Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Splendid Question Regarding a Surprise Egg

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Sharing another Reader Question Below:

Female and male Scarlet-chested parakeets,
also called Splendid parakeets.

I just discovered an egg on the cage bottom of my pair of scarlets. I've had them for several years and they have never produced an egg. I read that if they don't have a nesting box they will probably not produce eggs. Well, they don't have a nesting box but now we have an egg. What do I do?
Neither the male or female seem concerned about the egg so my thinking is that it must be infertile. Should I remove it from the cage or just leave it for a while? Should I get them a nesting box?
Looking forward to your reply... thank you.
Future dad outside his nest box.
Hello Tamara,
I would get them a nest box. If she's laying, I suspect they are breeding, or she wants to. This egg isn't likely to be looked after by them, but fertile eggs remain good for several days after being laid. I'd put it in the box anyway even though it's unlikely to survive. You've nothing to lose if you do. Or, if you know anyone who has parakeets on eggs, you could try to foster it out.
I assume these are scarlet-chested parakeets, right? Also called Splendid parakeets. If so, they will need a parakeet sized nest box or larger...don't get one too small. Add some pine shavings to the bottom of the box. They sell pine shavings for hamster cages and such. My Splendid hens usually throw some (or most) of them out of the box. Then they form a bare area in the shavings, either in the middle, or in a corner. The pine shavings help keep the eggs from rolling away and absorb the babies' droppings.
Hen is on cuttle bone.

If you give your pair a box now, they may or may not go into it right away. It should stimulate them to want to continue mating and probably to try to raise a clutch. It's great fun seeing babies hatch; and where I live there's a demand for Splendid parakeets that goes unfulfilled. So, I suggest you let them breed.
Be sure she has enough calcium. She should be chewing on cuttle bone. I also have a mineral block and add oyster shell for mating hens. There are calcium supplements you can get for their water, but I've not used them before. With three other sources of calcium, I believe they have enough. However, if you have access to that instead of the others, then it's fine too. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions and change their water at least daily, with or without calcium supplemented in it.
Hens that are laying need lots of fresh water. They will drink and drink and usually also bathe in it.
A sister and two brothers.
Good luck. I hope you get to experience this fun-filled adventure. However, if they lay and brood and still nothing happens...well, first time parents aren't always successful. My first pair of Splendids hatched their first clutch, but didn't know to feed them. It was years ago and I wasn't hand feeding yet and lost all of them. Their second clutch, however, they did fine and raised the three they hatched very successfully. Best of luck.
Peace and Blessings! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


My husband's Publisher is offering two eBooks FREE for the next 5 days. One is his. Merry Christmas!
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"PROMISES" offers Great Romantic Suspense. Link to for free book is below: 
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bourke Parakeets, 5 weeks old

These five-week-old Rosy Bourke parakeets are Rosie and Pretty Boy's babies. They are eating on their own, but still need some hand feedings to be sure they're getting enough to eat.

Last year we seemed to get several red-eyed babies from three different sets of parents. This year, we haven't had any with red eyes, but we are seeing a lot with yellow feathers mixed in with the rosy or pink. Not sure why there would be such a difference when the parents are all the same birds, both last year and this year.

I moved them into a larger cage and off the kitchen table today. Rosie kept calling to them, so I let her visit them to reassure her that they're all fine. She's on the far left.

One of the babies cheeps more than the other two, so Rosie fed her to shut her up. Rosie wouldn't feed the others. You might think that baby was the youngest, but actually she was the first hatched.

The babies above after their mom went home. While Rosie was visiting, Pretty Boy kept calling to her. He is hand tamed, not hand fed.

Usually I let Pretty Boy out to fly free too, but didn't this morning because the cats were nearby. Rosie stays on my shoulder or hand and I can take her anywhere, but I wasn't confident that Pretty Boy would.

Pretty Boy... Dad to the birds above.

I don't believe either cat would ever hurt one of our birds, but I'd rather be cautious. If the birds are out flying, I try to be sure the cats are either outside or locked in a bedroom. Better safe than sorry. In spite of that, I've had birds fly and land right in front of our black Mei-Ling and she freezes. She's afraid of getting into trouble.

Mei-Ling being introduced to a baby Bourke.
She is a very gentle and obedient cat.

Patches wanting some attention.
The baby bird being fed doesn't interest her.

It's actually the older calico I worry more about. She's a stray we took in several years ago and, as she's gotten older, her hearing is going. I can't yell, "NO!" and be certain she will hear me these days.

This morning it didn't seem fair to wake her up in her chair and lock her in a bedroom when she was so happy where she was. I knew Rosie would be easy to move from one room to the other in order to visit her youngsters.

Merry Christmas everyone!
Our front yard this morning with four deer. Two young
ones in the middle are licking each other. It's been
raining for several days and many deer come to graze.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Peacocks Flying

I received these great photos in an email. I've seen Peacocks in zoo's and parks all my life, but never like this.



Peace, Blessings and Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mama Bourke Parakeet to the Rescue!

Our power went out yesterday at 4:30 p.m. due to high winds and probably a tree down on power lines somewhere. It didn't come back on until 9:45 a.m. this morning, and the temperature where the birds are was only 66 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. Colder than typical, but no drafts so everyone did fine.
Fine... Except for one near disaster!
Babies in a clean, new tissue box. Notice open door of cage.
I've been hand feeding three babies from Rosie and Pretty Boy since December 9. They're four weeks old and fully feathered, so I didn't worry about them getting too cold. They have a tissue box to huddle in and keep each other warm even though the power outage meant no heat source over night.
Last night I boiled water on a gas stove to mix Exact hand feeding formula and fed the babies via a reading lamp for my Kindle.
The "Mighty Bright" light for my Kindle. It was wonderful
for a power outage. Brighter than a candle and didn't flicker.
All should  have been well except that when I got up this morning I discovered that, after feeding the babies in dim light, I'd left the door of their cage open! The babies weren't in their tissue box or in the cage. I yelled to my husband, "Watch where you walk! The babies are out of their cage... And, where are the cats!?"
Now, the cats spent the night closed in our bedroom with us, but they came out to the kitchen with us at sunrise. We hurried the two of them back into the bedroom and closed the door; although I don't really think they'd have hurt the little birds. They know better and have always been very good, even if a bird lands right in front of them by accident. (It has happened in the past).
Mei-Ling is really rather bored by the birds, but I like
to remind her that they are to be left alone. She complies.
The babies in my hands are about a week old.
Immediately I retrieved one baby from under the kitchen table. Hubby found the next one on the floor between the refrigerator and the kitchen counter. No problem finding those first two and didn't expect a problem finding the third one. But it was!
We didn't have power yet and still very little morning light through windows. With bright flashlights we hunted high and low. The babies can fly...maybe not expertly yet, but they fly. After searching above, below and behind every nook and cranny in the kitchen, we went into the living room and then into the laundry room with the dog (he's behind a dutch door and they could have flown over the half door). When we couldn't find the bird, we started carefully moving furniture. After about an hour we'd looked everywhere we could think of. Then I got the bright idea that maybe Rosie could find her lost one.
I let her out of her cage. Rosie was hand fed and is very tame. If these babies had been from Cherry, who wasn't hand fed, this wouldn't have been possible. Rosie has been out several times when I've fed her youngsters. Their hand feeding began a week ago at three weeks of age. She's never tried to feed them while I feed them, but has stolen some Exact from them. She loves it.
Rosie flew to the cage where the first two now resided, still waiting for me to feed them until I could find their sibling. She called. I listened. Thought perhaps the baby would call back to her, but realized with so many other Bourkes in the house, I could scarcely tell one whisle from another. But, she could... She understood my request to her and went into action. She flew around the living room and back to the kitchen twice and on the third pass I was facing the cages when she flew past me with a baby flying right behind her! He had followed his Mama home. Where he was, who knows! But she led him home, God bless her. No doubt my prayers to St. Anthony and St. Mary helped too. (I'm convinced all the saints have a special fondness for birds). 
I let Rosie get into the baby cage with her young and she fed the wayward youngster, but not the other two. Perhaps rewarding him for coming with her. In short order, I heated water, mixed formula and fed all three with Rosie stealing bites in between as her reward.

So, all is well that ends well. Deep sigh.

Morning after rain and wind storm.
May none of your birds ever get lost, or if they do,
may you find them safe and sound with little effort.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Moved these three hand fed babies into a cage today.
They were four weeks old yesterday, Dec. 15, 2012.
There is parakeet seed and spray millet available,
but they're not eating on their own yet.
Received two Bourke questions in email this morning. Thought I'd share them with you.
Question on Temperature:
My male randomly died today, not sure why? They had food and water. Are they sensitive to cold? It did get really cold last night.
Thank you.
Bourkes are Australian birds. It's very warm there. Mine are indoors and the temp never goes below 68 degrees Fahrenheit...usually 70-72. If they are protected from drafts they can withstand lower temps if they've gradually become accustomed to them. But, drafts are deadly for any variety of parakeet or Australian finch. Extreme cold is going to stress them and the weakest will die first.
I'm sorry you lost your male Bourke. I'd watch the hen closely. Was she in a more sheltered place, a nest box perhaps? If not, she could also come down with a cold or something else from being stressed by the low temperature. If mine appear to have a health problem that involves their breathing, I put them in a small cage, cover it with a towel or something like that, and then (outside the cage, but under the towel) I put a mug of boiling water that has a teaspoon of Vicks VapoRub in it. The vapors help clear the bird's breathing and help them recover. Be sure they have good food and clean water in the cage.
I've known people who lost a bird because they forgot to replace their water source. Usually the hen is the first to go because they require lots of water since they produce eggs. But, water...clean water is essential too. I hope it wasn't so cold that their water froze. If temps are that low, they shouldn't be in an outside aviary. Although you said they had food and water.
I met a couple who raised Budgerigar parakeets in an outside aviary on the Oregon coast where I live. They wintered them outdoors in an aviary. I would not do that. However, Budgies aren't as valuable as Bourkes, so they felt if the weakest didn't make it, they weren't concerned. I would be!
When I lived in Calif., I had a sheltered outdoor aviary, and the Oregon coast is warmer than the rest of the state of Oregon, but it still can get very chilly in the winter. So here, north of California, all my birds are indoors in individual cages. The tame birds get to come out and visit almost daily, but some of our breeders are always in their cages 18"x30"x 18".
I hope you can find a replacement for your male Bourke and that you have another alternative for them if they are in a cold or drafty spot.
Peace and Blessings,
Our birds are all indoors. These 3 cages are in the living room.
We have 4 cages in a nook off the kitchen, and used to have
more in the living area before I began downsizing our flock.
A Reader in Finland sent several questions.
Question on Behavior When Breeding:
Hi Gail,
Thank you for your [earlier] response to my question. I live in Finland! It's very cold here at this time, but we keep our apartment warm at 70F degrees. The days are very short, but I keep artificial light on. I don't have a special sunlight or UV bulb.
Eight days ago I hung a nest box high to mid height on the outside of the cage. [A previous question asked about nest box height. I told her to hang it high. Nest boxes should not be on the floor of cages].
Both the male and female are interested in the box but have not entered it. The male will stick his head in and sing a pretty, quiet song. He also shakes his feathers a lot while examining the box. The box size is 8 x 7 x 5 1/2 inches- a parakeet size. I put a few pine shavings inside like the ones for the hamsters but not too many as I don't know if they like a lot of fluff. The top is white plastic and slides open. But because it's white plastic, there is much light inside the box. So my two questions are, do bourke's prefer it to be dark inside the box? And when should I take the box away if the they decide not to go inside and use it? Thanks a bunch!

An Answer:
In Finland, that's great. Glad to hear you found my blog. Smile.
It sounds like your birds are very interested in the box and considering it. All my boxes are wood and dark inside. Assuming wild Bourkes would use a hollow tree in Australia, it would be dark inside. Bourkes have very good eyesight in dim light. As you know, they are most active early in the morning and late in the evening when the sun is first coming up or going down. So, the light box "might" turn them off, but I can't be certain of that.
I'd bet that if you replaced it with a wooden, darker box, they'd be quicker to go inside. But, that's my guess. I've never known anyone who used anything that was translucent like your box seems to be. I hope it has a way for you to open the top or side and see the eggs and babies as they grow.
As for removing it, unless you plan to replace it with a wooden box (or maybe cover the outside of the one you have?), it's not necessary to remove it. They might eventually use it. However, the mother bird probably sleeps a lot inside while on the eggs...the light might make that more difficult for her...? I put about an inch of pine shavings in the box. Bourkes aren't budgies and want the shavings. Some toss a few out if they think they're too many, some push them aside, but they all want and need them. They cushion the eggs and help absorb the babies' droppings.
I notice a lot of excess food in nests that it almost seems some mother's build a "shelter" around their babies that looks like a round nest. It's the regurgitated food...either from them or maybe it comes from the excess that overfed babies regurgitate themselves. I notice if I overfeed the hand fed babies, they sometime spit some up.
You will want to limit your Bourkes to two or three clutches a year. Clean the nest box after each clutch and put fresh pine shavings back inside.
You mentioned artificial light. It doesn't have to be any special kind. Any lamp or overhead lighting with any kind of bulb is fine. Light of any kind is fine to stimulate breeding. Twelve to sixteen hours of light is appropriate.
Best of luck. These birds are so lovely and fun to raise.
A Normal Bourke male outside nest box with mate inside.
An Update and Other Concerns:
Hi Gail,
Thank you for your help. Since that time the female has entered the box and after 3 days of spending a lot of time in there she laid an egg. This was yesterday evening. But then she came out of the nest and has not been sitting on the egg and is not interested. She was also a bit aggressive to the male. I had the lights off through the night and they slept outside of the box.
This morning she ate breakfast and then went back in the box. Does this mean there is a problem with her or the egg? Will the egg die since it's been abandoned for so many hours? Right now she is going in and out of the nest box and for some reason the male is flying around the cage crazy like. I usually let them out to fly around but should I let him out while she is in the box? Thanks again for your help. You are such a successful breeder.
Hens don't usually sit on their eggs until all of them are laid and Bourkes typically lay an egg every other day. So, you probably have no reason to worry about her. Also, it's not uncommon for them to be "grouchy" when laying and take it out on their poor mate. You've heard the expression "hen-pecked?" Bourke hens can be bossy. Not all, but some.
As for the male flying "crazy like," he's excited he's going to be a dad! ;-) He will settle down and then probably act that way again when the first egg hatches in 18-21 days. New dads are always excited. After several clutches it may not be as exciting to him any longer. Smile.
It sounds like they are doing exactly what they should be. If you have plenty of calcium present and she uses it ... chews on cuttlebone, for example ... she should be fine. A hen that experiences egg binding will usually sit on the floor of the cage all fluffed up and obviously miserable. I have posts on what to do if that happens, but it's less likely to occur then the likelihood that all will go as it's supposed to.
You asked about letting them fly around outside their cage. Do they go back in when you want them to? If so, then a short fly around isn't going to hurt. If they typically give you problems about going back into their cage right away, just to be safe you might want to wait to let them out until after the eggs are hatched and the babies are several days old. Since this is their first clutch, they might be better off devoting their time to it.
Best of luck. I hope the pair managed to successfully breed and that the eggs will be fertile. If they are not fertile, let her decide when to abandon them ... usually about 28 or more days after the last one was laid. I always recommend that we not remove them until she leaves the nest. Also, if three out of four or five eggs hatch and one or two don't, leave them there. Sometimes they are very late, but even if they're not good, they help keep the babies warm. I remove them after the babies are fully feathered or not at all. Sometimes they slip into the pine shavings, get lost, and are removed when the box is cleaned between clutches.
May all your eggs hatch!
Rosy Bourke hen with her young. Leave egg shells alone.
They can provide calcium for hens. Leave unhatched
eggs alone too. Even if infertile, they help warm babies.
A Later Update:
Thank you Gail and God bless you! You have eased my mind. It's all those little things that worry me. I'm keeping a diary of these things too.

This afternoon she went to the nest and has been sitting on that one egg all day. She comes out to eat and then back in. :) Thanks again!

My Reply:
She is probably getting ready to lay a second egg.
My blog has lots of information. If you enter a topic in the search window, it will bring up previous posts on that subject. Or, look at the drop down "Blog Archive" in the left column. It lists post topics by month.
Always happy to help, and thank you for the blessing. ;-)


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Egg Incubating and Hatching - A Reader's Comment

Fuchsia hatching her last egg
A Reader made the following comments on helping chicks out of the egg when they aren't able to complete the process themselves. Although her comments are about incubating eggs, I had two chicks this year--one from Fuchsia and one from Rosie--that didn't complete their hatch. Her comment below could be helpful in the future. I'm not promoting or advising this. It is provided for you to decide its value on your own. It's something I'll consider in the future if I have a baby in the egg that I believe is in trouble. If you decide to help, note her comment about seeing blood!

Cherry with a new fuzzy baby
under her. Egg shell at bottom.
“I found your blog today while looking for information on Bourke parakeets and found answers to questions that I didn't know who to ask. I love your blog! [Especially those on incubating eggs]
I have incubated chicken eggs and duck eggs for many years and have one Cockatiel egg in the incubator at this time from a first time hen and cock that keep laying eggs with no success.
I have hatched chicks that were too tired to hatch after is how you do it:
Jewel, a Splendid hen, on eggs that
didn't hatch. It's not that they aren't
 covered, they weren't even fertile.
When you see that it has taken too much time for the chick to hatch, simply peel the top of the egg open. If there is blood coming out where you are helping the chick hatch, do not remove the chick from the egg. Simply put it back into the incubator and let it finish getting out of the egg by itself. This will mean that the blood flow and yoke has not finished absorbing. It will at least let the chick rest and breath during the finishing part of hatching. If there is NO blood coming from the area you are opening, go ahead and finish peeling the chick out of the shell. There is the chance it may still die, but you will have given it a better chance at life.
Hope the finish of 2012 is a good one for you.”  And also for you, and for all our Readers.
Something that I assume is that you want to open the area where the air sac is...the wide part of the egg. This allows more air to enter and replace what they've use. Any other comments on this are welcomed.
Peace to all, and may December be a Blessed month for each of us.
Merry Christmas
Brand new baby Lady Gouldian finches with their mom.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beak Trimming, Canaries with Bourkes, Current Baby Bourkes and More

I've posted about trimming Rhett's beak before, but thought I'd add another note about it. This elderly Bourke of mine had a beak that gets "long in the tooth" over and over again because of his age.  It grows very fast and is hidden among his throat feathers. I have to keep an eye on him. Saw him yawn last night and thought, "Oh, my gosh. He's going to stab  himself in the throat!"

It's difficult to see it, but his beak shows up as a long dark
line that leaves his normal beak and bends toward his throat.
It's in the photo if you study it.

He isn't hand tame, but he's gotten used to this procedure.
I think he really appreciates it. One quick snip and it's
back to a reasonable length again.

The offending "dagger" on the counter.
Rosie and Pretty Boy's third and last clutch for the year. In
four days these will be three weeks old and at the best
age for hand feeding.
Proof that Bourke Parakeets and Canaries can be friends.
(Photo by Pamela May)


Bandit and Peaches. Both tame.
(Photo by Pamela May) 

Peace and Blessings.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Rosie Bird Answers Questions from Readers

The questions below were sent to throughout this past year. We're sharing them with you, along with the answers sent those who asked them. (They may be edited for accuracy and brevity).
Hello, I love your web site….I have been trying to raise Splendids for years. I cannot seem to have any luck. They live in an outside aviary sheltered from the wind. My last pair that I had lived thru the winter but died in June and August. Do you have any suggestions for me? What medication schedule do you use?
I have 4 Rosy Bourkes; unfortunately I don’t know the sex of 2 of them. I have been told I have 3 males and 1 female. Any advice would be great. Thanks, Dave
Hello Dave, Thank you. I don't have any medication schedule for my birds. However, they are all indoors and are unlikely to be exposed to anything. In spite of that, I've had two epidemics over the years that were brought in by new birds that seemed healthy. We had to determine what it was and what to give them. Once we identified it and medicated, all but the first two recovered. They came from a household that raised cockatiels, lovebirds, doves and pigeons. All of those can carry canker without showing symptoms, but it's serious for parakeets. I'm a lot more careful now and don't raise anything except parakeets or finches.

Here's a link about canker:

As for an outside aviary. Your birds are likely to be exposed to things from wild birds. I haven't had an outdoor aviary in decades. I left California in 1984 and moved to Oregon where it's much cooler, so all my birds are indoors with me and it's never below 68 degrees and usually 70-72. Keep in mind, grasskeets come from warm Australia. When I had an aviary in California, three sides were completely enclosed (so no drafts: a bad thing), and one wall was a half wall. They had to fly down and out to get to the open-air flight. The enclosed portion had a light bulb for warmth in the winter. Nest boxes were in the enclosed portion of the aviary.

My website has a post on aviaries that I visited in central Oregon. Hers were in separate out buildings and heated. She had some flights that were open in the spring and summer and enclosed in the winter. Even worse than low temperatures for parakeets are drafts. They need a completely dry, wind and draft free enclosure. Why you lost yours in June and August is hard to determine. If a bird has been stressed and then goes into breeding mode, that stresses them further. That's a possibility.

When I lost my two Bourkes to canker, they were on their third clutch and next door to the birds I brought in that were infected. Only my two who'd recently raised babies were weakened enough to die. All others recovered with medication, even the two that transmitted the illness recovered. Birds that are laying or feeding young are expending energy and are weaker than at other times. That's why they need extra calcium, vitamins and minerals. Quality parakeet seed will provide vitamins. Compare what's in the seed you give them. Mine get Hagen Budgie Seed that I buy in 20 lb bags from It’s vitamin enriched. I also give them spray millet when they are breeding or raising young. I have Petamine, mineral block, oyster shell and always cuttlebone. They randomly get assorted vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, kale). I usually share what we’re having for dinner. For some reason, my birds don't like fruit.

As for your Bourkes, if you have three males and one hen, do the males show aggression? I would expect some competition that might not be healthy. It would be beneficial to trade a male for a female, or buy two more that you know are hens. My website has a lot about sexing and explains the behaviors of male Bourkes. I can usually recognize males before they are a few months old and be certain of hens by six months, sometimes sooner, simply by how they act. Observation is key. I admit that's easier when they live in the house with you.

I love cats and don’t want one hurt, but would worry about them with outside aviaries. My cats leave our birds alone. They seem to consider them part of the family and not very interesting. They know they shouldn't bother them. Your own cats are trainable, but neighbors’ cats aren't going to be reliable. We used to put nail strips along the roof edge of our aviaries...the sharp strips that are used to tack down carpeting. That kept cats from leaning over the side and swiping at the birds. Perches were set back away from any outside wire too. A dog in the area is of great benefit to outdoor aviaries. Our dogs have always chased all cats except those that live with us.

As for raising Splendids or Bourkes, I have more success with Bourkes, but less so with Splendids. Yet, I know two people who seem to do well with Splendids and can't get their Bourkes to do anything. Sometimes it's just the birds themselves...good breeder birds versus those that aren't. Best of luck.

Hi, I have a pair of lutino bourkes, and since I’m new with bourkes I still can't understand some of their behavior. My main concern is because today I noticed one of the bourkes feeding the other but soon after I noticed the same thing but vice versa. Is it normal for the female to feed the male? Thanks in advance, Matt

Photo by Jill Warnick
Hello Matt, My Bourke hens will feed their mate if their eggs didn't hatch. They have a strong desire to feed their young and if they're disappointed, they will feed their mate instead, sometimes feeding him shortly after giving up on their eggs. I've seen Splendid hens do this too. It's sad to see. Their mates typically cooperate and allow it.

It's possible, too, that you have two of the same sex and that they reverse roles to satisfy one another.

I'd check out their other behaviors. Males "strut" and throw their shoulders back. Hens don't. Unless one (or both) are doing this, you might have two hens. If you have two males, one may become less macho, so it could be less apparent than if you have two hens that never "strut".

Search "sexing" on this site for more info on this. You may need new partners for your pair. Good luck.
Hello. We are considering a pet four our child. Which do you think would be better, a Bourke or a Splendid? Also, we can buy a baby to hand feed ourselves. Is it difficult?

As for Splendids vs. Bourkes ... the Bourkes are a heartier bird and live longer. They are also quieter and have a sweeter song. I love both of them, but prefer the Bourkes, myself. That said, Splendids are more active during the day and are more like budgies in their personalities. They chew paper and things more than Bourkes do, but are playful little clowns. Their bright colors and funny personalities are positives in their favor. Bourkes are most active in the morning and evening. They like to sing in the a.m. and can wake you up if they're in the same room and the sun comes up earlier than you want to get up. Smile. Males sing more and are a bit louder than females. Bourkes, Splendids or Budgies all make wonderful pets. It’s all a personal choice.

As for hand feeding, it is easy, but labor intensive. You have to be home during the day and feed them four or five times a day when they are three weeks old. If you get them earlier, they need to be fed during the night too. It’s a job for an adult, and not for a child unless they are an extremely reliable and competent youngster over twelve years of age. And, I’d still monitor the feedings.
Hi, I have a Rosa Bourke parrot with pink eyes and I am not sure whether it is male or female, just wanted to find out how you can tell its gender as I wanted to buy a partner for him/her.

Below is a link to one of my posts on sexing Bourkes from "The Splendid Bourke Bird Blog." There are many more posts there on identifying gender too. Enter "sexing" into the search box and it will bring up three pages of them. Meanwhile, the link below will take you to one of them:

Males who throw their shoulders back and “strut” make their gender very obvious. Normal males also have a tiny blue line of feathers above their cere (nostril). Best of luck. Enjoy your Rosy Bourke... they are the sweetest of birds.
I have just purchased 2 roseys and waiting till they mature so that I can tell them apart (hopefully). I have them in a flight cage in my dining room so that the “boys” can see everything going on in the household. I also have 2 yorkies that have a doggie door in the sliding glass door and now that the cool weather has arrived in Canada, I was wondering if I should get a heat lamp just to keep the draft off of them.
I put insulation around the door to stop some of the draft but when the dogs go in and out in comes the cool air. My house has nowhere else to put the cage unless it is away from all activity and I really don’t want that. Would you suggest a heat lamp?
I have been reading your blog for 3 hours now, please don’t stop it is so informative . Thanks Sue, Ontario Canada

Thank you, Sue. It's encouragement like yours that keeps me blogging.

Cold or cool drafts are supposed to be bad for all Australian birds, including Rosy Bourkes. A constant draft would be worse than an occasional one. Hopefully, the Yorkies don't go in and out too often. My big old mutt asks to go outside 3 or 4 times a day and never at night. If he had free access he might go out more frequently. I'd question how often your birds are likely to experience the drafts. Also, how high are they from the floor? If their cage is high up, that would put them farther from the doggy door at the floor and heat rises. If they are on an end table set right beside the doggy door that would not be a good idea. But, if there were no other choice, I'd cover the cage at night to create a draft barrier. That might be a good idea no matter where in the room they are.

During the day, perhaps a shield on the side nearest the doggy door so that the draft would hit that side's barrier and hopefully bounce off, not hitting the birds. That could either be on their cage, or next to the doggy door to direct drafts in the opposite direction.

I would also note the ambient temperature where they are. Parakeets can experience lower temps when there's no draft. In the winter my birds are in a room that stays close to 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night. That's warmer than necessary, but I like to err on the side of caution.

It rarely snows where we are, but if it does, or it's really cold, we will even avoid leaving by the front door in the room where the birds are. We exit through our laundry room at the side of the house, so any cold drafts would have to work their way through the house before reaching the birds. Again, we might be overly cautious, but I'd rather do that than risk the birds. Older birds, very young birds, or birds that are trying to raise young are more susceptible to anything that stresses them.

As for a heat lamp ... A regular light bulb is enough...not a genuine heat lamp like you'd find in bathrooms, right? As a child growing up in So. California, we had an outdoor aviary and put an incandescent light bulb out there for the finches in the winter. They clustered near it, but could also get away from it. If you use one, it is important that your flight cage be large enough that they can freely move away from a heat source if they need to.

For the incubator we have baby finches in right now, we have a 25 watt bulb. It's actually too hot and I have to raise the lid about an inch to keep the temp at 92F. It was warmer for the eggs, but the babies are beginning to feather and get too warm.

It's hard to give you advice about the heat lamp without knowing exactly what you have in mind. I wouldn't want it to be too hot. Also, the birds might like to sleep in a dim room at night and the light would stimulate them to want to breed at a time when they shouldn't. If they are both the same sex, that might make them aggressive toward each other. Long daylight (or artificial light) stimulates birds to go into breeding mode.

I think a barrier against the drafts is a better option. Perhaps a plastic cover for the cage, or wrap a bigger cage. If you don't have a plastic cover, then a blanket would help. Depending on the temperature in their room, consider putting the blanket over 3 sides and the top, leaving the side away from the drafts uncovered. If it's too dark, they might get "night fright" and fly into the side of the cage. I confess that we keep a night light in the two rooms where our birds are. Bourkes see well in dim light and they can avoid becoming frightened if they can see where to land. That said, we've had power outages that frightened the birds. If that happens, I go into the rooms and speak softly to them, reassuring them. They know my voice and it calms them. Flashlight beams frighten them, but a candle is soothing. Over time, we've learned how best to cope with power outages for the birds.

I hope I haven't made this too complicated. Enjoy your Rosies. They are by far the best small exotic birds you can own...quiet, sweet, pretty, lovely songs. They're my favorites and I love them.



First let me tell you I love your web site. I have a question. I have several bourkes, but can you breed red eye to red eye if they are not related? I live in Virginia … thank you.
Thank you for the compliment. I wouldn't hesitate to put two red-eyed Bourkes together. In fact, I'd jump at the chance.

It would be interesting to see what you get. I think the Lutino's (yellow) originated from this cross. Not certain, but my red-eyed birds have more yellow than the others do. I had intended to pair two cousins, both with red eyes, who chose each other. But unfortunately I lost the hen to an accident...the only accident I've ever had with any of them. It was tragic. Offered her mate another red-eyed hen from a different clutch who grew up with them, but he chased her away. Perhaps it was too soon after losing the hen he favored.

Now, the male is a bachelor and I hope to find an unrelated Lutino Bourke hen for him. He's hand fed and a sweetheart. The second hen I offered him was not hand fed and not tame like the first hen. Perhaps that made a difference, perhaps not.

We had several red-eyed babies last year (2011) and none this year (2012). It’s strange how that works out.
Originally, all Bourkes were brown with rosy breasts, blue rumps and shoulders. It was careful breeding that led to Rosy Bourkes, which are not the native color. To get the red eyes or yellow Lutino's it takes breeding like birds with other like birds. So, they bred birds that had slightly more rose on their breasts with others like them, until eventually they got Rosies. Those were bred toward Rubino, Opaline, Fallow, Lutino, etc. Not sure why you're afraid to breed red-eyed Bourkes with others like's how we get unusual birds. Smile.

However, you are right that some genetic changes are weaker than others. Breeders lose newly hatched chicks all the time and it happens in the wild too. I've lost more with red eyes than dark eyes. But, as adults they seem equally healthy. It helps to switch partners if their babies aren't surviving. Until you try this pair together, you can't know how successful they will, or won't be. There's no reason to worry, however. Cousins do fine and you said they aren't even related. Many bird breeders pair aunts and nephews, uncles and nieces, etc., with no problem. It's one more generation down that can cause problems. Bird relationships are more forgiving than in other species.  Good luck. I'd love to see photos of what your pair produces.
I have a rosy Bourke that I adopted a few years ago…it’s just me n Bourke as I call him. I think he gets lonely. He's very tame and I let him out of his cage daily for a flight, but I'm considering getting him a buddy. I don't know if this would spell trouble or not. Can you put a parapet in w/ a Bourke or is the difference too great. Any info you can give me would be greatly appreciated. How do I find a local breeder? I'm afraid of shipping live birds.

I'm not sure what you mean by "parapet." Do you mean a variety of parakeet? They come in many sizes and a larger bird might intimidate yours. I once had a budgie, however, who was great friends with two cockatiels. Bourkes do like a companion. If yours is a male, he's more likely to get along well with a female. I can usually move my birds from one to another without difficulty. Occasionally, however, I've had one or two who refused to accept any other bird except the one they chose as their mate. My favorite tame male tragically lost his mate in an accident. I've offered him others and he chases them around the cage, so I've had to remove them. I also tried putting him with another tame bachelor male. They got along for about a week and then he started chasing the other male, pecking him. Sad. They now both live separately until they accept a mate.
Bourkes are typically docile and sweet. Most will accept any other bird, but every animal has its own personality, so they aren't always predictable. You can probably introduce him to a bird of his same size and he will be happy for the friendship, especially if you are away from home a lot. There are rare exceptions, but I think the odds are in your favor that you can bring another bird into his life and he will appreciate it.
The internet is full of classified ads on bird sites. You might start with eBay classifieds and choose their pet bird section. At most classified sites you can enter your area code and it will bring up ads in your area. Or, you can specify your state or city and enter exactly what type of ad you want to see. In your search engine, enter "eBay Classifieds," and/or "birds for sale" and see what you get.  Good luck. I hope you find the perfect companion for you and Bourke.
Hello I need some advice. I just bought a rainbow rosey Bourke from a pet shop she is about 6 months to a year, they were unsure. There were 3 birds in the cage and they were originally handfed but haven't been handled since. She is clipped and I just want some taming advice. It seems when I walk near her or even talk to her she shakes and screams. She will step up but can be flighty at times. She loves her head scratched and likes to hide in my shirt where it's dark and warm. How can I stop the screaming and get her to feel comfortable around me because it breaks my heart to have her shake when I go near her.
I know it's funny as much as she's scared she's letting me pet her. She shows great potential to be a pet. I can understand being scared of her cage too as it’s so much bigger than what she was in and she has lots of toys now. I put some spray millet in my hand and slowly went into the cage with it and she didn't yell. She just eyed the millet but didn't touch it.
She sounds like she startles easily. Being moved around a lot can do that. Given time she should improve. If you can pick her up and she doesn't bite you, she probably was hand fed and will eventually trust you. Even parent fed birds can be tamed, but hand fed should be easy. If she's not been handled she probably lost her trust, but can regain it with time and patience on your part. Getting used to her cage is going to help too.

I have two cages next to a hallway and I always warn the birds I'm coming through before I walk past their cages. A sudden movement from out of nowhere would scare them, but if they know it's just me coming, they don't panic. At night if I get up in the dark, I talk to them. They know my voice and feel safe. Power outages scare them, but a soothing voice reassures and calms them.

She needs to get used to you. Keep speaking softly and sweetly to her whenever you approach her cage, or are nearby. Soon she will begin to associate the sound of your voice with safety. Keep offering her treats from your hand. Spray millet is a favorite. I've had others tell me their birds screech, but none of mine do. I suppose if they were frightened enough they would. I do see my elderly hen "shiver" (or shake). I think her problem is age rather than fear. However, wanting to hide inside your shirt sounds like a youngster...? I'm surprised she likes to be scratched. I have one Bourke that will let me stroke him a little, but most don't want their heads or bodies scratched, unlike budgies and others that usually do.

Offer her peace and quiet, a soft, friendly voice ... she needs time to get used to her new home. If they clipped her wings at the pet store and she had not been clipped before, that would make her afraid. She knows she's vulnerable and can't fly away from danger. That would scare any bird, I think. Be patient, she will come around. I find mine like soft music ... never anything loud or obnoxious though--no rock. ;-) I have a big dog whose bark is very loud if the UPS truck comes up the drive. My birds have gotten used to him and don't react. It's all part of their environment.  Best of luck. I imagine in time you'll be pleased to have her.

Hi there. I have searched your web and couldn't find anything relating to this (I am sure there is something...I just can't find it). It looks like you have quite a handle on these birds. I just found out today that my Lutino male and Rosy Bourke female are proud parents. I know she has been sitting on 5 eggs and I have tried not to bother her. Today I peeked and found a baby under there...maybe more, but definitely one. Now what do I feed them differently...should I feed the babies a chick formula? What about mom? I already have the cuttlebone, calcium stick, and a vitamin block. What else could you recommend? I tend to feed them mostly birdseed of varying types. I have rarely seen her come out and hopefully "dad" is doing a good job of keeping her fed.
I was just looking at your web page. There is a picture with 2 yellow Lutinos & 2 babies in a bowl?? That little brown one looks like our babies. Will it stay that way? Here I was thinking we would have light colored little ones regardless....I am a bit surprised!

Thanks again. I am very excited about our new additions!!  Brenda
2nd Email: Thank you so much for responding!! I do definitely have a couple babies under mama. The male is definitely now any baby Lutinos will be hens and rosies are male? Is that how it works? I live in Canada in Saskatchewan. This is the only Lutino I have seen in this area and it was just by chance that I got him. The owner was downsizing and I was trying to get a male Rosie...I only wanted the Rosie, but she said she would just give me the I ended up with two birds! I certainly am glad that I got him as he is the ONLY male with my 3 Rosie females.

I was at the pet store yesterday and picked up the expensive "egg fortified" seed and hand feeding formula for the babies. Is that necessary? Do you feed the frozen vegetables right from the bag?

Just a couple more questions. My mama isn't the neatest in her nest. Actually I don't think she even leaves to poop as there is getting to be quite a collection. The empty eggs are still under her too...should I be taking those out...or will she take care of that on her own? How do you get her off her babies? When do you usually start hand feeding or handling the babies? If we "bother" the hen too much would she abandon her babies? At what age will she start "leaving" them in the nest for a bit? In the past 3 weeks...she has been in there constantly. I NEVER see her out.

One last question and then I will "leave you alone" haha. If I put the male Lutino with my other two females individually (pair in a cage) will they mate? Or are they "mated" birds and will only be with one? I notice your pictures you have a number of birds all together.

Thanks again I really appreciate your advice and your website!!

Hi Brenda. Color in Bourkes is sex-linked. Until your birds begin to feather you won't know if you have Lutinos or not, but if you do, it means the hens will be Lutino from their father. The Rosies will be males, their color coming from the mother. You could put those males with your other hens. If you have brown Normals, then one of the parents is a "split." Odds are that it is your Rosy hen, so the Normals would be male if it's her.

Don't remove your male Lutino from his mate while they have young. She needs his help to feed them. You have a successful pair, so moving them isn't advisable. That said, I have changed mates in the past and you could offer him another female later in the year if you like. It is more work for the hens to raise babies, but the dads work hard too, and you don't want to wear him out.

If you decide to hand feed the babies (it's not necessary unless the parents quit feeding, which would be unusual), the best age to do it is at three weeks. You will need to keep them warm and offer them food that stays warm. I have posts on my blog about hand feeding. Hand fed birds are very tame birds. You can handle the babies to tame them, but Bourkes require parent feeding longer than budgies do, so it's not as easy to tame them. That said, they are friendly as caged birds, even when not hand fed. My first pair, bought at 9 months of age, don't get on my hand, but they aren't afraid of me either and come up to the side of the cage to talk to me and I can clean their cage without frightening them.

Do you have pine shavings or something in the bottom of the nest box? If she isn't going outside to poop, you can reach in and remove some of it what's stuck to pine shavings. Most hens will evacuate outside the box, but occasionally some are afraid to leave their babies alone. They let the box get smelly. Not great, but the babies will be okay. Once they start growing, they dirty the box themselves. I would NOT remove the extra eggs. Some hatch late, and even if they don't, they help provide warmth to the babies that remain in the nest. I'd leave the extra eggs alone until all the babies are fully feathered, or all are at least three weeks old. Bourke eggs typically hatch every other day. So, if a hen had five eggs, they would hatch day one, three, five, seven and nine. That means that if only two eggs were intended to hatch, they could be as far apart as eight days between them. Best to wait and see...sometimes there are surprises with late hatches. Besides, it could upset the mother if you removed them.

My tame birds eat the hand feeding formula only because they were hand fed and are used to it. They can then give it to their babies and enjoy it. However, I don't think parent-fed parents will recognize it as food, but I could be wrong. You can give it if you want to go to the trouble. You can use it to hand feed at three weeks if you want to. The fortified seed is fine. As for the vegetables, I always prepare mine as if I'm going to eat them (no salt in water) and let them cool down (not salted). My husband, however, believes they can be defrosted and fed. You can if you want to. They are softer if boiled, I like to do that. The birds eat more of them that way.

Back to whether you can put the male with the other females. Are they in the same cage now? I hope not. That might be why the hen won't leave her box. I had one male who refused to change mates and was mean to any other hen I put with him. Eventually, I sold Bonnie and Clyde together. He was gorgeous and I wanted some different genetics from him, but he refused. However, my oldest bird has had three hens and been a good mate to all three, but at different times. He's a sweetheart. The first Rosy hen died, the second was a Normal, so when we got another Rosy hen, I replaced the Normal with her. He accepted each one immediately without a problem. Others took longer and then there was Clyde who refused any other hen. (Bonnie was out of Rhett and Scarlett).

The birds you see all together in my photos are youngsters. I have individual cages for all my adult pairs. However, if you have a large flight or aviary, they can be housed together. In smaller cages though, they will bicker ... if it is breeding season and they are too close together, females pick on other females and males on other males.
It is also necessary to move babies if one parent begins chasing them after they are "older" and fully fledged and eating on their own. Bourkes are pretty docile when housed together, but if you have breeding pairs, they are going to be territorial. They need space, or separate cages.  
Thanks again for all your information. So far there are only two babies and I believe that will be it, but the eggs are still there. I can't believe how quickly they have grown in just a week!! The mom now regularly leaves the nest for food and is no longer "tied" to the nest, but she is always back feeding or sitting on them.

I do have one last question for you, the nest box is getting smelly. It almost looks like there is a white substance (nesting material?? but none was provided) on top of the shavings (mold??). Should/can I do a complete change of their nest? I do have another nesting box that I could "prepare" and then just switch the babies to that one when mom is off. What is your opinion and what would you do? I don't want to disrupt them too much, but I also want a clean and healthy environment for them. Thanks again for all your help.

How tame is your hen? If this is her first clutch, it might be risky to do anything. Yet, I have scooped out the poops before and replaced some of the pine shavings with new. A large enough box with only two babies and pine shavings in the bottom wouldn't smell bad where I live, but then the temperature doesn't get really hot either.

My hand fed, very tame hen, Fuchsia, raised five babies last year and I took them out, completely cleaned the box, replacing the shavings and returned the babies. She sat on my shoulder most of the time I was doing this. However, with my older hens that were not hand fed, I'd not go to that extreme...besides Fuchsia was in a small box and five babies were too many for that box. I did NOT, however, change boxes! That would be too disruptive. This year, I made sure she had one of the larger boxes since she tends to raise more young then my other Bourkes.

Rosie raised two babies this year and I decided to move her back into the kitchen nook where she's happier. After her first clutch was fledged, I put her and her mate in another cage with a new nest box. They did not go right back to raise another clutch. It has been several weeks and Rosie is finally going into the new box. Switching boxes in the same year can be done, but I would NOT do it when there are babies in the nest.

If the smell bothers you, scoop out what you can of the poop. If it's all white, it may also be extra regurgitated food. I've had that stick to the sides of a box and begin to mold (the mold was black). A strong metal spoon scraped it off.

I'd wait until the babies are at least showing the beginning of feathers before I'd do anything though. Be sure they are off to a good start.

Without knowing your hen, I can't really recommend anything. Mine allow me to clean boxes when they are outside, but I do so hurriedly and as unobtrusively as possible. Better to endure a little odor for a while then lose the babies. It's going to be your call. Good luck.

… we live in Christchurch New Zealand. We are just coming into our second breeding season with our lovely wee cream, pink and cinnamon and split normal bourkes.

Last year we successfully reared 11 chicks with a normal male and female, and a very pretty cinnamon female. He did a great job looking after both his families, but this year we decided to get a pink, and a cream female, and a cream male to add to our bourke household. We have all the females sitting, and we are looking forward to some very pretty babies.

We came across your web site and found it very interesting and informative. We handled our chicks last season right from the start and both our Mums accepted our intervention. However this season we want to go one step further by trying to supplement feed, or perhaps hand rear some babies.

Today we went to a local pet store, where they do a lot of hand rearing, but we were advised not to try supplementing or hand rearing because it is too difficult. They told us to just try to tame the babies just after they leave the nest box. They said we could just feed them millet sprays. Is this good advice, and would the millet be sufficient, without a supplemental feeding formula? They mentioned that the hand rearing formula temperature and consistency is very crucial to the babies survival, is this so?



What would we require, to do hand rearing from the start, or would supplementing be the best way to go? We are beginners, but we have to start somewhere to reach our goal of lovely tame wee friends who would enjoy our company as much as we will enjoy theirs. Who will feed from our hands and sit on our shoulder.

We would love to hear from you to advise us, because the last thing we want to do is harm our babies. Our Mum's, Rosie, Polly, and Missy are not hand tame, so by trying to supplement feed, could we cause them to stop feeding their chicks? We have so many questions, we hope you can help and look forward to your reply.

Hand feeding Bourkes is much easier than the pet shop has told you. Perhaps they don't want the competition...?

The Exact Hand feeding formula package gives appropriate temperatures, but I've never used a thermometer with mine. I heat water to boiling and stir in the appropriate amount of Exact. This varies with the age of the bird and it's given on the package. However, if you wait until birds are three weeks of age, you will always use two parts water to one part Exact.
I test the temperature against my wrist, as you might bottled human baby formula. When it's very warm and no longer hot, I feed it. It cools too quickly, so I put the small bowl of bird formula in a larger bowl of very hot water to help keep it warm. Birds that are three weeks old and older are less affected by temperature changes than very young birds. In fact, once they are fully feathered, allowing it to cool to room temperature is no longer a problem.
Temperature is very important with newly hatched babies. But, you won't want to hand feed until your Bourke youngsters are three weeks of age. Let the parents do the hardest work. If you remove them from their parents and into a box, they will soon learn to eat warm Exact. If you leave them with their parents, they may refuse your feedings and you've lost the advantage of hand feeding altogether.
It is important to keep the babies warm when they are removed. I keep a small heater nearby and have posts with photos of what we use. Having several babies together helps them keep each other warm. And since they are starting to grow feathers, they will be warmer than completely bald chicks that require their mothers to sit on them.
When they are fully feathered, I move them into a cage, but still with a box to "hide" in. As they come out, there will be spray millet available for them to learn to eat on their own. I also provide parakeet seed at the same time and let them transition themselves from hand feeding to millet to seed.
I definitely don't recommend giving them ONLY spray millet! It's good for learning to eat on their own while you are providing hand feeding formula for fully feathered babies; or while their parents are feeding them after they've left their nest box. But, have parakeet seed available too.
Maybe it's time for me to post again about hand feeding Bourkes.

Have you seen the baby Lady Gouldian finches we hatched in a homemade incubator? Now, they are difficult to feed when newly hatched and so tiny!  I'm amazed and blessed they hatched and grew up. Peace & Blessings. 

Lady Gouldians incubator hatched.
Hi. I have been hand feeding 2 roseys for ten days and they will not stay with me now to get fed. I clipped their wings but that did not help any. I am afraid they will starve. This is the first time feeding roseys any suggestions on what to do - Marjorie
When did you start feeding them? Were they already out of the nest and fully feathered? I would be sure they have parakeet seed to eat if they won't let you hand feed them. Young Rosy Bourkes will usually tame down even if not hand fed. They just need patience and attention.

Are you gentle with them and "sweet" talk to them? If someone in their hearing gets upset and yells, that will frighten them and make them unwilling to trust. An angry or impatient spouse or child can scare them. If you are alone and talk kindly to them, they should settle. I'm surprised they don't. It sounds like something in their environment is scaring them. Animals react to our feelings...if you are upset with them, they will sense it. Sweetness, kindness, affection should be returned for your patience.


I'm guessing you may have waited too long to begin hand feeding them? I once had a mother bird get sick before her baby was weaned. It was already feathered and would have left the nest in a few days. I gave her to a friend who had hand fed before (this was before I'd done it). She tried to feed the baby, but it refused food from an eye dropper; however, there was seed in the bottom of her cage and she began to eat it. She survived by feeding herself earlier than most birds do. Her will to eat won out. Yet, she wouldn't take the formula she was offered. I think it was too different from what her parents had fed her.

I begin hand feeding at about three weeks of age before they are feathered. This is when pin feathers are just beginning to show. It may take more than one try...they have to be hungry and I make them take it the first few times. An eye dropper can open the side of their beaks and a squirt inside usually convinces them that it's good and then they want it. I always do this from their left side. This comes natural to me, but someone told me that to enter the mouth from the right risks having them inhale it into their lungs. Not sure if that's so or not, but feed from their left to be safe.

If you've been hand feeding for ten days it sounds like they want "real" food ... budgie/parakeet seed.

Be sure they have other options to eat if they won't take the formula you offer. Mine love cooked mixed vegetables, especially corn. It's an easy thing to eat. Also spray millet is a good food to start babies eating on their own. I'd be sure they have other options if they suddenly refuse what you try to feed them.

It may also seem like they aren’t eating enough, but please note that as the birds reach their full size, they quit eating as much as they did while they were still growing. Maybe a little hand feeding formula goes a long way now. It may seem like they aren’t eating enough because they aren’t eating as much as they used to, but are actually getting more than enough. If forced to keep eating, that could make them try to get away from you. Good luck!
Hi there, I live in Kingston, Canada and have just purchased unrelated 12-week-old parent raised Roseys. How do I tame them, or can I. I do want them for breeding purposes as adults, but would love to tame them as they are still young. The breeder said that he had handled them, but they are very skittish and afraid of me. I also have cockatiels, linnie parakeets, canaries and have my eye on Splendids. I would love to be able to correspond with you. Also I would love to know a little about the Splendid Parakeet. Thanks for listening.
Bourkes respond well to "sweet talk." My oldest male still comes up to the bars to talk to me, but he is not finger tame. If I catch him, he doesn't bite. However, his mate bites like crazy if she's caught. He was young when I got him, but she came with another male and their age was uncertain...not young, I'm sure.
I didn't try to tame Rhett, but sometimes think I should have. I think it's more difficult to tame a bird when other birds are present. If they are the only bird, they desire your companionship. You can chase them around the room until they are too tired to fly away and put them on your shoulder. This takes a lot of energy and repetition. It was how I tamed budgies when I was 12. I'm not up to that now.
I suggest putting your hand in the cage and holding a piece of spray millet or anything else they are very fond of and coax them in a soft voice. Hopefully, they will begin hopping on your hand to sample it and begin to trust you. Once they are very comfortable doing that, then you can try letting them out and see if they will still come to you. It will take a lot of time every day to bring them to the point where they sit on your finger or your shoulder.
However, getting them to interact through the cage is easy. Bourkes are friendly birds and love being talked to. If you're satisfied with that you'll have no trouble. Did the breeder have the birds surgically sexed? At 12 weeks it's going to be hard to determine sex from behavior. You will be able to do so later, however, if you read some of my blogs about it. I hope you have a male and female.
The tame birds in photos on my blog are all hand fed. If you want a truly tame bird, you might want to let your pair breed and then hand feed the babies at three weeks onward. Even hand fed, some of mine are very tame and like being kissed or petted, while others interact reluctantly. Different personalities.
Good luck. Don't hesitate to ask questions. I suggest you use the search engine on The Splendid Bourke Bird Blog. There are lots of topics on raising Bourkes and Splendids and their personality differences. Blessings.
Hi Gail, thanks so much for replying to my questions. The breeder told me that the male has more gray around the neck and also specks of turquoise on his tail. The female is a brighter pink with a thicker head. I hope he's right because I do want to breed them in the future and they're unrelated. The female is a little older than the male. I heard him making some vocal sounds today. I will continue to talk to them and hand raise their babies when they have them.
I have read that Roseys and Splendids are prone to getting worms. Is that right? If so how can I prevent this? Thanks again and hopeful to hear from you soon.

I haven't heard anything about worms being any more a problem in parakeets than any other bird. If they came to you healthy, live indoors, and have healthy food, they aren't going to get something like that. However, they can catch anything from another bird that is carrying something contagious, or get it from being in an outdoor aviary exposed to wild birds. In a healthy bird a parasite may not be apparent until they are stressed through raising young, having a cold, things like that.

If they are indoors and kept away from other birds and cold drafts, there should never be a problem.

My Rosy hens have darker faces than the males, but this can vary widely from bird to bird based on their parentage. I've read that hens have flatter heads, but that seems like nonsense to me, and too nebulous to use as a sex identifier. Males do sing more than hens and "strut" when they're old enough and want to attract a hen. They throw their shoulders back and flair their wings slightly.

The blue on their tails is also subject to genetics through their parents. Now, if you had Normal (brown) Bourkes, you could use color to identify sex, but it doesn't work with Rosies. Male Normal Bourkes get a tiny blue line of feathers above the cere (nostril) as they mature. Females do not have this.

The blue on the rump of Normals is on both sexes. Some Rosies have it and some don't. Some even have pink-eyed birds do. Lutino's are yellow with pink and they vary widely in amounts of color too. Only behavior (or a surgical test) are going to give you the sex of a Bourke, unless it's a Normal.

Search "sexing Bourkes" and I've commented on identifying sex in more than one post.

Hope you have a pair...the odds are in your favor if the breeder thinks he could tell. I'm usually pretty spot-on in identifying mine, just because of experience and familiarity with what my pairs produce. He's probably familiar with what his pairs do too.

Hi Gail, how are you? I saw rabbit salt blocks at a pet store here (like little wheels), but I thought salt was bad for birds.
I wanted to ask you, do Rosies like their nests high, or does it matter? Also I may have asked you this, what size cages are your pairs in?
Salt block on floor.
Hello my Canadian friend. I worried about the salt too, but expert bird breeder, Bob Nelson, assured me they are good for the birds. Mine are like little wheels too and the birds use them now. They've had larger clutches since I added them two years ago. They instinctively know how much to eat from them. The minerals in the salt blocks, especially iodine, are healthy for the birds and seem to promote productivity.
Bourkes will typically choose high nest boxes. I place my box near the top of the cage, and outside. There are photos on the website, The Splendid Bourke Bird Blog. My cages are 30 inches long, 18 inches high and 18 inches wide. Bourkes can fly in circles within a cage that size, or from one end to the other if you have a perch in opposite corners. Choose different sized perches (not length, but diameter). Bourkes are fliers, not climbers like Splendids and Budgies. Peace & Blessings, Gail 
Hello and thanks so much for all your info. I love getting to know bird loving people. I have been breeding and raising birds for 7 years now and enjoyed every minute. I often say that bird loving people are the nicest people on earth. I believe God blesses us with love for these beautiful creations of His, don't you? I met a lady from Florida when I started out with ‘tiels, who has become my friend and mentor throughout the years as she has a great deal of experience working with them (30 years worth).
Your advice means a lot to me as I believe you are an expert in birds as well. Since I'm new to Rosies, please tell me if what I feed them is okay.  I feed a combination of parakeet seed and cockatiel seed, leaving out the large sunflower seeds and give them a few small ones instead. I usually replenish their seeds every night accompanied by a small sprig of millet. This is so they will have enough food for dusk and for dawn. In the morning, around 7:30, I give them their fresh foods consisting of a little whole wheat couscous (which they haven't taken to yet), a mix of veggies (corn,peas,beans,carrots), a few sprouted seeds and some hard boiled slivered egg on top. I also add a little apple as well. They seem to take to the veggies, apple and egg, but leave the sprouts for some reason.
Thank you for the kind words. I agree about people who love birds and believe we've been blessed.

I had some friends from church in for lunch yesterday and one of the ladies is afraid of birds when they fly. Very sad. I had planned to show off my tame birds, but didn't let them out rather than scare her. For one of the women who is quite elderly, I held a bird for her to pet. He was frustrated at not being allowed to fly, but she got to enjoy him up close as I held him.

The food you are feeding them sounds fine. Mine aren't as babied. I always keep parakeet seed present in their cages...more than they need and replace it periodically. A lot would be wasted, but I gather whatever is left from the cage "skirts" and put it out for the wild birds. Assorted veggies and greens are periodic throughout the week. Daily would be better, but admit they don't get them daily. Spray millet is only given when they are breeding or feeding babies. I worry about obesity in them since an autopsy showed that one of my three-year-old Rosy hens died because her organs shut down from being too fat. At the time I was giving them safflower seed and spray millet all the time and lots of corn. They love all three, but all are high in fat. So, I've changed...more greens and veggies, less fattening stuff. Seed is fattening too, but it's necessary and healthy. I think it was the safflower that put her over the edge. She'd also never laid an egg, so she didn't need the extra fat.

When I had cockatiels I didn't give them sunflower seeds very often...they got cockatiel seed and greens. They liked fruit too, but my Rosies don't. If I offer it, they ignore it. They do like sprouted seeds, however. I think sometimes it’s what they've learned to eat from their parents or other birds. I always have a bowl or two of seed in every cage because I worry something might happen to keep me away from home, and I want seed to be there for them. I also have two cups of water and a water bottle on each cage. It's more than necessary, but it reassures me. I've learned from experience that the unexpected can occur when you least expect it. I don't have relatives nearby who could run in and take care of the birds. If something happened to both my husband and me, we'd have to ask a friend or neighbor to go take care of the birds, and since we're in the country, none live close by. It might be a few days before help arrived. Hence, adding all the extra backstops seems wise. Smile.
Hi. I have the opportunity to purchase DNA sexed male rosey split to lutino and a regular rosey hen. Will they give me any lutino babies or only splits? Thanks! Love your website! Bob in FLORIDA
Baby Lutino Bourke Parakeet.
Photo by Jill Warnick.
Hello Bob. There are no guarantees; however, it's a chance I'd take. A friend in Maine has a lutino male and a Normal hen (not a Rosy, a brown and pink wild-colored hen). All her hens have been Lutino and all her males were Normals, as expected...he wasn't split, he was a full Lutino.

Since the color is sex-linked, hens take after their father and cocks take after their mother as you probably know. With a split to Lutino, you can hope you'll get Lutino hens from him...but, no assurances until you’ve seen the hens he produces.

I had a split Normal male with a Normal hen (wild color) and they always threw Rosy hens (his father was a Rosy and his mother a Normal). He and his mate were both Normals (don't know her background, but knew his). As I said, he threw Rosy hens every time even though he was a Normal. Of course, all the males were Normals like their mother, so she was not split.

Best of luck. It's a pair I'd personally grab and see what they produced.  Hope to hear back from you about what you get.
Hi, I have a very happy male and female rosy bourke together in a cage with a nest box, he feeds her all the time and they constantly sit together. She is laying eggs but will not sit on them. I have seen them mate but she will not have anything to do with the eggs. She lays them on the bottom of the cage but will not sit on them. I have even put the eggs in the nest box, and put her in the box too, she comes out instantly. I have no idea what is going on or how to correct it. They are both close to being 4 years old, not related. I got them from 2 different breeders. PLEASE help…any and all help will greatly appreciated. carol
Hello Carol, Is your nest box mounted high, NOT near the floor of a cage or aviary? Bourkes are different than Budgerigar parakeets and don't like budgie-style boxes with only an indentation in the bottom. They want pine shavings on the inch or so deep. They may push them aside, but they need something like that. Never use cedar which is aromatic. What is your nest box made of? A pine or composition box is good. If it was assembled with a smelly glue instead of nails or staples that might put the birds off too. Or, a strong paint smell?

Typically, male Bourkes check out the nest box before a hen goes into it. They are supposed to make sure it's safe. If she's afraid of the box, she's not going to go into it. A different box, or a different location might help. However, every bird is an individual. I had one hen who hatched her eggs, but killed her first baby and injured others before I removed them. That's when I learned to hand feed. That hen came from another household, so I don't know how she was treated before I got her...she seemed to be a bit deranged. I always watched closely and removed her babies as soon as they hatched. We formed a good team that way until one morning she acted strangely and suddenly died. However, one of her daughters is the sweetest bird I own and an excellent mother. I've often wondered what made her behave as she did.
I'd offer your hen a new box or location. Her mate might eventually do what he's supposed to and check out the nest box, then encourage her to go inside. That's his job. Be sure you place the box as close to the top of your cage as possible with pine shavings in the bottom.

Fertile eggs will still be viable a few days after they’re laid. I'd rescue them from the floor and put them in an incubator and hope to hand feed. Here's a link to a post on one we assembled quickly that worked fine:

After a few days in the incubator, you can candle eggs to see if they're fertile...there should be red vessels in them. Birds sometimes attempt to mate, but don't actually make contact, hence eggs might not be fertile. Give them several days, however, before tossing them out. If they aren't fertile, that could be another reason why she's not interested in them. Perhaps she knows they aren't any good...however, my hens sit on infertile eggs anyway.

It's fun to see a heart beat begin in eggs from an incubator, and later baby birds moving around in them. In an incubator, turn the eggs in the same direction approximately every two or three hours and don't let the bowl of water go dry. Humidity is essential, especially close to hatching. When they are mature, at about 18 days, you may want to slightly moisten the eggs (put a warm, damp cloth over them momentarily) . There is more out there on incubating eggs if you google it. Eggs can be incubated even several days after they were laid. Hens often wait a few days before sitting on them. Expect hatching 18 to 21 days after they are put in a warm incubator. Good luck!


… My nest box was bought at Petsmart, pine I guess. I have carefresh in the nest box, do you think that the nest box is too small? It’s for parakeets, and yes the nest box is on the floor of the cage, I even have a small humidifier, I just do not know what else to do, thank you for your time. Carol
Hi Carol, I have all my nest boxes mounted outside the cages, which required cutting some bars for the entrance.They are attached at the top of the cage. My blog has lots of pictures, and I attached some to this email.
Nest box location might be your biggest problem. Bourkes want to go "up" to the nest opening, and if the box is on the floor, it may not be high enough and that is what puts them off. Is it worth it to damage the cage and have baby birds? It was to me...all my cages have holes in them. When the boxes come off, I cover the holes with duct tape (sticky sides together, of course). I also cover any sharp edges from cut wires with duct tape.
If your cage is really expensive and you think cutting it would ruin it, get a cheap one and cut the bars on it. Garage sales often have them, but clean/disinfect it thoroughly before using it. My smallest nest box is 8 inches high, 8 inches deep and 9 inches wide. If your box is truly a parakeet nest box, it should be okay. However, a pet shop can call them whatever they want to. Check the size.
I wasn't familiar with carefresh, so I looked it up on the internet. Apparently it's a paper product for cage bottoms. I didn't see anything about using it in nest boxes. If it's really fine (small or gritty), the birds might not like it, even if it's not aromatic. Attached is a picture of the product I've bought and used successfully. It doesn't stick to them and I wonder about the carefresh, although I've never handled it.
If the pine shavings have large chunks, I take them out and throw them away. I've used pine shavings for years with lots of success over and over again. I provide the birds with clean pine shavings between clutches. Every year the boxes come off and are thoroughly cleaned and we start completely fresh for the next breeding season. Hope this helps.

Thank you For the nest box plans. Could you give some advice on two pair of RUBINO BOURKES the hens are laying their eggs on the floor of the cage and not in the nest box. The nest boxes are simular to the ones in the plans you have sent. Some people told me to try another nest box, but I really don’t know what to do. Can you please help? Thank you.
Some thoughts: Do you have pine shavings in the bottom of the boxes? If they're cedar the birds will reject them because of the smell. What are the boxes made of? Seasoned pine or composition board is good. Are the holes the right size? Too small and they can't get in. Typically, the males go in the boxes first to be sure they're safe. Do you have mated pairs with males who are checking the boxes for them? That might be why they aren't going inside. If the males are too young, they might not be ready for this responsibility.

Are your birds in a quiet place? Mine are used to our dog suddenly barking if someone arrives unexpectedly, but they notice right away when there are new people in the house and unfamiliar voices, especially loud laughing, etc. Cigarette smoke is another possible deterent to wanting to reproduce...they need a healthy atmosphere.
Once I had a hawk plant himself outside a window near the birds and it upset them terribly. It was a side light window without blinds, so I taped white typing paper to the window. Diffused light comes through, but they can't see a hawk and it can't see them.

Birds breed best in 70-75 degree temps. Although, they probably wouldn't lay eggs if it was too cold and/or too dark. Are the nest boxes exposed to bright sun that could make them too hot inside? They should be out of the sun. No rodents around are there? Boxes mounted up high, not set on the ground or in the bottom of the cage?

Those are the first possibilities that come to mind. If your hens and their mates are very young, maybe they will get better in another year or so.

… We live in Christchurch New Zealand.  We are just coming into our second breading season with our lovely wee cream, pink and cinnamon and split normal Bourkes.
Last year we successfully reared 11 chicks with a normal male and female, and a very pretty cinnamon female.  He did a great job looking after both his families, but this year we decided to get a pink, and a cream female, and a cream male to add to our Bourke household. We have all the females sitting, and we are looking forward to some very pretty babies.
We came across your web site and found it very interesting and informative. We handled our chicks last season right from the start and both our Mums accepted our intervention.  However this season we want to go one step further by trying to supplement feed, or perhaps hand rear some babies.
Today we went to a local pet store, where they do a lot of hand rearing, but we were advised not to try supplementing or hand rearing because it is too difficult. They told us to just try to tame the babies just after they leave the nest box. They said we could just feed them millet sprays. Is this good advice, and would the millet be sufficient, without a supplemental feeding formula. They mentioned that the hand rearing formula temperature and consistency is very crucial to the babies’ survival, is this so?
What would we be required to do hand rearing from the start, or would supplementing be the best way to go. We are beginners, but we have to start somewhere to reach our goal of lovely tame wee friends who would enjoy our company as much as we will enjoy theirs. Who will feed from our hands and sit on our shoulder.
We would love to hear from you to advise us, because the last thing we want to do is harm our babies. Our Mum's, Rosie, Polly, and Missy are not hand tame, so by trying to supplement feed, could we cause them to stop feeding their chicks.  We have so many questions, we hope you can help! We look forward to your reply.
 Hand feeding Bourkes is much easier than the pet shop has told you. Perhaps they don't want the competition...?
 The Exact Hand Feeding formula package gives appropriate temperatures, but I've never used a thermometer with mine. I heat water to boiling and stir in the appropriate amount of Exact. This varies with the age of the bird and it's given on the package. However, if you wait until birds are 3 weeks of age, you will always use two parts water to one part Exact.
I test the temperature against my wrist, as you might bottled human baby formula. When it's very warm and no longer hot, I feed it. It cools too quickly, so I put the small bowl of bird formula in a larger bowl of very hot water to help keep it warm. Birds that are 3 weeks and older are less affected by temperature changes than very young birds. In fact, once they are fully feathered, allowing formula to cool to room temperature is not a problem.
Temp. is important with newly hatched babies. But, you won't want to hand feed until your Bourke youngsters are about 3 weeks of age. Let the parents do the hardest work. If you remove them from their parents at 3 weeks and into a box, they will soon learn to eat warm Exact. If you leave them with their parents, they may refuse your feedings and you've lost the advantage of hand feeding altogether.
 It is important to keep the babies warm when they are removed. I keep a small heater nearby and have posts with photos of what we use. Having several babies together helps them keep each other warm. And since they are starting to grow feathers, they will be warmer than completely bald chicks that require their mothers to sit on them.
When they are fully feathered, I move them into a cage, but still with a box to "hide" in. As they come out, there will be spray millet available for them to learn to eat on their own. I also provide budgie/parakeet seed at the same time and let them transition themselves from hand feeding to spray millet to seed.
I definitely don't recommend giving them ONLY spray millet! It's good for learning to eat on their own while you are providing hand feeding formula for fully feathered babies; or while their parents are feeding them after they've left their nest box. But, have parakeet seed available too.
I recently learned to feed Lady Gouldian finches and their eating style is very different from Bourke parakeets. The finches are best fed through crop feeding, using a syringe that they’ll swallow on their own down their throats and take all the food at once. Bourkes are not like that. With an eye dropper, they eat a certain amount at a time. Let them control how much they want. When small they will actually gulp more at a time than they do as they grow. You can see their crops bulge out. They need a lot of food at a time while small and gradually take less as they reach full-size. Don’t short-change them on food. Let them eat as much as they will.

The Exact that spills around their mouths will harden as it cools. I sponge them off with warm water after every feeding. Still, some gets missed and has to be soaked away with warm water. It hides under their cheek feathers next to their beaks and spills down their chests. If you can wash it away before it cools and hardens, they’ll stay prettier. However, if some gets overlooked then over time even the worst of any that’s left is replaced when new feathers come in.  
Hi, I love your blogspot. I have a male and female normal bourke's parakeets and I am planning to breed them in the spring time. Many times in the cage she will go into her mating pose for the male, but he usually ignores her. However, while they were outside the the cage today, they mated two times. Does this mean I should put a nest box in the cage? Even though it's November, I don't know what time of the year is breeding season for bourkes. I would prefer to wait until the spring, but I don't want to make a mistake and lose any eggs she might lay without a nest. Thank you!
Thank you, Melissa. You don't say where you are, but I'll assume in the USA. In Australia, November is the perfect time of year. Smile.

Bourkes, like all birds, are affected by the length of daylight. If the artificial light in your home is on in the evenings and/or early in the morning, as far as they know the days are longer and it's a good time to breed. If you don't want them to, then reduce the hours of light.

However, in the Pacific Northwest where we live (Oregon), it's rather chilly yet I have a hen raising three babies at present. The house is kept warm and the babies are doing fine. This is her 3rd clutch this year and she just happens to be later than the other hens were.

If you want to let them raise a clutch, provide a nest box and be sure that the house is least 68 degrees Fahrenheit, although 70 or 71 is better. They will probably raise a second and third clutch, if allowed. More than that a year isn't healthy for the hen.

When she raises them is less important than that they are in a warm location with adequate daylight and plenty of healthy food. Be sure to use the search engine on my site to find other posts on breeding and raising Bourkes. You'll find appropriate nest box size and so on.
Good luck! - Gail

About Adding a Linnie:
I would like to say I LOVE getting your updates, please keep them coming. Well, I have 2 roseys I think one is a female (pale) and the other is bright (male). They have nothing to do with each other, when one is at this end of the cage the other is at the other end. Sometimes they bicker, but all in all they get along. How come the are not preening each other or playing? I don’t care if they have eggs or not, I just want them to keep each other company. Another question, my friend is giving up a lineolated (linnie) parakeet. Will it get along with my roseys? I have a very large flight cage so there is enough room, but I don’t want to upset the apple cart. I want everyone happy.  God bless and have a great day. Susan
Hi Susan, Bourkes usually get along with just about any other bird. Each individual bird has its own personality, however, so impossible to promise they will all get along. It's likely they will, especially if they have lots of room, but there are no guarantees.
I've been told the Linnies are sweet birds and hope to find a blue pair for myself, but have never had them before. So, I'm not much help. I "think" they will be fine together, but there are a few birds that are more caustic than others.
As for why your two aren't friendlier with each other...Did they have other mates before being put together? If so, one or both might be longing for a lost relationship. If they are both hens, there might be some jealousy going on...hard to say. I have two hens who got along as youngsters, but once they each became mothers things changed. They are in different cages, but come out together occasionally. Only one is aggressive to the other, so I either watch them closely to stop altercations, or let the aggressive hen out with her mate and not with the other birds.
I have one male Bourke who has had three different hens as mates and he's always been sweet to each one. His first mate died and the 2nd one got sick and he nursed her through a whole winter feeding her when she couldn't feed herself. Remarkably she recovered, joined another male and raised many babies. So, he got a new mate and has raised many young with her...never with the 2nd one even though he fed and cared for her when she was sick. Don't know what her problem was, but she was totally incapacited for about 4 months, crawling instead of flying, and he kept feeding her. He's a sweet, wonderful bird. As I said, she surprised me by making a full recovery. After several years of raising young, she is retired and still alive, and well, and he's still going strong with his 3rd mate. They had three healthy clutches this year.
Then, there was Clyde who refused any other mate except Bonnie. He'd chase them away even though they were the only other bird in the cage with him. Eventually, he got Bonnie back and they've successfully raised many young Bourkes. So, every bird is different.

Lineolated Parakeet. Photo from expired
eBay classified ad. If this is yours, please
contact me. Would love to buy or trade.
Good luck with your new Linnie...hopefully as sweet and fun as I've been told they are.
Peace and Blessings, Gail  
I have been looking for an easy to use genetic calculator for Bourke’s (similar to the one I found for my Linnies), but have not succeeded. I did find some, but they are too complicated for me to use.
I am wondering (excitedly) what I might expect to get from an opaline (rosey) hen and a normal cock (don’t know of any splits, but the blue in his wings is almost a violet colour). I am expecting to get some normals and some opalines, but I am wondering if there is a possibility that I might get an opaline cock from this pairing as I have been given a young opaline (cinnamon or fallow – red eyes) hen, and would like a mate for her.
My pair are currently – well, actually she – is sitting on 5 eggs (I think 4 are good) which are due to start hatching later this week, and I am very excited! Many thanks for any help you can pass along. Ruby
Hello Ruby, I'd expect all your Normal babies to be hens. Your Opaline babies should be males like their mother, although if she's split she might produce something else, but it's not likely.
Color is sex-linked in Bourkes and babies typically look like the opposite parent. Splits can change that. For instance, if you take an Opaline male (a baby you're expecting) and pair him with the fallow hen you just got, he could still produce Normal hens because he's a split from his Normal father. Odds are, however, that your Opaline babies will be hens from him. In fact, with the fallow, red-eyed hen, you will probably get nearly all Rosy Bourkes. A Normal is unlikely from that pairing, but possible.
I had a pair of Normals who always threw Rosy hens and Normal males. Why? Because the Normal male had a Rosy father, so he was split to Rosy. They always bred true...hens were Rosies and cocks were Normals like their mother who obviously was not a split.

Our lightest bird ever, but
wings are not fallow.
Only when they've reproduced can you tell if they are splits or not. For instance, if my Rosy male and Normal hen had produced several Normal males, some might be splits from their dad, but others might not be. In the case of the male I kept, he was split, but some of his brothers might not have produced Rosy hens because they were homozygous, and not heterozygous like he was.

Dark rose colored bird has red eyes,
pale pink and white has dark eyes.

Homozygous is the same. Heterozygous is different, as in split to another color. I can't give you genetic percentages, but have tried to share my personal experience above. Good's always fun to see what you get. Even my Rosy hen, Fuchsia, and very dark rose-colored male, Flame, threw a pale pink and white bird this year. I'm waiting to confirm if it's a hen or a cock. Beautiful bird like no other I've had before. Their parents and grandparents are Rosies, but none with this much white on them. And, surprisingly, the almost all-white bird has dark eyes. Last year I got several red-eyed babies from three clutches. This year we got none with red eyes. Weather differences? Who knows. It seems anything is possible. 
Peace and Blessings, Gail