Monday, November 14, 2011

Breeding Bourkes

Bourke Parakeets, unlike Splendids and some others, are eager to raise a second and third clutch of baby birds. Hens will return to the nest very quickly.

The photos here are of Fuchsia and the youngest of three babies in her second clutch. The oldest two have left the nest, but the last youngster is still lingering. If you look closely, she has a new egg under her.

Fuchsia with her youngest baby and a new egg.

She and Flame have been mating in front of the kids. He performs his duty with Mom, then hops off and goes to feed one of their recently fledged offspring. He's a busy guy.

Move over youngster, Mama's ready to start another clutch.

I decided to allow two young Bourke pairs to have a third clutch this year. However, it isn't wise to give your birds an opportunity for more than three clutches a year. In fact, restricting them to two clutches a year is less physically stressful, especially on older birds.
Baby Bourke Parakeets are fuzzy,
unlike baby Budgerigars (budgies).
Removing nest boxes will usually discourage them from trying to raise more young. I've found that some of my hens ask to mate even when a nest box isn't present.

However, their mates seem to ignore the "come hither" behavior. In Bourkes, and most parakeets, it is the father who identifies and checks out a nesting location prior to his potential mate occupying it.  If there isn't a suitable place for her to raise their young, he typically won't mate.

 One pair, Bonnie & Clyde, had their nest box removed after one clutch this year. They have made no attempts to mate without a nest box present.

That said, one year a hen did lay an egg in her feed cup. It was February, but she had not had a clutch for about a year. I put up a nest box for her and put the egg in it. She immediately went in and brooded the egg and laid others. Whether that egg was fertile or not, I'm not sure. She did raise some from that clutch.

Birds are individuals. Although there are typical behaviors, they can deviate from the norm.

One of these days, I intend to write something about avian genetics, particularly in Bourkes and Splendids. I'm not an expert, but I've learned a lot from reading and watching my birds' production. And, especially from the generous comments and information I've received from many of you.

Peace & Blessings.

Added Note: Knowing that Fuchsia wanted to start another clutch, I took this baby out of the box, scraped off any soil and added new pine shavings. Then put him back to allow him to leave when he was ready. I didn't want a new clutch to start out in a dirty box.

1 comment:

neversink7 said...

I've had splendids go right back to nest before, though most pairs do give themselves a 2-3 months break naturally.