Conure Tips?

WallyBirdie

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
854
1,862
266
I am a new conure owner seeking tips for bonding and raising. Maybe someone can share some stories and pictures of their birds?

I have had my new baby [named Monty] for 10 days.
He ate during the car ride home and has been a regular eating machine. He gets fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Apple seems to be his favorite.
He is not fully tame but will eat out of my hand and has landed on my shoulder twice.
He has shy moments when he will 'hide' in his cage, and he has outgoing moments when he will run along the furniture carrying (or throwing) his toys. When he throws them, he waits for me to pick em back up for him.
He was terribly skittish when I first got him. He seems more confident with each passing day.
I can't wait to learn more!
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ALSO!
A shoutout to the Penn-Plax Bird Activity Center! My birds all love it! Good investment!
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Last edited:

nchls school

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 22, 2015
6,883
3,601
386
Tennessee
Was he hand fed? If so, time and patience will give the results you wish; sounds like you're well on the way to bonding. Green cheeks are rather shy. If he isn't hand fed, consider clipping him as it will make him more dependent on you and easier to handle. Does he bite? If so use gloves, but only if you have to. Keep him at your eye level or higher when handling him. Most birds are fearful of anything big and close over them.
 

WallyBirdie

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
854
1,862
266
Was he hand fed? If so, time and patience will give the results you wish; sounds like you're well on the way to bonding. Green cheeks are rather shy. If he isn't hand fed, consider clipping him as it will make him more dependent on you and easier to handle. Does he bite? If so use gloves, but only if you have to. Keep him at your eye level or higher when handling him. Most birds are fearful of anything big and close over them.
Thank you for the reply.
The breeder said he did not have time to handle the younger birds. I assume this includes hand feeding.
My bird's wings were clipped before I took him home. Breeder clipped them in front of me, but he still flies high and far.
Monty (the conure) did bite me when I had to 'rescue' him from the kitchen. (I hadn't known he could fly so well, and there was an escape made when I was putting fresh water into the cage.)
Monty drew blood, but I believe it was done out of fear. He hasn't bitten me since.
Actual hand-on handling hasn't occurred much because he is shy and wary. But he is warming up to me, I think. When I am in the room, he chirps and comes closer to see what I am doing. He only hesitates a moment before eating food from my hand.
I am trying to take things slow. I just hope my approach is the right one. So many videos show people handling their birds right away, and those birds all seem so tame.
Monty isn't like those birds at all. Which is fine. I'm getting to know him and he is getting to know me. He doesn't fly away when I get close. If he doesn't want to step up, he just takes a few steps back, then I wait with a treat or allow him space.
I do have a stick that he steps up on, but he doesn't climb up when I gradually lower it. I've tried a number of times.

Should I be taking a different approach to handling him? I don't want to ruin progress by going too fast. He gets silly and plays the dropsy game with me. He has been on my hand and shoulder willingly, without me trying anything. He eats out of my hand without issue.

I have a lot of time and patience.

Any advice is appreciated. I already adore this bird and look forward to him being a longterm companion.
 

nchls school

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 22, 2015
6,883
3,601
386
Tennessee
Thank you for the reply.
The breeder said he did not have time to handle the younger birds. I assume this includes hand feeding.
I used to raise conures and other hookbill species; as well as a lot of hand feeding.

My bird's wings were clipped before I took him home. Breeder clipped them in front of me, but he still flies high and far. Green cheeks are light and strong. With both wings clipped they are still able to fly as you have found out. With the lighter species it is better, in my opinion, to clip just wing; flight is harder when the body is unbalanced. I only clipped conures when they were being tamed. It is healthier for them to be flighted and I always enjoyed watching them fly.
Monty (the conure) did bite me when I had to 'rescue' him from the kitchen. (I hadn't known he could fly so well, and there was an escape made when I was putting fresh water into the cage.)
Monty drew blood, but I believe it was done out of fear. He hasn't bitten me since. Since he hasn't bit you since you are correct that the bite was out of fear.
Actual hand-on handling hasn't occurred much because he is shy and wary. But he is warming up to me, I think. When I am in the room, he chirps and comes closer to see what I am doing. He only hesitates a moment before eating food from my hand.
I am trying to take things slow. I just hope my approach is the right one. There are a number of "right" approaches and if you're pleased with the progress do not change the way you are treating the bird now. Doing so will only make Monty distrust you.So many videos show people handling their birds right away, and those birds all seem so tame. This was the approach I used, but, again, do not make changes that would cause fear and distrust. Parrots have long memories and it is essential that you not do something to cause the taming process to slow or stop. Any changes you make in handling should be small and slow.
Monty isn't like those birds at all. Which is fine. I'm getting to know him and he is getting to know me. He doesn't fly away when I get close. If he doesn't want to step up, he just takes a few steps back, then I wait with a treat or allow him space. In time you need to train him to always comply when asked to "step up". This is important as a safety measure. Conures are curious birds and get themselves in trouble. Obeying the step up command could well save your bird's life. I once had a severe macaw that escaped the house and landed in a low tree. Only because it was automatic for her to obey the word, "up" was I able to get her back on my arm and shoulder.
I do have a stick that he steps up on, but he doesn't climb up when I gradually lower it. I've tried a number of times. Train with your hands and arms and shoulders; Monty needs to learn to trust you not a stick; and a stick may not be available when you really need one.

Should I be taking a different approach to handling him?If you are happy with his progress-do not change, but do work with the "UP" command and when you do, be patient, take your time, but do not give up until he is on your hand. You might want to wait a while to start this until Monty trusts you more. I don't want to ruin progress by going too fast. He gets silly and plays the dropsy game with me. He has been on my hand and shoulder willingly,This makes me believe Monty is ready to learn and obey "UP"; especially if he has gotten on your hand willingly. The bathroom is a good place to train or any small room that limits Monty's flight. Remember to close the toilet lid. without me trying anything. He eats out of my hand without issue.

I have a lot of time and patience. A good quality when training parrots.

Any advice is appreciated. I already adore this bird and look forward to him being a longterm companion.

Feel free to e-mail me directly if you have questions. I don't always go on this site. [email protected]

Good luck-have fun-stay safe.
 

WallyBirdie

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
854
1,862
266
Thank you for the reply.
The breeder said he did not have time to handle the younger birds. I assume this includes hand feeding.
I used to raise conures and other hookbill species; as well as a lot of hand feeding.

My bird's wings were clipped before I took him home. Breeder clipped them in front of me, but he still flies high and far. Green cheeks are light and strong. With both wings clipped they are still able to fly as you have found out. With the lighter species it is better, in my opinion, to clip just wing; flight is harder when the body is unbalanced. I only clipped conures when they were being tamed. It is healthier for them to be flighted and I always enjoyed watching them fly.
Monty (the conure) did bite me when I had to 'rescue' him from the kitchen. (I hadn't known he could fly so well, and there was an escape made when I was putting fresh water into the cage.)
Monty drew blood, but I believe it was done out of fear. He hasn't bitten me since. Since he hasn't bit you since you are correct that the bite was out of fear.
Actual hand-on handling hasn't occurred much because he is shy and wary. But he is warming up to me, I think. When I am in the room, he chirps and comes closer to see what I am doing. He only hesitates a moment before eating food from my hand.
I am trying to take things slow. I just hope my approach is the right one. There are a number of "right" approaches and if you're pleased with the progress do not change the way you are treating the bird now. Doing so will only make Monty distrust you.So many videos show people handling their birds right away, and those birds all seem so tame. This was the approach I used, but, again, do not make changes that would cause fear and distrust. Parrots have long memories and it is essential that you not do something to cause the taming process to slow or stop. Any changes you make in handling should be small and slow.
Monty isn't like those birds at all. Which is fine. I'm getting to know him and he is getting to know me. He doesn't fly away when I get close. If he doesn't want to step up, he just takes a few steps back, then I wait with a treat or allow him space. In time you need to train him to always comply when asked to "step up". This is important as a safety measure. Conures are curious birds and get themselves in trouble. Obeying the step up command could well save your bird's life. I once had a severe macaw that escaped the house and landed in a low tree. Only because it was automatic for her to obey the word, "up" was I able to get her back on my arm and shoulder.
I do have a stick that he steps up on, but he doesn't climb up when I gradually lower it. I've tried a number of times. Train with your hands and arms and shoulders; Monty needs to learn to trust you not a stick; and a stick may not be available when you really need one.

Should I be taking a different approach to handling him?If you are happy with his progress-do not change, but do work with the "UP" command and when you do, be patient, take your time, but do not give up until he is on your hand. You might want to wait a while to start this until Monty trusts you more. I don't want to ruin progress by going too fast. He gets silly and plays the dropsy game with me. He has been on my hand and shoulder willingly,This makes me believe Monty is ready to learn and obey "UP"; especially if he has gotten on your hand willingly. The bathroom is a good place to train or any small room that limits Monty's flight. Remember to close the toilet lid. without me trying anything. He eats out of my hand without issue.

I have a lot of time and patience. A good quality when training parrots.

Any advice is appreciated. I already adore this bird and look forward to him being a longterm companion.

Feel free to e-mail me directly if you have questions. I don't always go on this site. [email protected]

Good luck-have fun-stay safe.
Thank you for all the useful information. It's very helpful and reassuring. I'll save your email in case I have further questions.
For now, I'll give him a little more time to adjust and trust, then start training!
 

Quailobsessed

Crowing
Oct 12, 2019
2,016
3,191
351
Australia
It looks like you've got some good help already, but I just wanted to add a suggestion that has really helped with my parrots.

I would suggest touch training (or target training). You basically get a stick (like a chopstick) and put it up to the parrot so they touch the end of it with their beak. You then reward them for touching it with a treat. You do this several times and they will start following the stick.

Here's a video about it. I'd strongly recommend watching it, my description is super basic but this video goes into it quite well.
The channel, birdtricks, is really helpful and informative. I'd strongly recommend the channel to anyone with parrots. Here's another video from them that may be helpful. It is pretty long, but if you want extra tips and advice on training, they are professionals.

Target training has been really helpful for me especially when I started training my galahs. They were escaped pets whose owners never showed up. I ended up adopting all three, by now I am a galah (in Australia we call crazy people galahs :D ).What made them difficult was that I didn't know their history, so I didn't know what they have been through or what they're like. Two were hands-off completely, they would bite if I put my hand near them. So, target training was the key to moving them around in a way that they weren't being forced to do anything.

It can be helpful for shy birds too. I have two princess parrots that are not hand raised, four years old, and supposed to be a breeding pair. I have managed to tame them enough that they fly onto my hand on cue. I did this by first target training them. I hope to get them tame enough to be more companion birds than breeders. You can tame birds that were not hand raised, it is more difficult and takes more patience, but you can.
 

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