Thursday, 12 July 2012

Golden Conure Diet

BLOG 2.                                 GOLDEN CONURE DIET

The following is what we feed all our breeding pairs of Golden Conures.
  • Apple
  • Grapes
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Cucumber  (Skinned)
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Green, Red and Yellow peppers
  • Sweet Potato  (cooked)
  • Pumpkin  (cooked)
  • Butternut  (cooked)
  • Sweet corn
  • Pellets
  • Soaked seed mixture, made from:  wheat, millet, corn, and small amounts of sunflower

HOWEVER – Sunflower seed alone should NOT be given to the Golden Conures as a stable diet, but rather in small doses per serving. Pellets, veggies and fruit should instead be their main stable diet with small amounts of soaked seed mixture mixed in.

I know that the subject of giving ANY sunflower seed to Golden Conures is a very controversial topic by many breeders etc – but I believe that they need high levels of protein in their diet, and reasonable levels of fat. Soaked seed (if you soak it beforehand for up to 12 hours before, and wash before serving) then turns the fat levels in the sunflower, into protein fat. (Which they need)!

In our experience with hand raising Golden Conures, and also speaking with other breeders that live here inside South Africa, we all agree that when hand raising baby Golden Conures – you MUST have them on a formula that has a high fat and protein intake – specified for feeding Hyacinth macaws, Green wing macaws and Buffon Macaws. If you don’t have them on such a formula – the dieing rate of chicks is extremely high. 

Why do I make such comments about a high fat and protein formula?
Well, Golden Conures have been categorised under the Conure family of the ARATINGA tribe, but in more recent years, with further studying been done on them, it seems that they are more likely to be related to the macaw family than to the conure family, and the macaw family needs a lot higher level of protein and fat in their stable diet.

O.K – we have spoken of high levels of protein and fat, but - I  want to say that Golden Conures also need a high level of Vitamin A in their daily diet.
For Vitamin A – we give the following veggies to our Golden Conures daily:
  • Green, Red and Yellow peppers
  • Celery
  • Cucumber – (Skinned)
  • Spinach

 - POMPOM - 


BLOG 1.                                        FEATHER PLUCKING

There are many different reasons why feather plucking (self mutilation) is a common problem with Golden Conures.  They have a rather nervous temperament and are usually quite sensitive and easily stressed. The areas most common to be plucked are the breast area and flight feathers. Some birds can pluck themselves so badly to the point that they cannot even fly.

Here is an overview of the following subjects in regards to feather plucking:
  • Genealogy
  • Aviary size and space
  • Boredom
  • Health issues
  • Incubation
  • One last thing

This has a MAJOR part to play in many Golden Conures plucking themselves. It is not the only reason of course – but can play a major contributing factor. If your Golden Conures come from more of a nervous/highly strung gene pool, you will find that they more prone to plucking than others that come from a more placid gene pool.                                                                                                                               One KEY important factor is that Golden Conure pairs that are related “sister/brother” or come from the same line are more prone to nervous tendencies, infertility and feather plucking.

The size of your aviary can play a part in feather plucking, as there are many breeders out there that think that Golden Conures are very similar with many other conure species, and that you can house them in small surroundings and they will still breed for you and be happy. - WRONG –
 Golden Conures in general need a large aviary space where they can play, move, fly and flap around in. If you want them to be happy enough in their surroundings, you need to supply them with good sized aviaries that they can get the most out of and not be squashed in. Feather plucking also happens when birds are housed in too smaller surroundings and no toys, and so they start playing with each others feathers – which can lead to the habit of feather plucking.    
 When they are happy in their surroundings they are far less prone to pluck out of frustration or habit.
 A good sized aviary (per pair) is as follows:  3 metres long, 1.2 wide, 2.6 high.
Some breeders do breed in suspended aviaries, however I personally would not go that route, as one thing I have noticed is that Golden Conures do love to forage around on the bottom of the aviaries. If they are in suspended, they will be walking on the bottom of the wire, which causes their tail feathers to fray and damage. This then aggravates them, and they start playing/plucking their frayed feathers. On this issue of their feathers – they are very sensitive!

This part flow on from what is written above, including that you need to provide your birds (even in aviaries) with toys and swings and many branches they can play with and chew on. They are busy little flock birds and need to keep themselves occupied by having toys, swings, and branches to play and chew. If they are busy – they are not bored, which means less likelihood of plucking.

Because of the small gene pool in captivity, Golden Conures can be more prone to genetic disorders than other species.                                                                            One such disorder that is common in Golden Conures is that of enflamed kidney conditions. This one causes the bird to stress incredibly and can start feather plucking.
It is crucial that Golden Conures have a large supply of fresh water daily, as they drink larger amounts of water that other species of parrots per day.                             
 Also – by giving too much vitamin and mineral supplements in their diet can damage their liver and kidneys, and then cause feather plucking.
The biggest health risk to Golden Conures is this issue, as many veterinarians have told breeders that they need to (on top of their daily diet), give their birds vitamin and mineral supplements in order to help with feather plucking problems etc.….This is not necessary,  because if your daily diet is full of fresh fruit and veggies (containing fresh Vitamin A & E supplements, and non cholesterol fats) then you should have no problems as they should receive all the natural nutrients that is necessary in their daily diet.

We don’t know why - but there tends to be more of a problem with Golden Conures that have been incubated and hand raised to have problems with feather plucking when they get older and it's time for breeding, more so than parent raised.  (not all hand-raised Golden Conures do feather pluck) but there is a higher percentage and possibility that they will.

If your Golden Conures are prone to feather plucking, then all of the above subjects you need to look at in changing their diet and environment. However – there is one natural product that does help this problem: RED PALM FRUIT OIL. (it has to be 100% natural with no other oils or synthetics in it). This oil is cholesterol free, and is full of vitamins A & E.  1 teaspoon per serving – no more than 14 grams.