Thursday, March 15, 2012

When To Put Up Nest Boxes and Playing With Tame Bourkes

My tame Rosies would rather be with
me than anywhere else. Love it!
None of our birds have nest boxes available to them yet. Having a nestbox present usually stimulates them to mate. However, my lovelies are eager now. Apparently, a few sunny days triggered breeding behavior that I'd prefer they put off for at least another couple of months.

My Bourkes always seem interested when February rolls aroung, but I try to discourage them until spring by not giving them a nest box until the weather is nice. Indoors as they are, however, it's always warm and they see no reason to wait. Too many clutches a year is a physical drain, so I want them to wait and remain healthy. Also, it's a good idea to have a market for their offspring. Smile.
Bathing in the sink is always fun.

My young handfed Rosy Bourke hen, Sugar, (who only hatched last summer) is already breeding with our mature handfed Normal cock, Spicy. I confess that last year I sold Spicy's first hen, along with another male. The purpose was to keep a handfed hen. Spicy is tame and I wanted a tame hen for him. Also, he and his first hen never hatched any of their fertile eggs, although they did successfully foster two from another bird. I'm eager to find out if he will be a successful father with this new hen.

In most instances, you can swap Bourke mates. Most will accept another companion, especially if they've been scolding/fussing at one another. I've only had one exception to this. One male refused a new mate and chased any other hen all over their cage.

Everybody wants a chance at the running water.
Tapping one another on the back means,
"Move over!" Males will step aside for their
mates, but hens don't usually move for anyone.
Eventually, I returned his original mate to him and then sold the pair. They were both good breeders and produced healthy offspring. But, as I've written before, my goal is to have mostly tame birds. The exception to this will be my earliest, and oldest Bourkes, although they are very friendly, but not finger tame. I love all the birds, but since I can't keep them all, my preference is for those eager to spend time on my shoulders or hands.

My tame Flame and Fuchsia have been mating too. They had four clutches last year...that's one too many. They'd have had a fifth if allowed. They shouldn't be in such a hurry. I want them fully rested and recovered before they start over again. They produced 45 offspring last year! They hold the record.

Young Lady Gouldian Finches. My first and only pair.
My new young pair of Lady Gouldians also seem to want a nest box. He is tearing up paper and carrying it to a corner. I haven't seen any breeding, but he's doing his "song and dance" in front of the hen. They seem to like each other. Neither is fully colored yet, so I'm resisting putting up a nest box. Wondering how soon I should... 
We are waiting for them to become fully colored before
adding a nest box, but they seem to want one now. 

Any input on when you allow your birds to reproduce and/or give them nest boxes, gourds or baskets, is welcomed. Please don't hesitate to comment. 

Peace & Blessings.


neversink7 said...

I would usually not recommend breeding gouldians too young - young hens may be prone to egg binding. Ideally at least 1 year or a bit over. Most gouldian pairs are not good parents until they are closer to 2 years old, though of course there are exceptions. I would certainly not give them nest boxes until they are fully molted. Gouldians go through compressed molt until good conditions which can be stressful, and should be have additional stress of breeding on top. Hens (normal colors) will have black beaks when are ready to breed. During molting and breeding times, give plenty of eggfood - they need the extra protein to help them through the process. Gouldians will need more protein than grasskeet in general.

neversink7 said...

also, because in nature, gouldians nest in tree hollows, they prefer deep nest boxes with deep hidden from view area - there are special gouldians with a perch and the usual cube shaped wood or plastic boxes. though I've had them breed in bamboo baskets before, which I do not prefer due to the chance of their nails catching on the woven parts.