Vet Hansel answers your questions about pet care in this weekly advice column, created in partnership with the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA). It will also be highlighting each week some of the animals in the BSPCA sanctuary, in the hope of finding each of them a loving home.
Question: I recently adopted a pair of beautiful lovebirds. Can you suggest an appropriate size of enclosure along with any tips on caring for them?
Answer: Lovebirds have a nice temperament and usually enjoy being in contact with humans. They do not tend to bite, but as with all birds, need to be handled gently and not startled, as this can cause them to bite.
These small parakeets do not tend to do well alone and love to spend time with each other.
These birds are suitable for apartments, however, you will need to provide them with the largest cage you can manage, so they will be able to fly from perch to perch. At a minimum, the cage should be three times the wingspan in width, and five times the wingspan in length to allow them flight.
Enrichment of a lovebird’s cage is important as it will keep them from boredom and depression. They love to play with mirrors, solid-sided balls, and climbing branches and perches.
Also, feed them a commercial lovebird seed mix, along with a small cup of fruits, vegetables and greens daily. You should always provide them with a good source of calcium as well – eggshells do the trick quite nicely. As with all animals, make sure they have plenty of fresh, cool water.
Make sure you spend time with your lovebirds, as they love to spend at least an hour a day with their humans. If you cannot be home for an extended period of time during the day, leave the radio or television on, but make sure they have a dark, quiet room at night to sleep in.
Lovebirds do not handle extreme temperatures well, so house them inside a temperature-controlled room.
For more information, speak to your local veterinarian.
- Dr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA and Charis Vets. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BSPCA’S DOG OF THE WEEK IS ANTONIO
Age: Three years
Antonio is our sweet and sensitive talker at the shelter. He instantly gets along with any person or animal at the shelter and his presence will instantly add a bright and happy vibe to any family or household. Antonio is neutered, tick-treated and fully vaccinated.
BSPCA’S CAT OF THE WEEK IS MARLA
Age: Five months
Marla is a confident, attentive and fun loving little kitty. She loves to be constantly cuddled and caressed, enjoying every bit of attention she gets from the shelter volunteers. She is also playful and will be a good buddy to all the members of a family. Marla is fully vaccinated.
- If you are interested in adopting Antonio, Marla or any of the shelter’s cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar. Directions can be found at www.bspca.org.