Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Splendid Question ... Today is a Day for Questions ...

Ron in Delaware asked about Splendid molting patterns and personalities of Bourkes vs. Splendids.

Ron, I have four male Splendids. Two are sons hatched here. Before they were out of the nest, I traded a Bourke for an unrelated Splendid, sex unknown because he was very young. My parent birds produced three male Splendids and I traded one, leaving me with two.

All three babies, who are actually younger than the one I traded for, gained their red chests quickly … long before the other male did. I don’t remember exactly how long it took him, but a year or more is probably the case. Even when his red feathers began to come in, they came in a lot slower than the others. Yet, today they all look alike. He was older and slower, but he caught up with the rest. I hope your bird will do the same. As for losing his tail and not flying well… that happened to the “late bloomer” too, but not to the others. He now flies equally well and looks just like them.

I think being slow to get their red chests has something to do with their parentage, and different birds sometimes develop at different rates. That said, the common scarlet-chested parakeet in its wild color is beautiful, but is being domestically bred to acquire different-looking birds. Some have more red and some less. Some have no red at all and are all yellow or blue in front.

So, although the odds are against it, you might end up with something that looks different than the standard Scarlet-chested parakeet. The person you bought your bird from should be able to tell you what the parents were like.

About personalities of Bourkes vs. Splendids: Check out the labels at the bottom of this post and click on “personalities” and/or “Splendids and Bourkes” and/or “Relationships.” This was discussed at length in earlier posts and the labels should find them for you.

Typically, Splendids are little clowns who like toys and games and will “play” more than Bourkes. Our “pink parakeets” tend to be more subdued. However, each bird has its own personality. I have one female Bourke who loves to play with bells and toys, unlike most of the others. All of my Splendids like the toys and are more active than the Bourkes.

My one and only handfed Splendid (actually the father of the three babies we discussed) was very tame, but once he got a mate and I quit handling him as often, he quit being as tame. He still comes to the door and nibbles or pecks my fingers, but doesn’t want to leave the cage any longer. If I force him to, he will sit on my finger, but is reluctant about it. He used to try to “feed” me and was very affectionate. However, he’s transferred that to a mate and other than talking to me every morning and trying to get my attention, he’s not interested in leaving the cage to visit. He’d rather talk to me and nibble fingers through the bars.

The same is true for a male Bourke that I hand fed. I didn’t keep handling him after he got a mate. He’s still willing to sit on my finger, but he could care less about me. He’s only interested in his mate.

Perhaps if these males had tame mates things might be different. I’m planning to give that a try with three handfed youngsters I intend to keep (and not sell). Odds are good that I’ll get a pair from those three and if not, I’ll hand feed until I do get an unrelated tame bird of the right sex. Then, I intend to handle them more frequently than I did with the others. Interaction and “sweet talk” is key.
Best of luck. Just be patient with your male Splendid…as long as his diet is healthy, give him time and you should have a beautiful bird.

Here are some young Splendids who don't have all their red in yet. It did eventually fill in all the way across their chests.

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