How lovebirds feed their babies
Due to the staggered hatching dates of the young birds, young animals of various ages are found in an agapornid nest at the end of the brood; Newly hatched nestlings can be found next to chicks that are 1 week old and correspondingly larger. One must now make sure that all young animals, even the smallest ones, are well fed and that no youngsters are pushed away by another youngster. As already mentioned, daily nest box checks are necessary for this. In the beginning, feeding the chicks is the sole responsibility of the female, who at first tucks the young on her own, while the rooster stays outside and only feeds the hen, who passes on the predigested feed. The young animals are only fed by the male after 2 weeks. Well-fed young animals can be recognized by their well-filled crop, which is clearly visible, somewhat yellowish, under the skin of the neck.
After hatching, the young birds are only sparsely feathered with a few down feathers, their eyes are closed. After just 2 weeks, however, the tips of the first large feathers begin to appear, beginning with the wings. At about the same time, possibly a little earlier, the eyes open. At this time, the male also begins to feed the young directly. At 3 to 4 weeks the young are almost fully feathered, after approx. 5 weeks you can see how the oldest of the young become curious and look out of the nest box. A little later they leave the nest for the first time, still a little awkward. Agapornid young are very shy; at the slightest disturbance they flee back into the protective cave, and it takes a little patience before they no longer flee at the sight of the keeper. The young animals now differ from their parents only in the dull colors of their plumage and the dark color of the beak base.
By about 8 to 10 weeks the young birds should have learned to find their food and to eat independently. At this age they can therefore be separated from their parents, which is often necessary because they begin to chase the offspring out of the nest box on a massive scale in order to be able to start a second brood. If you want to prevent this, you shouldn't miss the right time before the next egg-laying to remove the nest box and replace it with a sleeping house!
If the young animals are not separated from their parents, it can lead to biting and serious attacks by the parents! At the age of about 6 to 7 months, the young animals begin their first large moult, the "juvenile moult", in which they exchange their juvenile plumage for that of the adults. From now on they can no longer be distinguished from the adult birds. Agapornids become sexually mature at around three quarters of a year, but should only be allowed to breed for the first time at around a year.
Nestlings(Click on thumbnail!)
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