Keeping your Conure / Conure-sized Bird Healthy Through Good Nutrition
Other Related Web Resource: Conure Species Information
A conure's diet should consist of a small parrot mix (some are listed below), supplemented with various fruits, green foods, millet spray, and occasionally some mealworms is generally regarded as suitable.
- I would start with a good quality (if possible organic) dry food / seed mix. I would look for preferably "organic" or at least "all-natural" dry bird mixes. "Fortified diets" are not necessarily good as often inferior, artificial additives are used, which may have no health benefit at all or indeed may even be harmful. It is far better to buy unfortified mixes and add a good quality bird supplement instead.
Dr. Harvey's Bird Food Mixes or Lafeber are convenient options that lack many of the harmful additives that are commonly found in commercial mixes and have a great variety of quality ingredients (including dried fruits, veggies, herbs / greens and even superfoods, such as bee pollen!) - in short: myriad nourishing ingredients that are not found in other commercially available bird mixes. However, our biggest grievance with their products is that they use sulphurated dried produce (a process which also requires chemicals), but it is very difficult to find mixes with unsulphurated fruits and veggies. You could just buy the seeds, nuts and grain mix and buy human-grade unsulphurated dried produce / greens as well as bee pollen and mix them in. Even organic trail mixes (WITHOUT CHOCOLATE!) work great. With a little creativity you can put a mix together that offers superior nutrition without the chemicals typically found in commercial brands.
- An option: A high quality formulated diet. Vets often recommend Harrison's -- which is a good diet, but mostly available at vet's offices and as is the case with pellets in general, acceptance may be an issue.
- Because of the conure's susceptibility to Conure Bleeding Syndrome (CBS), it is recommended that a conure's diet should contain foods high in calcium and Vitamin K, including dark leafy greens and vegetables (i.e., kale, broccoli), carrot tops, alfalfa, tomatoes, egg yolk, soy oil, and fish meal. Alternatively, a high-quality pelleted diet should be provided.
Vegetables and fruits should be part of a conure's daily diet.
This includes apples, grapes, many garden vegetables such as spinach, watercress, field lettuce, poppy, chickweed, dandelions, carrots, corn on the cob, peas, endives and sweet potatoes.
Convenient Sources of Fruits / Veggies:
- Baby Food: Human baby food with fruits and vegetables (i.e. Gerbers)
- Dry Fruits / Veggies: When fresh fruits and vegetables are not available, dehydrated fruits and vegetables work wonderfully. Many birds love their crunchiness, or they toss them into their water dish (creating a "soup" of some sorts) and then eat them once they are rehydrated. Be prepared to change the water more often throughout the day. Dried fruits and vegetables have the advantage that they don't go off. You could literally leave them in their cages for days (unless they get wet, of course). This surely comes in handy when traveling. Dried fruits and veggies also help convert "seed junkies" to a healthier diet. When you are at home, you can moisten the dried fruits and veggies with warm water to rehydrate them. Birds tend to LOVE warm fruits and veggies, maybe because it gives them flashbacks to the times when they were chicks and were fed warm regurgitated food by their bird parents.
- It is important to keep in mind that some companies add artificial coloring to their dried fruits and veggies to make them visually appealing.Only purchase naturally dried fruits without any sulfur dioxide, as this preservative is known to increase hyperactivity, aggressiveness, feather shredding or picking due to allergies.
- Sprouting is an excellent method (and most certainly one of the most cost-effective) of providing nutrient-dense (living) foods to birds. Even those that are less cooperative in eating their daily portions of fresh foods in many cases will enjoy eating sprouted seeds. Sprouting is easy -- this webpage has step-by-step instructions. You can also germinate the sprouting mix - rather than going through the process of sprouting, which may be somewhat intimidating initially. Germinated seeds offer their own unique sets of valuable nutrition and are quicker to obtain and less likely to spoil.
Additional proteins should be offered such as cottage cheese, hardboiled eggs and monkey chow.
Peanuts are also a valuable source of protein -- however, peanuts are often contaminated with aflatoxin, a fungal toxin. Aflatoxin is carcinogenic and causes liver damage in birds and other animals. Roasting reduces aflatoxin but does not eliminate it entirely. North American peanut producers are currently working on eliminating contaminated peanuts from their products. Caution is advised when feeding peanuts. Some bird owners, opting to be on the safe side, are eliminating peanuts from their pets' diet.
A cuttlebone, mineral block, gravel and oyster shell can be provided to provide the necessary calcium and minerals
Fresh water should be provided daily.
Caffeinated drinks, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, pits of most fruits, avocado ... More on "toxic foods"