Ask Lafeber

Question:

October 14, 2019

My conure


I have a green cheek that is 7 months old. I rescued a pineapple conure that some lost out of a tree. She’s a little older I think. I put them in separate cages side by side for a few days then put her in the cage with him and they get along pretty good. She is wanting to breed and he don’t know what to do. He just cleans her feathers. He sleeps with me every night then I put him in the cage every morning. When he’s old enough to breed will he still be my pet.


Answer:

Hi Rena,

I have a few concerns here. You know nothing about this bird you found as far as age or health. Parrots can carry diseases that can be passed on to another parrot and even humans. Also, having been outside, this bird may have picked up internal or external parasites or  a disease from wild birds. At this point, your bird has now been exposed. I would take both birds to an Avian vet for a check up to rule out parasites and disease. It is important to let the Vet know the one bird had been loose outside and that both birds have now shared a cage. Anytime you bring in a new bird, a 45 day quarantine period is recommended, where the bird is kept in a separate room from any current birds. Hopefully you checked online with the lost and found parrot sites, as well as local vets and pet shops to try to locate the owner, because someone is missing their pet. As close as you are you your baby, you can imagine how this bird’s owner feels.

Even when both birds are given a clean bill of health, I would not cage them together. She is older and may be ready to breed, and since he is immature, she is likely to become aggressive with him when he is not willing to breed. Once he is old enough, if you put them together, you will most likely not be able to handle him anymore. There can be exceptions, but generally when two birds bond with each other, they lose interest in human contact. And if they do start to breed, they become aggressive to humans. Breeding birds need to be left alone or it will cause issues with the nesting process. If they feel threatened, they may even destroy any eggs or chicks that hatch. So if you want these birds to be pets, let them each have their own cage. Some interaction out of the cage is OK as long as they don’t start getting aggressive towards you.

You mentioned he sleeps with you – please do not do this. Many birds have died this way. It is too easy to accidentally smother the bird while you are asleep. I don’t care how careful you think you are, or if you think you would wake up or not roll over on him. There are countless heartbroken bird owners out there who have done the same thing, and thought the same thing, and at some point they accidentally smothered or crushed their beloved pet bird. He needs to sleep in his cage. You also need to be careful about how you pet him. It is best to limit contact to head scratches. When you cuddle him or pet him on his body, you are sending signals that you are his mate. While it hasn’t been an issue yet, when he becomes sexually mature, you will end up having aggression issues with him because you are triggering his hormones but can’t be a mate to him.

He sounds like a sweet bird, so I am only thinking of the future since these guys live for a long time. It’s best to avoid bad habits or behavioral issues before they start. Please visit the link below to find articles on caring for your bird and understanding him better.

Caring For Your Bird

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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