Keeping a conure as a pet – Things to know
When you purchase a conure you should do as much as you can to find out exactly
how to take good care of your new pet. This article covers the basics of keeping
a conure as a pet. Any good pet vendor should supply you with a conure care
sheet. However these are normally quite brief so this article will aim (along
with the other articles on the site) to give you a better insight into caring
Conure toys and ‘playing’
All parrots are relatively intelligent and conures are no exception. If conures
do not have things to keep them entertained they can develop a number of health
issues so it is essential to stop them from getting bored and to allow them to
develop. There are a number of toys available from retailers with items such as
plastic puzzle toys, shredding toys, bells, mirrors and various other chewing
toys. It is important to rotate the toys that you give your conure as they can
get bored of them after a while. A common method is to have a ‘playform’ where
the conures toys are placed. Your conure will soon realise that this is ‘his’ or
‘her’ area and he can play without getting into trouble. You will notice that
the conure will quickly fly to the playform if you add any new toys – this
demonstrates their inquisitive nature.
Wing clipping is quite a contentious issue amongst the avian community. Many
people believe that it is unnatural and affects birds’ lives. Others suggest
that it is essential in order to prevent the bird flying off. You should think
carefully before having your conures wings clipped as there are a number of
risks involved. Clipped wings re-grow after each molt and therefore need to be
done on a regular basis. You should not be able to tell that a conure has been
clipped unless it fully extends its wings and wing clipping should certainly not
leave a conure unpleasant to look at. It is worth bearing in mind that flying
ability is determined by the amount of clipping undertaken. It is possible to
control the level of flight a bird can perform using clipping. However, even
clipped birds should be able to fly a certain distance and in a straight line.
Unequal clipping of the wings can cause issues. There are a number of reasons
for clipping. Notably, there is less chance of your conure escaping. Furthermore
it makes it easier to handle your conure and therefore tame it. The
disadvantages are that if your conure is in danger, for example near a cat or
the lie, it will not be able to escape. And of course, conures are designed to
fly. In many peoples eyes by getting the conures wings clipped you are removing
its ability to do something that comes naturally to it.
It goes without saying that conures (as with all animals) should be given
exercise. This means you should allow your conure out of its cage on a regular
basis. In the wild conures are strong flyers so you should endeavour to let you
conure fly as much as possible (the conure harness is a very good method for
doing this). Whilst out of its cage your conure is going to be inquisitive and
will want to explore its environment. Before you let it around your room you
should remove any valuable or breakable (and chewable!) otherwise the situation
will inevitably end in tears. Having a conure in the room is similar to having a
baby wobbling about – you need to be vigilant! Potential hazards include:
• Electrical wires
• Open fires
• Fish tanks
• Some lamps
o Kitchens are the worst places for conures – do
not ever let a conure in your kitchen
• Other pets – conures do not get on well with cats and if they end
up together the conure will come off worse!
• Children. You may decide to teach children how to properly handle
a conure but it is pretty risky. Not only for the bird but conures give an evil
In order to keep their plumage beautiful conures love to bathe. In the wild they
would bathe in the rain but indoors they do not have this. In addition centrally
heated properties can very quickly dry out your conures feathers. You should
provide a water bath which the conure can use when it feels like. These days
many people use a mister to gently spray the conure with a fine mist of water,
the mister is available from a number of good online retailers. Conures love
being misted and will usually open their wings and flap around when you mist
them. Occasionally they will even perform cheeky acrobats to get properly
covered! Once misted the conure should be put in a draft free place and should
be completely dry before going to sleep.
Conures can be very good friends with other conures and parrot of similar sizes
but caution should always be taken when introduced to each other as they can
fight. Conures that become best friends are those that they have been brought up
with. Conures differ in the way they treat humans such as family members or
visitors. Some are very nice and others can be a bit trickier. Some conures are
very shy of visitors whereas others are very inquisitive. To a large extent it
depends on training and how it has been brought up. Some conures prefer males
and some prefer females. Al conures are different with different traits and
idiosyncrasies – this is one thing that makes them so interesting. One thing is
for sure though – they all respond well to kindness and gentleness.
The ability to talk is not one of the conures highest acclaims. They can mimic a
few human words but they are certainly not in the same league as some other
parrots such as the African grey parrot. Ownership of a parrot for the reason
that they can talk is not the best reason as they have so many other amazing
characteristics to offer.
Nobody can deny that conures can be amazing loud when so inclined! It is however
possible to calm this cheeky tendency. It is perhaps not entirely desirable to
completely mute your conure, they are of course doing something that is natural
for them. There are a number of triggers for screaming; hoovers tend to set off
conures quite frequently. They may also be doing it to grab your attention or to
tell you that it is not happy about something. They screech to display a number
of emotions such as happiness, sadness, well being, boredom or frustration.
There is a very good article on screeching on the articles section of this site.
Teaching a conure tricks
Before you attempt to teach you conure any tricks you must gain its confidence
and trust. This is done primarily by spending time with your conure. Once you
have achieved this it is possible to tech a conure many simple tricks. The best
thing is to use your own creativity to create tricks for you conure to perform.
You could get it to ring a bell, push a ball, climb a ladder or spread its
wings. It is also possible to get your conure to ‘shake hands’. This comes quite
naturally to conures as they do this to pick up food. To do this, simply say
“shake my hand” (or whatever you want) then take hold of the foot and shake it.
Then reward the conure with a treat. After a few times the birds will soon get
the hang of this and will shake your hand whenever you command. In order to do
this successfully you must reward each time and repeat a number of times. After
learning a few tricks the conure will get much better at learning new tricks.
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