|All Grasskeets typically get along well with one another. |
© Gail Lewis
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.
|Male & female Splendid pair.|
© Gail Lewis
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.
|Mixed grasskeets. |
© Gail Lewis
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.
|Young Splendids, a sister and two brothers. |
© Gail Lewis
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.
|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.
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. ;-)
|Opaline Fallow Rosy Bourke siblings. |
© Gail Lewis
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.”
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: http://
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|