Last Updated on May 29, 2022 by Ali Shahid
If you’re a lovebird’s owner, you know there are some duties you have to perform to keep them in good health. The beak of these birds, just like their nails, can’t stop growing and needs to be trimmed down. Wearing of the beak must be done in order to avoid the problem of the overgrown beak.
When the beak has grown further than a certain length, it interferes with the food apprehension. The overgrowth can occur in the upper or lower beak with greater chances in the upper beak. This will not only spoil the cosmetic look but also reduced feed intake in lovebirds.
Overgrown Beak in Lovebirds
There are more than 56 parrot species spread across the 43 US states according to a recent survey by the University of Chicago. Lovebirds are widely kept as pets among the citizens due to their loving and engaging nature.
Lovebirds are playful and jolly pets that spend most of the time roaming in the cage wire through their beaks as an anchor. An overgrown beak will lead to a loose grip and consequently reduce the playing activity of the birds.
Causes of Overgrown Beak in Lovebirds
Just like any other bird species, lovebirds possess a continuously growing beak. The beak is made of the same material as nails and they keep growing throughout a bird’s life. In the wild, lovebirds have a variety of ways to trim or rasp their beak down.
The birds have a natural behavior of keeping the beak’s length under control in their lifestyle. The beak naturally gets rasping effects during eating and nest building in lovebirds. However, that’s certainly not the case in pet lovebirds.
The domesticated pet lovebirds don’t have enough options provided to trim their beak in the cages. The underuse of the beaks in these birds causes them to grow beyond the ideal length. This is where the actual problem starts to arise.
The negligible beak trimming opportunity provided by lovebirds’ owners is one reason to consider. Besides, this reason is supplemented by the misconception about the ideal beak length. Most of the owners consider the overgrown beak as the ideal beak length in lovebirds.
The lack of wearing ability along with other nutritional, pathological and metabolic deficiencies leads to a misshaped and overgrown beak. With the start of the problem, you might see the increased growth within a few weeks.
Additionally, the overgrown beak can also be a result of improper diet, any injury or infection, or is caused by other issues such as liver disorders.
Unhealthy Consequences of Overgrown Beak in Lovebirds
As a veterinarian, I’ve seen many cases of overgrown beaks leading to lovebirds’ health deterioration. Still, many owners don’t bother noticing the issue and brush it off by taking it lightly. The overgrown beak is much more than just a cosmetic issue.
Overgrown beak, when neglected can lead to reduced feed and water intake in lovebirds. Prolonged ignorance to address this issue may eventually lead to the poor body condition of your birds and other health issues.
You might not see any kind of noticeable problems but with time, the overgrown beak will shut off the normal opening of the beak parts. This will lead to poor feed apprehension and your bird will not even drink the water properly.
With time, the long beak starts to irritate the bird as he/she will not be able to properly eat and play. There will be a reduction in the cage fence climbing and playing activity of lovebirds as the overgrown beak problem continue to perpetuate.
Lovebird’s Overgrown Beak & Your Role
Despite the continuous use of beaks by lovebirds in the wild, pet birds have no availability in such conditions for the ages. This is where you can help them by taking the necessary measure to control the growth of their beaks.
It is very important for pet owners to understand the harmful effects possessed by overgrown beaks on the health of these precious birds. They must focus on this issue and have a regular check for the status of the beak growth and the overall health of their pets.
Luckily, there are various ways you can help your cute little lovebirds that are recommended by exotic animal experts in an attempt to control the growth of beaks.
Give Them Chew Toys
The highly effective method of providing your lovebirds with good quality chew toys in the cage is always helpful in case of an overgrown beak. Lovebirds are very social birds and they love to spend time playing and knocking around on playing toys.
Most bird experts recommend getting a wooden chew toy that is free from any chemical treatments. You should never use plastic or any other treated toys in the cage as it may lead to accidental ingestion and poisoning problems in these sensitive birds.
You can also get additional benefits in the domain of lovebird’s fitness by placing mineral blocks and climbing ladders in the cage. In my opinion, the proper use of such toys is an excellent way you can control the problem of overgrown beaks in lovebirds.
There are many commercially available grooming perches available that have the additional benefit of keeping your bird busy along with controlling the beak growth. If you’re still unsure what to use, just get some fresh tree branches from the outside and let them play with these branches.
Provision of Good Quality Hard Food
In addition to the chew toys and grooming accessories, food can be a great source of beak wearing when used with correct knowledge. Hard food provides an abrasive surface for your bird to use his/her beak on.
If you’re using soft and brittle food for your lovebirds, consider shifting to a portion of food with a harder texture. Many bird experts suggest using feed pellets with harder textures rather than the softer generic pellets available on the market.
Still, most of the pellet food fails to provide enough beak trimming ability, and therefore, it is recommended to use seeds and hard nuts mixture. For instance, nuts such as almonds have a hard surface that encourages lovebirds to use their beaks more leading to wearing.
Consult an Exotic Birds Veterinarian
If you still don’t see any improvement in the beak appearance or notice the abnormalities in the beak structure, it’s time to visit a veterinarian. The discolored and deformed beak can be an indication of other underlying health issues.
After the thorough examination of the lovebird’s beak. Your veterinarian will recommend the necessary advice for you to follow. These recommendations are very helpful in order to correct the beak problems as soon as possible.
If there is any issue in the feed quality, general wellness, or organ health, the veterinarian can also prescribe the necessary treatments. Once the exact root cause is corrected, you’ll see an improvement in the beak function and appearance automatically after some time.
The Appearance of a Healthy Beak
Recognizing and getting proper information about spotting a healthy beak is very ideal and gives you an edge in diagnosing abnormal beak conditions. It is quite easier to know if your bird is suffering from an overgrown beak by a simple examination when you know how to look for it.
A healthy and proper lovebird’s beak shows a very smooth and shiny texture. It is symmetrical with no bumps in between. A smoothly curved beak is the most ideal one as it provides ample range of motion during the opening and closing of the beak.
Alignment is another thing that must be considered while judging a healthy beak. The lower and upper beak should be aligned perfectly over each other with no space or gap in between. Besides, there must not be any misalignment in the natural downward curve.
While looking if your lovebird has a healthy beak, you must also focus on the color. Lovebird’s beak is not some fancy multicolor but a unicolor one. Noticing any discoloration or color patches on the surface of the beak given an indication of an underlying health problem.
Besides, a fresh and proper beak shouldn’t have any crusting or peel over it. You might get confused by the swelling of the upper beak at the junction of attachment. This is a natural part known as the cere where nostrils are located.
You can also compare the length by comparing them with the beaks of other healthy birds. This will give you an idea about all the checking characteristics I’ve mentioned above to know if the beak of your bird needs veterinary attention or not.
There you have it! I hope you have now a proper understanding of the overgrown beak in lovebirds and potential remedies to correct the condition. Lovebirds are extremely beautiful pets to keep and it is necessary to take care of their health aspects.
Proper care, provision of chew toys, and correcting nutritional imbalances are your way to cure the overgrown beak in these beloved pets. With that being said, memorize the above-mentioned tips and keep your birds in a comfortable and engaging environment.
Can I trim my lovebird’s overgrown beak at home?
It is absolutely not advisable to trim the beak at home. There is a higher chance of bleeding as the blood supply is also extended in an overgrown beak. Trimming the beak at home may lead to accidentally cutting the vascular part and a significant risk of bleeding.
Why there is a dry peel layer on my lovebird’s beak?
The presence of a dry peel layer is an indication of the old beak wearing and shedding. As the beak is in a continuous growth phase, it constantly sheds its outer older layer while revealing a new healthy layer underneath.
Can I use peanuts for overgrown beaks in lovebirds?
Whole peanuts offer a favorably hard and abrasive surface. Your lovebirds can make use of the whole peanuts to play and help to wear/her beak at the same time in an attempt to break the peanuts.
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.