Diet plays an important role in maintaining the general health of any being and this holds for the pet birds too. And when it comes to a sun conure, it becomes all the more important to feed him a wide range of food which can restore his lost energy in all day long’s constant chatter. Many owners fail to provide adequate nutrition to their sun conures, simply because they don’t know what is good for their bird.
Sun Conure’s diet in wild
To understand the dietary needs of a pet sun conure, it is imperative to understand what they are naturally inclined to eat. Sun conures are parrots native to the north-eastern region of South America. They generally inhabit the tropical forests. Coastal forest and dry savannah woodlands are their next preferred habitat.
And here, they feed on palm groves and all types of fruiting trees. They feed on fruits of all kinds like berries, apples, pears, and grapes, to name a few. With vegetation, they select blossoms, flowers, buds, seeds, and nuts to fill themselves up. They also migrate to the forests that are flooded with the vegetation and fruits seasonally.
When they are around human settlements, they are notorious to raid a farmer’s crop and hence, are termed as pests sometimes. Agricultural produce is also on their food list. Additionally, in the wild, sun conures also feed on small insects and their larvae as for being naturally omnivores.
While searching for food in the wild, sun conures use their feet just like humans use their hands. They hold a food item, examine it and eat it, all with the help of their little feet adept at the task.
Sun Conure’s diet in captivity
A sun conure, whether kept in the zoo or at home, should be fed only after understanding his basic dietary requirements. A balanced diet that includes everything he is naturally inclined to eat in the wild is the only key to his good health.
Adult Sun Conure Daily Diet
These should form only a small part of a pet sun conure’s diet. Though there are various seed-mix that are easily available in the market formulated keeping sun conures in mind, one can also make a seed-mix at home. Sunflower seeds and peanuts are their favorite seeds. But making them eat just one or two varieties could make a bird very choosy. Alternate various seeds in the seed-mix by adding seasonal seeds also.
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Pellets are to sun conure what baby food is to the infant. They have all the nutrients that should be present typically in a sun conure’s healthy diet. They should ideally be 65-80% of a sun conure’s daily diet. Many brands have specially formulated pellets for conures in varied colors, shapes, and sizes to encourage the bird to feed on them.
Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables should form 15-30% of a sun conure’s daily diet. Carrots, yams, peas, broccoli, green beans, corn, and kale are great options. Sprouts are also quite nutritious. Wash them thoroughly with water to wash off any chemicals and chop them into pieces that are easy for the bird to eat. Keep experimenting with the mix and do not let the bird develop liking to just one or two vegetables. If he does so, stop feeding the specific ones for a few days to make him used to eat other ones too.
Fruits shall be about 5% of his diet and should include variety like apples, grapes, mangoes, pears, bananas, berries, and pomegranates. Don’t forget to take the seeds out from the apples. They can be offered with or without the peel.
Anything uneaten by the bird in the food bowl should be discarded and shouldn’t be fed to him again as germs might have contaminated the food. Food dishes should be washed daily.
Nuts should form a very small part of a sun conure’s diet. Walnuts and almonds are the two best options on this list. Make sure to offer the organic ones only.
Since sun conures are omnivores by nature, one can also offer eggs to them for meeting a bird’s protein needs. Offering a small amount of cooked egg along with his daily vegetable mix or pellets is a great way to introduce egg in his diet.
Fresh and clean drinking water is a must to keep the bird hydrated all the time. If the tap water is not fit enough for drinking, bottled water must be made available at all times in a bowl kept in his cage. Washing the bowl daily and filling it with fresh water is a must. Water should be chlorine-free and other such salts and impurities.
Any change in this balanced mix can have varied effects on the bird. For instance, they are quite vulnerable to being deficient in Vitamin A and Calcium. Hence, the owner should ensure that he does not miss out on these both. Similarly, if the seeds or nuts have more weight in his daily diet, he may easily become obese due to excess fat intake.
Just like any other pet, sun conures also love treats. And they see them as a different food altogether. To reward the bird in his training efforts, he is often pampered by the owners. And sun conures have their favorites too. Offer the nuts, live or dried insects ( if they like them). These are easily available in various pet shops. Pasta, multigrain bread, cooked rice, and lean meat are also loved by them. The treats should not include any refined sugars or sprinkled with spice-mix. Limit the food items with excess fatty acids to a minimum.
Baby Sun Conure Daily Diet
A baby conure diet is different from that of an adult sun conure. When very small, they just aren’t able to chew on those crunchy vegetables and hard-shelled nuts. So they aren’t usually fed what an adult conure is made to eat. All sun conures, when babies, are kept on a special diet. It is easily available in the market, at pet shops or online. It has all the right nutrients in a perfect mix, necessary for his balanced growth.
While feeding a baby conure, always be very careful and soft with the bird. Read the instructions properly on the diet mix package and follow the instructions while feeding for the bird’s convenience. Here is a video of how one can feed a baby sun conure.
Sun Conure Breeding Diet
When a female sun conure is in her breeding period, her dietary needs are different than usual. Now she needs something extra to lay eggs and give birth to offspring. Often, sun conures get deficient in calcium during their breeding stage as a lot of their body’s calcium gets used up in making multiple eggs. Hence, to cover that loss, it is necessary to immediately supply that calcium regularly. A cuttlebone can be a good source of calcium and should be put in Cage.
Also, a breeding sun conure would need an extra amount of protein for the young one. This can be provided by adding cooked eggs and biscuit mix to his usual diet.
Foods not to give to Sun Conure
Where all the nutritious foods are openly discussed by all the sun conure lovers, they forget to emphasize the importance of knowing what not to feed the bird. This food list is also equally important as if fed accidentally to the bird, it can be quite harmful to him. So, with all the do’s, the don’ts are equally important to remember what not to do.
A highly addictive and acidic food, chocolate is a drug for conure. Feeding even a small amount can replicate the symptoms of a drug overdose and can cause seizures, heart attack, liver damage, depression, and death.
Alcohol is harmful to humans, forget about a small being like a sun conure. A small dose of it can cause organ failure and sudden death.
The pit of the avocado is known to make the fruit toxic and its consumption has killed many small-sized parrots within 48 hours of its consumption.
Caffeine is a stimulant and conures are unable to take its sudden rush in the blood. Hyperactivity, heart attacks, and seizures are caused in them after its consumption.
Tomato leaves and stems are known to cause vomiting and diarrhea in parrots. However, the fruit can be fed.
Though spinach is healthy for the parrot but its frequent consumption can cause egg binding in the bird. Oxalic acid present in spinach is known to prevent the parrot’s body from taking up calcium.
No fungi like mushrooms should be fed to parrots as they all are toxic.
Dairy and its products aren’t digested well by the birds.
While feeding a sun conure, one should stick to a simple and basic diet. Nothing acidic or sugary should ever be fed. And when in doubt, consult the vet for the safety of the bird.
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