Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Bourke Hen Mix-up

Rosie and Fuchsia aren't related, but they look remarkably alike. Actually, Fuchsia is Rosie's sister-in-law. Her mate is Rosie's brother.

Some look-alike Rosy Bourkes. Others waiting to come
out and fly around, including Splendids in top cage.

Fuchsia is a feisty little bird who chases other hens...the only Bourke I've had do this. Rosie is sweet to everyone. Both are very tame, but Fuchsia seems jealous of others and goes after them. Hence, I usually don't let Fuchsia and her mate, Flame, out of their cage when the others are.
It so happened, however, that one day last week I did. Rosie used to have a split blue band on her leg that made it easy to differentiate between the two birds. Now that band was gone. She'd picked at it over the years and eventually was able to remove it. She still has her solid silver band, #4. Fuchsia's is #18.
My dog, Chinook, who is safe around
birds, and visiting Sammy, who isn't.

For a week, I wasn't able to let the birds out of their cages because of a visiting little dog (Maltese/Poodle mix) whose "mom" was in the hospital. For their safety, the birds stayed caged. (His owner is home now and recovering nicely).
It seemed odd to me that Fuchsia was suddenly so friendly. When the puppy went home and I let the birds out again, "Rosie" was acting like Fuchsia by chasing the other birds. "Fuchsia," still in her cage, made me stop and think. I adjusted the band on "Rosie's" foot and it read #18! Fuchsia had been living with Pretty Boy for several days and Rosie was in with her brother.
How I made that mistake, I'm not sure. Today, they are happily re-ensconced with their own spouses. Smile. Good thing it's not breeding season!
This pair is easier to recognize, smile. Sugar and Spice.
She is a Rosy Bourke hen, he is a Normal male Bourke.
Peace and Blessings.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bourke Nest Box Preparation, A Question

I've posted Flame feeding Fuchsia before, but it's one of my
favorite photos. Caught them at just the right moment.
I am putting a pair of bourkes down to breed this weekend, have made a breeding box, sizes as instructed on an internet bird page. Can I use shredded paper as nesting materials?
Willow, a Normal Bourke hen
with her new little ones.
That's better than nothing and my Lady Gouldians love it. I've never offered it to the Bourkes, however. Bourkes do not "make" a nest by carrying material into a nest box like finches do. In the wild they find a hollow tree, and those usually have bits of chips, bark or other detritus already in there.

 I buy a bag of pine shavings (never use cedar). They are usually sold to put in the bottom of cages for small animals like hamsters. You must put them in the box yourself, about 1 to 2 inches deep. I remove any big, sharp pieces I see.
Bonnie with her very young babies.

 Some Bourkes will push them aside and hollow them a bit. These help keep the eggs safely together and absorb the babies' droppings. Mothers usually go outside the box to defecate, although first-time mothers sometimes are afraid to leave their eggs even for a moment or two. Fathers feed through the nest box opening. A few will go inside the box, but most do not.
I've seen posts of people only offering a budgie box with a flat floor and nothing in it. Bourkes can use this in desperation, but it's not what they prefer, or what is best.  It’s going to tax a mother more if she has to keep gathering the eggs under her to keep them from rolling away, and if they do, they’ll cool and may not hatch. Many may also refuse to breed if an appropriate nest box isn't present.

If all you have is shredded paper, you’ll have to place it in the box for them and press it down as firmly as possible. Don't leave it loosely in the box. Keep it thick and "squashed and flattened."
If they use it, let me know. But, with pine shavings, you know you have the right medium.
Fuchsia with an egg. Several more to come.
If anyone else has used shredded paper or anything other than pine shavings for their Splendids or Bourkes, please comment. Thank you.

Click on Tab at top of page "Building Nest Boxes"
for detailed directions.

 Peace and Blessings.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Bourke Baths or Those Wet Birds...

A video of "Peaches," a Rosy Bourke hen who resides with "Bandit," a male canary. Shared by owner, Pam May, who lives in Washington state. Peaches is out of Flame and Fuchsia.

Sisters, Fuchsia and Rosebud. We still have Fuchsia who has
mothered many birds, including Peaches in video above.
 Rosebud went to live with a family in Portland,
 joining a male Normal Bourke.
Link to:  An earlier post of Rosebud bathing. 

Link to:  Birds Bathing in the Kitchen Sink

Peace and Blessings.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Recognizing Young Bourke Parakeets

The photo below is of a mother Bourke and her two young. It was sent to us by Melissa K. Upon first glance, I wondered which was the mother. Then it became obvious. Look at the length of their tails. Young Bourke tails are shorter than their parents'. Although it won't be long before they reach the same length.

Three beautiful Bourkes. Mother in front is a Normal. She hatched
 both a Normal and a Rosy baby. Photo by reader, Melissa K.
I've posted before about how to identify young Budgerigar parakeets, but haven't said anything about young Bourkes. Short tail feathers are an indication, but that doesn't last long. Chances are, by the time you see one for sale, its tail will already be as long as any mature Bourke.
The color of a Budgie's cere (nose) stays light much longer. I've posted about Budgie cere color changes already, but a Bourke's cere does not indicate age or sex like a Budgie's will. 
In a mature Normal Bourke, a tiny line of blue feathers over the cere indicates the sex is male, but this isn't likely to be present on a Rosy Bourke. It also isn't present in very young Normal Bourkes.

Some of my hand fed young Opaline Pink or Rosy Bourkes.
I'm still trying to get movies from my new Christmas camera downloaded to the computer in such a way that they can be uploaded onto this site. Upgrading computer, etc. Coming soon (I hope) illustrative videos of our sweet birds.

Peace and Blessings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

IN THREE DAYS: The History & Traditions of Lent and Easter - FREE from Until Thursday, 2/7/13.

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Peace and Blessings!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Avian Colds or Pneumonia and What To Do

I am not a veterinarian, so an avian vet is your best bet if your bird is ill. However, in many areas like mine there isn't a vet available with any experience of pet birds. Or, your bird may get sick at night or on a weekend or holiday when your vet isn't accessible.

My grandfather raised budgerigar parakeets and taught me this simple help for birds whose breathing is hampered. If the symptoms are spraying water from their nostrils, coughing, sputtering, that sort of thing...they have a cold, which can quickly develop into pneumonia. When I was 21 years old, I moved a tame blue budgie, Captain, from Virginia to North Carolina in November. It was cold and, in spite of the fact that he was in a warm car, getting in and out probably caused several drafts. I was too young to realize I should have covered his cage to protect him from them. He developed pneumonia.

Here is what I did and, thanks to my grandfather's wisdom, Captain fully recovered. It's simple, yet makes a remarkable difference in a very short time.

I put him in a quiet corner, wrapped his cage in can do this with a small cage...or move the bird to a small one. I heated water to boiling, poured it into a china mug and stirred in a tablespoon of Vicks Vaporub. Then I put the mug under the towels, but OUTSIDE the cage. You don't want the boiling water anywhere that it could hurt the bird.

The vapors from the mug are trapped under the towels and work their way into the cage where the bird must breath them. When the liquid cooled, I removed the mug and reheated it. When it was no longer "smelly and strong" I replaced the Vicks Vaporub with new. Repeat this procedure whenever the bird's breathing looks labored again.

A bird should immediately begin to breath better from the fumes and hopefully be healthy again within a few days. At a minimum repeat this procedure before you go to bed at night and upon rising in the morning...more often if you can. Be sure fresh water and food is always available. I'd put the bird's drinking water as far from the Vicks mixture as possible and change the drinking water often.

An exception: If the bird is coughing up a creamy sort of phlegm from it's beak and unable to eat, this might be canker and not pneumonia. The bird can strangle on this. I have other posts on this condition and what medicine to use. It is common in wild birds, and can be carried without noticing a problem in love birds, cockatiels, doves and pigeons, but is very serious in all varieties of parakeet. However, there are medications that kill the parasite that causes it.

May your birds always remain healthy and you never need to use this. But, if you do, remember that PRAYER is the best addition to any and all problems.

Peace and Blessings.