Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cleaning Nest Boxes and Bourke Parakeet Egg Laying Habits

For her first clutch this year, Fuchsia laid five eggs. The first two didn't appear to be fertile. She hatched three. Those three are now out of the next box, but not yet weaned.
Flame has taken over their feeding and Fuchsia went back into the box and started laying a second clutch. The box needed cleaning, so I removed her three eggs today and emptied out all the pine shavings and replaced them.
She hesitated about going back inside, standing outside the entrance and looking in. It was different in there. I wonder if I should have left well enough alone. Only time will tell. However, as you can see from the photo she did return and is covering her eggs again.

Fuchsia's nest box cleaned and ready for her 2nd clutch.
Fresh pine shavings in the bottom. She's covering 3 eggs.

I noticed when I picked up the eggs that I could feel one of them "pecking" against the shell already. Amazing. She usually lays five eggs, so will probably lay two more. At least the box is clean and sweet smelling again.
Since they are in the house, I like to clean the boxes between clutches. However, I noticed she had turned the shavings over and done a fair job of making it nice herself. But, there was stuck food on the sides that had started to mold, so it is better to have it clean, I think. Hopefully, the eggs didn't get cold. I cleaned very fast and they were warm when they went back, but her hesitation to immediately return is bothersome.
Being tame I expected her to recognize the cleaning routine from previous years and go right back. If all the eggs don't hatch, that will tell me I did the wrong thing. It's been okay in the past, but usually I was able to clean sooner. This year she was in a hurry to begin her next clutch.  ;-)
Rosie laid and hatched four eggs with her first clutch of the year. The three oldest babies left the nest, but little one in the photo below remains. Notice how dirty the box has become. I wanted to clean it today when I cleaned Fuchsia's. But, with a baby still in the nest, I'll wait until he leaves. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to clean it before Rosie begins laying more eggs! She and Pretty Boy have been mating and I feared she'd have eggs too, but there are none as of today.
Bourke hen in back is Rosie. Her last of four babies
is still in the nest. He's in front. The nest box has
gotten pretty dirty. Hope to clean it and add new
 pine shavings as soon as this baby joins
his siblings outside the nest box.
Cherry's two babies are still in the nest box. They hatched later than Fuchsia's or Rosie's. Cherry laid four eggs and hatched all four. However, the first two had red eyes and both died within a few days.
Many of the red-eyed babies don't seem to be as healthy as those with dark eyes. Yet, those that do survive must have a different set of genetics than their less lucky siblings. Out of the same pair, Cherry and Rhett, I have a red-eyed male from 2011 that is large, strong and gorgeous. His photo is below.
My "Sweetheart" Rosy Bourke.
He is an opaline fallow with red eyes.
As an FYI: My Splendid (Scarlet-chested) parakeets have always waited a while between clutches. Not so, the Bourkes who go right back and begin again ... often even before the previous clutch is completely weaned.
Peace and Blessings.

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