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Lovebirds are great company for humans.

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). We 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:

My landlord does not allow me to keep cats or dogs in my apartment. Hence, I have decided to adopt a pair of lovebirds as pets. Do you consider them suitable for the apartment? Can you suggest an appropriate size of enclosure for them? Tips on care and management would also be appreciated.

Answer:

I am very pleased that you have chosen lovebirds as pets. Lovebirds have a very 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 that they will be able to fly from perch to perch - this will keep them exercised and will prevent boredom. At a minimum, the cage should be three times the wingspan in width and five times the wingspan in length to allow them flight.

Lovebirds also love nest boxes, and will often sleep in them, so be sure to provide your lovebirds with one of those as well.

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. You should also give them branches to chew on every week.

Speaking of chewing, you'll want to 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 TV on, but make sure that they have a dark, quiet room at night to sleep in.

Lovebirds do not handle extreme temperatures well, so please house them inside a temperature-controlled room, and you will have a lovely pet for the entirety of their 15-20 year lifespan.

For more information, speak to your local veterinarian, as they are always the best source to go to first, and you can also look at www.humanesociety.org and look up Tips for Lovebirds. Enjoy your new pets.

l Dr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consult and surgeon for the BSPCA. Please send questions to bspca@batelco.com.bh.

BSPCA's Cat of the Week is Pringles

Breed: Domestic Short Hair

Colour: White and black

Sex: Female

Age: Four months

Neutered: No

Pringles is a pretty girl with a sweet nature. She is fresh out of quarantine and can be a little bit quiet sometimes, but she is more than ready to find a home of her own. She loves to be stroked and wants nothing more than to find her own family. She settled easily into life at the shelter and would not have a problem settling anywhere new. Pringles is fully vaccinated and dewormed.

BSPCA's Dog of the Week is Dusty

Breed: Mix

Colour: Cream

Coat: Short

Sex: Male

Age: Approximately nine months

Neutered: No

Dusty has been with the shelter for more than seven months and he desperately needs a home. We have watched him grow past the cute puppy stage, but he is still adorable and fun to be around. He would make a wonderful pet for any family. He is still young enough to be fun but old enough to listen. He is a delightful dog with lots to offer. Dusty is neutered, frontlined and fully vaccinated.

If you are interested in adopting Pringles, Dusty or any of our other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar or log onto the website www.bspca.org for directions.

The BSPCA is a charity and can only operate on the generosity of the public's donations. If you wish to help the BSPCA rescue unwanted or abandoned animals, you can sponsor a dog or cat kennel at the shelter in Askar. To donate e-mail: grahamjoyce@hotmail.com.

- By BSPCA Pet Reporter Louise Edwards

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Dec 15, 2012
Words:805
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