Lories & Lorikeets

Lories and lorikeets are small to medium-sized arboreal parrots characterized by their specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar and soft fruits. Lories have short tails with square tail feathers. Lorikeets have long tails and the tail feathers are pointed. The Lories and Lorikeets are also known as honeyeaters, Lories and lorikeets are very playful birds. They love to play with people, toys, and whatever else they can get their "beaks" Lorikeets like to be very active and love to perform lots of antics, from just showing off in general to swinging upside down on bars, perches and swings. The parrots in the family Lories and Lorikeets are known for their unusual brush-tipped tongues. These birds feed upon pollen, nectar and fruits, while inadvertently pollinating the flowers of the trees on which they feed. A hand-fed Lories or lorikeet, which has become imprinted on humans, makes the best pet. Almost all hand-fed Lories can learn to talk. They feed nectar, they should be offered fruits, vegetables, greens, cooked egg, and if possible, unsprayed weeping willow twigs. Their length is from 23 - 40cm

Life Span:

You can expect a healthy Lories and Lorikeets to live around 15-30 years or even longer with good nutrition and care.

Food:

In the wild, lorikeets feed on nectar and pollen from plants and flowers. A companion lorikeet however requires a special diet, which makes them less than ideal for a beginner bird owner. A companion bird's diet should consist of a nectar replacement diet, which are available commercially or can be made by the owner. There are two main types of nectar replacement, namely wet mix and dry mix. These mixes come in powder form, the former requires to be mixed with water to create a porridge-like consistency, and the latter is to be fed as is. If feeding dry mix, plenty of fresh drinking water needs to be made available for the bird. If the bird is fed on wet mix, their requirements for drinking will be reduced, as the feed contains a large amount of water, however fresh drinking water should still be made available.
Companion lorikeets also need their diet supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. A variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables should be made available. Due to the shape of their beak and tongue, rarely will a lorikeet use a cuttlefish for calcium intake. Other kinds of fruits and vegetables frequently enjoyed by lorikeets include apples, pears, corn on the cob, berries, grapes (only to be fed in small amounts as the high iron content in grapes can cause liver damage, Honey is also a favorite of lorikeets, and can be used as a treat or a reward when training a bird.

Due to the largely liquid diet of lorikeets, their droppings are also of a very liquid nature, making them one of the messier companion birds to keep

Sexing

Visual sexing is not reliable, Monomorphic / Dimorphic surgical or DNA sexing is usually necessary.

The incubation period:

They will lay usually In their natural environment, Hens will lay two to four eggs. The incubation period is on average 24 days. Hatching can be pulled for hand feeding at 2 to 3 weeks of age.
Chicks should be given a special hand feeding formula that has been formulated to Lorie's nutritional needs. Babies will start weaning onto fruits and nectar at about 3 to 4 months of age.

Breeding:

To breed Lories and Lorikeets, you will need to acquire a true pair and identify the sex of your birds before you set them up. You can do this with DNA sexing. All breeding birds should be DNA sexed.

Calcium:

Calcium supplements are available in liquid and powder form and added to the wet feed mixture, as required especially prior to breeding season. Veterinary advice should be obtained to ascertain if your birds require mineral and or vitamin supplements, and this includes calcium, as excess levels can be detrimental to a bird's health. Adding extra calcium to a bird's diet may be of little or no value unless the bird does daily flying or exercise. Calcium is usually absorbed in response to a physical demand such as exercise or lots of flying.

For a hen to absorb an adequate amount of calcium prior to breeding, it is preferable to give the breeding bird access to an aviary prior to the start of the breeding season. The aviary should give the birds the exercise required to obtain optimal fitness for a good breeding season.

Water:

Clean fresh water must be available at all times. Some birds bathe in the drinking water. Others like Asiatic parrots will not bathe in their drinking water so provision may have to be made for a second water bowl. There are a number of automatic and semi-automatic watering systems now on the market as well as "homemade" systems that are used successfully both in outdoor aviaries and indoor rooms. When the dry mix is not mixed with water and is fed as a separate dry food, the birds will then drink from the water bowl and leave some of the food in the water. Regular thorough cleaning of the water bowl is essential.

Sunlight & Vitamin D:

With aviaries having fully covered roofs, care must be taken to ensure no deficiency occurs.

Mineral & vitamin supplements (including calcium):

Keep in mind with supplements, the correct dose rate you should get good results, but, if more than the prescribed dose is administered, it could be toxic or even fatal to the bird's and or the babies. Seek advice from a veterinarian before adding these items to a bird's diet.