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Old 01-17-2014, 07:14 PM
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Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

Hey, everybody. I started this thread in the Caiques forum and decided to cross-post here to get the green cheek conure side of the story as well! Have fun!! (If you have other birds you want to recommend, compare or talk about as well, please go ahead!!)

I'm doing a lot of bird comparisons at the moment, because I'm in the market for one. I'll try to be brief.

My living situation:
- small apartment; don't currently have a lot of neighbors. Live with very long-term boyfriend.
- we have space for a cage. I think with a bit of rearrangement we could fit a pretty darn big one in here, but that would be something we'd have to talk about.
- work ~8 hours a day. May vary a little because I'm a grad student and my schedule varies by day and semester. Other than work, we spend quite a bit of time at home watching movies, videogaming, and just hanging out.

My preferences for a bird (I know from experience how much individuals can vary! My cockatiel was a slapstick, cuddly, curious goofball and my sister's was an attention-loving little Godzilla with a kind of huffy attitude):
- CUDDLINESS. I love birds that nuzzle and roll on their backs and love to be touched. This varies a lot by individual, I know, but I am definitely going to give huge preference to species that tend toward being very hands-on and cuddly.
- Boldness/outgoing personality. My experience with tiels was that they are sweet and mellow but not always the most brave and outgoing with new things and people. I can deal with mischief; I would like a pet that will be more willing to check out new things and new people. I also have to consider that we won't likely stay in this apartment forever, so a bird that can handle new stuff and change may do better.
- Playfulness. I know a ton of people who like mellow and contemplative birds. I can definitely understand the appeal. Maybe it's just my personality, but I find energetic, bouncing, bobbing, toy-thrashing little guys more appealing.

Things that may all be important given my living situation:
- typical noise level
- ability to entertain itself while we work full-time away from home; I have high hopes for training, socialization, and just... general attention when I'm around. But there's no escaping that we'll be gone about 8 hours a day. I know that's not ideal for any parrot, but I don't want to bring home one that is especially prone to health and behavioral problems that could be caused by alone time.

Right now I've been leaning toward green cheek conures, and I've found them really cute and appealing for years. But they seem to get mixed reviews from people. Some people seem to ADORE them and others find them nippy, difficult, moody, erratic, just harder to deal with.

Caiques are very appealing to me as well, because so many people seem to say that they're good with new people, playful, and bold. I also like the moderate size of them (bit easier for harness and flight training, too) and the ridiculously cute solid, stocky way they're built. Oh, and the noises overall seem less irritating, though from what I understand, the volume can be awful? I also worry more about a high-energy caique being unhappy with my living situation. But they're really winning me over and making the decision trickier.

I've looked into Pois, which seem charming but just don't have the same outgoing friendly energy to them. I've also investigated Hahn's macaws, pionus, and eclectus parrots.

I'm planning on getting in touch with a local breeder who has green cheeks, both types of caiques (at nice prices - 500 for a black headed?!), Senegals, and Hahn's as well as many other parrots. I'm also hoping to get up to a bird fair later this month and chat with people who have more experience, maybe get to handle some birds. I'm keeping a very open mind as of now. Who knows what might seem right to me in person? That's why I'm trying to find ways to really meet and interact with some more birds.

But I'd love to hear more from people who own these birds, particularly caiques and green cheeks. I'm trying to get a little comparison and contrasting going to figure out what is my preference as well as what will fit best into my life.

Thanks!!
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:36 PM
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Re: Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

I also ADORE my GCC! And he is also the qualities you described and more...nippy, difficult, moody, and erratic. These are just a few. But he is also the sweetest, cuddliest bird I've ever had in my life next to a cockatoo. He is pure hyper energy, but that suits me fine as I am very active and passionate about birds. He is a rescue, 4 going on 5. He needs constant attention and monitoring.
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:57 PM
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Re: Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

(GOSH, my posts are long; I'm SO SORRY).Yep, most of the birds I prefer seem to be moody, hyper, but mostly friendly things. They're just so irresistible! I feel relatively prepared for some intense training both for the bird and myself in order to be equipped to handle tricky things like that.

I am a little curious what you mean by erratic, though - I've heard that word to describe GCCs before.

The impression I'm getting in general is that caiques are similar to greencheeks but with everything being more extreme. Bigger, potentially louder (?), even MORE hyper somehow, moodier... but maybe less prone to biting?

I guess some things that have come to mind (and I know these can depend a LOT on the individual bird... I'm talking tendencies for the species here) would be:
- Which has a great tendency to be cuddly in a hands-on/snuggly/burrowing and wanting to be held way? I've seen videos of BOTH species being incredibly cuddly and from what I've read, both can be, but I'm wondering how the affection differs between them
- Noise level! I'm having a hard time ironing this one out. I guess it varies a lot with both birds? I've heard people say their GCCs are super quiet, but others say they're super screechy. Same with caiques - some say they are quiet but for the occasional calling and beeping, but others say they are like little fire alarms.
- Need for attention - We work full time. I've found owners of both species that have perfectly healthy and happy birds working full time. But I get this inkling that maybe a caique is more likely to suffer behavioral problems from being left alone? Or do they tend to do better since they're so crazy and eager to go at their toys?
- TENDENCY TO BE GOOD WITH OTHER PEOPLE. I'd LOVE to hear from GCC owners on this: do they like other people? Just you? Just you and your family? Will they step up for anyone? Tolerate them? Or do they actually enjoy scratches and attention from people they don't know as well? I hear all the time that caiques are generally great with new people so long as they get some socialization. But I know that parrots in general can be... well, not so good with that.

I guess I'm concerned with just general behaviors and difficulties. It's a little tricky because I'm kind of stuck on my decision and starting to fear I'll choose one and then wish I'd gotten the other, either because the problems are severe or because I just start to think the other would be nicer to have. (I guess there's always the option of getting a second bird in the future, haha).

But I'm basically trying to help find things that could help tilt the scales for me, so to speak. Right now, it feels like either COULD work. But looking at pros and cons...

GCC - smaller (less food, can use smaller cage happily), potentially less "risky".
Caique - larger (easier to get into a harness, and I just think the larger size is nice), but needs larger cage, probably will go through more toys, potentially noisier?, possibly more risky in terms of costs, noise, behavioral problems... but also potentially better in terms of harness training, tricks, general behavior (DAT HOPPING AND SURFING), and socialness?

If I get a GCC because it feels "safer" or because it's cheaper, I know I won't be disappointed, per se. But I wonder if I'll eventually sit wondering what the caique could have been like...
On the contrary, if I get a caique, I worry I'll feel I'm biting off more than I can chew.

Thanks again, everybody, for reading my walls o' text and participating!! It's a big decision and I'm probably overanalyzing things a bit. But 20-30 years is a long time to have an animal. Gotta choose carefully.

We're visiting a breeder on Monday. They currently have baby greencheeks. And then we're attending a bird fair next weekend. I don't know if I'll have much of a chance to interact with caiques. We'll see. Maybe another bird will just seem perfect, anyway. I'm kind of hoping I'll get to meet some birds and "just know" what would be best... but knowing me, I might just get more stuck, haha.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:11 PM
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Re: Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

Choosing the right companion bird is like falling in love, it just happens...they choose you. Breed makes no difference, each individual bird is vastly different. There are no guarantees. Just count on this...you WILL get bit, there WILL be noise, there WILL be crazy hormonal behavior. There WILL be vet bills. As long as you're fine with all that, you're ready.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:36 PM
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Re: Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

Quote: Originally Posted by Kalidasa View Post
Just count on this...you WILL get bit, there WILL be noise, there WILL be crazy hormonal behavior. There WILL be vet bills. As long as you're fine with all that, you're ready.
Oh, yeah. That's a guarantee. xP I'm mentally steeling myself for that. Biting and generally craziness is something I'm pretty much just counting on. And I've experienced the expensive vet stuff before with my cockatiel - I certainly hope not to have problems that severe for a while, but my bank accounts have steeled themselves as well.

Thank you, though. Really. Ultimately, I guess I need to worry less about what will be easiest, since I think either bird I'm looking toward will work alright, and just go with what feels right. <3
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:57 PM
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Re: Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

My GCC is everything you describe. Cuddly, playful, and makes me laugh out loud every day. He can be nippy, but hasn't drawn blood "yet" and is pretty darn quiet. He loves to sing and chirp and mutter, but is no louder than the TV....
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Old 01-18-2014, 04:15 AM
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Re: Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

My green cheek used to be very loud, but since I ignored the screaming, she is silent now.

She used to be only bonded to me, but a few months ago I got her used to various people by making her step up onto their hand then rewarding her with a sunflower seed, then taking her back to me and now she will happily step up to anyone and sit on their shoulder.

She doesn't like to be touched very much except sometimes head scratches, but she will sit on my shoulder all day and preen me and she often falls asleep there.

She's amazing at talking and is even better than my African Grey. She also does lots of tricks, she is very smart and I am currently harness training her. She will also lay on her back on my hand.

She is a great bird now but she used to be horrible, I got her at a young age from a really bad backyard breeder who hit her when she bit them. They said she was hand reared but I always thought she seemed like a parent reared bird because she used to bite everyone and draw blood. The constant biting went on for about over two years(she's three now) and then I clipped her wings, ignored the bites and started clicker training and target training and changed her diet to Harrison's pellets and she never bites now and she is not nippy like most green cheeks.

I let her out for at least 2 hours a day, but she is normally fine by herself but she definitely doesn't like being alone and she also does get jealous easily and will chew her feathers in front of you if she sees you with another bird.

So yeah, sorry for the long post but I hope this helps you.

Last edited by Frumpydumple; 01-18-2014 at 04:18 AM.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:47 PM
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Re: Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

Thanks for all the thoughts so far, everyone!! Such a hard decision! Hopefully it'll be one of those "know it when you see it" situations and my doubt will fly out the window when I find the bird for me. :P

Any more thoughts are much appreciated. <3
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:12 PM
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Re: Conures and Caiques [x-post from caiques]

My green cheek is the most affectionate pet I've ever had, by far. He always wants to be with me, involved in everything, very playful and definitely mischievous, and he's never met a person he hasn't liked. He isn't nippy at all, except for when I touch certain toys that he's territorial over, but even then he doesn't nip hard. He does this weird "I'm gonna mouth at you and growl but then end up rubbing my cheek on your finger and being loveydovey" thing. He's never actually bitten and/or drawn blood.
He's only loud when he isn't getting attention and he thinks he should be, ie when I leave the room he calls for me, or if I sleep in he starts calling to wake me up. I'm told he's silent when I'm not home though, and its like there's no bird here at all.
He's pretty bold overall but certain things are evil bird-snatchers. Anything white except for toilet paper and tissues, for example. Especially socks and especially buckets. And brooms/mops are in cahoots with the buckets and cannot be trusted. And the Perfect Polly toy parakeet? Obviously an evil spy of some sort, extreme caution must be exercised. :P

Overall, I'd say spend some time with birds of both species if possible and see which you're more drawn to and vice versa. Since every bird is an individual, its important to know what your bird is going to be like. But with that said, they can also act very different once you get them home. If you let the bird choose you, the decision can be much easier. Otherwise, I never would've been able to choose between four little green cheek babies!
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