Breeding the Green-cheeked Conure

Davis A. Koffron

Abstract


Over the years I have been privileged to keep and raise many different types of birds, from finches to gamebirds and a variety of hookbills. While they all have special qualities and interesting behaviors, the Green-cheeked Conure remains one of my favorites. Their bold nature, unbridled curiosity, boundless energy and playful disposition makes them stand out as either an aviary bird or as a pet. Green-cheeks always seem to have important bird things to do.

As an aviary bird they are easy to care for, quite willing to breed and frequently raise more than one clutch per season. As a pet their size, willingness to bond with their keeper, ability to learn tricks along with a quiet voice make them ideal for most people.

Our birds are kept outdoors year round without any supplemental heating or cooling. In Phoenix the annual temperatures range from over 110°F in summer to below freezing on the coldest winter nights. Daily temperatures can vary as much as 40 to 50 degrees. Once acclimatized, the birds are very hardy and show little reaction to these temperature variations. Green-cheeks love to bathe and frequently get drenched when the temperature is too cold for my comfort.

Our birds are kept in suspended cages made from 1/ 2" by 1" welded wire and are 4 feet long by 2 feet high and 2 feet wide. Two natural perches are provided in each cage, one on each end of the cage, one high and one low to maximize flying distance. Food is provided in a flat pan located in an extended portion on the front of the cage. This stops the birds from sitting over their food dish. Water is supplied in bowls situated in a small cage added to the side of the main cage. This is located approximately two feet from the food dish thereby greatly reducing the amount of food transferred from the food dish to the water bowl.

In the wild, birds need to defend their nest from predators, as well as other birds looking for nesting sites. For these reasons, small, dark nests with entrance holes that the bird can barely squeeze through are preferred. We attempt to provide these conditions in our nest boxes. The boxes are made out of 3/ 4" five ply CDX plywood and have an inside measurement of 6" x 8" x 11" deep. (In a cooler environment I would make the box about three to five inches deeper and reduce the eight inch dimension to six inches.) A two inch diameter entrance hole is located near a top outside corner. The inside of the boxes are stained with a dark brown latex stain. A four inch awning extends over the entrance hole stopping direct sunlight from penetrating the box. The awning, stain, size and location of the entrance hole all combine to reduce the amount of light reaching the nesting chamber. I believe this makes the birds feel more secure. A wire ladder is fastened inside the box to assist the birds in entering and exiting though I doubt if this is really necessa1y. Nesting material consists of two inches of tightly packed pine...

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