I have two principles for myself that I always attempt to follow whenever I face anything new with my birds, whether it be a problem, a question, or something amazing and unexpected.
1. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION.
2. BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT.
These guidelines are easy and clear at first sight, yet I am surprised at how often I fail to follow them. Almost every time I have a big issue in my aviary, I can go back and identify where I violated one or both of these two cardinal commandments.
Rule #1: Pay Attention.
“You can notice a lot simply by watching,” Yogi Berra famously stated. Spend some time watching your birds interact with one another. I’m not referring about inspecting them when you replace their food and water. Sit down from an unobtrusive vantage point and observe your birds’ activities. Given enough time, the birds will ultimately ignore you and begin engaging with one another, and you’ll discover a lot about how the birds are doing, if your pairings are getting along, and what type of dynamic is flowing through your flock.
Even in your regular routine, though, you must pay attention to details. When you check one cage, is the seed cup always completely empty? The hen is probably knocking out all the seeds to build a nice nesting place for herself. I haven’t seen many chickens lay eggs in seed cups since the cup is disturbed often enough that only the most stubborn bird would feel safe putting eggs there, but a hen may starve herself or her partner by tossing out all the seed so there is never any to eat. Adding a second seed cup, one that is too little for her to reach, may help avert this kind of catastrophe.
This is only one example of what you may see “by just observing.” I could provide other instances, but it would be difficult and pointless to do so. The point is that if you take the time to monitor your own birds, you will learn much more from them than from this website or any lovebird book.
Rule #2: Trust Your Own Judgement.
This is a difficult guideline to follow, particularly if you are unsure of your own knowledge or abilities. Nonetheless, it is essential that you adhere to it. Keep in mind that each lovebird is unique, and no one understands your birds better than you. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t seek help from books, vets, or more experienced breeders; it just means you should think carefully about what advice sounds good for you and your birds and what advice doesn’t. Unfortunately, virtually as much poor advice as good is accessible. Just because a book or another breeder tells you something does not guarantee it is correct for your birds. If you have any doubts about what someone has told you, make an attempt to find out more. If it still doesn’t feel right, it’s most likely not good for your birds.
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