Thursday, April 11, 2013

Raising Bourke Parakeets, a Question on Eggs


QUESTION:
I have been looking through your blog but can't find info about when a bird lays too many eggs and I don't want to breed her. It's too soon after the first clutch when she went right back to laying. I removed some of them but now that she keeps going I just keep them in the cage. I wanted her to take a break, I don't believe in over-breeding. So I left the eggs on the bottom of the cage thinking she'd realize no nest, no eggs. Well she sits on them a lot now. I don't even know if they are fertile but I doubt anything would hatch because they've been rolling around on the floor of the cage. My question is, what should I do? There are four eggs (three previous ones had been removed). Should I just put up a nest box and put the eggs inside? Thank for your help! I have been feeding her cuttle bone, eggs with shells and marine sand for calcium. -- Melissa

p.s. the two babies from the first clutch are doing great! They are 4 months old and have their own cage now.
Both are Rosy Bourkes, but notice the color difference.
Some would call the lighter one a "pink" Bourke.
 ANSWER:
Hello Melissa,
 
Yes, I'd give her the nest box back.
 
 
Bourkes typically go right back and have a second clutch and often a third. There is no rest period in between like with some birds. They have all their clutches one right after the other.
 
It's normal for Bourke hens to lay more eggs when you take the others away. That is more physical stress to a hen than being able to sit on the clutch.
 
Young birds may even want a fourth clutch, but that's too many (although Fuchsia did get away with a 4th clutch one year and it didn't hurt her any). However, two clutches is the minimum, not one. Your poor little hen is doing such a good job. I feel sorry for her trying to sit on eggs on the floor.
 
With my oldest hen, I only allowed her two clutches last year and she was willing to quit when the nest box came down. However, with a young healthy hen, three clutches is fine.
 
People who raise canaries will sometimes replace eggs with plastic ones to let them brood so they won't lay more eggs. I suppose that could be done with any bird. However, Rosy Bourkes seem to be in demand just about everywhere, so you shouldn't have a problem finding homes for any youngsters you don't want to keep.
 
If you are adamant you don't want your hen to breed again, you'd need to remove the male in the spring and summer. However, single hens will sometimes lay anyway. The eggs simply aren't fertile.
 
Restricting light helps too. Long days promote the urge to breed, so artificial lights in the house after dark stimulates breeding desires too. When days are short, you can move her to a dark room. Or, in the early evening of summer days try light darkening drapes over all windows in their room to shut out light (but not all day long!).
 
Good luck. She sounds like a sweet bird who is a very good mama. I'd let her have three clutches a year, one right after the other. If she's getting plenty of calcium she should be okay.
------------------------
Update on my own Rosy Bourkes
 as of today...
 
Cherry, my oldest bird, was the last to lay her four eggs.

Fuchsia is my most prolific. She laid five eggs.
Her first egg hatched yesterday, so second will probably
hatch tomorrow as Bourkes usually hatch every other day.

Rosie's first egg hatched today. Notice the piece of shell?
 
Peace and Blessings.
 
 
 
 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

My Bourke just laid there first clutch but they are infertile. Should I take the eggs out or wait???

Kimberly from Chicago said...

Hello I am a "newer" bird owner... I've had them in the past but never on my own... I have a rescued Bourkes someone found her outside and came right to them after many months no one claimed her... we have had her for almost a year now and out of nowhere started laying eggs well one egg so far... all the research that Ive done says they don't normally lay in January... and the vet told me to limit her handling or this will stimulate her... she is so social and loving I really am having a hard time with this... I want her to stay healthy and have been shaving her cuddle bone on to er food to make sure she is getting calcium... I need help another person I talked to at the vet said they got a male and let them breed but feel I don't know enough about this please help!

G. A. Lewis said...

Hello Kimberly, Click HOME in upper left above and go to the more recent posts. Check labels for lots of relevant topics.

You can buy calcium for birds to put in their water. I'm wondering where she's laying the eggs. Nest sites stimulate egg laying as does long day light. I don't agree with the vet that handling her stimulates it. Artificial lighting is the same to a bird as day length, so in a warm house that's well lit, the fact that it is January won't matter. You can move her to a darkened room at dusk...that might work. It's going to be the amount of light she's exposed to and possibly a suitable nesting site that would stimulate her to lay eggs. As for getting a male and raising them, I've lots of posts about raising Bourkes. It's a neat experience.
Blessings, Gail