Green-cheeked conures and other large, exotic parrots are controversial as pets. As highly intelligent, social creatures with very specific housing needs, green-cheeked conures frequently fall victim to neglect. For this reason, the ASPCA recommends keeping a pet parrot only if you are entirely capable of meeting the bird's very specific needs. Consult a bird-savvy veterinarian in your area if you have questions about properly caring for a green-cheeked conure.
Things You'll Need
- Jungle gym
- Bird toys
- Pellet food
- Seed mix food
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh vegetables
Housing a Green-Cheeked Conure
Place a jungle gym in a sunny room in your house. Because conures are extremely social and need large amounts of open space, they require a play space outside their cage environments. Your green-cheeked conure's cage should be viewed as a nest and feeding area, not a full-time living space.
Set up a large cage for your new pet. It should be at least 2 feet across, 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide to comfortably accommodate a large adult parrot. The bars of the cage should be horizontal, not vertical. Horizontal cage bars give your pet a surface to grip and climb. The cage bars should be spaced no more than a half inch apart; green-cheeked conures sometime stick their heads in broader spaces, leading to serious injury.
Place newspapers or another cage liner underneath your pet's habitat. This will collect urine and feces. Change the liner no less than once per day.
Place at least two dishes in your parrot's cage. One should hold his food, while the other will hold water. Look for dishes with secure attaching units; these prevent accidental spills. Extra bowls can help to compensate for inevitable spills and contamination.
Hang toys throughout your green-cheeked conure's habitat, including both the jungle gym and the cage. Green-cheeked conures adore hanging toys, particularly those with bells and mirrors. Many conures also enjoy ropes and soft acrylic toys. Prepare to replace these frequently, since green-cheeked conures tend to enjoy destroying their playthings.
Feeding Green-Cheeked Conures
Provide your green-cheeked conure with a high-quality pellet food designed for conures. The recommended amount will depend upon your pet's age and adult size. Consult the manufacturer for guidelines.
Offer an unlimited supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to your green-cheeked conure. Whenever possible, choose darkly colored fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, pumpkin and squash. Limit grapes and other sweet fruits to a few small servings per week.
Give your green-cheeked conure a high-quality bird seed mix once or twice weekly, offering only 3 to 4 tbsp. at a time. Green-cheeked conures can die of nutritional deficiencies if overfed seed-based foods.
Provide an unlimited supply of fresh, clean water at all times. Because green-cheeked conures are messy eaters, they may taint their water dishes with bits of food. Remove food debris and rinse the bowl each time this occurs.
Wash your parrot's food and water bowls at least three times weekly in warm, soapy water. Unclean dishes can harbor dangerous bacteria and mold.
Daily Care and Interaction
Interact with your green-cheeked conure for at least 1 to 2 hours each day. Green-cheeked conures are extremely people-oriented and will become lonely, destructive and depressed if given inadequate social interaction. Human interaction is particularly important for conures who do not have other avian companions.
Bring your green-cheeked conure to an experienced avian veterinarian at least biannually. Your parrot's vet can screen it for symptoms of nutritional deficiency and infection. These well-visits are also a good time to discuss any worrisome behaviors or symptoms that you've noticed in your parrot.
Use only nontoxic cleaning products in your home. Harsh-chemical cleaning products can severely irritate a bird's respiratory tract, leading to pneumonia and death. Your veterinarian can provide specific guidelines about chemicals and products to avoid in your home.
Teach any children in your home to handle the green-cheeked conure with sensitivity and respect. A child who mishandles an intelligent bird may cause serious injury to the animal. Alternatively, an anxious green-cheeked conure may attack the child. Do not allow your children to play with the bird without supervision until they are mature enough to accept the responsibility.
Consider purchasing another bird to act as a companion for your green-cheeked conure. Other conures are the best choice, but green-cheeked conures can also bond with cockatiels, macaws and eclectus parrots.
Tips & Warnings
- Green-cheeked conures can learn to imitate music and speech. Try repeating a specific word, phrase or tone around your pet. An appropriate compact disc can also liven your pet's vocal interests.
- In general, green-cheeked conures are not safe in homes with cats.
- Wash your hands before and after handling your parrot. Some birds carry zoonotic (human-transmissible) diseases.
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