Conures are charismatic, colorful and clever pets that are an unending source of entertainment and enjoyment for their owners. Breeding Conures is an interesting subject on which the Conure owners need to have a detailed insight.
Conures can be divided into four major groups according to their peculiar breeding habits; some don’t fit into any of these groups so they can be placed as intermediates between two major groups.
Green Conure Group
Green Conure consists of Conures largest in body size and is most commonly found. Their scientific genus name is Aratinga. This group consists of Cherry Headed, White Eyed, Red Fronted, Blue Crowned, Red And Green Throated Conures. These Conures are moderately productive and require time before breeding regularly. Breeding Conures require three to five years time by the wild stock. They are mostly seasonal in their behavior even after they start producing regularly so at times artificial seasons are created to mislead them.
Pulling out eggs as soon as they are laid increases the quantity of eggs. The most difficult to breed are the Red Fronts from the Aratinga group as they seek natural habitat conditions for breeding. They look for nesting holes on cliffs. The easiest to breed in the lot are the Red Throated and White Eyed Conures. They give two clutches every season if the babies are removed from the nest for the purpose of hand rearing. For large Conures, the nest boxes are approximately 12 to 18 inches deep. This gives the bird good comfort and they are deep enough to lose interest from the outside world.
Dusky, Jenday and Gold Capped Conures
This group consists of medium sized Conures. They include Dusky, Jenday and Sun Capped birds. Their behavior is quite different from their larger cousins so they are grouped differently. These differences in behavior are drastic where breeding Conure is concerned. As they start producing they may even lay four clutches in a single year and rest for a few months before starting all over again. This group is over active in house cleaning and empties their nest boxes as soon as their babies are bred.
Conures with Peach Colored Fronts
This type of Conure doesn’t fit completely into any group. It is classified as intermediates between Brown Throat and Gold Capped Conures. Mostly people relate it to the Half-moon family due to their similar appearances but the fact is that their habits are utterly different from the Brown Throat group. Peach Fronts don’t start breeding until early summer or late spring but once they start producing they are prolific in the act. They yield only two clutches a year. They lay eggs in tree hollows in the wild.
Some of the members of this group are highly productive and some are extremely stingy about reproducing. Their box requirements are small and begin producing in mid spring. They give multiple clutches every season. If the babies are pulled out earlier then the pair would not reinitiate their activities if the weather is too hot. The painted Conure is an example of the less productive type.
This discussion of Conure breeding cannot be concluded without mentioning Monk Parakeet or Quaker Parakeet. They are not classified as Conures but are a part of major Conure breeding operations. They have a strangest habit of weaving nests with dry sticks. They make these nests into large condominiums and all breeding pairs and groups of families have different entrance holes and internal chambers. These are the most reproductive birds in the entire Conure family therefore they have been banned in a number of states for the fear of scarcity of food for other native birds. They are also considered as menace to crop. They usually produce in mid spring and continue till the summer months.
Half-moon, Aztec and Brown Throated Conures
This group starts breeding earlier than the Green Conures. They also take a period of three to five years before settling down to breed regularly. Some might produce just a few babies every year while some will act as prolific breeders like the Gold Cap Conures; some don’t reproduce at all. They are reluctant in entering nesting boxes provided by breeding setups.
In their natural habitats they use termite nests to make nesting cavities. These nests are made of materials that are quite similar to spongy paper board in consistency. Conures chew a hole on the inner side of these mounds and then lay their eggs inside them. The termites then close all openings that lead to the nesting areas. When Conures vacate the invaded chambers the termites fill back the holes, thus Conures need a new nest every time they wish to reproduce.
Because of these breeding criteria, these Conures are uncomfortable in relating to a nest box with a permanent structure. All other Conures adapt to these permanent nesting boxes throughout the breeding season. Other Conures sleep in their nest boxes at night whereas this group of youngsters prefers to stay outside as soon as they are old enough. Pearly and Maroon belly Conures permit their babies to stay with them indefinitely even after weaning.