Conures do not present any great difficulties in terms of their care and breeding. Similarly, they tend to be healthy, particularly once established in their surroundings. The correct diagnosis of diseases is difficult in many cases. If you are concerned about your bird's health, you should contact a veterinarian without delay. Diagnostic tests can then be carried out if necessary, and hopefully will assist the recovery of a sick bird.

Illness and Treatments
The signs of illness tend to be clearly apparent, even if the underlying cause is more obscure. A sick conure will appear dull and perch in one place, proving reluctant to move. Its appetite will decline rapidly, and the appearance of its droppings often becomes excessively greenish, loose and watery.

Bacterial ailments will often respond to antibiotic therapy, although in acute cases an injection may be required. Your veterinarian may also provide a powder for you to administer via the drinking water. Keep the conure warm, in a temperature about 32°C (90°F). This can be achieved by means of an infrared lamp suspended over its cage, with the temperature being measured by a thermometer. The warmth supplied should be gradually reduced once the conure appears to be recovering. Never transfer a bird which has been ill straight back to an outdoor aviary, especially during the winter. It may be necessary to keep the conure indoors until the following spring.

It is always sensible to take precautions against spreading disease to other stock; therefore sick conures should be kept in isolation. Wear gloves at all times when handling them, so you will not be bitten; as with all animals, some avian diseases can be transmitted to humans. The most notorious of these is psittacosis, now more accurately known as chlamydiosis. Imported stock entering the United States is routinely medicated in quarantine for this ailment, but subsequent infection is possible, since the treatment relies upon antibiotics, rather than vaccination, and the disease can be spread by wild birds.

Feather Plucking
While young conures plucked in the nest usually recover uneventfully, it is much harder to overcome the problem in older birds. Feather plucking frequently becomes habitual, and although there are sprays which can be used to deter such behavior, they are often of no real value. The causes of feather plucking appear to be varied, but pet birds living on their own are most at risk. Boredom can often be a major factor underlying this problem, so a review of the conure's environment and diet will be essential. Obtaining a bird of the opposite sex, introducing them carefully and providing nesting facilities, often leads to a cessation of feather plucking. If the conures are plucking themselves in an outdoor aviary, it is often more likely that a parasitic problem is responsible for this behavior. Red mite can easily become established in a nestbox, and will cause irritation, actually feeding on the conures' blood. This may cause the birds to pluck their feathers. Other mites and various lice can also be implicated, so that, as a precaution, regular treatment of the conures' nestbox is recommended, particularly at the onset of the breeding period, before the hen lays her eggs. Special aerosols are available from pet stores for this purpose, while other products can be obtained for washing a nestbox thoroughly. If used as directed, these will not be harmful to the conures.

Cutting the Claws
Occasionally, the conure's claws may become overgrown, or badly twisted. This will interfere with its ability to perch, and increases the likelihood of the bird becoming caught in its quarters, with potentially serious consequences.

It is not difficult to trim the claws, provided that you have a pair of claw clippers, or similar cutters available. Scissors tend to be unsatisfactory; rather than leading to a clean cut they may cause the claw to split.

Having caught the conure, you may prefer to have someone else actually hold the bird for you. It will be much easier to clip light-colored claws, since it is easier to locate the blood supply which extends for a certain distance down each claw as a red streak, beyond which the tissue is dead. Therefore cut a short distance farther down the claw beyond the red streak. This will cause the conure neither pain nor blood loss.

Hold the toe, so that you can cut accurately, without fear of causing injury. If there is a slight trace of blood afterwards, apply a styptic pencil to the cut end to prevent blood loss and encourage clotting. The risk of this occurrence is increased with dark-clawed birds, such as Maroon-bellied Conures, where it can be difficult to see the blood vessel. Always lean on the side of caution if in doubt.



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 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