Conures are among the most popular parrots to keep as pets.
My friend has had her green cheek conure for about a year, and recently she was surprised to find an egg in her cage!
She knew that her young conure would eventually grow up and reach sexual maturity, but she wasn’t aware that even without a mate her conure could lay eggs.
She asked me what else she might need to know about egg laying in conures, so I compiled some information.
Now I am sharing that information with you.
Let’s dig into conure egg laying habits and her most pressing question, how often do conures lay eggs?
In captivity conures can lay up to 3-4 clutches per year, though limiting egg laying to 1-2 clutches is more often advised by experts. Each clutch has an average of 3-5 eggs, and the incubation period is 22-26 days. Conures will lay eggs at 24-hour intervals until their clutch is complete. Incubation will usually not begin until the final egg is laid.
Keep in mind that even females without a mate can lay eggs.
These eggs will be infertile, but you may find them in the cage of a mature female.
Keep an eye on this because egg laying is still an exhausting process, even if she does not have a mate.
If your conures are a mature bonded pair and begin to lay eggs, then you may have baby chicks on the way!
There are many factors to consider with conure breeding, including safety, health, and even how to go about raising the fledglings.
When do conures start laying eggs?
Conures begin to go through their adolescent phase at around 12-18 months of age.
This can come with a myriad of behavior changes as their hormones spike.
Get ready for a moody teenager in bird form!
A common misconception is that puberty is the same thing as sexual maturity.
However, conures won’t reach full sexual maturity until they are 2 years old.
Breeding a female too early can cause health problems and she may not be mature enough to want to sit on a clutch.
Conures may begin to lay eggs anywhere from 1-2 years of age.
This is a normal part of the growing up process.
Even if your conure is laying eggs, it is advised not to breed conures until both are over 2 years old.
The age that conures will stop laying eggs varies depending on the individual and how many clutches they have had.
The average is 7-10 years old.
At this point they will no longer be able to be bred.
Your bird still has lots of life ahead of them though as conures usually live to be about 15-20 years old.
How to encourage egg laying in conures:
If you have a mated pair of conures that are mature adults, you may be hoping to mate them.
The first step will be to get your conures’ a comfortable, safe space to lay eggs.
Make sure that they have a large cage and a nesting box.
Good nesting box materials can include shredded paper, plants, and even old feathers.
Be sure to give them access to lots of light as well.
In the wild they would lay their eggs as the daylight hours get longer, so mimic this condition inside as well. If you have access to natural light, then that’s ideal.
If you do use artificial light make sure it is full spectrum and that you time it carefully to ensure that they get lots of exposure while still having ample time to sleep and rest.
Lastly, make sure their diet is healthy and that both birds are getting plenty of food.
Soft food can encourage egg laying as this is what they would feed to hatchlings.
Don’t worry if your pair hasn’t started to lay eggs.
It can take time for them to bond.
Provide them with a low-stress environment and give them plenty of time to get used to one another.
How many clutches is safe for a conure to have in a year?
In the wild conure breeding season is in the spring/summer.
However, domestic conures can lay eggs year-round.
This also means that conures can lay multiple clutches in a breeding season, though this can have health impacts.
Ideally you should allow your conure to lay 2-3 clutches.
Any more than this could cause your female to have a calcium deficiency, other nutrient deficits, or mental health problems because of all the added stress.
If you need to stop your conure from laying eggs, there are some tricks that you can use.
Start by adjusting their light exposure.
Less light will mimic the seasons changing, breaking the egg laying cycle.
You can also remove her nesting box and switch up her environment.
How to tell if conure eggs are fertilized
Once your bird begins to lay eggs you will likely want to know if they are viable or not.
There are a few different ways you can examine the eggs.
After your conure has laid her egg, be sure to leave it in her nest for at least 4 days.
You don’t want to handle an egg too early and damage it.
First you can try the candle test.
Hold the egg up to a light source, ideally a candle, and see if it is opaque or not.
If it is opaque, it is likely a viable egg.
If you can see through it, then it probably was not fertilized.
You can also set the egg in warm water and see if it floats or not.
If it does float, then it is probably not fertilized.
If it sinks, then it may be a viable egg.
Never do this with a freshly laid egg just in case there is an embryo.
If your conure does have viable eggs, then it will take about 23-28 days for them to hatch.
Once you have baby conures then they will stay with their parents for another 7-8 weeks.
Egg laying can be a stressful process for conures, but if we are educated and prepared then we can make sure our birds have the best experience possible.