Ask Lafeber

Question:

January 11, 2021

Reproduction


I have a female sun conure of 10 months old. I need a male conure too but I’m not able to get of the same age. But if I get a male sun conure of 8 months old then will they mate in a few months time like after 5 months or so?


Answer:

Hi Joseph,

As far as the age of the male, this is not a significant age difference and it’s always best for the male to be younger versus having a young female with an older male. However, it will be much too soon to set them up for breeding in just a few months. In the wild, the Sun Conure becomes sexually mature at around 2 years of age, but may not start breeding and laying eggs until 3 years of age. While captive bred parrots do tend to become physically mature at a much younger age than their wild counterparts, this does not mean they are ready for breeding. They still need time to finish maturing  – they are basically a teenager when they first become sexually mature, but they aren’t ready to settle down to care for a mate, eggs and chicks. You can let the birds start getting to know each other and start bonding as mates, but they should be a minimum of 2 years old before you put them in a breeding cage with a nest box. If you let them breed when they are younger, the hen is at a higher risk of becoming egg bound and dying, and both birds are more likely to make mistakes with the incubation process, such as refusing to sit on the eggs, breaking the eggs or eating the eggs. All of these are very bad breeding habits that can be difficult to break and can ruin them as breeding birds. Young birds are more interested in the mating part and will often abandon the eggs too soon, or ignore or abandon the chicks in favor of mating again and starting the process over.

Once both birds are at least 2 years old, you can set them up in a breeding cage with a nest box. They need a quiet, private area and you should limit how often you check on them during the day. You should cease all handling if they are tame and do not talk to them as pets or try to interact with them as pets. This can cause a lot of confusion and jealousy between the birds. They need to be on a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets or our foraging diets. A loose seed mix will not provide the nutrition they need. You should also offer chopped veggies and fruits. Once they are set up for breeding, you should offer cooked eggs with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with them, and multi grain bread. You will only feed these last two foods until the chicks are weaned. Once any chicks leave the nest box, or if the eggs aren’t fertile once they are abandoned, you must remove the nest box or move the pair to a regular cage and rest them from breeding for 6 months. In the wild they would only have one clutch per year, but with a good diet and rest in between, you can allow two clutches per year. Never leave the nest box up year round or allow the pair to breed and lay eggs year round. This will eventually cause health issues and even death for the female, as well as weak chicks or a lot of infertile eggs. By limiting their clutches, your pair will remain healthy and the chicks will also be healthy and strong.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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