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Conures In Action

Enrich your conure’s life by providing bird toys, an enriched bird cage and home, and lots of foraging food choices.

By Cheryl Burns

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If you have a conure as a pet, then you most likely know that these little parrots are energetic, curious and social creatures. And you may already be thinking of ways to keep your pet bird happy and entertained. Most parrots are curious and playful, but the conures take play to a different level. They are very active and need plenty of diversions to keep themselves busy throughout the day.

conures
Provide plenty of bird toys for your conure to play with.

Providing an environment to keep your conure from being bored is not hard and can even be a lot of fun. You can make your conure happier and avoid behavior issues through an enriched environment.

Bird Toys
Bird toys are the most utilized form of enrichment and one that owners seem to enjoy as well. It is a lot of fun to either buy or build a bird toy for your conure. When shopping, consider bird toys that have a variety of textures, colors and sizes. Look at foot toys as well as large hanging toys. Vary the sizes. Select a wiffle ball too large to carry with something inside that rattles and a small toy that is easy to carry around. Texture varieties such as leather, wood, plastic and cloth provide different experiences for chewing behaviors. After a while, with careful observation, you will discover which types of toys receive the most attention and those that are ignored.

Most toys should be made to destroy. Monitor your conure carefully when introducing a new toy to ensure there are not any safety issues. Toys with chain links do not have the potential to trap a foot or toe. Older toys need to be watched for wear such as rope strands that can get tangled around the neck, a foot or toe. Any cloth toys need to be checked on a regular basis so they remain safe for play.

Conure Cages
Many things about the bird cage can enhance the environmental experience and encourage the conure’s natural desire to play. In addition to toys, perches and sleeping huts also provide enrichment. The cage is a place of safety and refuge for your bird, so put a cozy corner where he can cuddle up with a toy in the cage or a hut to rest. The idea is to make the cage a safe, comfortable place that your bird enjoys being inside.

Conures At Home
Conures normally live close together in the wild and rarely travel alone. Leaving a pet conure in a quiet room alone isolates it from the family and is contrary to the flocking instinct it would rely upon in the wild.

Place the cage in an area of the house where the family spends a lot of time. Most conures love to be in the middle of whatever is going on with their families, but it is a good idea to observe your bird carefully if this is a new experience. Once the bird becomes used to the family routine, you may find your pet enjoys and craves this time. If he seems nervous from the activity, try a new location that is more quiet or not directly in a walkthrough area. Provide a cage cover or a smaller sleeping cage in a quiet room if you have concerns about keeping your bird up too late at night in this room.

Conure Interaction
Activities, games and training are fantastic ways to enrich your conure’s environment and your relationship with him. Many conure owners play games with their birds. Some can learn to retrieve a ball, catch a small toy or even play miniature basketball. A variety of flying, chasing and racing games also are popular.

You can teach your conures tricks, such as flying to a hand or shoulder when called, playing dead, the shell game and mimicking. Training can be for fun or practical things. The interactions required for training help keep your bird busy solving problems. Conure tricks can be a fun game for both pet and owner.

Bottom line, spending time together may be one of the best ways to enrich your conure’s life. Simple activities such as playing in the clean laundry while the companion folds it, sitting on a perch nearby or just talking back and forth across the room seem to bring great joy. You will find that a conure is happy to just “hang” with its best friends, such as while they read the paper or work on the computer. Of course, a little head rub now and then wouldn’t hurt! 

Food Fun For Conures
In the wild, a conure would spend most of its day looking for food, which is called foraging. So it is no wonder that pet birds are fascinated and motivated by food. You can serve food items in different ways to provide both nutrition and entertainment. For example, provide larger pieces of fruit in a bowl or on a kabob instead of chopping them up. A whole apple or orange is as much a toy as a meal. Almonds in the shell are a favorite toy with a treat inside. Pomegranates are a naturally made toy to tear apart and eat.

Many pet stores carry foraging toys that are made to be stuffed with a few treats. You can also create your own toy with an empty cracker box, some wadded up paper, almonds and other treats inside. Hang the box on the side of the cage and wait for curiosity to kick in. Experiment with serving foods in different ways to your bird. It may surprise you which things prove to be a favorite!

Conures will show odd preferences for how food is prepared as well. A peeled orange may not attract its attention but a slice of orange with the peeling still attached is one of the first items selected. Try providing carrots grated, sliced and in small sticks. Some conures love dry pasta while others want theirs cooked with sauce. Cooked bean and pasta mixes may be preferred al dente rather than soft or visa versa. Have fun trying out new things and discovering new favorites.


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