Ask Lafeber

Question:

January 25, 2023

Sun conure care


Hi Brenda.
Thank you for your reply. I have couple of questions if you could help me with.
1) Even before my female conure had laid eggs, a small patch of fur from her abdomen where her crop is has gone. I am concerned if she has any disease. She is a very happy conure who live in a very healthy environment. I keep her cage and food clean.
2) As you said, the mother will warm her eggs and from time to time she will come out to stretch and have her food. But she only eats sunflower seeds and small piece of indian tortillas. She is not eating any fruit or vegetables.
3) If the eggs fertilize and chicks will come out, will the parents feed their chicks themselves or i have to feed them A19 formula for couple of weeks.
4) She is letting out new voices when she is inside the breeding box. Exactly the same voices from when i purchased her the first when she was a little baby feeding on her formula.
I know these are a lot of questions, but please clear all my queries.


Answer:

Hi,

It’s OK to ask anything you need to. The patch you describe sounds like a brood patch. I some species, the skin gets thicker and the brood patch is very prominent. In parrots, if they exhibit a brood patch, it is generally just where they pluck some feathers from the abdomen to make better contact with the eggs. The crop is nowhere near the abdomen. The crop is directly under the throat, above where the breast area begins.

I am very concerned about the diet. Your bird is certainly malnourished, and can’t possibly be in good enough condition for breeding. Sunflower seeds offer almost no nutrition – mainly fat. She really doesn’t get anything from tortillas, either. Seeds are not a good diet for pet birds. I understand that you may not have a lot of options in your country, but if you can get the A19 formula, it seems you can find a pelleted parrot food. The company that makes A19 is Versele-Laga, and they do make a pelleted food for parrots. They also make a seed blend, but unfortunately, the vitamins that are added are going to be mostly lost when your birds take the shells or hulls from the seeds. Please try to find a good pellet, and convert your birds. Their website tells how to do this. You can’t change the diet now that she has eggs, but you can start offering the pellets. You can also feed her cooked eggs with the shell washed, crushed and cooked with the eggs. Also offer greens, fruits and vegetables. Most of the time, a bird with eggs will eat foods she never ate before. She needs more nutrition to remain healthy. When she is finished with these eggs, or chicks if the eggs hatch, you need to take the nest box away and rest the pair for 6 months. During this time, you need to convert her and the male to eat pellets. Do not give them a nest box again until they are no longer on the seed diet. She is at a very high risk of dying from laying eggs because of her poor diet. I know you want what is best for her, so you will need to be firm and make her eat the pelleted food. She will not live for many more years if you only feed her seeds.

If the eggs hatch, the parents should feed them. Since you have hand fed before, you can hand feed them starting around 3 weeks – just as the eyes are opening. This would be better for the pair since they are not eating a nutritious diet.

The sounds she makes are normal. She is just talking to her eggs and fixing her nest the way she wants things.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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