Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 7, 2020

2 Conures – Green Cheek and Pineapple


My 2 conures have come a long way and look so much healthier than when adopted almost a year ago.

They were very easy going and for the most part not much as screamers.

Recently I have had to be home more than normal as a result of a medical procedure. The are out of their cage anytime home and scream most the day. I thought it was an attention issue but it really doesn’t mater if they are right with me or on their cage.

This has made it very difficult to wk fm hm.

Please advise, I don’t want to adopt them out as I really enjoy their good moments. But the screaming as made wk very difficult when on the phone. I need the income.


Answer:

Hi Kelly,

Conures are naturally loud in general, and when you have two, they tend to instigate each other. When you let birds stay out all of the time, this can cause some behavioral problems because they really have no incentive to be tame. They often stop playing with their toys and do spend more time vocalizing. I would start by establishing a routine. When you have them out, they need to be with you, or on a playstand next to you. I’m not sure if they share a cage, but if they do, they are likely becoming more bonded to each other and losing interest in humans. If you want birds to remain tame as pets, each bird needs its own cage. Birds will almost always choose another bird over a person when they share a cage, and as they get older and hormones kick in, they may stop being tame altogether. I would have a fairly set schedule of when you have them out to handle them, and then they need to go back in the cage. Make sure they have plenty of toys and start offering foraging opportunities to keep them busy. I’ll give you a link to our videos on foraging. In the wild, parrots spend most of their day foraging for food. So in captivity, they get bored easily when they only need to go to a food dish to eat.

Regarding the noise, it’s best to ignore the screaming and reward silence. If the birds are in the same room with you, this is hard to do but if you are consistent, they do get the message eventually, When they are loud, ignore them or quietly walk out of the room, and then when there is even just a minute of quiet, go reward them with some attention. If they are in a different room, do not go into the room when they are being loud. Wait for silence and then go into the room with a treat or just give them some attention. If they are being loud when it is time to come out of the cage, do not get them out until they are quiet. Birds do not respond to punishment, so everything needs to be a positive reaction to them being quiet. You can’t put them in the cage as a punishment, and while covering the cage might work for a shirt time, really they have achieved what they want by making you come into the room or approach the cage to cover them. This is going to take time, and again with two conures, you are going to have noise at times But by making a routine, and being consistent with rewarding the when they are quiet, you can reduce the amount of time they scream every day.

Teaching Your Bird

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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