Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bird Tales … on Changing Mates

A couple of months ago I talked about shuffling four pairs of Bourkes and two pairs of Splendids around for various reasons. This is an update on how effective that was.

Chitter left Brandy after they’d produced three clutches together, and she deserved a long rest. Chitter joined Bella who’d never had fertile eggs with her first mate, Rory. With Chitter, Bella laid two eggs and recently hatched one, her first baby. Finally successful, this hen’s future clutches with Chitter will probably be larger.

Rory was put with Brandy so she wouldn’t be alone, but her nest box was closed off so she could rest. After ten weeks, I reopened her nest box yesterday, and Rory is investigating it – as a good male should. Hopefully, Rory will do better with Brandy than he did with Bella. If not, Chitter is going to be kept busy hopping back to Brandy in a few months.

Candy, too, had once been with Chitter, and raised three lovely birds with him. But, she was constantly scolding him…an annoying sound. Dolph was a young, extra male and Candy took to him immediately. Last year and this year they cheerfully raised babies together. Although they were content, they produced less than beautiful offspring (in my opinion).

Bonnie & Clyde were the other Bourke pair I split up. Although perfect together, Bonnie needed a rest after three clutches.

Dolph and Candy switched mates with Bonnie & Clyde. With Dolph gone, Candy began asking Clyde to mate, but for ten weeks he refused her, sometimes even scolding. He never sang and sat quietly, sometimes with his head down…obviously unhappy.

Meanwhile, I opened Brandy’s nest box. She and Dolph both ignored it.

Taking a clue from these two pairs, I returned Clyde to Bonnie and witnessed instant bliss! Clyde perked right up and started strutting for her. Dolph went back to Candy and immediately began feeding her. These two pairs were apparently not intended to be split apart. In this case, both males knew who their mates were and remained loyal to them, unlike the promiscuous and productive Chitter.

As for the Splendids, Rainbow and Rivkah have eggs that are due to hatch and I hope they will. Rainbow Jr. and Jewel are still ignoring each other. However, nothing has been lost there as neither of them had fertile eggs with their previous mates anyway. If Rainbow and Rivkah produce, the swap will have been well worth it.

So, sometimes swaps work and sometimes they don’t … Fortunately, in this instance the two pairs that didn’t work out were both switched with each other and easily switched back.

May all your couples remain happy together and produce beautiful baby birds!

1 comment:

Noah said...

I had a question about a pair of my bourkes and was hoping you'd be able to help.

Around 5 months ago my wife and I bought a pair of bourkes from a bird fair. We were told they were a proven pair and had just recently come off eggs (chicks taken for hand-feeding). Their age is said to be 2 years. Well, in the 5 months we've had them, we have not even seen any mating tendencies between them. They have a nest box and a constant stream of fresh foods we give them daily but they dont touch ANY of the fresh foods.

Long story short, I'm confused. Cant quite figure out how or what I need to do to get them 'going' if they were said to be a proven pair. That, or we got lied to. If needed, I'll snap some pictures. Both are rosies.

Thank you! And my wife and I love your blog.