The Costs Of Owning A Sun Conure Parrot

  • Time to read: 9 min.

Sun conures (Aratinga solstitialis) are parrot birds known for their beauty and intelligence. Jandaya parakeets (Aratinga jandaya) and Golden-capped parakeets (Aratinga auricapillus) are taxonomically included in the group. They are bright-orange plumage on the forehead and abdomen. (source

These birds originated in northern and central-eastern South America. Naturally, they inhabited dry areas, settled in either pairs or groups sizing from 3 to 15 individuals, and primarily fed on fruits and seeds. (source

Conure Parrots are exotic pets. The legal distribution of these pets is usually from aviaries or breeders and the cost to purchase is typically between $750 and $1200 in the USA. 

Are Sun Conures High Maintenance?

Sun conures are expensive and tagged as high maintenance. The cost of buying one is often more than USD 350, and maintaining them would cost more due to the following factors: diet, toys, cage maintenance, training, and healthcare maintenance.   

How Much Is A Sun Conure Parrot

Is A Sun Conure A Good Pet?

Sun conure makes excellent pets as they are long-lived when well cared for and overly affectionate when you train correctly. They may exhibit territorialism and jealousy, but these behavior issues tend not to happen when provided with enough attention. 

Cost And Considerations Before Owning A Sun Conure 

During the 1980s, when sun conures were first being imported, prices were approximately USD 2,400 per pair. There is a wide price range for sun conures wherein the lowest can cost up to USD 350, and the highest may cost up to USD 1,800. The colorful Golden-capped parakeets usually have the highest prices among the other parakeet groups. (source)

For example, you may view the selling price and corresponding attributes of a sun conure in BirdsNow.

Pricing Of A Sun Conure

Sun conures have different prices depending on the following factors:

  • Source of breeders or aviaries
  • Age (e.g., juvenile and adults)
  • Vaccination (i.e., against Polyomavirus)
  • DNA test (i.e., gender determination)
  • Hand-raised (i.e., well acquainted with humans)
  • Color patterns
  • Tamed and sweet personalities (i.e., able to perform tricks and obey new owners) 

Choosing A Healthy Sun Conure

There are precautions when a relatively cheap sun conure is sold. As sun conures are expensive exotic birds, several may still be sourced from the wild and may illegally be sold. This method of illegal distribution from smugglers is still prevalent due to the inexpensive costs of sourcing exotic birds from the wild versus captive-breeding methods. (source)

Additionally, smuggled exotic birds are prone to injury and compromised health. Some have died while in transit. Hence, it is best to buy exotic bird pets from aviaries and captive breeders. This act, to some degree, also helps conserve exotic wild birds. (source)

Ensuring a sun conure’s health is essential before buying. 

Features Of A Healthy Sun Conure

  • Strong voice
  • Clear eyes
  • Clean vents
  • Clean feathers
  • Clean toes
  • Active and alert

(source)

However, if one can acquire sun conure (e.g., bought from a non-breeder/aviary or adopted), ensure first to have this checked with an avian veterinarian. It is to assure whether the acquired bird is healthy or you must address other health necessities (e.g., vaccination). (source)

Breeding Sun Conures

When buying a pair of sun conures for breeding, it is best and safe to choose a young pair and observe them grow into maturity. There are instances where prolific proven pairs for breeding are advertised and sold. However, this was not the case when bought and later tried for breeding. Hence, it would be best to take caution when choosing a pair. (source)

Additionally, it is imperative to check the aviary or breeder set-up to grasp the necessities in maintaining a sun conure for breeding. Ask questions and take notes from aviculturists or breeders who have more experience handling sun conures and other bird pets, mostly for years or decades. 

It is best (i.e., if an option is available) to have a parent-raised male paired with a hand-raised female. Additionally, choose pairs with prolific backgrounds of parents and grandparents as the traits (i.e., attractive physical appearances) are passed down to next-generation progenies. (source)

Adoption As An Alternative 

Sun conures have a long life span of up to 30-40 years. However, they can have behavioral issues if not given enough attention (e.g., producing unpleasant noise and territorialism). Hence, some owners are ill-prepared to provide enough time and effort in handling sun conures. Consequently, these birds end up in rescue shelters. (source) (source)

Adopting a sun conure is generally cheaper than buying one. Prices range from USD 175 to USD 350 in BirdsNow. Rescue shelters may also give valuable accessories such as toys, food bowls, portable cages, etc., to better accommodate the adopted bird in a new home and owner. 

However, prices also vary from rescue shelters due to the different status (e.g., juvenile or adult, hand-raised, parent-raised, etc.) the birds are in and maintenance expenses (e.g., feeds, utilities, cage cleaning, etc.). 

Nevertheless, adopting a sun conure is an excellent alternative option to buying one. Rescue shelters promote this practice due to the need for rescued pets to find their suitable companion and forever home. Adoption ensures the pets’ happiness and welfare, especially from an owner, rather than aging in a shelter with limited attention. (source)

Living Expenses 

sun conure in the nest

After having sun conure/s, whether purchased or adopted, living expenses will not be cheap. These birds regularly need care and attention, and they are high maintenance. 

The daily needs of a sun conure would cover their training, diet, cage maintenance, toys, and hygiene. Additionally, a conure often prefers undivided attention from the owner. They tend to be overly affectionate, and there are instances of jealousy in certain house situations (e.g., when the owner gives more attention to other pets or other activities). (source

Training

Training bird pets would induce good behavior and stimulus. As for sun conures, training would help avoid several behavioral issues such as screaming, territorialism, and jealousy. (source) (source)

Training a sun conure would take up time and effort. It is imperative to provide three daily training sessions with an average of 5-20 minutes each session. Teaching it several tricks (e.g., step up, step down, go back in the cage, step onto new people, and recall) would keep it entertained and serve as an exercise. (source)

Provide Positive Reinforcements

You must provide positive reinforcement (e.g., food treat, head-scratch, toy, or attention) every time a sun conure pet perform/s requested behavioral trick/s. It would ensure good behavior in the long term. However, there are instances when it may stop performing tricks. It is necessary to retrain the pet patiently with consistent positive reinforcement. (source)

An option would be to purchase a pre-trained or house-trained sun conure. It would no longer require the owner of daily training sessions from the pet except when it reverts to bad behavior. Yet, it would help if you always gave positive reinforcement. House-trained conures cost range from USD 450 to USD 3,000 in BirdsNow

Another option is to have scheduled behavior training sessions in an avian health clinic. Behavior/training services offered could cost USD 35 per session in Avian Health Sevices

Diet

Sun conures have a wide range of food preferences (i.e., varieties of fruits and vegetables) in the wild. However, it can break down the diet of sun conures as pets or in captivity into three main parts, namely: 

Dry Seeds

  1. Parakeet
  2. Safflower
  3. Sunflower

Vegetables (i.e., Raw And Uncooked)

  1. Beans
  2. Rice
  3. Collard greens
  4. Brussel sprouts
  5. Swiss chard 
  6. Broccoli
  7. Squash
  8. Carrots

Fruits

  1. Tangerine
  2. Apple
  3. Pomegranate

(source) (source)

Additionally, you can add food pellets daily, and you may also provide multivitamins (i.e., twice a week only) onto the diet mix of dry seeds, vegetables, and fruits. (source)  

Cage

Sun conures are tropical birds, and it is vital to place cages in a warm environment. These birds could not stand the long duration of the cold climate. Hence, cage placement (e.g., outdoor versus indoor) at home must be considered, especially if there is a winter season. (source)

Cages would serve as the resting places for sun conures when they need sleep or when stressed. Several accessories within cages would keep them entertained, especially when left at home. Cages should have necessities for their daily needs, such as:

  • Natural wood perches
  • Food bowls 
  • Potty containers 
  • Bathe containers 
  • Toys 

(source)

Cage types may vary depending on the need. For example, there are portable cages suitable for carrying bird pets for transport. There are stacked cages for more than one pair of sun conures. Lastly, large cages are best suited for the outdoors and groups of birds. 

Hygiene

Food bowls, bathing containers, and potty containers must be cleaned daily, soaked in disinfectant, and washed to remove the disinfectant. It is to ensure good hygiene and avoid potential disease problems. (source)   

Healthcare

Another significant factor to consider is the availability and close communication with a qualified avian veterinarian. This type of veterinarian specializes in taking care of birds and is different from a general veterinarian practitioner. 

The majority of veterinarians are inexperienced in handling exotic birds. There are instances when one may end up with an expensive bill and no bird to show for it. Birds hide their illnesses, so other birds do not pick on them. It may be possible to notice something is wrong; however, it may already be too late. (source)

The following sections are the estimated expenses covering the overall healthcare maintenance of bird pets. Prices tend to vary depending on the area and availability of experts. 

Annual Check-Ups 

A sun conure may only need to visit once or a few times a year. Check-ups usually include lab work for grooming, blood sampling, and radiographs. The cost for this would range from USD 50 to 150. However, consultation may cost more due to the complexity of a case. 

Vaccinations

Sun conure is prone to the avian polyomavirus (APV). Annual vaccination should be for this; two necessary doses could cost USD 40 to 60 per dose. 

Beak Care

Trimming the beak of a sun conure may be necessary as it grows continuously. It could cost from USD 10 to 50. 

Parasite Treatments

Birds can host a wide range of parasites. The bird has to be checked annually for parasites to ensure their health. Costs could range from USD 60 to 150. 

Emergencies

Unforeseen events can happen at any time on any pet. Setting aside funds for pets in case of health emergencies is safe. It is best to allocate USD 100 to 500.  

Medications Of Prevalent Conditions

Sun conures are prone to diseases, and there are prescribed medications for them to take during recovery or disease management. Depending on the case, the cost could range from USD 0 to 150. 

Insurance

There are pet insurance companies that now cover bird pets. It is useful, especially when a pet visits the clinic. Costs range from USD 600 to 1,200. 

Summary

Overall, owning a sun conure is expensive due to the estimated costs of buying and maintaining one. Adopting can lessen the cost of owning a sun conure. However, the living expenses are still high due to the daily necessities of a conure such as its training, diet, cage and maintenance, hygiene, and healthcare. 

Nevertheless, a sun conure is an excellent pet due to its playful and intelligent nature. If trained, well-behaved, and ensured good welfare, the bond between owner and pet would prove very valuable and fulfilling. 

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