Breeding Sun conure parrots is one of the most rewarding activities for bird lovers; after all, it means more parrots in the future. Unfortunately, your dream of rearing young parrots can be cut short without proper preparations. Without an accurate guide, you may encounter unfertilized eggs, stress, mating aggression, impacted oviduct, and egg binding, among others.
Before you even think about breeding sun conure parrots, you should ensure that they’re sexually active, which means over two years old. Next, ensure they’ve bonded adequately before you even purchase a brooder, breeding cage, and incubator to help keep the eggs warm until they hatch.
If you fail to do the introduction process correctly, you may experience many problems, mainly unfertilized egg mate aggression. So in this article, we’ll show you how to breed sun conures correctly and everything you will need to breed parrots.
Breeding Sun Conure Parrots
The sun conure parrots are prolific breeders, and like most birds, they must be able to stretch their wings and take flight while fertilizing the eggs. Therefore, proper preparation is crucial, which means a bigger cage that can create more than enough space for mating rituals. After all, their current cage may be too small for the two birds, leave alone their mating ritual.
If the cage doesn’t have enough space, you should leave your parrots outside for a few hours during the mating season. But before we talk about the mating process and all the equipment you’ll need for the process, here are a few crucial things that can help you determine if your pet is ready for mating.
How Long Does It Take For Sun Conure To Reach Sexual Maturity?
The first thing you need to find out is the exact age of your parrot and if it’s a new pet, then make sure it has attained sexual maturity age, usually over two years old. Trying to breed a pair that’s less than two years old can be very unsafe.
Therefore, you should keep all the parrots in separate cages for the first two years of their lives to prevent them from accidentally breeding. Luckily, some signs can show you when they are ready to mate. In the wild, parrots are known for traveling, feeding, and roosting in the flock. But when the breeding season starts, they become less social while their flock size reduces as they look for nests. (source)
But in captivity, it can be very different; so even after taking care of your parrots for two years, you need to monitor their behavior and watch out for the following signs of breeding:
- Biting, Also Known As Bluffing
It is a common sign exhibited by parrots undergoing hormonal changes. You shouldn’t worry too much if your pet starts nipping or biting everyone around. It may be a way of releasing sexual frustration.
- Territorial Behaviors
When the mating season begins, your parrots may become possessive over some things in their surroundings, including owners, toys, food, room, and cage.
- Physical Display
During the breeding season, the parrot may do several new things, including eye pinning, tail fanning, and wing flipping. In some cases, it can start regurgitating its food.
Generally, parrots are noisy creatures, but during the mating seasons, they may become even more vocal.
- Feather Plucking
Your parrot may also start plucking its feathers during the mating seasons.
When you notice the above signs, it’s time to start breeding. Remember, hormonal changes may trigger some of these signs. You may see these signs at the beginning of spring when it’s warmer. (source)
After all, the food supply is always high when it gets warm, making it the best time to breed. This season lasts about two weeks, so you should be keen when monitoring your parrot’s behavior.
How Many Times Does This Parrot Lay Eggs Per Year?
Most sun conure parrots lay at least two clutches per year; unfortunately, some of these birds can be affected by an egg-laying syndrome that will force them to lay eggs all year long. When suffering from this condition, your parrot can end up laying repeated clutches of eggs even without a mate. (source)
Unfortunately, parrots need a massive supply of calcium to lay eggs. But when affected by this egg-laying syndrome, you may need to increase their supply of calcium; after all, this deficiency will leave your parrot with nutritional deficiencies. To prevent this, you should do the following:
- Give your parrot a healthy diet with calcium supplements.
- Minimize exposure to sunlight to discourage egg-laying
- Move the cage to different parts of the house
- Let your parrot sit on the eggs for a more extended period.
How Long Does It Take For Sun Conures To Lay Eggs?
The more comfortable your pet is, the higher the likelihood of it laying eggs; in fact, most sun conures take between 1 to 3 days to lay an egg. But you can stimulate egg laying and reduce the time it takes to lay eggs using the following techniques.
- Mental stimulation exercises
- Physical workouts
- Fatty, soft food
- A huge cage
If done correctly, your bird can lay about two clutches of 2 to 4 eggs per year, but if it’s unfertilized, the parrot will abandon the eggs after two days of sitting on it.
What Equipment Will You Require To Breed Sun Conures?
Even with the above crucial information on egg-laying and breeding signs, you need specialized equipment to make your parrot comfortable during the breeding and incubation. Remember, the comfort of your parrots matters a lot, especially when breeding, so you should get the following equipment:
- Breeding Cage
Even though Sun conure parrots have a small body, they need a bigger cage during the breeding season. Sure they can mate in a smaller cage, but once the breeding season ends, the female will become sedentary, especially when occupying the nest while the male is moving in and out of the cage to check on his mate. Therefore, you will require a large cage for the birds to move around, but remember, they will need more than enough time to adjust to the new cage.
- Nesting Box
When designing the nesting box, you must replicate the wild conditions; therefore, you should place a wooden container in the nesting cage. A wooden box will create a natural environment by replicating the tree cavities. Plus, wood can help retain some warmth, which will help with the rearing, incubation, and breeding periods.
Even though the mother can help incubate the eggs until they hatch, it’s always a good idea to have an incubator in the house. The incubator can be handy when the parrot becomes sick or refuses to sit on the eggs.
If your parrot becomes sick and dies, the incubator can provide an evenly dispersed heat until the eggs hatch.
If the parent parrots are not raising their chicks after the eggs have hatched, you should get a brooder. The brooder can help keep the chicks warm until they are ready to keep themselves warm; it can also help with the humidity and heat.
How To Get The Sun Conure Parrots To Breed?
Most parrots, including the Sun Conures, are monogamous creatures that mate with a single partner for life. Therefore, you will have to get a pair that can comfortably live together, but most importantly, ensure they are healthy. So to get them to breed, you should do the following:
- Pick The Right Parrots
When picking a breeding sun conure parrot to match your pet, you should ensure that it’s healthy and young. And make sure it’s a captive-bred sun conure as the wild parrots in the market will be too aggressive and stressed in captivity. Plus, it should be over 24 months old, ready to start laying eggs, and most importantly, compatible with your female parrot.
- Introduce The Parrots To Each Other
Before encouraging your female parrot to mate with the new male, you should start by keeping them separate for a while. After setting up your breeding café, you can take the female into the breeding cage and leave it alone for about three days before introducing the male.
Monitor them together for a few hours and see how they react to each other. If they don’t get along and the female starts attacking the male, you may have to separate them and try the introduction process again.
Remember, the key to a successful breeding phase is the introduction phase. So when introducing your parrots to each other, you can start doing it in a neutral room while monitoring them for signs of stress. At first, you should keep the initial introduction periods short and increase the duration of time once they get comfortable with each other. (source)
Please ensure they get along before the breeding phase starts, so you can get the male parrot a few weeks before it starts. But if you already have a male parrot, you can start while they’re young.
- Confirm If The Breeding Season Has Started
When it starts getting warm in spring, you should monitor your sun conure for signs of mating. The males love dancing with the females with fluffed feathers to make them seem bigger and attractive.
If your pets don’t seem to behave like themselves, the breeding season has started, and it’s time to prepare your birds for mating. During the breeding season, you should try as much as possible to leave them alone so that their instincts and hormones can guide them.
- Take Care Of The Eggs
After the females lay fertilized eggs, you can monitor them and confirm if they are ready to take care of their eggs. Fortunately, most parrots will want to take care of the eggs in the nesting box and incubate them, but you should monitor them.
Some birds may break their eggs because of:
- Lack of enrichment
- Inadequate nests
If you notice that the parrot has abandoned or rejected her eggs or is unwell, you may have to use your incubator. After they have hatched, you can use the breeder or let the mother take care of her chicks.
Common Breeding Problems
Unfortunately, several health issues can make it impossible or challenging for parrots to lay eggs. Some of the biggest problems associated with breeding are:
If your pet didn’t get enough calcium during the breeding period, then she has a high likelihood of getting this condition. Egg binding is a harmful experience characterized by the female failing to expel the egg from her body. If detected earlier, you can treat it, but if left untreated, it can become catastrophic. (source)
The leading causes of the problem include:
- Old age
- Calcium deficiency
- Improper laying conditions
- Lack of selenium, vitamin D, and E
Therefore, when the eggs are developing, you should give your parrot more than enough vitamins and calcium to help with egg development. You may also have to provide vitamins and supplements to ensure that it has more than enough stored up. After all, without calcium, the eggs may be soft and collapse when laid.
The impacted oviduct is a dangerous condition that affects the oviduct. The albumen impacts the oviduct, excess mucus, and soft-shelled or malformed eggs. Some of the common signs of impacted oviduct include:
- Distended abdomen
- Egg production stops
If your parrot experiences an impacted oviduct, you should immediately take it to the vet for surgery.
Breeding your sun conure parrots can be one of the most exciting things you have ever done; some parrot owners claim it’s pretty challenging. Teaching your parrot some new tricks is more accessible, but this is one of the best ways to increase your flock, especially if you want to preserve a particular trait within your flock. And with the above guide, you can quickly breed these parrots and learn a few things.
- Donald Brightsmith, Cooperative Breeding in Parrots and Introduction to the Column Wild Science, http://vetmed.tamu.edu/macawproject/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2019/03/cooperative_breeding_in_parrots_1999_oct.pdf/ Accessed June 13, 2022
- YouTube Contributor, Mating Behaviors in Parrots, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnoUWc8hJiY&t=72s/ Accessed June 13, 2022
- Indranil Samanta, Pet Bird Diseases and Care, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=MEA2DgAAQBAJ&pg=PA215&dq=repeated+laying+of+eggs+condition+parrot&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiBx-zK66z4AhUDtYsKHXrAB4IQ6AF6BAgEEAI#v=onepage&q=repeated%20laying%20of%20eggs%20condition%20parrot&f=false/ Accessed June 13, 2022
- Pippa Elliott, How to Introduce Two Birds to Each Other, Accessed June 13, 2022
- W. J. Rosskopf et al., Egg Binding in Caged and Aviary Birds, Accessed June 13, 2022