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(Questions) - New to caring for birds. I have a 1 year old Green Cheek Conure. Wat do?


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I am new to this forum and I am new to caring for birds. I have a 1-year-old green cheek conure named Pipo and I also help my grandmother care for her 18-year-old Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot named Pepe.

In this thread, I will only talk about the green cheek due to the location of this post and talk about the Amazon parrot in a separate thread. My overall goal in bird care is to help the birds live long, happy, healthy lives and to treat the birds as if they were my own children and to build habits that will move me away from the emotional abuse and neglect I have suffered myself as a child. Although I may lack experience, I make up for it in enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

This aside I have a few questions for you guys:

  1. Food/Nutrition - What is the proper diet for a Green Cheek Conure? From my research, I have found that most people say that nutritional pellets are the way to go (Zupreem, Harrisons, etc.) due to supposedly having all of the vitamins, nutrients, minerals, etc. a bird needs. My grandmother has been raising and selling birds for years and says that seeds are the way to go and the pellets are more like treats than anything else. Who is correct and why? Any suggestions on brands, foods, etc?
  2. Cage situation - What should the proper cage size/dimensions be for a Green Cheek Conure? Currently, my Green Cheek Conure is housed in a 24 in. x 16 in. x 16 in. (L x W x H) cage. What cage size you do guys use?
  3. Training - The nickname for my Green Cheek Conure is "Bad Bird" due to how the bird doesn't like anybody except me. For example, if I hold the bird, she won't bite me (unless for the obvious "No" or "I don't want to be petted there/now bite") and wants nothing more than to be on my shoulder all-day and snuggle. As for when other people try to pet her or hold her, she will bite them hard sometimes opening a small cut on the person's hand. Also, when I try to give the bird to my grandmother to hold her, the bird will become an "attack bird" running up on to my grandmother's shoulder or hand just to bite (as I believe the bird thinks that my grandmother is trying to take her away from me?). What should I do to teach the bird to be nicer to other people? Also, does anybody have suggestions to teach the bird how to fly? My bird is so scared of flying only flying when scared.
  4. Exercise - How do I ensure a bird gets enough exercise and playtime during the day to prevent future health problems and keep a bird happy and not bored? Are there certain toys or activities you guys recommend?
  5. Happiness - How do you maintain the happiness of a bird? I know my Green Cheek Conure wants to be with me all day and wants my attention. I've tried to take my bird with me to study and do homework with me but the bird gets jealous of the book or computer getting more attention than her. I let the bird out of her cage all day but from the standpoint of a human being, it must get very boring and lonely. What should I do?
  6. Bird companionship? - Any ideas to get a bird to get along with other birds to form companionship? From as far back as I can remember, (even before I was introduced to Pipo) at a few weeks/months old, Pipo would chase and bully the cockatiels my grandmother was raising that were roughly the same age. As far as I can see as well, Pipo and my grandmother's Amazon don't get along due to the major size and age difference (and also both not being properly socialized?) Any ideas.
  7. Vet - Can you trust an Avian Vet? My grandmother says she can't trust them due to the many birds that have died due to an Avian Vet's care. Any comments or suggestions regarding the matter?

I know it seems like a ton of questions, but any response and help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Lil Monsters Bird Toys
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1. Seeds are lacking many of the nutrients birds need: calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, etc. Pellets are fortified with all of these missing elements. If you don't want to feed pellets, then fresh veggies, grains, and fruits should be the bulk of the diet. Seeds for most species, conures included, should be 10% or less of the diet.

2. Cages should be at least 1.5x the wingspan of your bird, and 1x as deep. For a green cheek, your cage is the absolute bare minimum, as their wingspan is an average of 15.5"

3. Your bird may be bonded to you and not interested in entertaining a relationship with other people, and also may want to keep you for themself. Start by just having people offer treats to the bird. Don't let them pet or hold her.

4. You can encourage flying and exercise by providing lots of areas for your bird to explore. Swings, ropes, and other moving perches help promote muscle strength. My green cheek loved balsa, thin pine, cork, mahogany - easy to shred toys, as well as foraging.

5. Make sure your bird has plenty to explore. Give areas away from the cage near you that she can play. Make her forage for most of her food. Find what music she likes and dance with her. Talk to her. Give toys she can demolish.

6. Some birds never get along. It sounds like your bird is quite bonded to you, which means any other birds are invading her territory and/or trying to steal her "mate". Don't force it.

7. I've had several birds and never had them die at the vet. Thousands of people on this forum take their birds to vets. While not all are created equal, Most avian vets love their bird patients and it would be heartbreaking to continue to encourage people to come to their practice just to kill a beloved companion. What monster would want to be in that business?
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A lot has changed since your grandmother began breeding and selling birds. Maybe you could educate her on proper bird nutrition, like chop, pellets and a small amount of seeds. Seeds are more of a great than pellets. Pellets and fresh foods should make up the bulk I the diet.

@Mizzely has a great chop recipe here and information on pellet diets here. Please take the time to read these, it may also be worth showing your grandmother. Our of interest, what species does she breed?

Also, that cage needs to ideally be bigger. A flight cage would be perfect.