Ask Lafeber


March 13, 2023

Young Bonded Conures Displaying Breeding Habits

Both of my green cheek conures are under a year old.. they’re about 9 months old, 2 weeks apart. We’ve only had them a month now. We introduced them and everything was good until they started displaying breeding habits. They have separate cages (for now) since we wanted to be sure that they would get along, but the cages are close to each other and they were getting lots of out of cage play times together. We separated them once it looked like they were trying to breed because obviously we do not want that. Especially not at their young age. Do I need to just keep them separated? Our normal vet has been out for over a month for emergencies and can’t see us for at least another week so we haven’t even had their dna test done to see if they are M or F yet. We live in a very remote area so he is our only bird friendly option. At the moment, we’re just keeping them separated and setting early bed times so the birds think that it’s winter instead of spring. Any advice? So far, all of our research is conflicting. I’m worried one of them is F and will end up forming eggs she’s too young for and will hurt or possibly kill her.


Hi Ashlyn,

You have researched some very good information and are on the right path with these two. I would keep them apart for the most part, at least until you find out their sexes. You are right – a young female is more likely to have issues with laying eggs. I don’t think Green Cheeks should be bred until 3 years old at the earliest. In the wild, they likely do not breed until closer to 5 years old. It isn’t known if parrots mature more quickly in captivity, or if they just have more opportunities to mate or act on hormones. In the wild, they probably are kept in line by the flock and older birds, and do not get a mate until they are older and have conquered important things like being able to find food & avoid predators, which is necessary to survive and take care of a family.

Of course if these two are related, then you must never allow them to breed. If they came from the same breeder, you need to make sure they aren’t related if you have any thoughts of breeding them when they are older. But if you have been researching, then you know you would lose them as pets if they become breeders. Along with the early bedtime, make sure they do not have anything they can get inside of – no bird huts, tents, houses, boxes etc. Conures especially should not have anything with soft fibers. There seem to be increasing cases of conures eating small pieces off of these bird tents they sell, and sadly the fibers accumulate and eventually kill the bird. Also, no shredding paper or cardboard because this is a hormone trigger. And when you pet them, limit petting to only the head and neck – do not pet the body or snuggle with them.

We will have a free webinar on hormones this week. We do one every year because hormonal issues are one of the main problems with pet birds and can cause health and behavioral issues. We also have a playlist of hormone themed webinars on our youtube channel.

Avian Vet Insider: Pet Bird Hormones Top 10

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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