If you are here because you are searching for information about what do lovebirds eat, this article has all the information you need about feeding your new feathered pet!
Lovebirds, like all pet birds, have specific dietary needs. Keeping a pet lovebird healthy takes more than just refilling the seed cup each day!
In this article, learn detailed information about what do lovebirds eat, including what to feed your lovebird, how much to feed, how often to feed, and how to choose the best bird food for lovebirds!
What do lovebirds eat?
The best way to learn “What do lovebirds eat in captivity?” is to start by learning what wild lovebirds eat!
There are nine different species of lovebirds and all hail from Africa originally.
In the wild, flocks of lovebirds numbering up to 200+ birds will spend their days foraging for food along the plains, savannahs, scrub brush forests and grasslands of their native territories.
In the wild, food sources can include berries, leaf buds, vegetation, seed pods, seeds, nuts and other small edibles as they become available from one season to the next.
What can lovebirds eat?
If you have ever cared for lovebirds or other pet birds before now, you already know there can be a big difference between what lovebirds should eat and what lovebirds can eat!
Lovebirds, like all parrots, really enjoy chewing. And they will readily chew on both bird-safe and bird-unsafe materials, including houseplants, electrical cords, crown molding, couch cushions and lots of other delicacies.
So it is important right from the start to build and maintain a reference list, so you know what can lovebirds eat for their meals and treats.
This aviary maintains an awesome lovebirds food list, including safe fruits, vegetables, plants, nuts,and seeds. You can use this resource as an African lovebirds food list as well as a list for all eight other lovebird species.
Choosing bird food for lovebirds
Many veterinarians and breeders today advise new lovebird owners to feed their birds pelleted foods instead of seed mixes. What is the difference, you might be wondering?
A pelleted food contains all the daily nutrients your lovebird will need in each pellet. This means your bird can’t be a picky eater and just pick out the tastiest bits and leave the rest.
Seed mixes are delicious, but they can encourage a picky eater to get pickier and can sometimes result in a malnourished or sick bird.
If your new lovebird is a rescue who is a dedicated seed-eater, talk with your veterinarian about transitioning safely over to a pelleted food.
You can also choose a seed blend that doesn’t include sunflower seeds or millet, which tend to be more palatable.
This will help encourage your bird to eat the other nutritious seeds as well. Then you can save sunflower seeds and millet to offer as an occasional treat food.
Also, you can try offering less seed to encourage your lovebird to eat all the seeds instead of just picking out favorites.
How to feed lovebirds
Veterinarians typically recommend offering between one and one and a half tablespoons of seed or pelleted food daily. You can always add more if you see that your lovebird has eaten it all.
This also helps you gauge whether your lovebird is eating and how much, since you will be removing the food cup each day for refilling.
Best food for lovebirds – pelleted
Pelleted foods are the number one choice for a daily food blend for your pet lovebird.
ZuPreem AvianMaintenance Fruit Blend for Lovebirds. This pelleted food comes in several fun colors and shapes to encourage your lovebird’s natural foraging instincts.
Each pellet contains the same full nutrition of 21 vitamins and minerals as all the rest to avoid picky eating. If you prefer, there is also a color-free version.
RoudyBush Daily Maintenance, Mini Pellets. This all-natural, scientifically formulated pelleted food delivers complete nutrition in each pellet.
The pellets are narrow round sticks that are easy for your lovebird to pick up and crunch on.
Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Super Fine. Harrison’s is a veterinary favorite. This blend is organic and non-GMO certified.
It is suitable for everyday year-round nutrition.
Best food for lovebirds – seed blends
These seed blends offer both seeds and pellets to tempt your lovebird to try something new!
Zupreem Smart Selects Daily Bird Food For Lovebirds. This highly rated blended food includes seeds, pellets and dried fruits in different colors and shapes.
It is designed to be a balanced and complete food for lovebirds.
Volkman Avian Science Lovebird Food. This seed blend loved by birds includes red millet, white millet, veggie pellets, safflower seeds and black sunflower seeds.
LAFEBER’S Original Flavor Avi-Cakes for Lovebirds. These unique parrot cakes feature half seeds and half pellets in a nutritious molasses coating.
They are designed to provide the full complement of vitamins and minerals plus essential fatty acids.
Best treats for lovebirds
The best treats for lovebirds are fresh foods that offer extra hydration, nutrients and taste variety for enrichment.
Fresh fruits and veggies, herbs and grasses and a few sunflower seeds or a millet stalk are all good choices for lovebird treats.
If you can’t find organic millet (or grow your own) locally, this is an excellent alternative for a millet treat.
Lafeber’s Gourmet Sunny Orchard Nutri-Berries for Parrots. There are many different flavors of Nutriberries, from fruits to veggies and more.
Each Nutriberry contains 20 percent seeds and the rest fruits and/or vegetables, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
This blend of fruits and nuts can be a handy pre-made treat for when you are in a hurry.
What do lovebirds eat?
We hope you have enjoyed reading and finding out the answer to the question, “What do lovebirds eat in captivity and in the wild?”
Resources and Further Reading
- Jones, N. (1997). Caring for Pet Lovebirds. Birds N Ways.
- Axelson, R. (2009). Lovebirds – Feeding. VCA Animal Hospital.
- Thompson, H. (2014). 14 Fun Facts About Lovebirds. The Smithsonian, 2014.
- Dynon, A., (2012). Feeding a Lovebird. Flemington Veterinary Hospital.
- Tully, T. (2009). Chapter 10: Lovebirds. Manual of Exotic Vet Practice. Elsevier (Saunders).
- Kosnik, L. (2018). Fischer’s Lovebird. African Wildlife Foundation.
- Sweat, R. (2013). Teaching Clients About the Birds and the Seeds. Veterinary Practice News.