Keeping and Breeding The Golden Conure

Nancy Speed

Abstract


I consider it a genuine privilege to share my life with the Golden Conurc (Guaruba guarouba). At the time I acquired my initial breeding collection, this distinctive parrot was commonly referred to as the Queen of Bavaria, or Queen, a designation l find difficult to set aside.

My acquisition a number of years ago of a group of these stunning parrots was only as a result of gentle persuasion. My friend and I had already finalized the details concerning my purchase of her other breeding parrots. "Oh, you have to take the Queens, too!" she announced as if the request was a mere afterthought. Due in part to my ignorance of the species, I had no interest in purchasing her flock of fifteen. Undaunted by my lack of enthusiasm, my friend recounted the many virtues of these unique parrots, convincing me I would never regret the purchase. Her prediction was correct.

Description

The Golden Conure is indeed distinctive, and surely one of the most beautiful parrots. It averages about 14 inches in length and has an average weight of about 250 grams. The body plumage of the adult is a breathtaking yellow that rivals the most perfectly colored lemon. The primary, secondary and major coverts are dark green. Feather quills are white, and a bare white ring surrounds its very kind and observant eye. The macaw-size upper and lower mandibles arc horn colored with some bluish mottling occurring throughout, especially toward the tips. The tip of the upper mandible is dagger sharp. Legs and feet are pinkish with black mottling. The iris is brownish with an orange tint.

A juvenile Golden is readily identifiable by the appearance of numerous olive green feathers interspersed throughout the body. Juvenile feather quills are also dark green. Adult plumage is completely attained by the age of two. The amount of green marking a juvenile may possess is by coincidence. The juvenile also has a beguiling and innocent expression.

Range and Status

The Golden Conure is native to a very remote area in northeastern Brazil. Its range extends westward to the bank of the Madeira Rio, and as far east as the Gurupi. In the wild, it travels above the rain forest canopy and enjoys a varied diet. Preferred nesting sites are in hollows of high

 

Housing

My breeding collection of Golden Conures is housed in identical flights constructed from galvanized after welding, 14 gauge, I x 11/2" wire. The flights are six feet in length, 36" in width, and four feet in height. Rear perches are I PVC pipe; front perches are 2" x 2" fir lumber. Each pair is provided with two hanging toys constructed from scrap fir lumber. Lumber perches and toys arc refurbished on a regular basis.

A distance of about 12" separates each of the flights.

Privacy panels are hung closest to the nest box and cover about one-third of each flight. The privacy panels remain in place regardless of the level of breeding activity.

I have experimented with several nest box styles and find pairs prefer an inverted boot box, also called an "el" or "7" box, of at least 24 inches in depth, with the interior measuring about IO" x IO". Nest boxes are hung on the 

front of flights for ease of servicing from the center aisle. Nest box medium consists of a mixture of very large fir chips and pine bark mulch. Metal nest boxes can be used if the nesting area is protected from sunlight. All nest boxes should be firmly secured to the flights.

The aviary housing all flights is constructed to allow exposure to naturally occurring weather conditions as temperatures permit. The outermost 36" of the metal roof panels are removed during the warm weather months to allow the birds access to sun and rain. When temperatures drop to below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the roof panels are replaced and the building is secured with 6M plastic. A gas greenhouse heater, properly vented to the exterior, offers additional heat as needed to keep the interior above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Full spectrum lighting is controlled by automatic timer when the roof panels are in place.

Seasonal feather chewing or picking usually occurs when the aviaries are prepared for cold temperatures. One or two of my adults pick habitually, regardless of environmental factors. The tendency to chew or pick is as prevalent in parent-fledged youngsters as it is in hand-reared youngsters.

Juveniles and other nonbrecding Goldens arc housed in like sized flights in close proximity without the presence of privacy panels.

The Golden Conure has a very loud, metallic call that travels a great distance. In an aviary setting, a joyful group of 30 articulate individuals will cause eardrums to vibrate. Chicks begin vocalizing as adults by the time they are just a few weeks old. Vocalization among birds of this species seems to be an important part of their social structure.

 

 


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