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  1. #1
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    Female lovie bullying male lovie - please help! (possibly upsetting content)

    Hi everyone,

    Hello, nice to meet you all! I've been reading this forum for a while now but this is my first post.

    I am the lucky owner of two hybrid lovebirds, Zsa Zsa (female) and Albin (male). We rescued them from a very abusive enviroment in November last year. I won't go into too much detail as I'm sure some people will find it upsetting but they were being starved and neglected - we also suspect they were physically hurt as well. Albin has a plucking problem and was practically bald when he arrived and he has only just started to recover. He has three tail feathers that he is very proud of!

    Through a lot of care and love both birds have started to get over their bad start and act more like normal birds - playing, eating proper food etc. They are in no way tame yet but they aren't afraid of us anymore so we are working on getting them to take food from our hands etc.

    The problem is that over the past couple of months Zsa Zsa has starting getting quite aggressive towards Albin. She has always been Top Dog which is fine but she has started pecking at his tail when she wants him to move - as he still hasn't got all of his feathers her beak catches the skin easily and she has been making him bleed. He is obviously very upset by this and clings to the top of the cage, silently staring into the distance. It's horrible to see.

    When she's not bullying him they are very much bonded. They have mated in the past, but no eggs yet (we won't be breeding them, assuming they are even fertile). My head tells me to seperate them but they are so in love 99% of the time and he is especially clingy with her. There are the usual cost and space considerations too as they're used to being in a lovely big cage.

    This is what we have tried to stop her pecking him:

    - more out of the cage time (they never bicker out of the cage)
    - more and varied toys
    - removed the toys she was getting nesty/possessive over
    - moving toys around so they don't get bored
    - saying "no" and clapping (not very hard) when she starts to go for him
    - different food, cutting down on seed etc

    Nothing seems to have worked. She pecked him again this morning and there was blood on the cage floor. It's so upsetting to see - we just want them to be happy. Zsa Zsa has never chased him into a corner or tried to do anything but peck his tail but I'm just dreading coming home one day and seeing that he's bled to death on the floor of the cage.

    Please, any advice anyone has would be so much appreciated. We knew they would be a big commitment and possibly have special needs due to their bad start but it's breaking our hearts to see him so upset.

    Thanks a lot for getting to the end of this essay!

    Kirsty x

  2. #2
    Snuggled, not stirred Teenager BridgeyRoo's Avatar
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    Bridget H. Shea
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    Re: Female lovie bullying male lovie - please help! (possibly upsetting content)

    It is so wonderful that you rescued these guys! My only suggestion at this point would be to separate them. You can put a smaller cage next to the bigger cage or two smaller cages next to each other so that they can see each other but she can't beat up on him. My lovie, Tini, has her normal big house for the day and then her small sleeping cage for at night that has nothing in it but water (she was a chronic layer). Tini's sleeping cage also serves as her travel cage. If there are time that you cannot watch them (work or whatever) or if the bullying is happening at night, then remove her and place her in the separate cage - close but unable to inflict injury.

    Best of luck - and great job again!

  3. #3
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    Re: Female lovie bullying male lovie - please help! (possibly upsetting content)

    Thanks so much BridgeyRoo

    I think you are right and seperating them is the only option. At least I won't have this horrible fear every time I walk in the door and see them. It happened again this morning, blood everywhere.

    My problem now is that they're not at all hand tame and we haven't been able to catch them for any reason - the one time I tried (because he was bleeding) they both freaked out and regressed to being the traumatised birds we had at the start. It took a couple of weeks for them to recover and it really set back their trust in me.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to seperate them into a new, divided cage without traumatising them?

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
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    Re: Female lovie bullying male lovie - please help! (possibly upsetting content)

    Forgot to add that this is the cage I am considering buying them as they can still see each other:

    http://www.animalsource.co.uk/very-l...age-6321-p.asp

    Does anyone have any thoughts on whether this is a good cage or not?

  5. #5
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    Re: Female lovie bullying male lovie - please help! (possibly upsetting content)

    Dont use a cage with a divider that they can bite through, because then they will bite each others toes and there will be even more blood. They need to be seperated though, it's possible they are both females. Make sure the bald one has fresh water available to bath in 24/7. You can also give him/her a course of Muta-Vit, it's made by Oropharma (Versele Laga). It's packed with biotin, vitamins and essential amino acids that promote fast, healthy and strong feather development.

  6. #6
    Brand New Egg
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    Re: Female lovie bullying male lovie - please help! (possibly upsetting content)

    Thanks Mask, I've found those vitamins online and they're very reasonable, so I'll buy some immediately! Thanks for the advice

  7. #7
    Tailfeather pixibubbles's Avatar
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    Re: Female lovie bullying male lovie - please help! (possibly upsetting content)

    Red palm oil is good for helping birds re-feather too. It's cheap, and you need tiny, tiny amounts with lovies.
    It's also worth looking at aloe baths... just plain old aloe juice (make sure it doesn't have any nasty preservatives in it) and it will stop any itching from new feathers. I get mine from a health food store. 100% natural aloe juice and i chuck a capful in a big dish of water (the one my bird loves best is a pasta dish about 12 inches across)

    Not sure if I'd leave it in a cage all day though... what do you think others?

    for what it's worth, I'd separate too. With any of my animals my line has always been the point where serious blood is drawn. A little nip or bit too rough play I'll forgive and watch very closely, but out and out attacking to the point of pain and bleeding... that's my line, and it sounds like Top Hen has reached this

    It's sad, but a lot of lovebirds seem to be badly named. Even with great owners and huge cages, they don't actually love their birdy partners. I think they're too passionate and love easily turns to rows lol

    As to the trauma of separating? I think it will be less traumatic than leaving together. Ones is stressed enough to attack the other who is just being battered...

    Just keep the cages next to each other and prepare yourself for sulking and screaming. So long as they're still eating, drinking and pooping normally, they're fine. It might take them a while to adjust... or they might love it instantly.


    Thanks Lee for the adorable sig!

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