What should I feed a molting green cheeked conure?

by Traci
(Rochester, NY USA)

Hi. I have a green cheeked conure which I got a little over a month ago. He is molting and I would like to know what I should feed him. I read he should have more protien and I have tried chicken, peanuts, and beans but he won't eat them. He loves veggies and fruit but not meat products. Any ideas?

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Aug 05, 2009
What to line a bird carrier with
by: Tracie

You might need to drill holes in the side of the carrier if it does not have vents in the sides.

Once you have holes in the sides, you can attach a Safe Pedicure Perch through the holes.

As far as lining the bottom goes, you can use a dish towel that doesn't have the fuzzy threads on it. The problem with letting the bird run around on the bottom is that the dish towel will slide around and the bird will also be walking where it's droppings are.

It is best to either alter the carrier you purchased so that you can attach a water bottle, perches and a food dish or purchase a carrier that will allow you to attach those things.

If you bird does not know how to use a water bottle, it will be good for you to get one and switch it over to it. We suggest the Lixit water bottle that we sell, an not just because we sell it.

You want a water bottle that has the metal bar that holds it on instead of the springs that some have, if your bird climbs around on the outside of the cage. I know of two birds personally that have died getting a beak caught in the spring. When they pulled back, their beak stayed stuck in the spring and they bled to death quickly.

Another couple of reasons for getting a good water bottle, is that the water will not get bacteria in it so you avoid bacterial infections and the a quality bottle will not have the tendency to leak water from the spout as long as it hangs properly.

Aug 05, 2009
Bird travel cage question and warning
by: Traci

I debated about writng this but I want to warn bird owners. The first bird travel crate that I purchased which was made just for birds made my bird throw-up within a half hour he was in it. I immediately took him out and put him in his cage and he was fine. We were traveling in our motor home when this happened and thank goodness I had his cage all set up and just sitting on the floor. I wanted something small so I could hold him on my lap so he would not be nervous. Anyway, I returned that to the store and told them what happened although they still sell them. There was a strong plastic smell to the bird crate even after washing it thoroughly which is what I think made him sick so please be aware of this when purchasing something for your bird to travel in.

I noticed the different types of carrying cases/crates that you have on your web site and I bought one at a local pet store that was similar (for cats). There is not really any place for a pearch as the holes are on the top section and the bottom is smooth. What can I put on the bottom for him to grip? I tried a towel on my shoulder at home but he got his toe nail stuck for a second so I don't want to use that. Thanks

Aug 05, 2009
Feeding, Biting, Training
by: Anonymous

Tracie, Thanks for the information on switching to pellets. I have read so many different ideas and ways that it gets confusing. Your site is a wealth of good information. Also, I appreciate your quick responses!

I do have a variety of different size wooden toys (got a couple more today) which he chews on at times but not very often. I will try the the popsicle sticks and ice cream scoops. Never thought of those. His new toys, I set on the top near his play area becuase he is afraid of new things and he already was checking them out.

He was doing quite well with training but lately has been into biting a bit more. I am thinking it is because he is molting and he appears to be molting a little more quickly in the past day or two. I have read they can feel itchy when molting and he is definitely rubbing/scratching. He loves his necked and head scratched/petted but not as much lately which seems due to the molting. He'll let you pet him a little then pulls away like you hit a blood feather (I think that is what they are called) that may be sensative.

I will check out the training page too. He knows how to step up, is learning down and even clicks his tongue after I do it. He learned all this in less than a month. He is quite a character and seems to be quite smart! I have backed off a bit on the training the last couple days and only have him step up and down a few times while he is out of his cage or condo as we call it. We got him a big cage as the orginal one we had, we decided was too small. In our area they have three sizes, tiny, small and huge. So he has huge! Lots of room to play and climb.

This is not the first bird I have had but it is the first Conure. I love watching him play and do his little acrobats! Again thank you for all your help! It is very much appreciated.

Aug 05, 2009
Molting GC Conure
by: Tracie

When you are switching your bird to pellets, it might be best to NOT mix the pellets and seed together. We have an article written by Dr. B on Switching Birds to Pellets that you should read.

There are many ways to switch them, however. We only give our birds pellets in their dishes in the morning. That is when they are the hungriest after fasting all night.

We do not add seed to the dishes until we eat dinner in the evening. We do give a very small amount of fresh food in the morning and at lunch. I mean a VERY small amount until they start eating the pellets.

Once you see they are eating the pellets, then in the evening when you add the seed, add see according to how many pellets they ate. If they did not eat much pellets, then they don't get much seed. If they ate all their pellets, then the Budgies, for instance, will get a 1/2 tsp of
Totally Organics Pellets Napolean Seed Mix.

You might have to get some Popcicle stick and ice cream spoon toys ( Small to Medium Bird Toys) for him to destroy for his beak. We found that the GC's like thin wood toys to chew on.

We also have articles to help with biting birds on our Parrot Training page.

Aug 05, 2009
Beak and Molting
by: Traci

Thank you! I did purchase some Harrison Pellets last night online. He does not like the ones I have from local pet store unless they are on top of his cage where he plays! I have them in his cage also but he does not touch them. I mix them with some seed (mostly pellets) and will do the same when I get the Harrison'spellets and continue to decrease the seed.

He loves veggies such as broccoli, squash, cauliflower, carrots and a few others. He likes these over the seed. I will work on changing him over to the Harrison Pellets. He appears very healthy and is very active. A bit cranky and biting a lot more but from what I have read that could be due to him molting.

He has appointment for an avian vet for next week as I want his beak looked at. How do you know if a beak is too long? It has grown since we have gotten him (about a month ago) and he is not one for chewing on his wooden toys much. He has a one of those concrete looking blocks and will chew on it at times. He also chews on his rope pearch quite a bit as I have to cut off the strings every few days.

Is there something else that I should get for him to chew on that would help keep his beak from getting too long. It has gotten quite pointed on the bottom and you notice it quite a bit when he bites. I will talk to the vet next week also but any advice on this would be greatly appreciated. As for the biting, we are saying No and trying to watch for signs and not bother him especially now with him molting! It has obviously made him easily annoyed. :) Thank you again!

Aug 04, 2009
Feeding a bird that is moulting
by: The Vet

The best you can feed is Harrison's pellets. This should make up 80% of the diet. The other 20% can be any treat you want to feed. A treat is any food that is not a pellet. This will ensure your bird has complete and balanced nutrition, with enough nutrients to handle any molt.

Dr B

Aug 03, 2009
Thank you!
by: Traci

Thank you Linda for your response to my question. I have read every web site I can find and bought a book from the local pet store which has Animal Planet in the corner and is called Conures by Carol Frischmann. One of the things it said to feed Conures, under Protien, was chicken so I am glad you corrected me on that. I am a bit confused though. Do conures need protien and do they need something special when molting? The book I have says they do but from what you have written it appears that they do not need the protien. I am definitely going to get a couple more books. I will call tomorrow to get an Avain vet appointment. My cousin is a vet and recommended one as he does not do birds. Thank you again.

Aug 03, 2009
No MEAT for Birds
by: Linda

First of all, let me please recommend you buy a book on how to care for parrots and specifically your Conure. Tracie has a lot of books on caring for birds here, and there is also the internet where you can find out everything you need to know about having a bird.


Your parrot needs to be eating a high quality pelleted diet like Harrison's which Tracie carries out here. They also make a wonderful Birdy Bread mix and get the organic red palm oil, Sunshine Factor to go in it and use two egg whites in the mix. Changing over to pellets can take a while, so make the changeover gradual by putting a little seed mix in bottom of bowl and mostly pellets on top. The Birdy Bread mix will help bird to start being intersted in his pellets. Feed only organic dark green leafy lettuce (no Spinich), dark orange and yellow squash and baked sweet potato. These foods cannot be more than 10% of diet or bird will not be getting what it needs to grow and be healthy.

Never feed birds people food off the table as this will make them very ill. Also you will need to be careful of what fruit and veggies you give your bird until you have done some reading on how to feed parrots. Always use organically grown veggies and fruit if you have a store that carries them in your area. Otherwise, wash and scrub any fruit and veggies with hot water and make sure any pesticides and/or fertilizers are off them.

If your bird has not been to an Avian vet yet, please take him in for a checkup as he may be sick. Birds can easily get an infection from changing homes as their stress level is high which can make their immune system go down.



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