parrots have been popular aviary occupants for many years. They
have bright colours and clownish characters. Their loud and lively
greetings also add to the flamboyance of these parrots when kept
in an aviary.
has stopped people keeping them as pets?
the wild, lories feed on a very wide variety of foods. Flowers are
their favourites. "They use their specialist brush-like tongue to
gather pollen. It is also long and perfect for reaching into flowers
for nectar. Fruit and berries are high on their list of most favourite
foods and they will also eat a few insects.
for confusion: In aviculture, many foods have been fed
to lories. They have been fed mashed potatoes, milk and sunflower
seeds to name just a few. The diet of lories has been the reason
people have not kept them as pets. Even now, each breeder has his
own preferred diet. The diets vary greatly and this has caused confusion.
diets are based around a nectar substitute. It is now possible to
buy powdered diets to which water is added. These are preferable
to some of the home-made mixes as they have been formulated to cater
for the lories' calcium, vitamin and mineral requirements.
breeders are trying different diets for their lories, with dry food
being used more often. This is particularly done in hot countries
where the nectar substitutes will go bad in the heat. Breeders that
advocate dry-based diets also recommend more fruit. Some vegetables
are also offered, for example peas and sweet corn. A dry diet is
far less worrying for the pet owner or breeder, because it is quite
safe to offer it when you are not at home. The fruit and vegetables
can be given when you are around, to monitor the freshness.
pets: Lories being fed a nectar substitute
are far from ideal as house pets. The resulting droppings can be
squirted by the birds - not very suitable for walls and carpets!
The nectar needs changing two to four times daily to ensure it is
safe to eat - impossible for most owners with busy work schedules
away from home.
lories fed on a dry-based diet and correctly hand-reared, do make
excellent pets. They are still a little messier than a seed eating
parrot - their droppings are looser and these birds are messy eaters
- although the mess is usually confined to the cage. Perches need
cleaning regularly. Due to their untidy eating they enjoy regular
bathing or spraying with tepid water to keep their vivid feathers
in top condition.
Strong personalities: Yellow-backed Lories
are clowns, mimics and a joy to know. They have great talking potential
when compared with similar sized parrots and can produce a real
human sound to their voice. They are also capable of mimicking unusual
sounds. We have had them learn sneezes, crying/water running, the
bubbles from a straw etc. They usually accompany cage cleaning time
with the appropriate sponge wiping and squeaking sounds. Hand-reared
Yellow-backed Lories have good personalities and you can forge a
of these birds in our breeding programme had the knack of saying
something, laughing or doing his telephone impression at the funniest
moments. When he was at the veterinary surgery for surgical sexing
he made the day of the receptionists with his telephone impression
- about six of them ran for the phone! He was kept as a pet prior
to our owning him and he went on to be a pet again. He wanted human
company and was still very tame after his time with a mate. We continued
to hear stories of all his crazy sounds for many years.
Chattering Lories will make their presence known by jumping around,
burrowing, swinging, climbing and making noise. They are very active
and fun. They will greet you first thing in the morning and at night
they will still be trying to get your attention. I hope more people
might consider these wonderful parrots for pets, and enjoy them.
ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN AND KINDLY CONTRIBUTED by Liz Lovell and was
published in the UK magazine 'Parrots' issue 21 - April/May 1998.