Tuesday, September 20, 2011

RAISING BOURKE PARAKEETS, Handfeeding and Helping Parents

Six young Rosy Bourke's. These are hand fed, very tame and sweet.
The six youngsters I'm hand feeding are doing great. All are fully feathered, and some will fly to me and sit on my shoulder. The four oldest are eating on their own, but still like getting Exact Handfeeding Formula when the younger birds do.

Another view of my babies being hand fed.

In her second clutch this year, Rosie has hatched three of her four eggs. Although the fourth is fertile, it is unlikely to hatch. It's been too long. It will remain in the nest, however.

As you may recall from an earlier post, Rosie's first clutch of three produced two pink-eyed baby Bourkes, but one died. I believe this was because she didn't feed it and I failed to notice in time. The problem, it seems, is that her mate, Pretty Boy, is very young ... younger than she is. I've watched and he quits feeding her before she wants him to. She continues to loudly chirp, begging for more, and he quits sooner than he should. This appears to be typical behavior for one-year-old males.

Rosie with three babies under her. I'm helping her along by offering
Exact Handfeeding Formula in an eye dropper. Her mate isn't feeding her
enough, so she's getting a little help from a friend. Don't want her to abandon
any of these sweet little ones because she thinks she can't handle them alone.
I've had other hens who behaved in the same way, refusing to feed all their clutch because the male is not supportive enough. In Rosie's case, with this second clutch I've decided the help. She is a hand fed bird and very tame. She was accustomed to eating from an eye dropper and these photos are my first attempt at offering her Exact Handfeeding formula while she's in the nest box.

With Flame and Fuchsia's five babies, I did the same thing, although I started giving it to them when their babies were much older than Rosie's are now. Also, I didn't offer it to Fuchsia when she was in the nest box, but only when she came out of their cage. They'd both eat it and then take it back to their huge brood. It was their very first clutch and all five are doing well. Flame, however, is a two-year-old bird, as are both Fuchsia and Rosie.

Rosie's three babies on Sept. 19, 2011.

Some people recommend waiting for birds to reach the two-year mark before allowing them to breed. However, Rosie was soooo ready and Pretty Boy was the only available male. In spite of their losing one youngster, two more are healthy and beautiful. I expect the three in this clutch to survive if I watch them closely. One even has pink eyes.

Fuchsia is also on eggs again, recently laid. She and Flame are remarkable birds. This is their second clutch and once their babies are fledged, I will remove the nest box.

Rhett and Cherry raised seven babies this year and I removed their nest box. Cherry would like to raise a third clutch, but we have enough youngsters for one year. We are overwhelmed with lovely pink baby Bourkes!

May all your Bird Adventures be happy and enriching.
Peace & Blessings.


Love4Feathers said...

I have a male Rosey Bourke that is trying to get the female to go into the box . This is the first time for the both of them. She is checking it out from the outside but just won't go in. It's been three days so far.How long could this take? Thanks, Sue

G. A. Lewis said...

It could take days, or a couple of weeks or more. Let her take her time. She will go in when she's ready. She knows better than we do.

Hens are cautious, especially when it's their first time. Sounds like he's a good mate for checking things out first. Male Bourkes are supposed to do that.

Hopefully, she won't go into the box until they've mated and her eggs are fertile. No sense rushing things as some do. Waiting and being hesitant is a good sign. She will probably be a conscientious mother.

Love4Feathers said...

Once the female has laid her first egg, does she then start to stay in the box or does she wait until all the eggs are laid? Thanks, Sue

G. A. Lewis said...

Each hen is different. Most of mine wait until their second or third egg before staying on them. Once they are actively brooding, they leave the nest once or twice a day to deficate and hurry back. Sometimes they'll ask their mate to feed them, especially if he's not coming to the nestbox opening to offer food. Reliable males do that.

Allison said...

We were recipients of a bonded pair of Bourkes (she is a rosy, he is normal) when a breeder claimed they were taking up too much space and the female laid sterile eggs anyhow. John and Agnes seem pretty happy here, and I have hung a nest box on their cage which they are definitely interested in. Would you be willing to provide a bit of guidance to a novice? My e-mail address is snsherps@gmail.com Thanks in advance.