Breeding the Blue-crowned Conure (Aratinga acuticaudata)


0 ver the years I am often approached by people who have non-breeding pairs of Blue-crowned Conures who ask me what I do to be so successful with mine. Hopefully some parts of this article will help others to have some measure of success trying to breed theirs.

I was given the opportunity to purchase my first "pair" of Blue-crowned Conures approximately 13 years ago and I have had a love affair with them ever since. Since starting out with this "pair: of conures I have established two rules that I absolutely never deviate from.

Rule# 1

Re-sex each and every bird unless you have written proof or have physically seen these birds with babies or you are purchasing them from someone you absolutely trust. (Even then you may want to re-sex them.)

This actually is my golden rule. As


happens frequently with new aviculturists starting, out the original pair turned out to be two egg-laying hens. (I would kill for that now')

While at the vets having these two sexed, I managed to purchase a male that was tattooed under both wings. He was sold as a surgically sexed female. Luckily for me, he was a male. I took him home and set him up with one of the females. As I said before:

"When in doubt - re-sex each and every bird."

Rule# 2

Watch, observe, and learn all you can about each and every bird that you own. What subspecies are they' Are the same subspecies set up together? Is the pair truly compatible? Is one aggressive to the other? If there is aggression is it to the point of possibly killing its mate? If they haven't laid are they a young pair? Will they allow each other to eat - or does one devour all the food? Who incubates the eggs? Do they break the eggs? If they break them which bird does and why? Do they kill the babies? If so which bird and why?

By watching, observing, learning and interfering only when necessary, one should have success with breeding Blue-crowned Conures.

Let me take some of the observations one at a time. I have not had luck with domestically raised Blue-crowneds producing before the age of 3-3 1/2 years. I generally give them a nest box at approximately the age of 2 1/2 years so that they can get used to seeing it and possibly start working it or sleeping


in it at night. This seems to work fine for them.

I have a truly compatible pair that eat at the same time, sometimes even sharing the same piece of food, sharing the incubation of the eggs and taking turns feeding the young. Basically, they are doing everything together. This is the ideal pair and unfortunately not every pair falls into this category.

If I observe one mate being overly aggressive to the other I split them up and re-pair them with others that they might be more compatible with.

There is nothing worse than inspecting your aviary and finding a bird that is seriously wounded, maimed, or even dead, the result of mate aggression. By observing the pair I can tell the differ - ence between what is aggression and just beak playing.

If a pair is compatible but seem to be breaking eggs or, worse yet, maiming or killing babies, try to observe them to see what the problems are. If something is as obvious as toenails being too long, catch the birds up and trim toenails. Are they not getting enough protein and/or calcium in their diet? Try boiling eggs and cooking chicken wings, then mash them up together and add this to their diet.

Does the offender not really want to have young with that particular mate? Try re-pairing them. Is another pair bothering and threatening them by their proximity? Move the offending pair or provide a blind of sorts for separation. If a pair will not incubate their eggs for any reason, re-pair them.

I, personally, do not incubate eggs.

This is not to say this is not right, I just don't do it. I will not own a pair of birds that will not incubate or feed their young. Try observing and doing whatever is necessary to develop compatible pairs.