Monday, June 10, 2013

More Bird Questions With Answers

QUESTION: Baby Bourke’s splayed legs and preventing more clutches
I have a questions regarding a new baby bourke. They are about 2 weeks old, there are 4 beautiful babies and their parents are taking good care of them. However, one of the babies legs are splayed, he is struggling at all times to try and stand, the parents are feeding him regularly but he seems to be struggling. I’m so worried about him and I don’t know what to do.
This is one of our babies. There is a link to our earlier post
about this bird at the bottom of this Answer.

Since my Maggie refuses to be in a nest box these babies were at the bottom of the cage, I put them in a small box at about a week old.

Do you have any suggestions for this poor little guy? I can send a picture if you think it would help.

Also, this is Maggies 3rd clutch and we do not want any more babies, Maggie and Indie have been together in the bird store that we bought them from and here for 2 years. Would it be harmful to them to separate them.

Thank you in advance, Terry

Instead of separating them, why not try restricting the light they get. Long daylight stimulates breeding, so covering their cage early in the evening to make it dark inside might keep them from breeding. Only allow about 8 hours of daylight and 16 of darkness as if it's a long winter's night. If that doesn't work, you could still separate them, but that's sad for them. Another option would be to remove the eggs and/or replace them with "false" plastic eggs via the internet. People have done this with canaries for ages.

Newly Hatched Baby Rosy Bourke at Windy Ridge Rosies.

As for the splayed legs, I have two posts on that topic at The Splendid Bourke Bird Blog. I wasn't very successful with a bird with ONE splayed leg. When it's two and they can be put together, it seems to work better. A reader with a Splendid with splayed legs was successful in correcting them. The earlier you start binding them together with a space in between the better. I can't tell you how long to leave them tethered. I didn't do it long enough and the bird still has a leg in the air, but gets along fine flying and landing on one leg. I think the other person's Splendid recuperated and has legs in a normal position, but she did bind them even before he had feathered. She was hand feeding that bird. Good luck.

Links to Earlier Posts on this Defect:  Splayed Leg Defect in a Bourke and A Young Splendid with Splayed Legs

QUESTION: Lineolated Parakeets with Bourke Parakeets
I saw on your Blog that you now have a Linnie.  Do you think they are safe to interact with Bourkes, when outside of the cage?  (i.e. can they be flying around together safely?).  Also, did you let your Linnie become free-flying again and is he “manageable” like that? (will he go back in his cage easily, etc?).
I enjoy my 2 free flying Bourkes and 1 Scarlet Chested.  I can pretty much get them to go back in their cages without problems as long as I give them a reasonable amount of free-flight time.  So I was wondering if a Linnie would be cooperative like that?
Cobalt Blue Lineolated Parakeet with a Rosy Bourke.
Mr. Blue and Sweetheart getting acquainted. So far, so good.
Notice the Bourke is the "protected" one, although I
doubt they'd have a problem with each other.
Hello Ron, The Linnie I recently purchased had clipped flight feathers when I got him. I will let them grow back. I've only had him a few weeks and he was terrified a first. We put him in a lower cage so the Bourkes would not land on the top and risk getting their toes nipped...he could bite off a toe if he chose to.
However, I think he likes the Bourkes. They are parakeets too, yet he's bigger and stronger than they are.
Believe it or not, after weeks of talking sweetly to him, he finally got on my finger. I left his door open while the Bourkes were out flying and he came out of his cage and eventually ended up on the floor. Remember, he can't fly yet. I put my hand down and called to him and he walked over and got on it. (He was hand fed).
While he was on one hand, I put a Bourke on the other. There was no fear or aggression on the part of either bird.
The silver tape is covering a hole made for a nest box
entrance. Nest boxes are only put up during breeding
season and removed the rest of the year.
I believe that once his wing feathers grow back, that he will get along fine flying with the Bourkes. The one question I still need to answer is how he will act if/when he has a mate. Will he be protective? My male Bourkes tend to chase other males away when they have a mate on eggs or with babies. The hens likewise chase other hens away from their cage when they are about to brood (when setting, they stay in the nest box).
So, are Lineolateds aggressive when nesting? I've yet to find out, but hope to. Meanwhile, this fellow, who was hatched last November and hand fed, seems to get along fine with my Bourkes. I've considered letting him share a cage with one of my bachelor Bourkes, but not ready to risk that yet...although I think they'd be fine, and he seems to want company.
As an aside, this Linnie is much louder than I expected. Bourkes are so sweet and quiet and this guy can get loud in spite of everything I've read that says they are a quiet bird. Quiet next to a Conure or bigger parrot maybe. Possibly not as loud as a Lovebird, but still he can shriek, unlike my quiet Bourkes. I'm hopeful that getting him a mate will make him happy and he will quiet down. Thankfully, his being loud isn't constant, only occasional.

QUESTION: Frightened Young Boukes
On April 28th I bought my first pair of rosie's. I forgot to ask the breeder their hatch date. If they are just old enough for sale how old would you guess them to be? He says he didn't handle them much so they are very scared of me. I am hoping with time they will adjust to me. Also, would you assume they are siblings? There were about six of them in the cage together. Would that be an issue if they decide to breed, which is not my intention. I feel very sure I have a male and a female. I love your blog and found so much useful info. Thank You for all the work you do on it! 
Opaline fallow Rosy Bourkes at Windy Ridge Rosies.
Hi Christy, If possible I'd call the breeder back and ask about the hatch date just because it's nice to know. And ask whether the birds were all siblings as they might be.  If they were banded, that would tell you something…consecutive numbers for instance.
When I bought my first pair they were 9 months old. Too old to tame, but they became very used to me and unafraid. Rhett and Scarlett never sat on my finger, but both would come up to the cage bars when I talked to them, and he still does. Our sweet Scarlett is long gone and Rhett’s newer mate, Cherry, is less tame, but I can clean their cage without any problem...they don't panic. They're both over ten years old now, and still reproducing.
Except for those two older birds, over time I've sold many pairs and gone to just hand fed birds because I like having them tame. But my early pairs weren't hand fed. In spite of that, all became very accustomed to the activity in the house and didn't panic. Young birds, however, are easily frightened. So, if yours are young, it's not surprising that they panic when you first approach their cage. Talk sweetly to them as often as you can, and they will mellow out in time and be less flighty.
Without knowing their age, it's difficult to know if you can hand tame them or not. With two, possibly not. If very young, and handled a lot, they can be hand tamed and Rosie's mate, Pretty Boy is hand tamed. Because of his dark color I wanted to keep him, so I worked with him.
It takes a lot of constant attention and I'd not have the time and patience any longer (that's why I like hand fed birds). However, as cage birds they can adapt to their environment, accept it, and be very happy interacting with you through their cage. They will sing, bathe and be a wealth of entertainment and joy. Just give them time to get used to you and to mature. They don't have to be finger tame to be fun.
As for whether they are siblings, the breeder hopefully knows. I can't tell all my new baby birds apart, so I band them with colored bands to identify which pair of parents they came from. I doubt that one bird had six babies...highly unusual for a Bourke.
To avoid breeding, don't leave them in a brightly lit room late into the evening. Light stimulates a desire to breed. It’s day length for birds in outdoor aviaries, or for wild birds, and  indoor artificial light has the same effect on indoor birds.
QUESTION: Bourke Diet
Hi my name is Luis and I just bought my first pair of Bourke parakeets. Can you tell me more about them. What you feed yours. what type of fruit you feed yours I read an article and it said no fruit because it not good for them. Is that true?  Honestly I never knew they existed until I found an article of splendid parakeet. I plan on getting a pair of those eventually but I liked the pink. If you could help me out thanks.
Nestling food and spray millet for a young Rosy Bourke
bird learning to eat. Notice short tail which will lengthen.
I've never read that fruit in general is harmful and have offered apples and oranges to mine, but they ignored them. Avocados are a fruit that is poisonous to them. Avoid avocado!

In addition to parakeet seed and spray millet, they love many vegetables: kale, peas, green beans, corn, lettuce, shredded carrots. They will also chew on breads. Egg food can be made with boiled chicken eggs, blend shell and all, and add some dry bread crumbs, everything blended together. Always have calcium available, usually with cuddle bone, mineral block, oyster shell grit, and as I've mentioned in past posts on my blog, rabbit salt blocks contain iodine which the birds will chew too. It's good for them.
I recently read that spinach isn't good for birds. Don't remember why, but I no longer give mine spinach.

Below is a link to one of my posts about what they can eat. You can also use the search feature and type in "nutrition." Bourkes are wonderful birds.

Have many more questions I could post and will try to in the future, but it takes time to format them, and I've a novel to finish editing.

Splendid Parakeets, Joy and Finnegan.
Photo contributed by Karen and Kenneth Shelton.

Peace and Blessings.

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