Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What to Feed Bourke Parakeets, A Question

Very young Rosy Bourke learning to eat. She is on a dish
 of nestling food. Spray millet and budgie seed behind her.
Dear Bourke Birds,
Our family recently purchased two Rosey Bourkes, one three months and the other seven months old.  
These two young Bourkes are hand fed, but also have easy to
eat food available for them. Nestling food, spray millet and
the typical Budgie mix. All available as they're being weaned.
We were sold two seed mixtures: Goldenfeast Australian Blend and ABBA 1600 parakeet seed; would you recommend any other brand(s) as preferable to these?
We read on another website that the Bourkes enjoy some cooked quinoa and brown rice?  I have both organic quinoa and organic basmati brown rice and could sprinkle some cooked in with the fresh vegetables.  Do you recommend it?  If so, about how much and how often?
For the boiled egg food that you mention on your website that contains the ground eggshell, should this be offered daily throughout the year, along with the vegetables?
Can organic carrot be grated raw or should it always be cooked? 
If possible, thank you so very much for your reply anytime that this may be convenient.
Gratefully, Catherine, New Jersey

Rosie's four babies on April 28, 2013.

I don't recognize the two seed brands you list. Check their ingredients and whether they are enhanced with vitamins. I have no reason to recommend the brand I use, but it seems fine. I buy Hagen budgie seed and get it online from PetSolutions. I usually order two 25 lb. bags at a time and store it in an airtight container. There are many brands and most are fine. They should be fresh and not stored on a discount store's shelves for months at a time, so I'd avoid grocery store boxes of Hartz Mountain seed. Hagen seed is vacuum sealed and drop shipped from the plant so that it will stay fresh. 

I've never given my birds quinoa or brown rice, although it should be okay occasionally. The thing to avoid is giving them too much starchy grains which will make them fat (corn, rice, etc.). Green vegetables are best. Fresh Kale (we chop ours), or pieces of fresh broccoli are both good. Avoid spinach...not good for birds. I like to give them mixed vegetables that we boil first (add no salt). That way they get peas, carrots and corn. Our birds LOVE cooked corn. But, it is high in starch, so it needs to be limited.
They would be happy to have vegies every day, but mine get them several times a week, but not daily. The most important time to make sure they have these additions is if they are breeding. Parent birds need extra energy, so that's a good time to add small amounts of corn and/or brown rice. Carrots can be cooked or shredded fresh. Although my birds aren't very fond of fresh carrots, they prefer them in the vegie mix when they're cooked and softer.
Cherry with her 3 babies on April 28, 2013.
In the winter, my birds get fewer vegies and extras. But, I'm careful to be sure they get more in the spring and summer when they are about to breed and are raising clutches of babies.
So, everything you asked is okay to give. But, give it sparingly if it's high in starch. A few years ago I was giving my birds safflower seeds because they loved them so much. I no longer do that. I lost a 3-year-old hen due to obesity. Had no idea that was a problem, as a an overweight Bourke doesn’t appear fat. However, an avian vet did an autopsy on her and told me that was the cause of her death.  
After that I quit giving safflower and reduced the amount of corn they get. Although it's okay for parents feeding babies because they need extra fat.
Seeds are fattening too, but necessary. Always have budgie/parakeet seed available for them. Don't ever let them run out. Everything else is secondary. Fresh vegies are very good, especially for pairs you intend to breed. Whether you breed or not, make sure they have cuttlebone and a mineral block. Wise to also add oyster shell and a rabbit mineral salt block (reddish brown in color. It has iodine in it). They will use as much of it as they need.
Fuchsia with her 3 babies on April 28, 2013.
You can offer fresh fruit if you wish, but mine never touch it. Bourkes seem to prefer vegetables and don't relate to fruit. At least none of mine do.
About the egg food. I offer it to breeding birds in the spring and summer. I don't bother with it in the winter. You can offer it to others, but it's not necessary to do so daily unless your hen is laying. Then it's good, but not a requirement if she's using her cuttlebone. We give it daily during breeding season only.

Splendids eat on the ground and like to scatter their seed.
Lining the cage with newspaper keeps more available to them.
They also enjoy finch seed, maybe more than Budgie mixes.

We have a lonely bachelor Bourke in a cage on my kitchen table so he'll get more attention since he is by himself. He's very tame, and at breakfast I've been giving him a corn flake, or a bit of bagel or toast, depending on what I'm eating. He has started begging whenever we sit at the kitchen table. I'm careful to only let him sample what I know won't hurt him ... like a piece of lettuce, particle of bread, or a vegetable or two. He has plenty of good food in his cage, but he likes the personal attention.

Thanks for asking.
Peace and Blessings.



mary said...

Thank You for such an informative Blog I just sat here awaiting the arrival of a 3 year old rosey bourk we are adopting This page will help me greatly. We havea very gentle boy spangle budgie who will live in the same room in his own cage as I heard they cannot live in same cage sham

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where to ask this so here seems a good start... can you tell me much about spangle genetics in Bourkes? I recently brought home two gorgeous young Bourkes; a normal cock and what the breeder said was a Rosa Spangle hen. I've been trying to find some info on spangle Bourkes but am unable to find any information! Please can you help?

Naomi Watts said...

What a fantastic site! I recently brought home two gorgeous young Bourkes; a normal cock and what the breeder said was a Rosa Spangle hen. I've been trying to find information on spangle genetics in Bourkes but am not having a whole lot of luck... I was wondering if you'd be able to tell me anything about this particular gene?

G. A. Lewis said...

Naomi, Spangle is a new term. I've had a few that looked "mottled" and qualify as Spangle. It sounds better than other terms used before it. Mine came through Rosy parents with a Normal parent, a grandparent of the "Spangle." If you go to the Tab at the top of page, there is information on Genetics there; also by entering "Genetics" in the Search window, you will get previous posts on genetics that are informative. Congratulations on your new Bourkes. They are wonderful birds.

BBS said...

Greerings! Is this Naomi Watts the actress? Bravo to you,if so!
🌟Rosy Bourke lover

Cheerigirl said...

I am very excited to find this site. My sister works at a pet store and somebody brought to Rosies back to her store because they couldn't keep them any longer.

G. A. Lewis said...

Hello Cheergirl,

Glad my site is helpful. Bourkes are so very sweet and gentle. Of all the birds I've owned, Bourke Parakeets are my favorite. I also do You Tube videos, mostly about Bourkes and a few other things. Here's link.


Peace & Blessings,
aka Rosie Bird)