One of the greatest handicaps to breeding these parskeets successfully in the past was the difficulty in distinguishing a true pair. Two conures of the same sex can behave essentially like breeding birds, and two hens kept together may lay and incubate their eggs. The only proof of a true pair is the presence of fertile eggs in the nestbox.

Breeding Condition
While it is often assumed that recently imported conures will take time to settle in their surroundings, and are thus unlikely to breed during their first year, this is not necessarily the case, especially if the birds themselves are in good condition. When transferred to their new quarters and supplied with a nestbox, you may find that they start to breed quite quickly in some instances.

Irrespective of their breeding habits in the wild, conures will quite readily accept an artificial nesting site, and a nestbox should always be provided. Most conures prefer to roost in a nestbox, rather than on the perch. This behavior is to be encouraged, especially during cold weather.

The actual dimensions of the nestbox required will vary depending upon the species concerned. It appears that relatively compact boxes are favored in most instances. For Pyrrhura conures and the smaller Aratinga species, a nestbox with internal dimensions 20 cm (8 in) square and 25 cm (10 in) deep should suffice. Larger conures will need a floor area of about 30 cm (12 in) square, with the box being also of similar height.

Egg-binding
You can look into the box when the hen is off the nest, but do not disturb a sitting hen unnecessarily. The eggs of conures, like those of other parrots, are white in color. The first egg of a clutch may have a slight trace of dried blood over part of the surface, but this is no cause for concern. Do watch for the hen coming out of the nestbox, being unsteady on her feet and soon losing her balance, at a time when you are expecting her to lay. These are typical signs of egg binding, when the hen is unable to void the egg from her body. Young hens laying during cold weather are probably more at risk. Although it is not a common problem, egg binding is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment, as later detailed.

Artificial Incubation
In the confines of an incubator it is possible to increase the rate of water loss towards the end of the incubation period if necessary, ensuring that the air space is formed correctly. Indeed, much has been learnt about the artificial hatching of conures, as well as other parrot eggs, during recent years. A number of commercial breeders frequently remove the first clutch of eggs to an incubator (especially those of rare species, such as the Golden Conure), and then rear the resulting chicks by hand.

It appears that providing the eggs are removed within about a fortnight of being laid, the hen will rapidly lay a second clutch. This technique, known as double clutching, takes advantage of what occurs in the wild when a hen loses a clutch of eggs soon after they have been laid. In effect, it can double their reproductive capacity, and provided that the second clutch is not removed, this method of husbandry appears to have no adverse effects on the hen or her partner.

The artificial incubation and subsequent hand-rearing of conure chicks is certainly a demanding undertaking, and should only be contemplated if you have a considerable amount of spare time which extends for weeks. The equipment required can prove expensive, so it is really an occupation for the specialist, and only a brief introduction to the subject can be given here.

There are different types of incubators, and it will be best to obtain a forced-air model, which is relatively straightforward to operate. The eggs will need to be turned several times each day throughout the incubation period, and this can be facilitated by having an automatic turning device incorporated into the incubator. You will also need a reliable thermometer, to measure the temperature, plus a hygrometer, which will give you a humidity reading. A figure around 50% relative humidity is usually adequate, certainly through to the end of the incubation period.

 


Read More About Conures :

Common Types of Conures
How to Train Your Conure
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
Feeding Your Conures with a Balanced Diet