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Breeding Green Cheek Conures

RobbinHood

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Hello,

I am Thinking about breeding green cheek conures, and had a few questions.



First off I have bred cockatiels twice (successfully for the most part) handfeeding the last clutch.

So question #1

Is there much difference breeding gcc’s than cockatiels?

Question #2

Is handfeeding gcc’s very different from cockatiels?

Question #3

Aside from them liking to pull out their nesting material is there any other unusual quirks I should know about?



Question #4

Can you inspect the nesting box? My cockatiels generally let me check out the nesting box when they weren’t in it, but having a gcc I know they can be much more aggressive in general.

Question #5

Can I use alfalfa pellets as nesting material? Will it crack the eggs? I used it as brooder material for my cockatiels while I was handfeeding them and they were picking at it a lot so I want to use something that is edible.



If you have any other advice or tip they would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You
 

Mockinbirdiva

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Question 1... Are there many green cheeks in your location?

Question 2... Are there rescues in your location that have adult green cheeks given up waiting for homes?

Question 3... What set up do you have for housing green cheeks?

Question 4.... What supplies do you have for feeding, brooder..etc.

Question5... Will you have a waiting list for babies?

I'll answer your questions when I have a chance... it's bird o'clock here.
 

RobbinHood

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Answer 1
There are not very many green cheeks in my area, in the classifieds or at breeders.

Answer 2
I have scoured the rescues and shelters and have not found 1 gcc looking for a home.

Answer 3
I have this cage for my current gcc


but I was thinking that I would breed them in something like this and then separate them after I pull the chicks for handfeeding.


Answer 4
I have all the supplies I used for breeding cockatiels, a cage, a cockatiel nest box(I would get a grandfather box or a boot box for conures), a heat lamp, handfeeding formula, syringes, a thermometer, and brooder I used for my cockatiels.

Answer 5
Probably not there are not a lot of conures around here so I assume there are quite a few people left wanting. Also I have dealt with plenty of people who have wanted to buy my cockatiel chicks and ended up falling through, so I would probably end up with bunch of flaky people who didn't show up. I also don't really like the concept of people making a nonrefundable down payment because sometimes things in life just don't go as planned, one of the chicks could die, or the person who made the down payment could have a unforeseen issue.

@Mockinbirdiva Thank you I look forward to your answers.
 

Mockinbirdiva

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I wrote quite a bit of information, opened another tab to look at cages and my browser quit.... losing everything I typed. So, I'm cutting this shorter.

In regards to the questions I asked:

1. Green cheeks may not be popular in your area. They are known to be a nippy (biting) species even when pulled and hand fed as babies. Do the local shops in your area sell many birds, and if so what would they normally sell... same for any local breeders ( if any). While I love green cheeks they can be a handful for many people. What would be the reason (s) that factor into why you are interested in raising them.

2- Are there rescues in or around your area.. is it a town with a population of people who do keep companion birds? If so, which species seems to be more popular? How many people do you know who also keep birds?

3- In all honesty, the cage you have your green cheek in is very small. A better choice would be a flight cage ( all of my conures have flight cages and are kept individually) like this:


4- I would be hesitant to use any supplies that are used for your other birds unless you can properly sterilize them. The cage you mentioned is also far too small for a pair of conures. At the least-a flight cage would be appropriate and preferred ( or a double flight cage). A grandfather box nor a boot box would fit on the smaller cage. Green cheeks are active birds ( as you probably know). They need to be in great physical condition for breeding which includes flight. A small cage won't allow them to do that. I'm not sure what you use as a brooder.

5- Simply because there aren't many green cheeks in your area doesn't mean there would be a demand for them. If you weren't able to sell all the babies would you have room to keep extra birds with appropriately sized cages? It can blossom into a problem for sure. Would you offer to take babies back if the buyers decided the bird just wasn't what they expected? More often than not the excitement wears off when the babies mature and start biting. They aren't all biters, but there are those that prefer to not be touched, picks one family member to bond to ( disappoints the others that can't interact with the bird), too noisy. Most people want a bird that is cuddly, loves everybody, sweet and affectionate... expectations are too high and they do very little research to understand what the requirements are, personality traits... and are so disappointed they don't have the "perfect" little feathered companion. If you don't feel someone is an appropriate home would you say no to selling to them?

Your questions:

1- Difference as in what? I've not raised cockatiels so I really can't comment on this question.

2-Hand feeding is the same as far as I know, I've not hand fed cockatiels to know what their feeding response is in comparison to green cheeks. Cockatiels are much more vocal when they're hungry as I've seen in the past. Have you watched any videos?

3 & 4 -None of my green cheeks pulled their nesting materials out. I used grandfather boxes with an inside platform and ladder for them to climb down into the nest cavity. Inspection door on the back or side of the box. Males are extremely protective of their hen and box and will attack intruders ( you). If the parents have access to the opening of their box while you are inspecting babies chances are they'll enter the box to attack. You're best blocking the entrance hole to inspect babies for their safety.

5- NO. Alfalfa pellets will hold moisture and quickly grow bacteria. Aspen bedding is better and what I used.
 

Mantis64

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Also conures, macaws and amazons should never be put with powder down birds like cockateils. The dust from the cockateils kills them by creating a coating around thier lungs and it makes it hard for them to breed. The upsetting part is that there isnt really any symptoms untill the condition is basically killing the cure nor is there any cure or treatment so eventually the birds die.
 

RobbinHood

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Thank you @Mockinbirdiva I will consider all of your points :)

Also conures, macaws and amazons should never be put with powder down birds like cockateils. The dust from the cockateils kills them by creating a coating around thier lungs and it makes it hard for them to breed. The upsetting part is that there isnt really any symptoms untill the condition is basically killing the cure nor is there any cure or treatment so eventually the birds die.
I house the cockatiels and conures in different rooms of the house. I am aware of this risk and take precautions to prevent it, but thank you for your concern anyway.
 

Mockinbirdiva

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Thoughts? Tips? Anyone?
I don't know exactly what you are looking for regarding information. I would say this - before you even begin to raise green cheeks you need to have all your ducks in a row.... from the correct size cages to every supply imaginable... quality equipment, all sizes of syringes, reliable thermometers, bedding. You should understand all of the health complications that can and do arise, egg binding, prolapse cloaca, sour crop, air in crop... the list grows long. You'll need to have a certified Avian vet you can rely on because there's only so much that can be done without medical attention from a professional. You should have funds set aside for those bills... birds can be expensive to treat. You should be prepared and knowledgeable if you have to feed a baby from day one for what ever reason can pop up... and it does. Study and understand the breeding process, how eggs develop, anatomy and growth progress. You should have a chart set up to record weights of the babies, how much formula they take along with times and dates.... which also means you need a quality reliable gram scale. Your breeding birds need to be an appropriate age and in great health to withstand the physical stress of egg laying and brooding. When people come here needing help they give us little to no information other than "help me"! In turn, we have to ask a lot of questions to offer the best help and advice we can. That often results in time consuming multiple posts trying to help, clarify and follow the progress with those babies needing help. It may take a year of learning, consulting breeders, a mentor for the best hand feeding techniques, and preparing your pair. Please don't be one of those many that didn't do all of the above and end up in a dire position not knowing what to do.
 
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Zara

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Your cage size is a problem, as already pointed out.
Having that white cage for the chicks to move into when they leave the brooder is a good idea.

A vet on hand, as well as a mentor are important.

Here is a link to read; Tips For Breeders
*you won´t need to band your birds unless required by law in your area.
 

RobbinHood

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@Mockinbirdiva I guess what I am really asking is the difficulty level of breeding gcc's, I have found lots of readily available information on breeding cockatiels but not a lot on breeding gcc's so I really wanted to know if breeding them were similar. I do have the supplies you mentioned a vet, an incubator, a mentor, a gram scale, charts, handfeeding experience of cockatiels if that counts etc.
I have been offered a breeding pair of gcc's, so I was trying to decide if it would be a good idea to accept them, they look healthy, are around 3 years old and have already hatched 3 chicks sucessfully. I don't want to dive headlong into this, but I have always been interested in breeding gcc's, and I did really enjoy breeding and handfeeding the cockatiels.

@Zara and @Mockinbirdiva Is there any other cages you would recommend for breeding or other wise? I do have limited space, I may be able to accommodate the cage @Mockinbirdiva but i will definitely have to do a lot of rearranging.

@Zara thank you for the link that was very helpful.

Thank you, every one has been very helpful, I'm sorry I was unclear and hope this clears things up a bit. :)
 

Mockinbirdiva

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@Mockinbirdiva I guess what I am really asking is the difficulty level of breeding gcc's, I have found lots of readily available information on breeding cockatiels but not a lot on breeding gcc's so I really wanted to know if breeding them were similar. I do have the supplies you mentioned a vet, an incubator, a mentor, a gram scale, charts, handfeeding experience of cockatiels if that counts etc.
I have been offered a breeding pair of gcc's, so I was trying to decide if it would be a good idea to accept them, they look healthy, are around 3 years old and have already hatched 3 chicks sucessfully. I don't want to dive headlong into this, but I have always been interested in breeding gcc's, and I did really enjoy breeding and handfeeding the cockatiels.

@Zara and @Mockinbirdiva Is there any other cages you would recommend for breeding or other wise? I do have limited space, I may be able to accommodate the cage @Mockinbirdiva but i will definitely have to do a lot of rearranging.

@Zara thank you for the link that was very helpful.

Thank you, every one has been very helpful, I'm sorry I was unclear and hope this clears things up a bit. :)
Providing all the information in offering the best for a healthy pair there would be no more difficulty than breeding cockatiels. Does that mean they will breed for you? There are no guarantees you will have success. Are you still raising cockatiels? If so, how many pairs do you own and how many clutches have you raised?

Just because the pair offered to you "LOOKS" healthy doesn't mean they are and of course should have a qualified wellness exam that includes the works. If you aren't willing to spend the money for this then I would discourage you from breeding. Your mentor... who would that be... do they also raise and if they do what species?

There are no other cages I would recommend. You want your birds to be healthy, offering the largest space is going to benefit their health beyond measure. We all make accommodations for our birds to give them a better life, after all, they depend on us for everything so give them the best. So many people "cheap out" and in my opinion aren't willing to give the best care the birds deserve, shouldn't raise. We do see quite a bit of disturbing posts every year from people unprepared and what I call "willy nilly" breeding. They're coming here for help with chick problems and other laying related problems with their hens. I think you have to ask yourself if you are truly looking out for the best welfare for a pair of birds and possible offspring produced to validate your personal enjoyment of breeding and hand raising. If your current birds are living in cages too small I would concentrate first on improving their living arrangements.
 

RobbinHood

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Are you still raising cockatiels? If so, how many pairs do you own and how many clutches have you raised?
No, my female died half way through raising her second clutch of chicks, I am still not sure as to the cause of her death there were no symptoms of egg binding or other diseases except food in her mouth, I think that she choked while feeding her chicks. I have only bred my cockatiels twice handfeeding the second clutch since two weeks old.
Your mentor... who would that be... do they also raise and if they do what species?
The lady who taught me to handfeed cockatiels has 20+ years of experience handfeeding various species of birds from african greys to lovebirds.
We do see quite a bit of disturbing posts every year from people unprepared and what I call "willy nilly" breeding
That's why I'm here :D
If your current birds are living in cages too small I would concentrate first on improving their living arrangements.
Do you think the size of cage I have my conure in is to small for him by himself even if he didn't have a mate in there.
 

tka

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An 18x18" cage barely allows your conure to stretch his wings without hitting the sides.

Have a look at this site: Wingspan Info | Natural Inspirations Parrot cages

A GCC has a wingspan of 15.5" so the absolute smallest cage they should be in is 24x24". They're such active birds that I really would go larger - a flight cage of 32x21" would be perfect for one, plus it would give you lots of scope to create an enriching layout with toys, a choice of perches, foraging opportunities and so on. If you want to breed, I'd suggest an even larger cage.
 

Laurie

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I agree with the flight cage as being the smallest size you should use. You will also need the same size cage for the babies so if you are breeding then you will need two of these cages. The good news is you can get stackable ones so they do not take up any more space than a single one. If you can find a suitable cage of the same size you could get away with one that is not as tall but the length and depth should be able like the flight cage.

I also recommend having a bit of savings in your bank before you start because there is almost always an unforseen expense.

In addition, you should have a back up plan for everything especially during this pandemic. You may not have a duplicate of everything but if you have a brooder then you should at least have a second way to keep babies warm if you have a breakdown. You should also have extra thermometers and such (not a big deal to get) but you can't wait for days for a new one if they break. Vet visits, always run me at least $200 and about half of all breeding seasons I need to take some baby to the vet, I have had a babies get dehydrated and have crop slowdown ($600), I've had on with a constricted toe and need surgery ($200) and one that was feed tiny blueberry stem by it's mom and it was too large to pass through it's system ($100). That is just the babies, I have also had a mom come down with a bacterial infection right after raising babies ($100).

Now for the pandemic, I bought enough food to last the entire breeding season just in case. Maybe I am just paranoid but at least I am prepared.

Emergency supplies and training on how to use them are also helpful.

Get a few good books, you will not learn everything you need to know on the internet because breeding is a scientific and somewhat technical endeavor and there just are not that many bird breeders on the internet handing out advice (maybe they are too busy taking care of birds).

Maybe you can find it a library because it is out of print but I recommend:
Parrots: Handfeeding and Nursery management and Parrot Incubation Procedure, two books by Rick Jordan. The incubation book is not that important if you are not incubating eggs but it is informative.

I highly recommend the Handfeeding book so that you can get an excellent overview of what is really needed to equip yourself to handle what really happens when you breed parrots. It is far more involved then you might imagine.

Here are some topics for research, if you can't write at least a paragraph or two on the each topic then you probably need to continue your research.
Explain how to sanitize all of your handfeeding tools between eat use.
Explain how to mix formula, keep it at the proper temperature and feed it to a baby parrot.
Explain how what needs to be done each day to ensure the health and hygiene of a nest.
Explain what you need to do to ensure the health and hygiene of a handfeeding babies.
Explain what if any adjustments you need to make to a breeding pairs diet to fortify them for egg production and chick rearing.
Explain what you should feed a pair of birds who are feeding chicks.
What is crop slow down? Crop stasis? What does a dehydrated chick look like? What is splayed legs? How do you prevent it? How do you correct it?
What is you plan if the mother bird gets sick or dies? What if the father bird gets sick or dies? What if the father attacks the mother or the chicks?
How will I find homes for the babies? (I highly advise non refundable deposits, BTW.)
How will I socialize the chicks? What support will I offer to new owners?
Who will feed the babies if you get the flu or are unable to do it.
What is your plan for round the clock feedings, are you home at least every four hours and every 1-2 hours for day 1 babies.

For each species you intend to breed.
What is the proper temperature and humidity to keep your babies at each stage of developement.
How will you know when a bird is weaned and how do you help them wean.
What is the procedure for feeding a day 1 chick?
How often do I need to feed the chicks and for how long?
Explain common behavior problems and how to address them.
Explain proper feeding of the species to someone who does not know.
Explain proper caging and toys.

This is all off the top of my head. I am sure there is more but I do believe this is a minimum. You will never be fully prepared but if you at least familiarize yourself with potential things you will need to know you will be able to act quickly if it comes up instead of letting days go by and possibly losing babies.

That is another thing to consider. How will you feel if a baby dies or is killed and how can you cope with basically rehoming the littles that you spent so much time raising. Some people can deal with it but for some it is just to heartbreaking. It is worth an honest self evaluation.

I don't expect you to post your answers but you should at least find the answers for yourself as part of your research.

I am in no way against breeding. I just believe people should be prepare and most people do not know what they do not know until it is too late. So if I can help people to really learn what they are taking on then that is win in my book.

Best wishes on your journey, always remember it has to be about the birds first, there is no break.

I am about to be in the thick of it here in a few days with a day 1 baby that will need feeding because it's mom only feeds the last baby to hatch. So I'll be feeding round the clock every 2-3 hours for at least 10 days because by the time the first on grows a little another one will hatch. Don't get me wrong, I love it but it is a great sacrifice and a long term commitment.
 

Mockinbirdiva

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No, my female died half way through raising her second clutch of chicks, I am still not sure as to the cause of her death there were no symptoms of egg binding or other diseases except food in her mouth, I think that she choked while feeding her chicks. I have only bred my cockatiels twice handfeeding the second clutch since two weeks old.

The lady who taught me to handfeed cockatiels has 20+ years of experience handfeeding various species of birds from african greys to lovebirds.

That's why I'm here :D

Do you think the size of cage I have my conure in is to small for him by himself even if he didn't have a mate in there.
I can appreciate you are willing to learn and not put off by a lot of questions. Laurie has covered many of the details that will help you plan for breeding, the expenses, equipment and a guide to research topics to make you a better and well informed breeder. The more you know the more you will be prepared!
 

RobbinHood

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I also recommend having a bit of savings in your bank before you start because there is almost always an unforseen expense.
I can definitely see that being a wise sentiment
What is you plan if the mother bird gets sick or dies? What if the father bird gets sick or dies? What if the father attacks the mother or the chicks?
My cockatiel hen died after her second clutch of chicks were two weeks old, and I had to pull all the chicks for handfeeding because to dad was only feeding one of four chicks and he was significantly over feeding that chick. Your right it was very stressful and tiring.
Best wishes on your journey, always remember it has to be about the birds first, there is no break.
Thank you, it is always a huge commitment, it was a shock to me with my last clutch.
I am about to be in the thick of it here in a few days with a day 1 baby that will need feeding because it's mom only feeds the last baby to hatch. So I'll be feeding round the clock every 2-3 hours for at least 10 days because by the time the first on grows a little another one will hatch. Don't get me wrong, I love it but it is a great sacrifice and a long term commitment.
Good luck!

I really appreciated your post it was very helpful, thank you.
 
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