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Article Archive

    Sun Conures

    Sun Conures
    • Housing
    • Diet
    • Grooming & Hygiene
    • Maintanence
    • Behavior & Interaction
    • Helpful Hints
    • Origin: South America- Guyanas and northwestern Brazil
    • Habitat: Forest, open grassy areas, farmland
    • Average Size: 12"
    • Lifespan: 15-20 years



    Housing

    Sun conures are active and curious birds, and should be provided with a cage that is a minimum size of 24" x 24" x 30". The larger the cage, the more comfortable it will be for the bird. A good cage should have horizontal bars on at least two sides, as conures are very acrobatic, and love to climb.  Horizontal bars help to make climbing easier. Bar spacing should be no more than 1 inch apart to prevent injury.
    Sun conures can be kept at room temperature. Be sure to place your bird and its cage off of the floor and away from drafty areas or hot places like open windows, air vents and doorways. 
    Your conure's cage should have at least two or three perches of various sizes, shapes and textures so that its feet stay healthy and strong. Make sure the perches are thick enough for the bird to stand comfortably on them without losing its balance. You want to offer at least two perches but you also do not want to overcrowd the cage, larger cages may have room for more than two perches.
    If your bird is housed in a quiet room, you may want to get a cover for your bird's cage to help it to sleep at night. If your bird lives in a more active room, it may be kept awake by even low volume sounds, and will not get the proper rest that it needs to stay healthy. In this case, you may want to get a smaller cage for your bird to sleep in and place it in a quieter room. Using a sleep cage will give your bird a safe, quiet place to get a good night's sleep.


    Diet

    The natural diet of Sun conures consists of grains, seeds, fruits and vegetation, as well as insects and sometimes even carrion. At home, Sun conures can best be cared for by providing a variety of foods. Pellet foods and seed mixes can be fed as a daily base diet. We are currently feeding our birds Kaytee™ Rainbow Exact and Kaytee™ Forti-Diet. It is better not to feed pellets or seeds exclusively, because it often does not provide proper nutrition and is boring for the bird.  
    It is important to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in your bird's diet. Some healthy fruits include apples, grapes, bananas and melons. Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, peas, collard greens, greenbeans and kidney, pinto and black beans also make great conure food. When feeding fresh foods, it is important to remove anything uneaten after a few hours so that the food does not spoil, and to wash the dishes thoroughly before using them again. You can also offer your bird insects as a treat. A variety of live and dried insects are available at That Fish Place. Other healthy treat foods include cooked rice, pasta, multigrain breads and occasionally, cooked unspiced lean meats.


    Grooming and Hygiene

    Birds like to bathe, but different individuals prefer to bathe in different ways. Some like to bathe in a shallow dish, some like to be sprayed with a fine mist and still others like to get in the shower with their owner. Since many parrots come from regions of the world that get a great deal of rainfall, it's important to give birds a chance to get wet every day as long as they are in good health.

    Clipping your bird's flight feathers is not necessary but usually helps in taming your bird. It also helps to prevent escape and injury. Birds like parrots cannot survive in the climate of most US states and even in warmer areas would not survive without a flock (a flock protects them from predators as there is safety in numbers). For this reason, please consider carefully before allowing a parrot to remain flighted. Consult your avian vet to have the wings clipped by a qualified professional. Nails should also be trimmed by a qualified person if they get too long, unhealthy, and hinder the bird's movements.  


    Maintanence

    Clean the cage, perches and toys daily with warm soapy water. Use a non-toxic cleaner such as mild dish liquid and make sure that the soap is completely rinsed off when you are finished cleaning.
    Disinfect the cage and perches with bleach water regularly while keeping the bird in a seperate room. Bleach fumes can kill your new pet. Allow the cage to air dry in sunlight as a natural way to disinfect. Make sure the smell from the bleach is completely gone before you place your bird inside the cage.
    Replace toys and accessories that become worn or damaged, as they can injure your pet.
    Rotate toys when your bird becomes disinterested in them but remember never to place an unfamiliar toy in the cage without first introducing it to the bird in a neutral location.  Mirrors can be confusing for birds and are best introduced after the bird has bonded with their owner, as they will tend to bond to the bird in the mirror as instead of their owner.


    Behavior and Interaction

    Sun conures are very social birds who often form large colonies in the wild. For this reason, Sun conures need a lot of social interaction with their owner or with other birds in order to stay happy and healthy. Sun conures are capable of strong bonds, and usually mate for life both in the wild and in captivity. If you would like your bird to bond with you, it is best to either keep one bird per cage, or form a strong relationship with both birds separately, before you house them together. However if you would like to keep more than one Sun conure, it is recommended that you keep no more than two birds per cage unless you have a special enclosure such as a large aviary. Also, if you intend to keep a mated pair of Sun conures, keep in mind that they are likely to become aggressive toward you at times, especially during the breeding season.
    Sun conures are very vocal birds that can easily develop screaming habits if not cared for properly. You can prevent this problem by providing daily companionship outside the cage as well as plenty of toys and an appropriate housing.


    Helpful Hints

    When taking your new bird home please remember that the surroundings in your home will be new to it and it may take some time for the bird to feel settled in the new environment. Speak softly and move very slowly whenever you are near the bird's cage. Do not try to handle the bird for at least the first few days as the bird needs time to adjust to the new home.
    With a well balanced diet you should not need to give your bird vitamin supplements. Before giving any supplements in the bird's water, make sure you clean and wash the water dish daily to remove any residue from the supplements.
    We recommend taking your bird to the vet for regular checkups and purchasing a book about your new pet.
    We recommend using warm water and a mild soap solution for daily cleaning of your bird's cage. Once a week remove the bird from the cage and use a diluted bleach solution to disinfect the cage. Rinse the cage thoroughly then place the cage in the sun to air dry if possible. Be certain the cage and bowls are completely free of any bleach smell prior to placing your bird back in the enclosure as bleach is toxic to birds.
    Keep the bird in a draft free area. A room temperature of 72 degrees is normally good for most birds although we suggest researching your specific bird to determine the optimum temperature.
    Always wash your hands before and after handling each animal.
    You should have toys in the cage to prevent boredom. Bored birds are known to have behavior problems. Birds need to be active to maintain good health and to prevent them from getting overweight. Foraging toys are excellent because they stimulate the natural avian instinct to search for food.
    Toys should be changed regularly to keep your pet interested and if the toy becomes worn to prevent injury.
    When you change toys for your bird or even move your bird to a new location in the house, please be aware of how sensitive most birds are to changes. Never place a new toy directly inside the cage without first allowing the bird to see and get used to the new toy in a neutral area outside the cage.
    Birds can be scared to death. Frightening a bird can cause the bird enough stress to harm and possibly kill it. Move slowly and talk quietly to your bird until it is comfortable with you and its new home.
    Vary your bird's perches by type and sizes to keep its feet healthy and conditioned.
    We recommend consulting with your vet prior to giving your bird a cuttle bone or a mineral block. Birds that are fed a well rounded diet may not need the extra minerals.
    If you notice signs of illness it is very important to get the vet promptly as most birds will hide illness until it is in an advanced stage. We recommend taking your bird to the vet BEFORE the bird ever becomes ill. Visiting your vet before the bird is ill will allow the vet to see your bird when it is healthy and help the vet create a routine preventive health care program for your new pet.
    Signs of a Healthy Animal:
    • Active, alert, and sociable
    • Eats and drinks throughout the day
    • Dry nostrils and bright, dry eyes
    • Beak, legs, and feet appear normal
    • Clean, dry vent
    • Smooth, well-groomed feathers
    Red Flags:
    • Beak swelling or accumulations
    • Fluffed, plucked, or soiled feathers
    especially around the vent
    • Constant sitting on floor of cage
    • Wheezing or coughing
    • Runny or discolored stools
    • Favoring one foot when not asleep—it is normal for birds to sleep on one foot
    • Eye or nasal discharge
    • Red or swollen eyes
    • Loss of appetite 

    If feeding fruits the stool may become runny for a while. Many birds cannot tolerate too much acid that is in many citrus fruits, therefore we recommend limiting the amount of citrus you feed to your bird.
    Any food that is fed in excess can become toxic therefore you want to feed a well-rounded diet. Avocado, chocolate and alcohol should never be fed to your bird as all are toxic in even small amounts.
    When changing the food your bird is given, do so gradually.  A sudden change may upset your bird's digestive system, or the bird may refuse to eat the new food. We currently feed Kaytee™ seed and pellets along with many fresh fruits and vegetables to our birds.