody signs.
The increased day lengths in the spring season have an important and effective impact on the birds. Many exotic animal experts suggest the egg-laying behavior in these birds is very much linked to the longer day lengths.
The exposure to excess light in this season is the reason they start showing hormonal behaviors. The reproductive hormonal profile starts getting altered and consequently results in more expression of the mating hormones.
Many pet breeders do use this technique of increasing the artificial light durations to stimulate the broody behaviors in lovebirds. This will enable them to get fertile eggs in any season. However, this practice of artificially inducing egg-laying behavior is discouraged by many experts.
Indications of Hormonal Lovebirds
In terms of noticing if your bird is experiencing the change in love hormones, you must acknowledge what to look for. Most of the birds show visible and well-observable mating signs you can easily notice through careful monitoring.
The Physical Mating Displays
Birds have a natural way of showing mating behavior during the breeding seasons. The males can easily sense if their partner is getting broody or not. They start showing certain displays to attract the female for mating during the season.
A hormonal lovebird will start wagging and lifting its tail and spreading the wings at the same time. You’ll notice certain singing noises to attract potential partners. Although lovebirds are monogamous, they still show such signs towards their partner.
Many lovebirds will start puffing their feathers under the influence of mating hormones. They’ll start to look more like a fluffy ball. If you’re controlling the mating process by separation, your pet might get rid of the sexual frustration through other means such as rubbing cloaca on the surfaces.
Showing Cuddles and Affection
Lovebirds have a very jolly and playful nature. In normal circumstances, they do love getting cuddles from the owners. They are instinctively very open to socializing and start becoming cuddly in the mating season.
The hormonal influences affect how they behave in front of their owners and potential mate. In the absence of a partner, you’ll notice the extra loving nature of these lovebirds trying to seek cuddles in your hands.
If you’re not planning on breeding them or have no partner available, let them have the cuddles by you. Play with the birds and give them head and body rubs. This way their sexual frustration can be satiated by providing them ample time.
The Territorial & Aggressive Nature
Every owner knows lovebirds don’t have significant aggression in their nature. They also don’t possess any territorial behavior and get adapted to the environments they are living in. But that’s not the case when they are hormonal.
During the hormonal season, you’ll notice a sudden change in the temperament of lovebirds. They’ll get more possessive over the playing toys and start showing aggression if you violate their premises too much.
The abrupt possessiveness can be a reason why lovebirds won’t let you touch their toys, food, or even cage. They start becoming territorial during the broody period and even try to bite you when you hold them often.
If sudden mood swings and aggression are happening in your pets, it doesn’t mean they hate you. This is a natural behavior and you need to give them some time and space to relieve their sexual frustration until the hormonal change subsides.
Excessive Feather Plucking & Preening
Although preening is more of a self-grooming behavior and helps them to keep their feathers in shape, this behavior is more prominent in the mating season. In the hormonal season, the preening may lead to feather plucking.
You must look after your bird during this phase as the excessive preening can be a result of any other underlying pathological condition too. The feather plucking is also normal during the nesting behavior and helps you to identify if your bird is broody or not.
Lovebirds not only have a very adorable behavior but they also make very pleasing sounds. This is what mesmerizes most the owners and compels them to make lovebirds their pets. During the mating season, the vocalizations start becoming more prominent.
These mating calls are different from the normal sounds and might not be so pleasant to hear. These sounds are more like screaming and screeching noises rather than pleasing singing. These sounds result in a disturbance in your daily work at home.
If available, use noise cancelling headphones or keep your bird away in a separate room. If you continuously let them screech near you, your ears might get agitated and become aggressive. I recommend you to not start shouting at your bird but rather provide him/her comfort.
Lovebirds’ Nesting Behavior
Nesting behavior in broody season is natural and helps these birds to get ready for eggs during the hormonal phase. Your lovebirds will start compiling things and toys as they are building a nest.
You’ll notice the sudden wood chips, and shredded paper picking behavior. They try to use every available item to make the nest in the cage under the influence of breeding hormones. There are certain things you can do to ease out their mating behaviors.
Cur or shred the paper into stripes and made it available in the cage. They get this shredded paper and start building a nest from it. In the wild, lovebirds can make use of many things and plant materials for this purpose.
The lovebirds start building the nest at a place they find safe and ideal to lay eggs. It can be inside their cage, or in your placed nest. Nevertheless, the nesting behavior can tell you a lot about the broodiness and hormonal changes in these birds and how to cope with them.
There are times when you see your birds regurgitate the food in the hormonal season. They often do this to show their partners how well they can feed their babies. If there is the regurgitation of food and your birds show bobbing heads, it might be possible they are getting broody.
In those circumstances, always look at the behavior of these birds as the food regurgitation may lead to trouble. In case of excessive regurgitation, call or visit your nearest veterinarian immediately and get your lovebird thoroughly checked.
Helping Your Hormonal Lovebirds
Your lovebirds will start coming in broodiness twice a year when they reach sexual maturity. Providing them with attention and caring for them is essential to relieving their sexual frustration.
You can make yourself available during the hormonal season to monitor and provide them with the necessary attention. Your birds might choose you to relieve their sexual tension as a potential mate but this is just a way how they react.
If there is excessive vocalization and nesting behavior, your bird is probably under breeding hormones and you should help them calm down. This can be done by providing a quiet and peaceful place and toys to engage themselves.
In case of any abnormal behavior and issues, seek veterinarian help by paying a visit. The vet will thoroughly examine the lovebird and tell his/her mating status or any other underlying pathological issues.
Lovebirds are an excellent addition to your family and taking care of them is your primary aim as a pet parent. They are sensitive and show mating behaviors during the mating seasons which you should consider and help manage the conditions.
By following my thorough guide, you can identify the signs telling you if your birds are currently experiencing the hormonal phase or not. Depending upon the conditions, you can provide them with ample support and time during the mating season.
Moreover, you can also induce the mating behavior in these birds by altering the daylight periods. This will give you an edge to get more no. of eggs but this practice is not widely advised.
What is the influence of mating hormones on the feed intake of lovebirds?
The hormonal changes compel your birds to be more aggressive and show signs of increased appetite. However, during the advanced states of breeding and potential mating, you’ll notice a decrease in feed intake.
What should I do if my lovebirds don’t let me touch them during the breeding season?
It is quite natural for them to show aggressive behavior and become territorial under hormonal influences. You need to provide them with adequate space and a comfortable environment during this time. Make sure not to disturb them too much or try to agitate them in this period.
Is it normal for my lovebirds to rub their cloaca with toys and the cage floor during the hormonal phase?
In an attempt to relieve sexual tension, lovebirds start wagging their tails and rubbing their cloaca to the nearby objects. This is their natural behavior and you don’t need to worry about it. You’ll see the tail lifting and wing spreading behavior when they are broody.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.