How to Care for a Green Cheeked Conure

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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
  • Cage
  • Newspaper
  • Dishes
  • Perches
  • 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.

References

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