Need help\advice. new Green cheeked Conure. 8 weeks old

Parham

New member
Oct 3, 2021
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Green Cheeked Conure
Hello everyone, I'm new here and and first time pet owner.

12 days ago I decided to get a GCC, I've been meaning to get a bird for about a year now but after barely surviving a very bad case of covid, I decided to do so as soon as I am healed and capable. I've been stalking birds ads for a while and found a GCC breeder very close to where I live so I ended up bringing Luca to my home, he was 6 weeks old when I got him, now almost 8 weeks.

Luca is very very sweet, he loves to cuddle and snuggle all day, loves tickles, enjoys perching on my shoulder and head, lays on his back on the palm of my hand for kisses, rubs his beak against my hands and face, demands endless head rubs and takes naps on my stomach. we bonded almost immediately. he learned to shower a few days ago in the sink with warm water and a proper sized plate used as a tub. he goes to sleep in his cage easily at sundown 6:15 pm and wakes up at sun up, 5:30 am (which is a bit early for me but I'm adjusting). I cover 2 sides of the cage (one side is one inch from wall) to avoid light from living room at night and so he gets enough light at sun up to find his bowls. in the morning I provide him fresh food and clean his cage, put new papers, refresh his water and bring fresh fruits.

when it's time to sleep and slowly getting dark he is absolutely fine getting in cage and settling in but during the day from sun up to sun down he does not want to be inside his cage. he paces from left to right relentlessly, jumps up and down from the cage wall and flock calls. I had to remove the metal bars on the bottom of the cage so he wouldn't hurt himself. now it's constant pacing on the papers. he gets much worse when I'm in the room, so I had to leave the room but his pacings and calls really stresses me out when I have to put him in cage. the room is fully bird proof but the rest of the apartment is not (no way out though), Luca is brave and curious but also reckless and can get into trouble if left unsupervised. so far he flew into a mirror (all covered now) and once the window, goes on top of cabinets and might get into trouble somehow somewhere. Don't get me wrong I do love spending time and playing with him, he spends most of his time on me and sometimes napping (he never naps in cage) but spending all day from sunrise to sundown is just not sustainable for me. whenever I pick up my phone he jumps on and bites it, the same for my computer mouse which I do need to use for work and life, but I find it impossible to do that with Luca battling my mouse. more importantly when I'm back to work in office he needs to be more independent, but I feel like he is becoming too dependent and overly attached to me. for example today he spent 9 hours outside the cage, mostly on me, sometimes flying around exploring the apartment and objects but I had to put him inside cage for about 3 hours for when I as cooking, eating showering which was all stressful with Luca pacing around none stop in cage and calling me. honestly I feel exhausted and overwhelmed a bit and deep down I'm kinda getting regrets even though I do love Luca. I haven't been able to get much done other than looking after him. what can I do to help him like his cage and to become a bit more independent? he is just a baby bird technically so will he get better with time or should this be something to be taught early on?

his cage info: there's only one bird shop in my area which is very small. I bought the biggest and a sturdy good quality cage he had available which is about (33*41*55) cm or (13*16*21) inches. it's not light weight but it is carriable and at least suited for his current age hopefully?? he had one cage bigger but it was garbage quality, cheap and tiny doors which was suited for multiple smaller birds. I did find some bigger cages online (50*50*135)cm with wheels underneeth and ladder plus food bowls on top but were a bit too pricey, specially if he is not planning to be inside :\ the bigger than that size cages had too much space between bars and were not suitable for GCCs but I could look more. his current cage is 60cm above ground on a table, one side a few cm from wall, he is close to a window but can only see the sky and a few branches. even when outside cage he shows not much interest to window and gets bored after a minute but there was a minute he was looking out so maybe bring his cage next to the window?? I have provided some toys, the small bird shop said he'll recieve a new shipment of bird stuff soon so I was waiting for that before starting to order stuff online but Luca currently has 2 different level perches (one is one of those which helps trim his nails and beak), one round wooden perch on same level of another, one perch on top of the cage but it is outside it, 2 food bowls and one water bottle, a slanted wooden chewy ladder, an upright colorful wooden chewy toy he can climb, a loopy chewy wooden hanging toy he can climb and go through, a mineral rock, a calcium rock and a sea floor rock. I'm waiting for the shop to get a swing and new stuff atm. he got used and bored of his toy pretty quick but I did get a rattly ball which he did not like at all! I waited a few days and let him see it around to adjust, when I tried to introduce the ball again he got scared, attacked it and bit my finger instead, Hard and wouldn't let go, it didn't break skin but left a mark for couple days. first biting incident but that ball is outta picture, at least for a while.

btw when I shared my issue with the bird store owner, he said put him in cage all day, ignore him and only bring him out once a day for an hour, I'm not sure I wanna do that to Luca :\ I'd be happy if he spent half a day in cage so I could get some work done? maybe the whole room and I close the door???

his food info: this is a bit of an issue for me due to not being sure on what I'm doing. Luca is still on the formula (Hagen Tropican Hand-Feeding Formula) which he is fed via a syringe and a tube at the end of it. he is not as dependent on it and I only give him about 20~30% what a full meal on formula would be to slowly adjust him on his real food. the breeder told me to provide 2 types of seeds (smaller and easier to eat) and fresh fruits. the bird shop sold me a full seed food (7 types) saying that's all he needs. I have provided all in separate bowls. he does prefer his full seed meal but eats very slow and plays with his food but he is learning. with fruits he only responded to apples and pearls (I will try other fruits and veggies later again), but he only peels the skin of the fruits ( I tried different sizes ) , chews them and spits it and ignore the main thing. also to my understanding based on a few searches Pellets are supposed to be their main food?? idk why they didn't suggest that. I did some searches online to find what types of pellets are available but not sure what to get. the best available online were the same brand as his hand feeding formula, Hagen Tropican Life time formula 2mm granules and Hagen Tropican high performance formula 2mm. there are some other cheaper brands too since Hagen is imported from Canada. and IDK what to use as treats but the bird shop gave me some Dried crunchy worms which Luca seems to love. I don't over feed him with that, maybe a single worm every other day for good behavior.

thanks for reading and bearing with me, I'd really appreciate your thoughts and inputs about what to do. more cage time with schedule? free in room? roam free all day? different cage? (I will try different toys soon). his food?
 

LaManuka

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Welcome to the Forums, Parham and Luca.

I'm very sorry to say that it seems that Luca was too young to have been sold to you. Not your fault as it is unfortunately quite common, but it really should not be permitted for various health and ethical reasons. No baby parrot should be sold to a new owner until it has been eating adult food independently for at least 2 weeks, and in the case of a green cheek that's more like ten weeks at the very barest minimum, preferably twelve. And this is very much what is at the heart of the behaviours that you are observing. Luca will become more independent as he grows up but right now he is still a baby and you essentially are now his substitute parent, so I imagine you can expect him to be a bit of a "velcro bird" for the next few weeks at least! Personally I would be seeking support and advice from a certified avian vet if you have access to one at an important time like this. I'm not sure where you are located exactly but hopefully the link below may assist you in finding one close to you...


If there is not an avian vet anywhere close, I hope you can continue to approach the breeder you got him from for support with weaning.

I am not a bird breeder so I hope another of our members with a bit more hands on experience might spot your post and be able to assist you with the process of weaning onto solid food. Again, I'd suggest it's a good idea to stay in contact with Luca's breeder for assistance with this. I do not mean to alarm you with this information, but the period where a baby parrot weans from formula to solid food is quite a critical time in their lives and it's something that you do need to be aware of.

Again, welcome to the Forums to you and baby Luca! I'm very glad you joined and I wish the two of you all the very best!
 

Noahs_Birds

Supporting Member
Oct 24, 2019
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Best thing you can do it get him fully weaned and ready for a long life as effectively and safely as possible.
One good way to start is mixing up formula and putting it into a dish in his cage and monitor that he is actually eating some by himself as otherwise you will need to continue syringe feeding.
Another key and probably the most important tip is feeding palatable foods that he likes. Soft foods like bananas, peas, corn, steamed carrots are all excellent ways to get him onto an adult diet. Softened pellets in water too and even some commercial dry egg and biscuit mix powder would be beneficial

Along the way in the next couple weeks, ensure to monitor his progress and reduce the syringe feeds slowly until you eventually are able to Eliminate formula completely in a few weeks

Best of luck, keep us updated with his progress!
 

BirdAddictK

Member
Sep 26, 2021
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1. Not liking the cage: I suggest put foraging and shredding toys in there, bc it may be that Luca has nothing to occupy him while he's in the cage and that's why he does not like his cage. If you can go to planet pleasures or places like that, you should definitely buy toys from there. Another thing, maybe Luca is associating the cage with negativity, so to make him understand that the cage is something good, give him treats whenever he goes into the cage.

2. Food: The breeder has no knowledge, seeds are very unhealthy for birds, they should not be given as their main diet. Seeds should only be given as treats. Pellets should be their main diet. Best pellet brand is Harrison's. Veggies are also essential part of their diet. Fruits can be given but not too much as they are high in sugar. If you bird does not like fruits, no problem birds do not need to eat fruits. And the dry crunchy worms as treats which you mentioned, do NOT sound appropriate, they may even be unhealthy. Instead, give your bird spray millet as treats.

Pro-tip: Pls do not ask your breeder for any advice related to bird-care. Do your research, watch YouTube, ask questions on this forum. Get advice from friends or relatives who have birds. Bottom line is, birds are a big commitment, you should not ask any breeder, or pet store staff for advice, you need to do extensive research and only then get a bird. In your case, I can see you haven't done much research, but it is not too late. So spend your time doing that.

This is my advice based on my knowledge, and surely other members will give you their advice based on their experience.

P.S. - Tell Luca that he is really cute and that I am already in love with him. I can see his picture as your profile picture. He looks like just a bundle of delight!
 

Skarila

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Apr 19, 2021
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✻RIP - 28 YO Zeleni the mischievous IRN
✻RIP -Sunny the budgie
We welcome you and Luca!!

As it was mentioned previously, Luca shouldn't have been sold to you at such a young age. I cannot help you regarding the weaning off part as I have absolutely no experience nor knowledge in it, but I see Noah already has given you a great tip!

Regarding the cage. Sorry to say this, but it is way too small for a gcc. (33*41*55) cm I don't find it acceptable for a budgie, even less a conure. Conures needs loads of space, they are really active birds. To give you an idea, GCCs are roughly around 22-25cm. Just for the tail you are giving only 7-10 cm of horizontal space to turn around.

Mine is a smaller Pyrrhura species (Purrhura emma) and he is very very flighty. He came from an aviary so I had to get him a very very large cage/budgie aviary for him. I wouldn't suggest to go bellow 50*70*100cm. I know there are these cages which are 50*50*150ish cm , that would be an absolute minimum for a conure in my opinion (because of the width). Wider cage is always better than higher one. Placing up on a higher place would be enough. I understand cages are really expensive these days, but sadly it is one of the most expensive things what comes with a bird (next to vet bills). We must put aside 200-300 EUR for a good sized and good quality cage. I can tell you openly the bird is probably feeling quite miserable to be suddenly put into a tiny cage where it can barely move. The cage you mention can always stay as his sleeping cage, I know people who have a tiny cage which is meant only for sleeping and that is okay.

I can promise you, as soon as you save up for a new and bigger cage (be careful with 2nd hands) your bird will be much calmer. You will have space to put all kinds of toys so the bird can amuse them selves while you're busy. If you're from Europe, I could help you find some good ones which you could order.

Edit: I couldn't find the info while I was writing, so, there is like a "minimum" rule when buying cages, that the width should be twice their wingspan, and the wingspan of a GCC is roughly around 25cm, so I stand correct that 50x50 should be the absolute minimum. Also you were correct so to be careful about bar spacing, it should be no bigger than 1.6cm for a GCC.
 
Last edited:

Tikitiel

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Last edited:

Skarila

Supporting Member
Apr 19, 2021
540
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✻Csillam the rescued budgie
✻Pascal the Emma's (Venezuelan) Conure

Previous owned:
✻Archibald the cockatiel (fostered 6 months)
✻RIP - 28 YO Zeleni the mischievous IRN
✻RIP -Sunny the budgie
as Skarila mentioned above cage size is very important my conure used to hate her cage but when i gave it an upgrade she absoultly loved it
here is the cage i use for my tiel and its a sleeping cage
this is the absoult minmum size you need
This is a lovely cage, I'm sure your 'tiel loves it! However I wouldn't say this is an absolute minimum, but it's a good sized cage, ideal I'd say. You can never go too big for a parrot :D

I am SUPER picky regarding cages - I always go for horizontal bars instead of vertical to avoid the bird's feet straining when climbing (if possible to find). Also powder coating became a standard for me, just issue is those are suuuuper expensive and very very heavy. But, extremely durable, birds cannot chew off the paint and it is extremely easy to clean as everything just slides off it when washing.
 

Tikitiel

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Sep 21, 2021
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This is a lovely cage, I'm sure your 'tiel loves it! However I wouldn't say this is an absolute minimum, but it's a good sized cage, ideal I'd say. You can never go too big for a parrot :D

I am SUPER picky regarding cages - I always go for horizontal bars instead of vertical to avoid the bird's feet straining when climbing (if possible to find). Also powder coating became a standard for me, just issue is those are suuuuper expensive and very very heavy. But, extremely durable, birds cannot chew off the paint and it is extremely easy to clean as everything just slides off it when washing.
i am aware it isnt the absoulte minimum but it is for me
ill edit my post to add that-
 

Noahs_Birds

Supporting Member
Oct 24, 2019
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Yellow Sided GCC's, Rosa Bourkes Parrots, Full Red Fronted Turqoisine Parrots, Quaker Parrots 'Scomo PM' 'Jenny PM's wife', PLUS: Rare Finches, Doves and Quail
2. Food: The breeder has no knowledge, seeds are very unhealthy for birds, they should not be given as their main diet. Seeds should only be given as treats. Pellets should be their main diet. Best pellet brand is Harrison's. Veggies are also essential part of their diet. Fruits can be given but not too much as they are high in sugar. If you bird does not like fruits, no problem birds do not need to eat fruits. And the dry crunchy worms as treats which you mentioned, do NOT sound appropriate, they may even be unhealthy. Instead, give your bird spray millet as treats.

Pro-tip: Pls do not ask your breeder for any advice related to bird-care. Do your research, watch YouTube, ask questions on this forum. Get advice from friends or relatives who have birds. Bottom line is, birds are a big commitment, you should not ask any breeder, or pet store staff for advice,
There is nothing wrong with having seed available readily for young birds, in my experience as a breeder of a huge variety of parrots, when young encounter the seed dish during the weaning process is where they learn most of their eating and food handling skills. It entirely depends on the types of seeds that are provided that has effect on young ones. Varieties of millets (White finch Millet, red pannicum etc.) are by far the most healthy and I provide them 24/7 to all my birds in the form of a commercial branded ‘Finch mix’ , but with that being said it is important to provide some sort of fatty seeds to assist in the growth and development and also to maintain condition and a healthy weight throughout the growing and weaning process. That’s why I ensure to provide Grey striped sunflower (much better than the Black sunflower) in monitored amounts. The weaning process is stressful on young birds, keeping a healthy weight throughout the process is incredibly important. If appropriate weight is not maintained, stunted growth will occur and it is not a pretty sight to see.

Crunchy dried mealworms are fine, good source of protein but don’t feed too much as they are a bit fatty.

If he is a good breeder, has a clean setup, feeds the birds well - listen to every word that comes out of his mouth. There is nobody that knows their birds better than the person that bred them.
 
OP
Parham

Parham

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Oct 3, 2021
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Green Cheeked Conure
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Hi everyone, thank you all for your great advices and suggestions. I forgot to make an update.

Luca is doing much much better and growing nicely (been checking his weight and food intake) and checked in with a vet.

- cage situation : i did get a much bigger proper cage almost immediately, unfortunately I couldn't find one of those massive cages someone suggested and amazon doesn't do delivery in my country but this one does the job thankfully. he does feel much more comfortable inside and actually started paying attention to his toys. I did order in a bunch of safe toys for him both for inside cage and to play outside and rotate. anything Jingly over stimulates and over excites him which leads to me being bitten (he almost never bites) so I had to put them away for now. he does love hanging upside down from his swing which is super cute.

- cage time : he has learned the places to go and not to go in the house and been a delight to play with. I still give him about an hour or two cage time during the day. the pacings and callings has stopped. he is easy to go to sleep at sun set there too. first few weeks was really hard with everything now it's really better.

- Food: now this wasn't easy, I still hand feed him if necessary, he has his formula which he eats from the jar so that's better. his water intake is good. his ability to eat solid food has gotten much better and faster. he eats small seeds and millets well but has problem with bigger ones. he loves fresh fruits but not dried fruit. he didn't respond well to fresh veggies I got him but somehow loved the same veggies as dried in jar (safe herbs and veggies I use in meals). i did try some nuts, it was difficult for him but he didn't hate them. I have ordered in a proper pellet suitable for growing GCC (from hand fed age upto one year old). the vet said the full seed mix, millets and stuff the pet store gave wasn't completely wrong food, it's what most pellets are made out of but condensed together so bird eats everything not chooses what to eat and what not to eat and they're more balanced and healthier. obviously he's getting pellets soon. and about the dried worms, she said it's actually really good for them as they're mostly pure protein as long as it's kept to one or max two a week. she did give me a vitamin drop to put in his water as well. other than that, Luca's very healthy.

thank you all again, here's a picture of him chilling on my hand :)

photo_2021-10-31_15-30-00.jpg
 

Flboy

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Dec 28, 2014
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Hi and welcome!
On seed. A good seed is 100 times better than most pellets! Pellets- the average has soy and/or corn as the main ingredient(s)! Cheap and questionable nutritional value! Also sugar!
this includes the coveted brand sold by your local vet! My goto for JoJo is TOPS! Great pellets and seed selection!
That being said, my JoJo just finished his morning treat of Fruity Zupreem!
The goal is balance! A human toddle- ah, never to taste or be contaminated with a morsel of fast food! But the first time they get a hold of a gummy bear?
When shopping for seed, try to avoid peanuts. There is a fairly common contamination in peanuts that can kill a bird!
‘And remember, a really good quality pellet/seed will go rancid! And hatch bugs! Bugs? Ok! I store all my foods in a freezer!
 
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Laurasea

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wow! That's an adorable picture!!!
 

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