I'm thinking about getting a Nanday Conure. What do I need to know in advance?
Please take the time to learn as much about conures as you possibly can BEFORE you make a purchase. There is a wealth of information on the internet and in books. At the very least, please read as many posts from this forum as you possibly can. Do not trust the pet store to give you correct information. A pet store is in the business to make money, not to make you a good Nanday owner.
If you do not learn enough about your Nanday, you can make simple mistakes that can either kill the bird immediately or shorten the bird's lifespan by a large number of years. Even if you manage to keep the bird alive despite your mistakes, your failure to train the bird correctly can turn her into a LOUD, misbehaving nuisance that you will have trouble GIVING AWAY FOR FREE despite your initial financial investment.
A Nanday Conure can live up to 35 years if you take good care of her, but taking good care of her is lots of work!
Here's just a short list of dangers and issues you will need to consider to keep a parrot companion healthy:
The list of household items that are deadly to birds is tremendously long. Parrots are like human infants in that they explore the world with their mouths. You can't leave chocolate, avocado, or medicine where she could get to it. You need to keep her away from even the slightest fumes (from scented candles, scented sprays Febreeze, cleaning chemicals, rubbing alcohol, cigarette smoke, etc.)or she could be killed by them. You will need to get rid of all your Teflon pans because the fumes released when the nonstick surfaces are heated can be deadly to birds.
Parrots love to chew! You need make sure she won't get electrocuted by chewing on a lamp cord. Leave an important paper or bill near a parrot and it will get shredded, but color inks aren't safe for birds, so she could get sick from that! You need to keep her from chewing wooden furniture and moulding. You need to make sure the cage is always in good condition, because you don't want her to ingest chipped paint when she chews on the bars. You need to keep her from chewing on the jewelry you wear, because metal can be toxic. You'll need to supply bird-safe toys, because she NEEDS to chew and play to stay mentally healthy.
If you have other pets, they could kill easily kill the bird when you're not looking, regardless of how well you train them. Nature can easily triumph over nurture if you are not careful.
You must make sure that everyone who visits your house understands that you can't leave doors and windows open, because she could accidentally fly away and get lost, even if you think her wings are well clipped.
Parrots have the intelligence of a small human child. You can't just purchase a parrot and leave it in a cage all the time. That would be like locking up your toddler. A parrot needs a lot of time out of the cage interacting with people to keep it happy and healthy. Do you have that kind of time to spend with your parrot?
What do you plan to feed her? A diet of seed can cause an early death from fatty liver disease. You can't let her have salty or sugary human foods, because those are dangerous, too. A poor diet can even lead a bird to start feather-plucking.
The most frightening thing is that birds hide their illnesses. The slightest change in her behavior or eating habits could mean that she is extremely sick and may need to go to her AVIAN vet, because regular vets do not always know everything you need them to know to keep your bird alive. You'll need to look at her poop daily so you know how her body is functioning. You'll need to change her cage papers daily so she won't get sick from her own poop! The initial investment is nothing compared to what you will spend on vet bills, food, toys and cages.
POOP! You can train your parrot to poop on command, but it could take a year or more for this to be successful and she'll still have "accidents." Are you ready to deal with poop on your clothes, floors and furniture?
I can tell you all the cute stories that make my Nanday worth the bother and cost to me, but I would strongly caution anyone else against getting a bird. I grew up with dogs and cats, but I now realize how easy those were to own compared to a parrot!
In the end, the price is not the most important issue. You are purchasing a lifetime companion. It's difficult to weigh the value of a true friend.