Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bourke Parakeets & Others - End of Season Update

I've tried to keep up with questions to rosie.birds@gmail.com, but lately I haven't been posting as often to this blog because my husband had back surgery. He is recovering nicely, but between him and the new puppy, my time is limited. One day I'll gather the newest questions and post them with their answers. However, for now, I want to update everyone on the current state of affairs with my birds this season.

Rosy Bourke parakeet on eggs. This is our sweetest hen,
 called Rosie. Photo taken 9-17-2013.
We've always recommended no more than three clutches a year per pair of birds. And, only two clutches per year for birds that might be stressed in any other way, such as being older, the weather suddenly turning cold, predators nearby causing a panic that could happen again -- anything that might make raising a third clutch difficult for the mated pair.

In spite of that recommendation, one year a young Flame and Fuchsia raised a fourth clutch because I didn't get their nest box removed in a timely manner. Often, I will hand feed a third clutch just to take some of the stress off the parent birds, and in the case of Flame and Fuchsia that year, I did hand feed their last clutch. Hand feeding the last clutch also allows me to remove the nest box before a pair begin mating again and the hen can go back and start laying more eggs.

Bourkes often begin to mate again right away, and a hen may lay eggs for a new clutch before their last clutch of young ones are all eating on their own. This year, in Fuchsia's case, while the last baby of her third clutch was still in the nest box, she laid another clutch of four eggs.

I couldn't hand feed the third clutches of any of our pairs this time because I knew we'd be traveling to a larger city for my husband's surgery. The birds were left alone with plenty of water and extra food for three days and two nights. They did fine, but hand feeding their young was out of the question.

Our oldest hen, Cherry. Her last clutch didn't hatch, so her
nest box has remained clean for this one. It seems unlikely
 these eggs will hatch either as her mate, Rhett, is quite
elderly too. In 1st clutch this year, they raised two.
My hubby usually attaches and removes nest boxes for me. This year, he's unable to remove them, and the nest boxes are still up. That problem can be dealt with by blocking off the entry opening. But, busy me, did not do so.

I also try to clean boxes between clutches and add new pine shavings. Since my birds are all very tame, if needed I can remove eggs for a short time and return them to a clean box. The hens always accept this from me. I'm not recommending it for everyone, however. I simply know my TAME birds will allow this, and I think they appreciate a clean box. The eggs are never away for more than a few minutes and handled carefully.

This post is to let you know how adaptable Bourkes (and probably all birds) can be. The picture below illustrates how they can accept their circumstances. Fuchsia's third clutch of four left the box pretty dirty and I've not been able to remove and clean it. She is using her "dirty" box for a fourth clutch. Cleaning it now will be a challenge since the dried food around her eggs is so hard. I need to decide when to do it...possibly after the babies hatch and I take them out to hand feed. Meanwhile, the box has a slight odor, but the weather is cool and that helps...

I'd never recommend allowing Bourkes to have fourth clutches in the same year, however, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. These eggs are already laid and I'm not going to throw them away.

Fuchsia's box after raising four babies and starting
another clutch before the nest box was cleaned.
Instead of pine shavings, bottom has dry droppings.
The Lady Gouldian finches have babies again. All their clutches from late last year sold, and when she started laying eggs on the floor, I decided to give them their nest box back. I hear tiny peeps coming from within, Duchess won't move to let me see what's under her, smile. This photo is of a clutch from last year. They are about a week old here.
Lady Gouldian finch babies at about one week of age.

Turquoise Lineolated Parakeet.
The pair of Linnies (new to me), are in the nest box. The hen wasn't coming out, so I finally peeked in. She looked like she was brooding and I assumed she had eggs. However, I finally saw her out of the box and rushed over to have a look. No eggs. Disappointed, but still hopeful.

Cobalt blue Lineolated Parakeet. He loves his toys.

Light pink, white faced and red-eyed, opaline fallow Bourke.
This baby is from Rosie and Pretty Boy's third clutch this year.
She should be eating on her own soon. For now, Pretty Boy is
still feeding this daughter and his mate, Rosie, who is on eggs.
We have no breeding Splendids right now. It's all about the Bourke parakeets...my favorites.

Peace and Blessings,

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