While seed contains the three major kinds of nutrients (oils, proteins and carbohydrates) it does not offer a balanced diet, especially in terms of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. These diverse compounds are only required in small amounts, yet are vital to the body's overall well-being. Various other foods can be offered to conures to correct the shortages caused by a diet of seed alone, including greens and fruit. It is important to ensure that all such items are essentially free from contamination, and in order to maintain a regular supply, many aviculturists cultivate greens for their birds. This need not occupy a large area of a vegetable garden. Conures generally prefer greens which they can nibble; for this reason spinach beet is very valuable, particularly as it grows quite well throughout the year, and can be picked during the winter when other foods are likely to be in short supply.

When choosing a variety, pick one of the strains of spinach beet with a low oxalic acid level. It is possible that an accumulation of this chemical within the body could have an adverse effect on the conure's calcium levels. This is more apparent in the breeding season, when calcium deficiency leads to an increased incidence of soft-shelled eggs.

Spinach beet is quite easy to grow, irrespective of soil conditions. The thick, fleshy stems will usually be eaten readily by all conures, even if the leaves themselves are actually discarded. It is always advisable to wash all such foods thoroughly before offering them to the birds, as they may have been contaminated by other animals in the garden.

Carrots, which are a valuable source of vitamin A, can prove more problematical to cultivate than spinach, but supplies are usually available from stores throughout the year. They should be either scrubbed or peeled, and then cut into small pieces for the conures. One of the attractive features of these birds is their eating habits. They tend to hold all food in their feet, sampling it first, and then they continue to eat unless disturbed, in which case, the food will be dropped to the floor.

You can offer your conures a wide choice of fruit. Sweet apple diced into pieces is invariably popular. Grapes can be offered whole. With a large collection of birds, you may decide to buy grapes in large quantity when supplies are cheap, freezing them for later use. Wash the fruit, taking care to preserve only the best quality grapes, allow them to drain dry, then spread the grapes evenly over a tray. After they have been frozen, tip the grapes into a clean, empty ice cream container, or similar vessel. This process ensures that when required, the grapes will not be stuck together, so you can remove whatever quantity you need at that time.

Pomegranates are another fruit that is very popular with most conures. They can be kept in good condition for a surprisingly long time if storage is possible in cool, dry surroundings. These fruits do tend to be rather seasonal however, and can become very expensive at other times of the year.

As a standby, you may like to offer soaked raisins occasionally, especially during the colder part of the year. Leave the required quantity in a bowl of water overnight, then rinse them off thoroughly in the morning. Their nutritional value, in terms of carbohydrate, is much better than that of the fruit itself; as an energy source therefore, they are more valuable at this time of year.

Other perishable foods are also appreciated by some conures. Those breeders who use bread and milk point to the fact that the birds are liable to be deficient in certain of the essential amino acid residues which form the various proteins. This is because some are not found in vegetable proteins. There is some evidence to suggest that birds lack the necessary enzymes to digest milk sugar (lactose). Milk could therefore give rise to diarrhea at the very least, although this is not really seen as a problem in conures. If you decide to offer bread and milk, it is best to dilute the milk with an equal quantity of water. Brown wholemeal bread is favored as the other ingredient of this mixture.

 

Read More About Conures :

Common Types of Conures
How to Train Your Conure
How to Breed Conure Parrots
How to Build a Nesting Box for Conures
How to Deal with Common Diseases of Conures
How to Feed Your Pet Conures
Characteristics of Conures
How to Choose Your First Conure Wisely
Expert Tips on Housing Conures