Which will make a better pet for you, a parakeet or a conure?
In this article, we list down the difference between a Parakeet and a Conure and what you must know if you’re planning to get one or both of these as pets.
Parakeet vs Conure – How are they different?
Both parakeets and conures are companion birds.
In that way, they are different from two other kinds of birds that are OK for learners, finches, and canaries.
Finches and canaries are fun to look at. They make the cutest little noises. They don’t take a lot of your time. They are OK with being left alone.
Parakeets, conures, and other parrots, on the other hand, are companion birds. They are pets with personalities of their own.
You don’t just look at them or listen to parakeets and conures, the way you do with finches and canaries.
You can interact with parakeets and conures and other kinds of parrots. They aren’t just a pretty bird.
Parakeets and conures are people birds. They genuinely enjoy human company, although they sometimes have an off-putting way of showing it
Parakeets are also fun to look at. They make cute little noises, and they can imitate their owner’s speech.
Parakeets are playful. They are always moving.
Parakeets are trainable. They can be hand trained. They can be trained so that you can carry them around in your pocket.
Conures are closely related to parakeets, only a little larger. Like parakeets, they have beautiful colors.
Green cheeks aren’t known for talking, although some of this kind of conure do learn how to talk.
Conures make great family birds. They will get along with children, adults, seniors, and, with appropriate precautions, the cat and dog.
Duskies aren’t typically as pretty as green-cheeked conures, but they have loads of personality. Duskies that are hand-raised become cuddly birds.
The problem with young conures is that they tend to nip at their humans. They will poke the noses of dogs and cats (sometimes only once). Once conures reach adulthood, however, they stop biting, well, most of the time.
By the time a conure reaches the age of three years, it usually can be described as a toddler with wings.
They get into everything that their owners will let them fly towards.
Conures are famous for throwing food out of their bowls. If they are allowed to fly into the kitchen or dining room, they will help themselves to whatever the humans are eating.
Now let’s take a closer look at what prospective owners need to know about these great pets.
What Future Owners Need to Know About Parakeets
Parakeets are often referred to as “beginner birds,” but this isn’t really fair to them.
Parakeets can be just as rewarding and fun to keep as the bigger parrots that require specialized care.
Here’s a brief summary of what every future owner needs to know about parakeets.
Parakeets Are Playful and Talkative
Parakeets love to play. They love to eat.
And they have a talking ability that rivals any of the larger parrots (and exceeds that of conures).
Parakeets in the Pet Store Are Very Different From Parakeets in the Wild
Wild parakeets come in one color, green. Breeders have captured mutations in feather color so that there are now at least 37 colors of parakeets, including white, yellow, various shades of blue (such as violet, indigo, and cobalt), gray, pink, and pied (mixed colors).
Wild parakeets are usually 6 to 7 inches (15 to 17.5 cm) long. Domesticated parakeets can be considerably larger, up to 11 inches (27.5 cm) long.
Most but not quite all parakeets have wavy black lines starting behind their eyes and running across their necks and backs.
A naturalist named John Gould and his brother-in-law Charles Coxen brought parakeets from Australia to England in 1838.
Parakeets became so popular all over Europe that Australia banned their export in 1894.
To get more budgies, people all over Europe turned to breeders.
The breeders discovered that some budgies were larger, sang better, or had unique feather colors.
The result of banning the export of wild budgies was that there is a tremendous variety of parakeets available today.
Parakeets Are Active Birds
In the wild, parakeets live mostly on grass seeds and the bugs they find in seed heads.
They sometimes have to fly as far as 30 miles (50 km) to find water. They are tremendously active birds.
Caged parakeets have a lot of pent-up energy. They will play with their toys, and chirp and sing constantly.
Parakeets Are Social Birds
Parakeets in the wild fly in flocks of up to 100 birds. They are extremely social birds that love company.
If you buy a single parakeet, it will turn its attention to you. If you put two parakeets together in a cage, they will focus on each other.
Parakeets Are Social Birds
Parakeets need supervision around small children. Rambunctious behavior can injure the small bird, and in defending itself it can nip at small fingers.
It’s nowhere nearly as powerful as the larger parrots, and it is not even particularly strong for a bird of its size, but it can inflict pain when it is mishandled.
Male Parakeets Talk More Than Females
The real reason to buy a parakeet is to teach it to talk. The world’s record for a budgie’s vocabulary is 1,700 words.
Males are better talkers, while females are better whistlers.
The ideal time to start teaching a budgie to talk starts about the age of three or four months.
They need about two months of daily training to get the idea that they are supposed to talk, and begin repeating words when they are about six months old.
Keeping Your Parakeet Healthy
There are two essentials for keeping a parakeet healthy: regular cage cleaning and a balanced diet.
There are cleaning chores with parakeets that should be done once a day, others that should be done once a week, and still others that can be put off to once a month.
The water bowl always needs to be clean. Food bowls or feeders should be kept clear of decayed or spoiled food.
The liner at the bottom of the cage needs to be replaced once a day. The entire cage needs a thorough scrubbing (without detergents!) at least once a month.
The key to good health care for parakeets is to treat diseases as soon as the first symptoms are noticed.
The appearance of scaly white crusts on the legs, feet, or beak is a sign of mites that need to be treated by the vet right away.
Breathing problems, loss of interest in play, and falling feathers also require veterinary intervention.
Costs of Getting and Keeping a Parakeet
You can sometimes find a parakeet on sale in a pet shop for as little as $10, but a healthy parakeet will cost at least $40 to $60.
Hand-raised parakeets in exotic colors may cost as much as $500 from breeders.
What Future Owners Need to Know About Conures
Conures are small to medium-sized birds. They charm their owners with their inquisitive personalities.
Conures Also Like People
Conures usually like to hang out where the activity is, spending as much time as possible with their people.
They prefer to stay outside their cages, but if they do, precautions are necessary.
It’s important to protect conures, like parakeets, from ceiling fans, rotary fans, hot stoves, garbage disposals, microwaves, sinks full of water, household cleansers, and cats.
Conures Are Colorful
Conures come in eye-catching colors, yellow, green, orange, and blue.
Their sizes vary considerably by species.
The smaller conures are about the same size as parakeets or a little smaller, just 10 inches (25 cm) long.
Larger conures can be up to 20 inches (50 cm) long from the beak to the tip of their tail feathers.
Different Origins from Parakeets
Conures originated in South America.
They haven’t been bred as extensively or as long as parakeets.
Conures Need Large Cages
Conures need a spacious cage.
A cage that is 36 inches long, 24 inches tall, and 24 inches wide (90 cm long, 60 cm tall, and 60 cm wide) is just big enough to give a single conure enough room to play with its toys.
Conures love to take baths. If you don’t let them take a shower with you, they enjoy a spray bath.
They will improvise by taking a daily bath in their water dish.
Keep Your Conure Healthy with a Balanced Diet
Conures have busy beaks. They like bird-appropriate vegan foods they can chew on. Seed pellets are OK in a conure’s diet, but they need to get fresh vegetables, too.
Orange, yellow, and red vegetables provide them with the beta-carotene and other compounds their bodies turn into vitamin A that keep their skin, feathers, and air sacs healthy.
Balance in a conure’s diet is the secret to having a healthy bird. They need both seeds and other plant foods.
Conures can eat some of the grain-based foods that people eat, such as bread and cooked pasta, in small amounts.
What It’s Like to Live with a Conure
Conures can be very playful. They can be very cuddly. They can be very loud.
Conures tend to be bold and curious rather than shy and docile.
They thrive on human attention, but when their humans have other things to do, they enjoy toys in their cages.
Conures can be comfortable enough with their owners to climb up a shirt or blouse and stick their heads out the collar.
They may dance back and forth to celebrate the arrival of their people, or they may mimic their owner’s movements, the same way parakeets mimic their owner’s speech.
Conures can be trained to perform tricks. However, it is important that children understand that performance can’t be forced.
Conures do what people in the family want them to do, including what children in the family want them to do, in return for positive reinforcement.
The signature sound for a conure is a high-pitched screech. It is important not to reward screeching and shrieking by racing over to the cage to see what the bird wants.
Conures can learn a few words and phrases, but not as many as parakeets.
When conures get bored, they may pull at their feathers.
Conures are susceptible to the same diseases as parakeets and other birds in the Parrot Family, including mites, parasites, and bacterial infections.
Careful cleanliness helps to keep conures disease-free. A well-cared-for conure can live to be 20 years old.
Where Can You get a Conure?
Most large pet stores have conures. They are also available from pet rescue centers and from breeders.
The friendliest conures are hand-raised by breeders, who will typically charge $500 to $1000 to be sure the new owners are committed to taking care of their bird.
Conures are often available from pet stores for $100 to $300, and from rescue centers for an adoption fee usually below $200.
Food costs for either conures or parakeets are usually about $25 a month.
Pet health insurance, which can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on veterinary bills, costs as little as $10 a month.
Pet health insurance is sold online and at some of the insurance agencies that sell car insurance.
Can You Keep Parakeets and Conures in the Same Cage?
It’s almost never a good idea to keep parakeets and conures in the same cage.
Both parakeets and conures are active birds, but if one bird is more active than the other, the less active bird may be exhausted by activity.
It’s a particularly bad idea to keep one parakeet and two mated conures or one conure and two mated parakeets in the same cage.
One or the other of the mated birds may become jealous of the attention the single bird gives its mate and want to fight, especially when the female is brooding her eggs.
Two budgies can gang up on a single conure and attack. But two golden conures (an especially large variety of this bird) can do serious injury to a single budgie.
It’s usually OK to keep parakeets and conures together in a room-sized aviary.
Even in that situation, however, it’s not a good idea to keep two or more breeding pairs of different species together.
One mother bird may attack the eggs or chicks of the other.
Females are dominant in the Parrot Family. Two females in the same cage will tend to fight. Three females will fight constantly.
Mixing parakeets with conures just makes the fighting worse.
Two male birds of the same species can usually get along.
Whether you choose a conure or a parakeet, you can enjoy years of companionship and entertainment with these easy-to-care-for birds.
Choose the bird that best fits your own personality and your schedule and give it the best home you can.
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