Friday, December 9, 2011

Raising Bourkes, a Question from Sarah

Sarah writes: "Hi - I have just purchased 2, 5ish week old bourkes to finish hand raising (they're the blue mutation and I couldn't let it pass!!). I have been breeding budgies for 8 years but I have never hand raised a bird. Have read your blog and thank you so much I love it! I was wondering if you have pictures of your birds you could send me so I can see how old mine actually are. They are developing their flight feathers and their main tail feather is about 1.5 inches long. If they were budgies, I'd say they were about 3 weeks old, but I have read that bourkes develop much slower."

At 17 and 19 days old, good ages for hand feeding.
ANSWER: Optimum time to hand feed is said to be at three weeks of age, but that's subjective. I've had to feed some from the first day they hatched and they did okay. Parents are the best at feeding, especially while they are tiny little guys. My preference is to wait until their feathers just begin to start emerging. Once they are fully feathered, they may resist being hand fed and it can be harder to get them started. 
Same two youngsters. I intend to begin hand feeding
them in two days, as the next two days are very busy
and hand feeding requires a big time commitment.
Fuchsia's babies. Oldest is two weeks
(14 days old). Youngest is one week old.

I haven't raised budgies for a while, but it never seemed to me that they grew any faster than Bourkes. I assume they take about the same amount of time to grow, but I've never put it to any test. If there is a difference, it's slight. Egg incubation time is the same, so growth probably would be too.

I've asked Sarah to send us photos of her blue Bourkes. I would love to see them. Our Normals have blue rumps, and a few of our Rosies do too, but not an unusual amount of blue on any of them.

Fascinated by the idea of a blue Bourke, I found this site:   It gives some insight into the "blue factor" which apparently is a mutation in Bourkes.

One week old baby in my hand has pink eyes.
Fuchsia was hand fed and is very tame.
She doesn't worry about me handling her
babies. This is her third clutch so she's very
confident and trusting.

May all your eggs hatch and all your birds sing beautifully.
Peace & Blessings.


neversink7 said...

just a note on genetics. there is no "blue mutation" for bourkes. it's the opaline mutation, which usually gives the rosey or pink colored birds. the opaline just redistributes the colors the bird already has, so people have selectively bred for opalines or rosies with more blue, more green, etc. so a blue bourke is selectively bred to have more blue color - sometimes babies will show a lot of blue but may molt out of the blue color and be more of the usual pink all over color opalines are after their first molt.

G. A. Lewis said...

Thank you, neversink7. This year's baby Bourke I called "Sir Grayhead" who was more gray than pink has since lost all his gray. He now looks like everyone else. He's a very dark pink and no longer shows any gray. Perhaps this is similar to what you've described.

Several of our recent youngsters show a lot of pale yellow on their backs. I wonder if they might eventually throw offspring that are yellow "lutino's" like those in the photos Jill sent.

neversink7 said...

if any of your male bourkes has lutino in their back ground, it's always possible for them to throw lutino daughters since ino is a sex-linked recessive mutation. since you have been getting getting pink bourkes, it means both parents are split to fallow (either pale fallow or bronze fallow - both of the parents have to have the same fallow gene to produce pink babies); the fallow genes are autosomal recessive - meaning both parents can be split to it and the bird showing the fallow gene needs 2 copy of it. If you have a normal bird also with the fallow gene, then it's possible to produce a fallow bourke rather than pink - they are very pretty as well - a lot of pastel colors and yellows :)