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.


1 comment:

neversink7 said...

some of my grasskeets - bourkes, scarlets, turquoisines, elegants - will try to kick all of the nesting material you provide in the nestbox out and try to lay and incubate their eggs on the bare bottom - this unfortunately can lead to cracked eggs, so I usually put a layer of bark commonly used as reptile terrarium substrate and put softwood/pine shavings on top or mix in. This way, the hens can not remove all of the nesting material and will usually lay on top of some amount of substrate. After some number of eggs have been laid, I will add more material underneath the eggs if I need to and usually the hens will not keep removing material at that point.