Problems with sun conure

by Tania

We have a 5 year old female sun conure named Ally. We got her a year ago from a breeder who has a son who goes down and hits the cages. This concerned me from the beginning but my partner really wanted her, he is gifted with birds and so I trusted his judgement.

Ally was apparently hand raised but then the breeder had her in a larger cage with a male conure which he was breeding her with but apparently she'd 'gone off him' so he was quite happy to sell her to us. The breeder told us conures are perfectly happy in smaller cages but we have since realised this isn't the case. My partner has done wonders with her compared to when we first got her but she still tries to bite. She is fine with my partner, she puts up a fight when he gets her out of the cage but then is a beautiful loving bird. I can't even get her out of the cage but once my partner gets her out she's fine with me too and inside will even fly away from him to my shoulder and then doesn't want to leave.

The problem is that she is lonely because we are quite busy, she's turned into a screamer which is driving us crazy and probably the neighbors!. I am working on getting a bigger cage with lots of toys as I am hoping this will make her happier. I wondered whether getting another sun conure friend would help too? I wouldn't want them to mate though as we don't know enough for that, or would another female be ok? I've seen four paired sun conures in a large cage together and they seem happy as larry. I'm just not sure what will improve/worsen the situation.

Also the breeder had her on a seed and fruit diet. I've tried switching her to pellets but she is addicted to sun flower seeds and will only eat a select few types of fruit. Her beak is peeling badly, I have read that pecans and walnuts will improve this but she won't eat them either.

We just want our bird to be happy when we are there but also when we are at work, please help.

Thanks, Tania.

Comments for Problems with sun conure

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Oct 09, 2013
loss of feathers on back of neck
by: Anonymous

My Sun Conure is 23 years old. She has lost her
feathers on the back of her neck. How long and how do I get them to grow back?

Editor's note: In the future if you want people to see and answer, you need to post a question, not an answer here to another question, on our Parrot Questions page.

They will grow back IF your bird doesn't have another bird plucking them, the bird doesn't have an infection or something causing them to come out, and if the follicles have not been damaged.

Jan 28, 2010
Problems with sun conure
by: Linda

Tania, happy to give a little support here.

You and partner need to get bird out of cage without fight. To help, you'll need to have her 6 primary flight feathers on each wing clipped by an Avian Vet the first time so you can see how it is done. The primary feathers are the first layer of long feathers at the end of each wing. DO NOT cut any higher as this causes birds pain and cripples them.Also do not cut into blood feathers (purple shafts filled with blood).With wings clipped a bit, she will glide down to floor and not have lift which is what you need.

Second issue is have bird checked for infections/parasites by an AVIAN VET. This is especially true as RE the food issue. Sunflower seeds ARE addictive, and you MUST get her onto an organic, high quality pelleted diet. Tracie carries several out here, and I'll enclose an article written by an Avian vet on how to go about the change. You can JUST DO AWAY WITH THE SUNFLOWER SEED ALL TOGETHER for a start. Here is the article:
Switching Birds to Pellets article.
Tracie has several kinds of organic pellets, and you can buy a small amount of several of them to find the one she likes the best. We use Harrisons and use the Golden Feast Golden'obles too as our Amazons like the round shapes and crunch. Fruit and veggies are no more than 10% of diet.DO NOT START THIS PROGRAM UNTIL SHE HAS A GOOD BILL OF HEALTH FROM YOUR AVIAN VET, to ensure her eating problems are not caused by illness/infection.

Use a perch getting her out of the cage instead of hands. She needs to learn "UP" request, and this is how to start. Put stick next to her lower chest as you would your hand and say, "UP". She may get all flustered for a while, and so only work with her like this for 10-15 minutes at a time. Once she starts getting on stick, your job is mostly done. After she's out of cage on stick, move you hand or finger up to chest and say "UP" again to get her used to getting up on hands. If she bites, move gently into the bite and DO NOT PULL AWAY. Our normal reaction is to jerk back, and you have to control the urge to keep bites from being so bad.

As for company, you should get her a friend AFTER she is coming out of her cage without biting and fighting. Keep both birds in separate cages. Cages need be at least 2-3 times larger than stated minimum. The bigger the better. Keep the birds in separate cages to lessen chance of fighting over toys and food. This is also necessary when bird's are sexually mature to avoid fights and/or breeding. IF you'd like to talk further, make request to Tracie to be able to send me email, and we can chat over a cuppa to our heart's content!


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