Ask Lafeber

Question:

August 28, 2020

Green Cheek Conures


I have 2 green cheek conures how much out of cage time do they need?
Do they have to be Only on pellet diet?
Should there cage be covered at night?
Should green cheeks be seen every year by the vet?
Can you tell genders of conures?
Also should i get pet insurance for birds?
For green cheek conures what is a safe place for conures to be free? Will it be where they came from?


Answer:

Hi Farah,

Thank you so much for attending the webinar! I wanted to make sure all of your questions were answered so I have put all of the answers together here.

If these birds are tame, you should try to handle them daily. The amount of time isn’t that important as long as you give them some attention each day. It also depends on the size of the cage. I recommend a large cage with plenty of toys so that they can stay busy when they are in the cage.

For diet, the good news is they don’t have to eat pellets to get a nutritionally balanced diet, but a fortified seed mix is not a good alternative. The seeds in those mixes are generally not fresh enough to retain nutrients and any added nutrients are lost when the seeds are hulled. We do make foraging diets that contain fresh, hulled seeds with other ingredients to provide complete nutrition. These Nutri-Berries, Avi-Cakes and Pellet-Berries are nutritionally balanced the same as a pellet, but they are not ground up. You can feed any of these diets alone or with pellets along with fresh greens, veggies and fruits. I will also provide the link to our feeding guide below.

As far as covering the cage, it depends on your birds and your home or wherever they live. If there are a lot of lights on at night, then a cage cover is recommended. Birds should only have about 10 hours of light each day. When they get longer days, they are more likely to become hormonal and have behavior problems. So a cage cover can help reduce their exposure to light.

It’s a good idea to establish a relationship with an Avian Vet. Generally a basic health check up is a good idea to have done annually.

The only way you can determine their gender is to have a DNA test run. You can order these online or ask the Vet. Since most require a blood sample, it is generally easiest to ask your Vet to do this.

As for pet insurance, it depends on your Vet and whether they accept it. I have heard one of the major pet insurance companies is going to start offering a policy for exotic pets. Not all pet insurers will offer insurance for pet birds.

There is no safe place for a captive bred bird to be free outdoors. If released in their native habitat, they would not have the survival skills they need. They could also expose the wild conures to diseases that could devastate the wild population. Also with Green Cheeked Conures, there are many color mutations they breed for in captivity, so there has been a lot of inbreeding to achieve these colors. While your birds may look like their wild counterparts, they likely carry some type of mutation that would cause them to be genetically weak and inferior to wild conures. While captive bred animals are still technically wild animals, releasing them back to the wild will result in death. For some rare species, re-introduction programs do exist, but the animals are raised without human interaction and there are multiple stages they go through before they are ready to be introduced to the wild.

Bird Food Guide

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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