Friday, January 27, 2012

Grasskeet Questions and Answers

All Grasskeets typically get along well with one another.
© Gail Lewis

David in the UK asks:

“I have a pair of Rosie Bourkes and one of them has just started to crouch down and spread its wings a little. It still moves around when doing it. WHY?”

Answer: Probably to entice the other bird ... Hens will crouch down, spread their wings slightly and raise their tail when ready to mate. They usually stand still, however. Males stand up straight and flair the shoulders of their wings ... this is done to challenge other males and to show off in front of hens.

Both will sometimes flair their wings out low to the ground, although hens seem to do it more than males do. Even young birds not ready to mate will show these male or female behaviors. If you have a male and female over a year old, "she" might be looking for a place to lay eggs and it could be time to add a nest box. Birds will rarely lay without a nest box, but it has happened. One of mine laid in egg in her seed cup ... I quickly added a nest box and put the egg in it. She went on to lay and raise a clutch. It was February and not when I'd have wanted her to raise young, but it was about 9 months since her last batch and she decided she was ready in spite of everything.

The behavior you describe is not unusual. Best of luck. Aren't Bourkes wonderful? They're my favorite birds.


Karen asked: 
Male & female Splendid pair.
© Gail Lewis

“Just had a quick question about Splendids. Mine has a tendancy to make loud screeching noises in the morning and not sure why. He gets very excited then and just starts making very loud short screeches. He was raised in the same place as Sun Conures and was wondering if he has picked that sound up or is it a normal for them. He does have a very pretty little song during the day off and on, but the other noise is entirely different. I don't know whether to cover the cage at night or not. The bourkes are in there with him and they don't seem to mind, but it is very loud and I hope he is happy in there. Maybe he needs more space. Not sure. Any input would be greatly appreciated.”

Answer:  I've not had as many Splendids as Bourkes, but mine didn't/don't screech. I've not seen anything that says they mimic the way budgies do, but maybe the Sun Conures had some effect...? Not sure about that.

Could he be trying to get your attention? You're busy in the kitchen, but not paying him any attention? Another thought might be that he hopes if he's loud enough it might reach the ears of a female Splendid. My guess is that if he had a female present, he'd quit screeching and do more chirping/singing. ;-)

As for covering the cage, that's your call. I don't ever cover mine, but if the noise was excessive, I might. Not fair to your Bourkes though, is it? Yet, Bourkes rise early and can annoy some people when close to a bedroom. We keep our bedroom door closed so their morning songs before sunrise are muted and pleasant. As a retiree, I seldom rise while it's still dark any longer. ;-)

About space ... all birds like as much space as possible ... again, your call. Most of my pairs are housed in a cage that is 18" high, 18" wide and 30" long. They like width so they can fly in circles to exercise. Wide cages are more important than tall cages. My tame birds get to come outside and fly around, but those that aren't tame have to fly in circles in their cages.


Ron in Delaware asks:
Mixed grasskeets. 
© Gail Lewis

“I have 2 female Rosy Bourkes and 1 male Splendid. I got them at different times to make taming easier, I keep them in 3 separate cages next to each other. When I let them out, they all come out together so they can interact like a little flock. They don’t fight but none seems to like it when another bird goes in their cage. I was wondering if I could get them to all live together in one large cage or do you think it’s too late for that? I was thinking if I got a new larger cage and put them all in it at the same time, it might work out. What do you think?”

Answer: I think your idea of adding them all to a larger cage at the same time is excellent. Bourkes and Splendids normally get along just fine together.   

As for taming them, being in separate cages probably won't help any. In fact, if one is "tamer" than the others, it might help reassure the others that you are no threat. I have hand fed Bourkes in cages with young parent fed Bourkes and the very tame birds help tame down the others.

Bourkes can be territorial about their own cages when of breeding age ... especially male Bourkes with other male Bourkes and/or Bourke hens being protective of their territory against other hens (or even their adult children). Since your Bourkes are both female, they should get along fine in the new cage as long as there's no nest box and no male Bourke.

If, however, one is actually male, he might chase the Splendid ... Or not. The younger they are, the better your chances at perfect harmony.

I once had a Normal Bourke hen ask a male Splendid to mate with her (there were no male Bourkes available at the time). When he pulled a feather out, she attacked him and they no longer had any interest in each other. He was an unusual Splendid in that he pulled feathers from his Splendid mate too (who had died a few months earlier)... None of my other Splendids have ever pulled feathers.

All the material about Bourkes indicates they are a species unto themselves and won't interbreed with other varieties of birds. Splendids, however, will. They've successfully mated with Turks.

Good luck with your birds. Talking sweetly to them and offering treats by hand might help tame them. Also, keeping them near you while you're working at a desk, or near the kitchen table while you eat ... things like that help too.


More from Ron:
Young Splendids, a sister and two brothers. 
© Gail Lewis

“…this male Splendid is fully-flighted and fairly tame but is afraid of my hands and will not perch. I let him out with my two female Bourkes for free flight time. They are both tame and will fly to me on their own – especially my original Bourke. Also, both Bourkes were initially wing-clipped by their breeders so they are not afraid to perch on my finger. My male splendid seems like he wants to be friends. He lands on me sometimes when they are with me but is skittish and flies off if I try to get him to perch on my finger. I am currently trying to bribe him with food – millet spray. The two Bourkes like to eat that if I hold it or drape a millet spray over my shoulder. The splendid will sometimes come over and land on me for a few bites. Is this how I should train him? i.e. be very patient and let him gradually come to me?

A friend has suggested that I wing-clip him once to sort of force hand-taming but I am reluctant to do that because he loves flying and is very good at it (doesn’t crash into anything) – and he is manageable right now – he’s not super tame but he knows how to fly back to his cage by himself, is not terrified of me, and is no “problem” – he’s just not super tame yet. What do you think? Should I just keep going like I am with the millet spray or should I wing-clip him once to tame him down? He is about 8 months old now.”

Answer:  I don't know what to suggest about the wing clipping. I don't like clipping my birds ... seems kind of mean, yet I've nothing against it either. It might help, or might be resented...? I've no recommendation on that score. Although, if you have cats or dogs ... clipping wouldn't be wise. And, I have both.

I have found that my male Bourkes (who aren't hand fed) will get on my arm, but not on my hand. There seems to be something safer about an arm, especially if there are other birds on it. Those same males will put themselves away even before I put the tame birds back in their cage. So, like your Splendid, they aren't any problem.

I find Bourkes easier to tame than Splendids. One of my hand fed Splendid males didn't get handled regularly and quit being finger tame. He didn't bite if picked up, but quit "kissing" and climbing up on my hand. The affection was gone. My fault, I think, because I just got too busy to let him out of his cage often enough ... that, and he was busy with his exciting new hen.

His hen has since died and someone begged to buy him from me. She now has him and is giving him lots of attention, along with a tame Bourke hen. He's maybe not as tame as he once was as a youngster, but he's been tamer with her recently than he'd been with me in a long time. I believe the key is "lots of attention."

My two favorite hand fed Bourke hens don't like each other when they come out together any longer. They used to be great pals, but they've since had clutches and are more feisty. I tend to let them out to fly on different days or at different times. Of course, they each have a male who comes out with them, so they are protective of their mates too. The males might pick at one another, but one is not hand fed and he keeps his distance from the other three. He's one of those who puts himself back in the cage.

Best of luck taming your Splendid.

Jay in Oregon writes:

Young Rosy Bourkes. Parents in cage in back.
© Gail Lewis

“I've been admiring your blog pages and your parakeets. I am in the process of building two large aviaries to start breeding grass parakeets.

Could you please share with me the size of your breeding cages for splendids and bourkes? Also, do you or any other breeders you know sell grass keets; I am mostly interested in turks and splendids. I've had a hard time finding breeders of these species in Oregon.

Thank you kindly!”

Answer:   I'm glad you like my blog. Most of my breeding cages are 30 inches long, 18 inches high and 18 inches deep.

My favorite grass keets are Bourkes, so that's primarily what I have ... mostly Rosies of different shades of pink, rose and pink & white. I'm trying for lutino as some of mine carry yellow. This year I had three pairs produce some babies with pink eyes and am eager to see what sort of youngsters they will produce next spring or summer when paired together.

Don't know anyone with Turks, sorry. As for the Splendids ... I've raised them, but never more than a few at a time and have none for sale just now. I do have some young Rosies and can put pairs together.

All my birds are inside. However, I recently visited someone with many outside aviaries and did a blog about them   HERE. 

If you are interested in Rosy Bourkes, I'm your gal. Sorry I can't help with the others. If I hear of anyone I'll be sure to let you know. I would like to introduce more Splendids to my flock too. ;-)


Sarah in Oregon asked:

Opaline Fallow Rosy Bourke siblings. 
© Gail Lewis

“I recently purchased a pair of Rosy Bourkes, but I don't know much about them. I do raise cockatiels, and have budgies, so I'm not new to birds. I'm looking for something that might be able to give me some more information on this particular breed of bird.

I was told this is a pair of Boukes, but the *male* has no blue over his cere or on his forehead. He's pretty much all pink with some dark violet on the ends of his wings. The *female* is brown with a pink belly and violet on her wings. Can you help me figure out if these are really male and female? I'm beginning to wonder if they are both females, with one being a rosey, and the other a normal.

Also, I've got them inside right now in a fairly large cage, but I'd like to move them into my heated 8 foot aviary in our garden. I've got 2 pairs of cockatiels in there now. Have you mixed the two breeds before? These birds seem so timid, but maybe it's just because they are so quiet. Anyway, I'd really like them to have as much space as possible. Our cockatiels have babies right now, so I thought I'd wait until they were weaned and out of the aviary before I introduced any new birds. (If they will get along).

Any advice would be much appreciated, and I am definitely interested in possibly purchasing a couple more on down the road from a different bloodline.”

Answer:  I wouldn't move your Bourkes outside until winter is past and it is warmer. If your aviary is heated, is it free of drafts? Parakeets are susceptible to drafts.

Let them get accustomed to being outside when the weather is warm and then move gradually toward cooler weather. Also, Bourkes get along fine with cockatiels as long as they aren't crowded. If your cockatiels have young, however, they might be protective ... another reason to wait until Spring to move the Bourkes outside with them. Bourkes tend to get along with all other birds. They are protective during mating season (when there are nest boxes available). Males will chase other males away and hens will chase hens. To prevent this, make sure the aviary is roomy, or put them in individual cages.

If your Rosy doesn't have blue over his cere, that's nothing to worry about. None of my male Rosy's have blue there either. It's only reliable on mature Normal Bourkes.

I have posted about identifying the sex of Bourkes by their behavior. If you enter "sexing" into the search box at The Splendid Bourke Bird Blog, you'll get more information than you ever wanted. It's been a on-going discussion. Here's one post:

Males sing more and "wolf whistle." When a hen is present, they throw their shoulders back and flair the top of their wings a bit. Males want to feed hens. Hens wanting to mate will squat down and raise their tails in the air, while cheeping. Sometimes hens will squat and spread their wings outward as if to cover something touching the tips to the floor or perch.

Male Splendid brothers.          © Gail Lewis

Peace & Blessings.

Enjoy Your Birds

Monday, January 23, 2012

Avian Genetics, Bourke Parakeets by Su Yin

Introducing Su Yin who has commented on this site frequently as "neversink7," and graciously agreed to be a guest blogger on avian genetics. Below follows her post on Bourke genetics.  For your education and enjoyment! 

Bourkes are a delightful grasskeet.  They are the only grasskeet with pink being their main color.  Quiet and friendly with males being excellent singers, it’s hard to resist trying to keep a pair of each mutation!  Often, there are multiple terms that are used to describe the same mutations.  I will try to include the more common ones.
Basic genetic  nomenclature:

Normal or wild color refers to the natural or baseline genetics/coloring of the birds in the wild.  Mutations alter the baseline appearance of the birds from normal/wild colors.

For birds, similar to humans, there are 2 copies of each autosomal chromosome on which the genes exist, so there are 2 copies of each gene.   There are also the sex chromosomes that determine the gender of the bird.  In contrast to humans, the male bird has 2 copies of the same sex chromosome called the Z chromosome (ZZ) and the female bird has 1 copy of the Z chromosome and 1 copy of the W chromosome.  For the mutations that exist on the Z sex chromosome, the male bird can have 2 copies of these mutation genes while the female bird can only have either 1 copy or none.

Another concept that is important to grasp is dominant or recessive.  A gene that is dominant will show up even if only 1 copy of the gene exists in the bird.  If a gene is recessive, there needs to be 2 copies of the mutation gene in the bird in order for the mutation to show up. 

The term “split” applies to the recessive genes when the bird only has one copy of the mutation gene.  Since it doesn’t have 2 copies of the recessive gene, it will not physically show the mutation, but it carries the hidden mutation gene that can still be passed to its offspring.
Common bourke mutations:
Note Normal male at left has brighter colors
than Normal hen on right. © Gail Lewis
The normal Bourke is subtly colorful with grey over the head and back, dusty pink on the belly, yellow scalloping on the black wing feathers.  The males have blue across the brow and the hens do not. Males also have more blue on their wings.
Autosomal recessive mutations:
The genes for these mutations are on the autosomal chromosomes and 2 copies of the mutation gene are required to physically show the mutation.  Both the male and female can be split to these mutations.

Bronze fallow male:        ©Su Yin
Bronze fallow: 
All black pigments are changed to brown shades, eyes are red, skin and nails are pale. The bird generally looks lighter.  The blue band on the brown and wing still exists in the male and not in the hens.  There can be different degrees of darker vs. lighter coloring depending on the strain.

Pale fallow:
Pale fallow male: ©Su Yin
Also called cream or yellow.  All black pigment is changed into light browns, eyes are red, skin and nails are pale.  The color overall is lighter than bronze fallow with more yellow/cream colors.  There can be different degrees of darker vs. lighter coloring depending on the strain.

Pale fallow hen: ©Su Yin

 Photo by Atholl Shelton (Australia).'p/pied%20%20025_jpg_view.htm.

Irregular pattern of absence of deposition of pigment all over the body.

Sex-linked recessive mutations:

These mutations are genes that only exist on the Z chromosome and require 2 copies of the mutation gene in males but only need 1 copy in the females to show up physically.  Since the hens only have 1 copy of the Z chromosome, they will either show or not show the mutation, whereas the males can be split to the mutation if they have only 1 copy of the mutation gene.

The black coloring is brownish colored.  Eyes are dark red.  Nails are horn colored.  No increase in the yellow or cream coloring.
Cinnamon Bourke:

Lutino Bourke     ©Su Yin
Inability to produce any dark pigment, so normally blue areas are white, pale pink over the head and body with yellow coloring over the wings and back.  Skin and nails are very pale.  Eyes are light red.  Males may be a little darker in color, but confirmation of gender requires behavioral differences or DNA sexing.

Opaline males: ©Su Yin
More commonly known as rosy or rosa.  This mutation mainly redistributes the existing colors of the Bourke but enhances the pink/red colors.  Thus the common name of rosy because most birds with this mutation look pink all over.  Some birds can have blue or green in the tail region. 
Through selective breeding, strains of mostly blue or green and other variants have been developed.  These are not different mutations from the opaline, just variations of the same mutation through selective breeding.   Those with a little bit of every color are often called “rainbow.”  Males usually are darker in color while less black/grey on the face, but this is not 100% reliable.  Both genders will have the white stripe on the underside of the wings, which usually only shows up in hens. 

Below are examples of opalines with less pink and other colors. To the left is a blue opaline and the one on right is often called a rainbow.

Blue opaline Bourke.
Breeding and photo from A. Coljon.

Rainbow Bourke.
Photo and bred by A. Coljon.

Combinations of mutations:
When different mutations are bred together, one can develop combinations of the different features.  Included here are only the more commonly available combinations, but let your imagination run wild with the endless possibilities J.

Opaline fallow:
Often called pink, sometimes white-faced pink. These can be developed with combination of the opaline and either the bronze or pale fallow mutations. There is a lot less of the black/darker pigments and eyes are red. Again, males may be darker in their red/pink color with the hens having more white on the face, but this is not confirmation of gender.
Pink hen or opaline fallow hen:        ©Su Yin

Pink male or opaline fallow:       ©Su Yin

Opaline lutino:
More commonly known as rubino.  This is a combination of the opaline and lutino mutations.  The birds are still red eyed with complete lack of darker pigments.  The addition of the opaline gene redistributes the red/pink pigments to a wider area of the body, so the birds tend to be darker pink than lutinos with more pink on their back and wings.  Gender can be very difficult to tell based on appearance alone.

Opaline lutino:          ©Su Yin

A little about me… (Su Yin)
I’ve been a lifelong lover of animals and nature.  I’ve kept different mammals, namely cats and most recently a dog, though I have dabbled in bunnies and mice in the past.  Then there is some venturing into reptiles and frogs, but birds have definitely developed into a passion for me. 
I started with a pair of zebras and now have numerous birds of several species.  I keep various finches and breed some of them.  Gouldians and societies make up the core of my breeding program, but I do also breed stars, owls, shaft tails, and various parrot finches at times.  I also try to breed some of the rarer and very difficult to breed waxbills, but that’s another very long story J. 
I started keeping grasskeets a few years ago.  Once I saw a picture of a scarlet-chested grasskeet, I just had to have a pair.  From there, I acquired turquoisines.  I managed to resist Bourkes until I chanced upon The Splendid Bourke Bird Blog, then saw one in person, and I was hooked.  Recently, I’ve also acquired a couple pairs of elegants.  Just like finches, different species of grasskeets have different personalities, but most are peaceful and make good neighbors for the finches I keep together with them. 
Having a background in the biosciences, I naturally gravitated to the interesting genetics that birds can have and love the challenge of trying to breed quality birds as well as different mutations.  There are books available for reference on the different mutations of various birds, but a lot of information can often be found online – try googling  ;D.  Feel free to check out my birds at:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bird Sales Update and Announcing an Upcoming Post on Avian Genetics

A young Rosy Bourke hen. Notice her dark face.
This is a common means of sexing, although not
conclusive. Her blue rump might indicate that
 she carries a gene for Normal and is homozygous,
 meaning she could possibly throw Normal males.

Sold four young Bourkes yesterday. Down from a high of 35 to 23 today.

Going to miss the hand fed pair though ... they are so sweet. Yet, when downsizing, sacrifices have to be made. And, these were 2011 babies.
Still have my older favorites.

The male was out of Flame and Fuchsia and the hen from Rhett and Cherry. Both were so affectionate ... that's what I'll miss most about them.

Someone has promised to buy two one-year old males and another person a hand fed male from this past summer. Hope those sales actually happen. Occasionally people back out before they've seen the birds. When shown, they sell themselves.

A Rosy Bourke male at left.
He doesn't have the dark face.
 He's the dad of the other three birds in the
photo who are not yet weaned. He looks
a bit tired from working so hard, doesn't he?
(Someone took a bath and splashed water on
the bars, hence the white spots on them).

Now for the update! 
If you've read comments from neversink7 on this website, you may recognize that this contributor is very knowledgeable about avian genetics. I've asked them to do a "guest post" and they agreed to. Why reinvent the wheel when someone else already does it better?

So, keep watching for Avian Genetics. As soon as it reaches me, I'll put it up.

Another post I expect to do soon will consist of photos of albino birds ... an interest of mine. So keep checking back, or sign up as a "follower" to be notified when a new post goes up.

Peace & Blessings.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Breeding Bourkes, Splendids or other Parakeets

So many times in this blog I've stated that three clutches a year should be the maximum number allowed for any pair of birds, with two clutches a year being optimum.
Fuchsia, happily covering six eggs for her fourth clutch.
 Although not a New Year's resolution, I broke this rule the first month of 2012.

These two are siblings, both with white faces and pink eyes.
They were not hand fed, but unafraid of people.

In 2011 I restricted my oldest pair to only two clutches, and another mature pair to only one. However, my two young handfed hens − who had not raised offspring previously − were allowed three clutches. This was because they were so eager and healthy, plus I hoped to get more white-faced, light pink Rosy Bourkes like those shown above. 

These youngsters are all hand fed and very tame.
They're outside their cages for some free flight time.
Sweetheart in front is my favorite bird.
When Rosie's third clutch left the nest box, I immediately removed the box.

She'd been asking Pretty Boy to mate and unfortunately laid an egg on the floor of the cage. When I picked it up there was a small crack in it. She didn't lay a second egg because there was no nest box and no stimulation to continue mating and laying eggs.

Another view of siblings, a male and female, with white
faces and pink eyes. Rather tame, although not hand fed.
Male is for sale.
In the cage next to Rosie's, Flame and Fuchsia had four in their third clutch. Two were out of the nest and two remained in the nest box when they started mating again. Frown.

Tame birds out for free flight and visiting cages that aren't theirs.
Cages below them house parents with offspring not yet weaned.
At that point, I could have removed the remaining two babies and completed their weaning with hand feeding. Then the nest box could be removed and Flame and Fuchsia's attempts to have a fourth clutch would be thwarted. But, Christmas was approaching and I was away from home too much to feed baby birds 100% of the time required.

This cage houses four tame young Bourkes.
When the door is open, they go in and out on their own.
When Fuchsia's smallest bird finally left the nest box, she was sitting on three eggs! What to do? Toss them?

My "Sweetheart" ... favorite bird.
I am strongly Pro-Life. Okay, so these are only birds and not people. But... Everything inside me said, "Don't do it."

Now there are SIX eggs! None of my other Bourkes have ever laid that many. But then, none of the others ever hatched and raised five babies before either. Flame and Fuchsia did it with their very first clutch.

Flame and Fuchsia are young and healthy. As hand fed birds themselves, they love Exact Hand Feeding formula and often get some when I'm feeding Pipsqueek (I've written about her eating problem before). I believe the hand feeding formula, which is full of extra nutrition, has left both birds heavier and healthier than most birds who are feeding young ... especially when feeding large clutches like Fuchsia and Flame's. 

The angel holding a dove gazes down on these cages
and gently keeps watch over these sweet, lovely little birds.
Instead of looking thin and worn out, these busy parents appear very healthy. So ... in another week Fuchsia's eggs are to begin hatching. When this fourth clutch is two or three weeks old (or maybe less), I'll remove and hand feed them. That will be easier on Fuchsia and Flame. And, I will remove the nest box! 

When the Gouldians arrived, Mei-Ling decided to perch on
the back of this chair where she can see them better. The
Bourkes are old news, but the active finches have caught her
attention for now. Eventually, they will probably become like
another piece of furniture to her, and less interesting.
As noted before, we've had many cats (now and in the past) and they've all learned to live peacefully with our birds. So can dogs. It takes some diligence on an owner's part, however. It is necessary to ensure that a cat or dog are not left alone with birds until adequately socialized.

This can only be determined after keeping close watch on them for an extended period of time ... probably months. Also, each animal is different. Some learn quickly and want to please, others may not. I've taught both adult cats & dogs or kittens & puppies to accept birds and leave them alone. Puppies tend to be the slowest to comply ... even more so than kittens.

However, I can't honestly say which is easiest to train. It all depends on the animal (and an owner's patience).

Peace & Blessings.
May all your 2012 bird adventures be joyful.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bird Aviaries, Outdoor and Indoor

I promised a regular reader that I'd include photos of aviaries by this weekend, so I'd better get to it.
Many cages and flights are housed in this building.
It may appear open, but the "window" area has a clear cover.
This yard building has heat for sheltering and/or wintering birds.
This is a side view of the same building.
Entrance at left. It's winter, so leaves on the ground and
trees are bare. Spring will make everything pretty.

Our trip to Eugene and Salem gave us a chance to visit Jeannie Anderson's fascinating place. She raises many varieties of small exotic birds. Many of her birds have been allowed to acclimatize and slowly adapt to cooler weather. They are in outdoor aviaries year round. Others are housed in indoor facilities that are heated in the winter. Many go into outdoor aviaries in the spring and summer, but return to their heated homes when it turns cold. 

Inside the same building. Left side of one of several areas.
There is a large flight at the end of the hallway. Half doors allow safe entry.
Birds generally stay up high, so by bending over to enter, birds remain safe.

Right side of the same hallway. Flight at the end.
A close up of the aviary at the end of the hallway.
There is an even larger one at the other end.

Another section of the same building. Notice the variation of small flights.
This one houses diamond doves and now a pair of Bourkes (formerly mine).
This building is a busy place with many varieties of birds.
A push cart helps distribute seed to each cage or aviary,
and helps deliver fresh water to all the birds daily.
A self-built, functional building that many of us could copy.
Most of the building has cement floors. This addition has a cement block floor.
Skylight above allows light in, yet keeps cold drafts out.
Button quail on aviary floors help control bugs.
Goodbye Clyde. I'm sure you and Bonnie
will enjoy your new, bigger space.

Notice the half door entry into this flight. A variety of nest box choices
for a variety of birds. It's always wise to have more nesting locations
than there are birds in an aviary. You don't want them to squabble.
An outdoor aviary. The bird in upper left is a Rosela parakeet.
As you probably know, they are larger than Bourkes, Budgies, Turks or Splendids.
An outside aviary near the house didn't allow for a view from farther away.

A different outside aviary, less fancy, but functional.
The far right houses white homing pigeons who are currently out flying.
Notice both provide shelter for the birds.
All aviaries have roofs ... Oregon gets a lot of rain.

A final note. You can build aviaries with flights that have wire tops on a portion of them, with enclosed buildings they can fly into. The only problem is that a neighbor's cat may decide to sit on the wire and torment your birds. Or, hawks may fly at them. Although both predators may still be a challenge, a roof is better protection than just wire.

The best protection, of course, is a full indoor enclosure. Then all you'll have to deal with is setting traps for rodents. It's very difficult to build something so tight as to keep them out, but not impossible.

Hope this was helpful, or at least interesting.

If you are in the Eugene, Oregon area and interested in acquiring almost any variety of small exotic bird, Anderson's Aviaries is fun to visit. You can contact them by phone at: 541-729-2740.

Peace & Blessings.