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Selecting a Conure Parrot considerations (Species, cost, pet or breeding and where to buy a conure from)

Once the decision to purchase a Conure has been made there are a number of financial and practical considerations that must be made. The most important decision is regarding accommodation. Of course, this should be sorted out before a conure is bought.

Other aspects which should be accounted for include:
Which species is most appropriate/desirable
The financial implications
Purpose of the purchase: breeding or pet
Where to buy a Conure from
Issues regarding health

These will now be discussed in more depth

Choosing a conure species

Choosing a species is not a decision to be made lightly. The best manner to do this is to take time and look at many different species before you make the decision. It is advisable to speak to other owners the forum on this site is a good place to start.

Financial implications

There is a large variance in the cost of conures. There are a number of factors which impact the cost of conures. As a general rule imported birds or bred species are the least expensive due to the greater supply of these birds. Homebred conures tend to be more expensive; however, imported conures are likely to require more care when you first acquire the conure. Furthermore, imported birds are likely not to be as used to humans as homebred birds. Generally homebred conures tend to have superior plumage. Due to these reasons it is usually better to buy a homebred conure. On the other hand not all species are readily available so buying an imported bird may be the only option.

It should also be noted that the price of a conure will be affected by the age of the bird. For example a hand raised chick will be more expensive than an older imported bird. It is difficult to determine the age of conures after their first moult, at the age of under a year. It is the case that where the birds age is known for sure, the price of the conure will be higher.

Sexed conures are also more expensive. Conures of either sex look very similar in appearance and surgical sexing (endoscopy) is often the best most cost effective way of sexing conures. If a pair have mated before then that is another way of sexing conures.

It may be worth paying the extra money to buy hand-tamed conures. This can be particularly time-saving. Conures may be hand-tamed by breeders to be specifically suitable for keeping as pets. Particular care should be taken when purchasing previously owned conures as their upbringing massively impacts their personality and the conure can be a particularly noisy, aggressive and destructive if not brought up well.

Rarer conure are obviously more expensive. This is a reflection on the difficulty in acquiring them. Particularly noteworthy is the Queen of Barvaria conure which commands significantly high prices.

As has been demonstrated there a large number of factors impacting the price of conures and therefore choosing a conure that is suitable is imperative, it is not a case of purchasing the first conure you see.

Purpose pet or breeding?

Depending on the purpose for which you are buying a conure will affect the conure you purchase. If you are looking to buy a conure as a pet you should look for a conure that is as young as possible. This gives it the best chance possible to fit into its new surroundings and life. Hand-readed conures are the best as they have already had interaction with humans. Young conures that have only recently fledged are the next best option. Another option is to purchase a conure that has not yet molted, then you will know for sure that the conure is less than one year old. If you do purchase an older bird it will be more difficult to tame. It is highly likely that it will be tameable, but unlikely to be as tame as a conure purchased at a younger age. Indeed it is possible that an older conure never really became truly tamed.

If you are looking breed then you will be looking for a pair of conures. You should only buy a pair that has been surgically sexed or have already bred together otherwise you could be waiting a long time for eggs! Generally there is an above 50% chance that the pair will be compatible.

Where to buy a conure from

The biggest factor to consider when deciding where to buy a conure from, will be the reputation of the breeder or seller. Unfortunately with some species there is not a great deal of choice of breeders. Pet shops tend to be relatively good but you should look out for cleanliness of the premises, stock and knowledge of the staff. A good pet shop should provide good advice not just now but also into the future. Birds imported into the US and the UK should have been quarantined for roughly35 days and therefore you should be able to be fairly confident that the conure has been feeding well and are relatively healthy. It is difficult to tell an imported conure (whose feather will improve after the first moult) from a poorly kept bird and therefore an experts opinion should be sought. It may be a good idea to visit a conure showing that has classes. By doing this you will be able to see what a healthy conure should look like. As mentioned previously you should not make any quick decisions take the time to really have a good look at as many conures as possible.

Conure Health

It is often useful to view a conure from a long distance. This will allow you to see its natural behaviour, rather than when it has been disturbed. Things to look out for include:
Not moving about much
A bird that rests on two feet (healthy conures sleep resting one leg tucked under its feathers)
Eyes provide important clues regarding health
o No discharge
o Should be round, bright and clear
o No swelling around the eyes or nostrils
Should have a well formed beak, not overlong or poorly aligned
Birds with some feathers missing is not indicative of problems, but bald patches should definitely be avoided
Feather should be tight to the body and shimmering
Scales on the legs should lay flat
The backside of the bird should be free from stains or faeces
The faeces should not be hard, too viscous or show signs of blood
You should ask to hold the conure. It should feel plump and will probably flap its wings giving you an opportunity to check them out briefly

We have another article dedicated to housing conures
 

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