Monday, January 28, 2013

Turquoisine Parakeets, A Question and Answer

Hi Gail,
I know you don't breed turquoisines but I have a pair that I have had for three years but I have had no babies. Can you tell me how to get them to breed or let me know of someone that can help me. Thank you. -Marjorie

Hello Marjorie, I did a quick search and you're right, there doesn't seem to be much out there about them. They sound as though they need more flight space than Bourkes, but otherwise are very similar. They use a parakeet-sized box with wood chips or moss in the bottom. I find buying pine shavings (for hamsters, etc.) works perfectly for the Bourkes and probably would for Turks too.

You don’t say what color your birds are. I’ve read the males have a red bar on the wing, but those that are all yellow may not. Is it possible you have two males? With Bourkes, when one male is dominant he sometimes intimidates the other male to behave as a female and allow himself to be fed, and that makes it difficult to sex them if they’re Rosies. By adding two hens, it allows both males to act as nature intended. Just a possibility for yours if they aren't the wild color.

Things to consider:

1. Are you sure you have one of both sexes?

2. Birds all need plenty of daylight to be inspired to breed. So, if they are in a dimly lit room some of the time, turn the lights on. Only 8 hours of darkness per 24-hour period.

3. Do they have the right kind of nest box and is it mounted high in your cage? Do not sit it on the floor.

Male Turquoisine. Most notable difference from a male
Splendid parakeet is the red bar on the shoulder.

4. Do they have enough flight space? I keep my nest boxes mounted outside the cage to allow as much flight space as possible. I’ve read that Turks require even more flight space than Bourkes do to exercise.


5. Are they getting healthy foods besides just seed? Plenty of calcium in the form of cuttlebone, mineral block, oyster shell? I read Turks like greens. Fresh chopped Kale is a Bourke favorite. They also get cooked sweet corn, peas and carrots. Although fresh shredded carrots are good too. Egg food is a favorite when getting ready to breed or while raising babies. We take hard boiled eggs and put them in a blender with plenty of dry bread crumbs and finely mix everything together, including the egg shells. We grind the egg shell fine first and then blend it back in. Refrigerate the mix and give a little fresh each day, removing the old (don't leave it in the cage for more than a few hours) I add it in the morning and take it out at dinner time. It's in there 6 to 9 hours, but our house is cool. On a warm day it will go bad sooner and should be removed in less time.

6.  Sometimes adding another pair of birds in their area encourages breeding. Or, perhaps the next pair will do better. Sometimes competition encourages them, or maybe they will learn from others.

7. Occasionally a pair simply don't like each other. Switching to new partners usually works. I've done that several times with pairs that bickered. It stopped when they got new mates and we had successful clutches thereafter. All birds have their own individual personalities and sometimes certain birds don't get along with a particular hen or cock, but will be happy with a different one.
Good Luck. If you don't have the nest box set-up recommended above, give that a try.

Photo from Pandemonium Aviaries

Below is a little more information I learned doing research for this article:

The courtship display of all male Turquoisine parakeets involves a soft whistling. The hen lays four to five eggs and she incubates them alone (just like a Bourke or Splendid). The incubation period is 17 to 19 days (with Bourkes it is 18 to 21 days). The cock bird feeds her while she is sitting and for a further few days after the chicks have hatched (same as with Bourkes). Both parents then feed the young. When raising young you can include soaked and sprouted seeds, soaked bread, green food and spray millet.

Male Turquoisines can be aggressive toward other males of this species. It's best to provide each pair with its own cage or flight. This is important during the breeding season, as you can expect a lot of bickering and even fighting among males. It is less likely to be a problem when housed with canaries or finches, or even other species of parakeet.

Still, be sure there is enough flight room for any and all the birds you put together.
from Pandemonium Aviaries

Peace and Blessings.



neversink7 said...

I agree with everything you said and wanted to mention that out of the bourkes, scarlets, elegants, and turquoisines, I find the turqs the hardnest to breed. It's hard to get a pair to want to breed at the same time for whatever reason. Here are a couple other links with good info: and

Budgiedin said...

This is a helpful post, since you have paralleled the similarities between the Turqs and the Bourke's. And it is timely for me, because I have been trying to get my pairs of Bourke's to breed. What procedure do you use when you want to swap mates to see if they will like each other better?


G. A. Lewis said...

Hello Budgiedin...I make sure I'm going to be home and near their cages to watch them. Then, I simply put the two together and keep an eye on them. I've never had a problem with a male and female going after each other.

Once, I received a pair from someone else who complained they were noisy. The hen always scolded her mate even though they'd had a clutch together. I swapped mates and all was quiet ever after. They both reproduced with their new companions and no more scolding by the female.

Most birds accept the mate you give them, but occasionally they insist on their own preferences. Another male refused any hen I gave him except his first one, so she went back with him even though I'd have liked to use his bright color with other hens.

Budgiedin said...

Thank you for that information. When you put a new pair together, how long does it generally take for them to bond with each other and decide to breed?

G. A. Lewis said...

If neither one is grieving another mate, and they like each other, then it might be immediate. But, breeding is determined my length of daylight (or artificial light) and an appropriate nest box.