Ask Lafeber

Question:

August 6, 2021

Buying a pair


I have a female sun conure which is almost 2 years old..let’s keep it 1.5 years old. She has started to show hormonal behaviours and I’m now looking for a male sun conure. So my question is , the male sun conure which I’m about to buy should be of how many years old…?.
Second question is can I buy a male sun conure which is already bonded and has previously been responsible for a clutch with a sun conure before but now has been without a female for almost 4 months. So will that male sun conure bond and breed with my female sun conure? ( That male sun conure is also 1.5 to 2 years old)


Answer:

Hi Joseph,

Is your female a pet? Breeder birds are not pets, so if you decide to turn her into a breeding bird, you will lose her as a pet. Parrots mate for life, so unless the mate dies, a bonded pair should never be separated. Which brings me to ask, why is the bonded male now alone? If his mate didn’t die, and they were forcibly separated, he is not going to bond with another female as easily as a male that hasn’t had a mate. As to their age, sun conures should be at least 3 years old before you set them up with a mate and let them breed. Parrots do become mature at an earlier age, especially in captivity, but they still have some physical and emotional development to go through. If a hen is set up to breed too early, she is at a much higher risk of becoming egg bound and dying. Forming eggs takes a lot out of a hen’s health, and a young hen simply isn’t ready to go through this. Eggs take a lot of protein and calcium to develop, and a lot of muscle to lay them. Young pairs are also more likely to make mistakes or develop bad breeding habits that can ruin them for ever being good breeders when they get old enough. Young males especially tend to be more interested in the mating than settling down and caring for eggs or chicks. They often abandon the eggs or stop feeding the chicks. They can get aggressive towards the female because they want her attention and don’t want her in the nest with the eggs or chicks. You are much more likely to have a successful breeding pair if you wait to put your birds together when they are at least 3 years old.

As to what age to get a male for her? He would be the same age or even a bit younger. It’s not good to put a younger hen with an older male. He can pressure her to lay eggs before she is ready and again, this can result in egg binding or other complications. I would not get the previously bonded male without knowing more about him. Why is he alone now? How did he do as a breeder? It’s possible they split the pair up because he didn’t do well, and this would be due to his young age. He was allowed to pair and breed when he wasn’t old enough. Because she is hormonal now, I would not be in a hurry to get her a male, because she shouldn’t be with one yet. I would wait until she is 3 to get a male, so that there is less chance of her trying to lay eggs before she is truly ready. The wait will pay off better than starting her too young. Waiting can mean you end up with a breeding pair for years. Starting too early could mean you end up with a hen that never makes a good breeder.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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