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The Conure Handbook

Are you conjuring up plans to bring a conure into your home? Playful, curious conures can certainly make life interesting! Conures are considered the comedians of the parrot world. Many conure owners have observed their birds dancing back and forth or mimicking the movements of humans. These witty, charismatic birds are experts at drawing-in laughter from their human companions!
You may notice that conures can vary quite a bit in size as you research this specific variety of parrot. Conures can range in size from about 10 inches to 20 inches. They are easily identifiable by their long tail feathers and distinctive eye-rings. These beauties are native to South America. Wild conures can often be found in savannas, forests and palm groves throughout Brazil, Guyana, Paraguay, Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile. This means that they are used to eating varied, rich diets full of natural berries and roughage. We'll talk more about adopting a pet conure's diet to satisfy some of those natural eating and foraging instincts you're going to observe. Seeing one conure does not mean you've seen them all! There are about 100 different species that fall under the conure umbrella. Here's a list of some of the popular varieties that you may encounter as you search for a conure to call your own: You may have heard that some parrots tend to become attached to just one person. This isn't so with conures! A conure that is properly socialized can form bonds with multiple family members. A conure is a great choice as a family pet if you're looking for a gentle, friendly bird with the ability to form bonds with both children and adults. Conures had their Hollywood moment in 1998 when a film called "Paulie" about a wisecracking bird debuted in theaters. The feathered character in the film was a blue-crowned conure that was voiced by Jay Mohr. There's a pretty good chance that your outgoing conure is going to become the star of your home!

What should I consider before buying a conure?

A conure is truly a companion. These jovial birds also happen to be quite intelligent. This high level of intelligence means that conures crave attention and interaction. It will be your job as a conure parent to provide stimulation. The effort is more than worth it when you consider that you'll be rewarded with a petite parrot with tons of personality! Many people are attracting to conures because these birds tend to be less noisy than other parrot types. You don't have to worry about loud squawks or constant chatter when you bring a conure into your home. That doesn't mean that they are silent! Some conures can train to speak. A conure is also a popular choice because this bird is typically less expensive to purchase than other types of parrots. You're getting that big parrot personality in a smaller package! The color patterns of the conure cause many people to describe this bird as a miniature macaw. Conures certainly measure in small when compared to many other parrots. However, they still require dedication, attention, and work. One of the first things you'll need to focus on is finding an appropriate cage for your new conure. Try not to go any smaller than a cage that is 24 inches deep by 24 inches tall. One thing to know about conures is that they like to snuggle! You may find that your conure enjoys nestling under your chin. However, you can't be there to snuggle your bird all the time. You can cultivate a cozy environment inside your cuddle-loving conure's cage by providing a piece of soft fabric or washcloth to serve as a security blanket of sorts. Your conure may also appreciate a soft toy. There's no shame in babying your conure a bit! Conures can be spooked by loud noises easily. Using a square or rectangular cage that is positioned with one side against a wall or corner can give your concur a sense of security. Avoid keeping your conure in your kitchen. Cooking smells and fumes from household appliances can harm or disturb conures.

What else do I need when considering a conure?

Being the parent of a conure means playing the role of a conversationalist, cuddle partner and dietitian! It's very important to provide your conure with a rich and appropriate diet. A conure's intake needs can vary depending on lifestyle. Conures undergoing physical growth or molting may require extra nutrition. Also, a conure that seems especially active may need more food than a conure that appears to be less active. We'll be discussing more the specific ways you can provide a healthy conure diet in just a moment! One important thing to know is that conures can be prone to feather picking. This can be a troubling behavior to witness in your bird. It is so important to make sure you're providing your conure with a stimulating environment that offers plenty of opportunities for play, movement, and exercise. Conures are also known to be susceptible to something called proventricular dilatation disease (PDD). Some signs that may present in a bird with PDD include weight loss, poor appetite, weakness, muscle wasting, tremors and passage of undigested food in feces. It is unlikely that your bird will have PDD. However, you should always schedule regular checks with an avian veterinarian for your conure. Conures are also known to be more susceptible to something called psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) than other birds. Signs include beak deformities and abnormal feathers.

Should I be concerned about what my conure eats?

Diet is going to be the key to your conure's happiness, health, and longevity. A conure can live for up to 35 years if it enjoys an ideal lifestyle and diet. Conures are slightly prone to obesity. That means you're going to have to be vigilant about offering balance. Besides, it is known that conures are more likely to suffer from deficiencies in vitamin A and calcium than other birds. A conure needs and craves a well-balanced, varied diet. Consistency is important. The playful, comedic personality of your conure may trick you into thinking that you're making your bird happy by feeding it treats and table food. However, you are just providing some short-term fun that can create very poor long-term results. You're probably going to bump into the temptation to feed your conure a seed-heavy diet pretty early on. What could be wrong with filling food that your conure seems to love? The reality is that an all-seed diet can lead to a sluggish, miserable bird pretty quickly. Dr. Vanessa Rolfe shares this regarding seed diets: “Seventy to 80 percent of the problems I treat in birds are due directly or indirectly to inadequate diets. Seeds are high in fat and deficient in many other nutrients, including amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. An all-seed diet can be associated with a long list of medical problems.”

What exactly does my conure naturally eat?

Let your mind wander to a scene of a lush, green South American forest that is covered by a light mist and canopy of trees. The ancestors of your little conure would have been playfully dancing on knotty branches high above the ground with things like berries, seeds and tropical vegetation in their beaks. Your goal is to provide a diet that is as close to this as possible. Of course, you're going to have limitations because you don't live in a forest! The good news is that you can recreate a natural diet using varied, nutrient-dense foods that are made especially for conures. One thing that is important to realize is that your pet conure doesn't need the same menu that a wild bird would need to thrive. It is important to focus on finding pet bird food for a non-wild bird to ensure that your conure is getting the right mix. The big difference between a wild and non-wild bird is that a non-wild bird needs far less fat and sugar! A bird in the wild would be constantly moving and foraging for food. Even a playful, curious pet conure who's on the move quite a bit could never match the activity level of a wild conure. Unfortunately, the seeds that we feed our birds as part of the American diet offer much less nutrition than the wild seeds they'd be nibbling on in the wild.

What should I feed my conure?

A conure can thrive when provided with a high-quality bird mix that is tailored to meet the nutritional needs of parrot-sized birds. That doesn't mean that there isn't any room for fresh food in a conure's diet. You actually can provide regulated amounts of fresh fruits and leafy greens to keep your conure healthy and satisfied. 30 to 50 percent of your conure's diet can come from fresh foods.

How much does a conure eat?

Birds will eat between one-half and one-fourth of their body weight daily. The fact that conures vary so much in size means you'll need to do the math based on your conure's body composition. Most conures are going to fall somewhere between 60 grams and 120 grams in weight. That means you'll typically be provided between 30 grams and 60 grams of food for your conure daily. You can measure accurate daily portions for your conure using a digital scale.

The problem with all-seed diets

It is so important to discuss the role that seeds will play in your conure's diet. Many people use the fact that conures eat seeds in the wild forests of South America as a license to pour heaping piles of seed all day long! Conures indeed eat seeds in the wild. However, the idea that non-wild conures need to be eating lots of seeds is based on a big misunderstanding. The big misunderstanding surrounding seeds is fueled by the fact that conures love seeds! You can pretty much guarantee that your conure will be very pleased when presented with a heaping pile of seeds. You may even mistake your conure's enthusiasm for seeds as a good sign. The reality is that you may only be a few weeks or months away from some pretty serious health consequences. Upper respiratory disease, fatty liver disease, and atherosclerosis are all connected with the overuse of seeds with non-wild birds. Fat is a big reason why seeds aren't ideal for conures. Most seed mixes available out there contain nuts. One thing to know about conures is that they will happily pick out all of the nuts and high-fat tidbits in any seed mix. That's because "fatty" usually means "tasty" to a conure. There's another reason to be suspicious of seed mixes if you have a conure. Many mainstream mixes that you can pick up at pet stores are very likely to contain genetically modified (GMO) seeds. The troubling thing about most GMO seeds is that they are grown to be used in cooking oils. You're asking for trouble in terms of short-term and long-term health issues for your conure when you go with a seed mix full of high-fat nuts and GMO ingredients. Did you know that Bird Street Bistro only offers pet bird food made with organic and all-natural ingredients? Our yummy mixes are designed to keep your conure dancing for a long time to come!

Nuts, legumes, amino acids (proteins) and essential fatty acids (fats)

Don't mistake the need for balance in your conure's diet as a condemnation of fats! Your conure certainly does need good fats and protein in its diet. A conure in the wild would be getting protein naturally from things like insect larva, nuts, and legumes. Of course, your bird would be working very hard for every protein-rich calorie. How can you deliver some of those same nutrients without worrying that your conure's diet will shift out of balance? Our Tropical Feast on the Fly offers many of the ingredients that your conure might encounter in the wild, many of which contain good doses of Vitamin A which your conure needs. Why not treat your comedic conure to an oh-so-good helping of this mix containing whole grains, crunchy almonds, coconut, carrots, mango, and sun-ripened pineapple? We never use fillers, additives, sugar, salt or artificial ingredients in our tasty, organic bird mixes.

Carbohydrates for conures

Are conures allowed to eat carbohydrates? The answer is that carbohydrates certainly do have a place in a conure's diet. However, you'll want to keep the number of carbohydrates that your conure gets from people food to a minimum! Fruits and vegetables can be great for providing some healthy carbs. You can also fit in some carbohydrates using whole grains. Things can be tricky when you select grains for your conure. Many bird treats and mixes containing grains are sourced from crops that are covered in pesticides and dangerous contaminants. Luckily, we use an organic whole-grain base for our mixes that are free from pesticides or harmful contaminants. Go ahead and serve up some organic quinoa, organic cracked wheat, organic couscous and organic hulled millet without any worries!

The problem with an all-pellet diet

You may have been given the advice to load up on pellets now that you'll be bringing a conure into your home. Unfortunately, you've been given some bad advice. An all-pellet diet can be disastrous for a conure. This type of diet can box your conure in on a dietary level. A pellet diet is simply too uniform and free from variety to offer what conures need to thrive and stave off harmful health conditions. The real hidden danger of an all-pellet diet is that it deprives your conure of the ability to satisfy its foraging instinct. This is no small thing. Foraging plays a key role in keeping conure content and stimulated. All parrots flourish when they are free to pick through food to undress seeds from husks. A manufactured pellet provides no opportunity for foraging. You might call pellet nutrition without a soul. The bad news is that birds often display a variety of behavioral issues after being forced to consist of all-pellet diets. Vitamin D and iron toxicities are also common with all-pellet diets. Many bird owners unknowingly compromise the health of their beloved companions by providing them with all-pellet diets. Pellets can seem attractive to busy pet owners because they are so easy to pour. What's more, pellets require less cleanup following meals because there aren't any husks or shells to deal with. It is so important to avoid being tempted by convenience! Choose to pamper your bird with freshly prepared mixes instead to cultivate health and happiness!

Conure food FAQ:

Can conures eat bananas? Bananas are totally fine for conures to eat! Can conures eat strawberries? Tasty, juicy strawberries are great for conures. Can conures eat peanut butter? Peanut butter often has high levels of salt, fat, and sugar. Also, the sticky nature of peanut butter can be problematic for the smaller beaks of conures. It is recommended that you avoid giving your conure peanut butter. Can conures eat watermelon? Watermelon can be very refreshing for a conure. Can conures eat crackers? Skip the crackers to avoid introducing unneeded fats and carbohydrates. You can certainly speak with your avian veterinarian regarding specific cracker options. Can conures eat in the wild? A pet conure needs a diet that is designed for non-wild birds. Trying to introduce your conure to the idea of eating in the wild can create food confusion and malnutrition. Choose conure food and parrot food for non-wild birds instead! What do I do if my conure flies away? We hope this day never comes! Stay close if your conure manages to fly away. Simply leaving your conure's cage out in the open to discover could encourage your bird to return. Your conure may also respond to your voice.

List of fruits for conures

Conures enjoy many every day and tropical fruits. Many of the tasty fruits that you like to eat can also be enjoyed by your conure. It is important to manage portion sizes when feeding fresh fruits to your conure. Cut fruit into slices or chunks to make feeding time easy! Here’s a list of popular fruits that are okay for conures:
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Raisins
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Currants
  • Strawberries
  • Apricots
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Blackberries
  • Mulberries
  • Loganberries
  • Lemons
  • Dates
  • Raspberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Juniper berries
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Gooseberries
  • Rowan berries
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Melon
  • Peaches
  • Rosehips
  • Hawthorn berries
  • Wild elderberries
  • Figs
  • Melon
  • Papaya
Don't forget to remove pits and seeds from fruits like apples, apricots, pears, peaches, and cherries before giving them to your conure. Seeds and pits can lead to choking or accidental cyanide poisoning. It's also smart to wash all fruit skins before serving fruit to your conure. A fresh piece of fruit can make a nice dessert after a helping of one of our tasty mixes. Did you know that our Super Variety Pack contains all of our different Bird Street Bistro blends! You can go on a flavor adventure with your conure to discover a favorite blend!

What should I NOT feed my conure?

Keep all of the foods that are known to be hazardous to birds and animals away from your conure. Things like chocolate and coffee are totally off the table for your bird! Anything that contains caffeine is not considering a bird-friendly food. You'll also want to keep an eye out for any food that contains something called solanine. Toxic solanine is found naturally in foods like potatoes, garlic, eggplant, and tomato leaves. Avocados and asparagus should also avoid. Your avian veterinarian should be able to provide you with a complete list of foods that are potentially toxic for conures. Of course, foods don't have to be "poisonous" to be toxic for your conure. Foods that contain high levels of fat, salt or sugar can create digestive, behavioral and health issues for your bird. You may think that it is kind to include your conure when the family is enjoying snacks and treats on special occasions. However, "celebration" food for humans can become a cause for misery for a conure. you should not give to your conure Candy, chips, buttery foods, and cookies.

What about people's food?

People, food isn't totally off the table for your conure just because sweet and salty treats are! Just know that processed foods are not great for conures. Only things like fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables that are on the approved list for conures should be given.

What about vegetables for conures?

Conures like a crunch! Conures enjoy tasty, uncooked vegetables as snacks. The good news is that most vegetables are appropriate for conures. Kale, cabbage, and zucchini are especially like by conures. As much as 30 percent of your conure's diet can be made up of vegetables.

Does my bird need extra vitamins, minerals or amino acids?

Many parrot varieties are susceptible to deficiencies in calcium and vitamin A. Unfortunately, conures fall under this category. These deficiencies are not to take lightly! A deficiency in vitamin A often leads to nourishment issues that can leave a conure vulnerable to fatal bacterial and viral infections. Did you know that vitamin A deficiencies are exacerbated by all-seed diets? Give your bird the best chance by nourishing them with something like our Appleberry Feast on the Fly or Viva La Veggies. Conures can't resist the savory spices in these mixes! Here's an article that will inform you regarding the impact of vitamin A on birds. A calcium deficiency can lead to a condition called acute hypocalcemia that comes with some very troubling symptoms. Birds with severe calcium deficiencies may display tremors, shaking or weakness. Diet is so important when it comes to maintaining proper calcium levels. Also, daily exposure to sunlight and a high-quality cuttlebone can help to foster proper calcium absorption.

What pointers should I remember about feeding my conure?

Keep things fresh! Never leave food lingering inside or near your conure's cage. Doing so could attract bugs and mold that may create some serious health issues for your precious bird. Get in the habit of removing fresh foods and mashes from your conure's feeding area as soon as feeding time is over. So don't forget the freshwater! Your conure will require fresh, tasty water each day.

Can I just put food in a food dispenser when I’m away?

you should always supervise your conure. Leaving a large amount of food out to cover a few days could cause your conure to overeat or make a mess inside its cage. What's more, bugs and pests could show up to check out the food that's been left out. A responsible owner should always make arrangements for the proper care and feeding of a conure during vacations or travel times. Treat your conure like a member of your family.

Is there anything else that will need for my conure besides Bird Street Bistro?

The tasty selection of blends offered by Bird Street Bistro is going to serve as the perfect base for your conure's nutritional needs. Of course, you shouldn't hesitate to ask your avian veterinarian about any supplements or foods that may be ideal for your bird. The team here at Bird Street Bistro often recommends cuttlebones and mineral blocks to ensure that conures are receiving the trace minerals they need to flourish during peak times of physical and brain development.

How can I get my conure to eat healthily?

You may be feeling motivated to set up healthy eating habits for your conure right away. That's great news! It's important to know that routine and patience are the two big keys that can unlock feeding-time success! Choose a set feeding time that works for you. Do your best to offer the same portions at the same time each day. We also recommend placing any fresh food or mashes into separate dishes to ensure a crisp flavor without any spoilage or mold. You may need to temporarily restrict or eliminate food because you find that your bird only wants to eat one thing. You may also want to consider blending some of the new food you're trying to introduce with the food that your conure is already crazy about! We've put together a detailed checklist for how to successfully introduce new healthy foods into your bird's diet here!

In Conclusion

We'll think you'll concur that there's no better companion than a conure! These "class clowns" of the parrot family make delightful companions and additions to families. Of course, the task of keeping your comedy-loving conure healthy by providing the right food and environment is no joke! Keep your bird's health and happiness in mind by avoiding the temptation to adopt a pellet or all-seed diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide wonderful treats that deliver nutrients and transport your conure's taste buds back to the lush forests of their ancestors. Also, our mixes can take the hassle out of mealtime training for your new conure because cones love the tasty, robust variety offered by Bird Street Bistro. Our delicious and organic mixes are made with the health of birds just like yours in mind! You can have peace of mind that you're not feeding your conure additives, fillers or unhealthy fats. Get back to basics with Bird Street Bistro’s tasty, bird-tested bird-parent approved mixes! You should always consult with your avian veterinarian when choosing a new food for your conure. Do you have any thoughts or questions regarding conure diets? Squawk at us! Just leave us a comment below to share your thoughts on parrot food. Because we always love hearing from our flock of bird lovers! Have a wonderful day! Other Sources: https://seaworld.org/animals/facts/birds/sun-conure/ http://www.petparrots101.com/Conures-cages.asp