Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Baby Bourke’s Future Color

If you keep mixed couples, i.e., one Normal Bourke and one Rosy Bourke, you may wonder what their newly hatched babies are going to look like.

The Bourke book I own, published in the UK, says that Normals will have gray fuzz and Rosies will have white fuzz, and that’s how you can tell what they are going to be. Balderdash! All my fuzzy little baby Bourkes look the same even though some grow up to be Normals and some grow up to be Rosies. They all appear to have fuzz that’s more white than gray, sort of an off-white.

Maybe early Rosy babies were fuzzy white and Normals with no heterozygous genes were fuzzy gray? Mine always look alike, even when both colors are in the same clutch.

That said, there is another way to guess their future color. From their feet! Most Normals have dark feet and those destined to grow mostly pink feathers will have pink feet. That said, one of my current Rosy babies has feet with both brown and pink skin. It has no other Normal features, so I think you can safely assume that a baby bird with “striped” feet will be Rosy. The striping is unusual though.

Once their feathers begin to bud out, you will soon recognize pink dots of color on the backs of the Rosies.

As a reminder, Bourke color is sex-linked and babies will be the color of the parent of the opposite sex. This means a Rosy dad and a Normal mom will produce males that are Normal Bourkes and all their hens will be Rosy Bourkes and vice versa; a Rosy hen will produce Rosy sons and her Normal mate will produce Normal hens.

I have one pair, however, who produce 50/50 of each color and both are Normals. The male had a Rosy father and a Normal mother, so he is the Normal color. Apparently he’s heterozygous. All his progeny who are pink have been hens. All the Normals have been male. If you want more explanation of homozygous and heterozygous, query the internet. There’s more info. out there than I can provide. Suffice it to say that he carries the gene for Rosies, as apparently did many other Normals, or we wouldn’t have our beautiful Rosies. Smile.

May you have Rose-colored Blessings Galore.


Sags said...

It has been Interesting to read your last few posts on the sexing of bourkes and splendids. Rosa (as we call them in the UK) bourkes are notorious to sex. I bought a pair last year that behaved like a pair; one would ‘display’ and feed the other, however eventual DNA testing proved them to be both male. I then bought a rubino (opaline rosa) ‘hen’, same behaviour until DNA testing again proved them both to be male. I’ve now made a further two purchases on the probability I get one hen. Thankfully both of the new birds have been mated by the males and one now has eggs, so unless something very strange is going on I now believe I have two true pairs. I’ve been told another way to sex bourkes is by looking at two birds sat together; a hen will generally sit flat to the perch, whilst the male will be more upright. Also hens will bite with a vengeance, much more than males when held.
As you say Rosa is sex-linked, but a rosa hen paired to normal male will only produce normal looking coloured birds, the young males being split for rosa.....unless the father is split for rosa (only males can be split) then you get both rosa and normals in the young males and hens.
Incidently, it’s my pictures in the link for sexing splendids. The wing bar is not 100% reliable, but helps when used with the differences in colour.
Finally, I just wish I was as successful in breeding my birds. Things are not going too well so far (only last night I removed a dead chick, a lutino splendid)....I blame the British weather!

The Splendid Bourke Bird Blog said...

Thanks for you comments. I really liked finding your site ... it's lovely! I'm going to take some of your comments and post about them. Thanks again.

Sags said...

I mistakenly said rubino is opaline rosa, when it is in fact the combination of lutino and rosa. Opaline is the colour mutation that produces rosa in bourkes.

Jeanne said...

I have Bourke's. I have a female rosey that nipped me, but I am dosing her with cipro from the vet, and I give her little kisses here and there and she nuzzles me and kisses back. She understood immediately what I was about when i did this.