A Great Place to Perch

African Grey Parrot
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Breeding Conures
There are several different groups of conures but the main two groups are Aratinga & Pyrrhura. We breed both groups of birds, but as they are very different in many ways I have decided to speak of both groups separately.
Breeding Conures

Pyrrhura Conures
This group of conures is known as the quieter group. The birds are also quite a bit smaller than their noisier aratinga cousins. Each specie within this group is slightly different in size but as a general rule their size is between budgie & cockatiel.

They are all basically green coloured with various other reds, blues & greys depending on specie. We keep green-cheeked, maroon-bellied, painted, pearly, white eared & (recently acquired) crimson-bellied. All these pairs have their nestboxes in the flight all year round. Conures differ to cockatiels in as much as they use their box for breeding (& sleeping)during the breeding season (December to May) and the remaining part of the year it is their "bedroom", so must always have this facility available to them.
Pyrrhura conures tend to mature at 1-year old & will be ready for breeding from then onwards. The hen normally lays between 4 & 7 eggs in a clutch & quite often a pair will double-clutch.
Breeding Conures
Usually two clutches is the maximum unless they are very eager young birds! but they should be discouraged from having more than the normal two clutches. The eggs are pure white & the hens sit them normally from the second egg laid, incubation is approximately 23 days. Nestbox can be cockatiel-sized (9"x9"x18"deep) or slightly smaller but bear in mind that the entrance hole must not be larger than their bodies, otherwise they will not use the box. Boxes should be well sprayed first with Johnsons Anti-mite and then filled with 2" moist fresh peat with 3-4" course wood shavings (untreated) on top. Sometimes with some pairs the cock sits with the hen & other pairs the cock may not "help" at all. When the chicks start hatching the cockbird will start feeding eggfood mix to his hen inside the nestbox who will in turn feed it to the chicks. Eggfood should be offered all the time the birds have eggs & increased when it is known that chicks have started hatching. Also offer millet sprays & chickweed/dandelion when babies are in the nest as this will be readily taken to feed them. 
Breeding Conures
The babies start to fledge their box around 5 weeks old but will be fed on the perch for at least another 5 weeks. The keeper will know when the weaning is completed as the male gets tired of the babies & may start chasing them (particularly the young males) this is when the weaned offspring must be removed.
The adult male will be thinking of going to nest once again & can be quite aggressive to his first clutch if they are still present. If chicks are to be removed for hand-rearing it is advisable not to take them until 3 weeks of age as they will have had the nutrients from the mother's crop milk to help protect them from illness
 
Aratinga Conures

This group of conure is much larger than the pyrrhura group & much noisier! We keep suns, jendayas, blue crowned & red masked conures, all being members of the aratinga group. It must be stressed that the noise levels of these birds can cause great problems with "sensitive" neighbours. Luckily we have friends

Breeding Conures
with a large orchard where we keep our birds, so no neighbour problems. The pyrrhura group of conures are much more suited to small gardens with near neighbours.
Breeding Conures
The aratingas tend to go to nest during the warmer summer months, after the pyrrhura group have finished breeding. Again nestboxes should be left in place all year round as they also use them as their "bedrooms" when not breeding.
The boxes should be at least the normal cockatiel size, as stated above, with the same method for filling them. This group of conures tend to have smaller clutches than their pyrrhura cousins, usually between 2 & 5 eggs per clutch. Quite often they will have only the one clutch of chicks per season, it is not assumed they will double-clutch unless the first clutch of eggs become destroyed or the birds have to move flights. The same routine should be followed regarding feeding the parent birds as for the pyrrhuras above.  
Aratinga chicks tend to spend a bit longer in their nestbox than their smaller cousins but once again will be fed for several weeks by the parents once they have fledged. Make sure the chicks are fully weaned before removing them from the parents.
Breeding Conures
If the keeper wishes to close ring his chicks then this must be done around the 14-day old stage as any older & the chicks' feet are too large for the rings to slip over. Most breeders prefer to close ring their birds for identity purposes, either for recovering lost/stolen birds or proof that they have bred them. 
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Kindly Written by
Muriel Barnes of MKB Birds
Visit Muriels Website
Breeding Conures

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