Monday, December 22, 2014

Bourke Parakeet Visits -- Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Bird Lovers Everywhere!

Newly weaned Rosy Bourke Parakeet babies.

A Rosy and a white-faced opaline fallow Bourke.

Some of our sweetest Rosy Bourkes have come to say hello. Rosie Bird posts video's on You Tube. This video of our tamest members went up today.

May 2015 give you many blessings with healthy,
happy birds to bring cheer into your life.
Peace & Blessings!

Monday, November 24, 2014

MITES ON BIRDS - A Question & Answer

Flame and Fuchsia, Rosy Bourke Parakeets

We get many questions and I try to answer every one. I'm remiss, however, about posting them here. Someday I'll go collect more and post others. Meanwhile, this one arrived today.

Duchess and her daughters, Lady Gouldian finches.

Hi Gail,
I have a Bourke's parakeet with scaly face mites, a.k.a. knemidokoptes infestation. He was diagnosed today at the veterinarian. She put him, and my two others Bourke's on Stronghold medicine.
I give one dose to each bird today, then after two weeks I give the second dose. She's concerned he isn't getting enough vitamin A, so I'm adding a liquid multivitamin on their food. The peas they like the best so I drop some on top of those. They have more dandruff than usual and have been molting (or losing) feathers. This is my first experience with mites! Have you had this problem before? Any suggestions?
Thank you,
Hello Melissa,
Years ago I leaned into a nest box to inspect the babies and later noticed a tickle at my forehead. I looked in mirror and saw teensy black spots moving there. Ick! I'd probably let my head touch the edge of the box's lid when I opened it. I looked at the nest box closely and sure enough, that's where they came from... there were lots of them on the box lid. I was not happy.
No mites on these healthy Rosy Bourke Parakeet babies.
Unfortunately, the vets in our area don't know anything about birds, only dogs and cats or one or two treat horses and cows. Our closest avian vet is many, many hours away, although I made the trip once and she is very nice ... she's the only avian vet I know of in our whole state. :-(
After careful investigation, I ordered a concentrated mite spray on the internet. Our Grange had some kinds, but they didn't have good reviews, whereas this one did. When it arrived I diluted per directions and put it in a small bottle that had had eye glass cleaner in it. It gave a fine mist. Used a directed, it was touted to not hurt baby birds in the nest. I removed all food and water, then sprayed everyone, even those in the nests. Cleaned the cages and waited a short while for everything to be very dry before returning food and water.
Fortunately, it took care of the mites and I've never seen any since. What kind of mites they were, I've no clue. I still have the concentrate in case it's ever needed again.
Two things I'd recommend for your birds if you're not already doing it. Buy fresh Kale and give it frequently. We chop ours up and put it in empty lids. We store the extra leaves in the fridge for up to a week, and can chop a little every day for the birds. It's rich in Vitamin A.
Maybe even more valuable are the rabbit salt blocks. They have iodine and Vitamin D. The birds will use them as needed just as they use cuttlebone. A lifetime breeder, who gave talks to bird specialists all over the world before he decided he was too old to keep traveling, told me about this. Since I added them a few years ago, my birds' production of babies has increased ... that's an indication of good health. The salt blocks will damage wire cages, so keep each in a plastic dish or lay them on newspaper like I do.
The dander and molting could be expected from a mite infestation. Once they’re gone, and given a healthy diet, your birds should gradually return to their former splendor.
Peace & Blessings,

This was covered in an earlier blog post last April. Here is the text from that post:
"Mites transfer to other birds easily.  I assume that, like cat lice, they can't survive on people or other animals.
I had mites occur once to my flock years ago. I bought a mite spray at our Grange that didn't work well (it was 8in1). Also, it was necessary to avoid the head and eyes. It said nothing about what to do for babies in the nest, and I had many of them at the time. 

What DID work was "Avian Insect Liquidator" by VETAFARM. It's a concentrate, and when mixed according to directions, it's approved for spraying into a nest box, even on newly hatched chicks. It costs more for a bottle, but is a concentrate and makes a lot. I mixed the concentrate into a tiny spray bottle because it only takes a small amount. I reused a spray bottle that previously had eyeglass cleaner in it. It is small and emits a fine spray.  
That mixture worked wonders right away. I had to order it online, but it came quickly. It was ordered through All Bird Products, Inc. The 100ml bottle makes two liters and I still have the concentrate these many years later.  I've never had a reoccurrence of the problem."

Mites sap a bird's energy and are harmful, especially to baby birds and should be taken care of as quickly as feasible.  

A young Opaline Fallow Pink Rosy Bourke Parakeet.
Peace & Blessings!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hand Feeding Baby Rosy Bourke Parakeets, and a Link to Video with Tips & Tricks

Hand feed, or allow parents to feed?

Four newly hatched Rosy Bourke Parakeets.
Best to wait and allow the parents to feed them
until the young are about two weeks of age.

These two hand fed birds are learning to eat on their own.
Offer lots of choices for them, especially spray millet.

Bourke Parakeets are easier than most birds to hand tame while young. Even those left in a cage all the time will become quite friendly, coming up to the cage bars when you talk to them.

If you can hand feed your baby birds, however, they will become remarkable pets, sweeter and more affectionate than those that are hand tamed. It is labor intensive and requires a great deal of care.

Click below for Video on You Tube of me hand feeding Rosy Bourke babies:  

Two hand fed baby Rosy Bourke Parakeets.

Mother Rosy Bourke in nest box with her youngsters.

Four Baby Rosy Bourkes being parent fed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bird Toy Warning

This warning and photo came to us via Face Book. I cannot validate it, but do know that China has poisoned dogs and cats in the USA via pet food with Melamine in it. It tests like protein, but isn't. As my husband said, "If they'd put chicken droppings in the pet food, it would test as protein too and wouldn't poison pets. Dishonest and wouldn't provide any nutrition, but at least it wouldn't have killed them." Not just dishonest and greedy, but cruel.

It would not surprise me if Chinese bird toys are a risk too.

I have two bird ladders that are colored with dyes that run when wet. I'd have been happy to buy them as plain wood without the dyes, which look very much like those in the photo above. I've decided to remove the ladders from my cages. From now on, no painted or dyed wooden toys from China for any of my birds. Better safe than sorry.

One removed. One more to go.
This one was recently cleaned and dyes ran badly.

Zinc and lead are both dangerous for birds. How can we know if paint from outside the USA is lead free?

I almost hate to take this away from her. She likes it.

Fortunately Bourke Parakeets do very little chewing.
However, this ladder is coming out anyway.

All my cages have one or more of
these hard plastic mirror & bead toys.
All the birds use them to play with
the beads and even sleep on them.
It might be that hard plastic bird toys are safest, along with plain wooden dowels for perches. No dyed or painted things.

Peace & Blessings.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lovely Linnie Aviary

Our beautiful, sweet Cremino Lineolated Parakeet came from  Lovely Linnie Aviary. Susan Kruger is a bird breeder located in Springfield, Oregon. Her charming aviary and flight are, indeed, very lovely.

The entrance to her delightfully cozy aviary.
Surrounded by forest. Notice the skylight in the roof.
Susan invites you to look inside.

Aviary at one end with workspace and viewing area
at opposite end where we're standing.
Birds are through this door.
Opposite end of room with workspace, some smaller cages
and a comfy chair for peacefully enjoying the birds.
Lineolated Parakeets enjoying millet.

Sliding windows let in a cool breeze on warm days.

Tools for maintaining a clean aviary.

View of the skylight from inside flight.
A side window could be a hazard for flying birds,
but a skylight requires them to fly upward, so less dangerous.

Yummy greens grow in hanging pot.

They can't all be Linnies. She has cute owl finches too,
and also a pair of Rosy Bourkes, not pictured.

A few of her Lovely Linnies.

Lots of things to climb and play on.

Friendly Linnies enjoy visits.

More come to look at us as we look at them.

Looking upward at the flight from inside the work area.

A useful work space.

This pretty pair live in the house with Susan and her family.

Linnie poster provides color descriptions.
It is on the wall in the aviary

A view of the left side of the flight.

Pretty handy, attractive storage.

If interested in buying a Linnie, contact Susan Krueger at:
Peace & Blessings.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rosy Bourke Parakeet Video and Recent Update

Rosie Bird has many videos downloaded on You Tube. The most recent is attached below this post.
We allowed Rosie and Pretty Boy three clutches this year. Rosie laid four eggs each time, hatched and raised all four every time. Twelve baby Rosy Bourkes from my sweetest hen, Rosie. Not all birds are as consistently successful as she is.
This year in her first clutch she had two Opaline Fallow Bourkes, so I decided to hand feed them rather than her third clutch, as typically done in the past. I kept those two very sweet, tame Opaline Fallow Rosy Bourkes as future breeders. There is one of both sexes and their new names are Songster and Peaches. As you may guess, he sings and wolf whistles beautifully.
Rosie's second clutch of four were all lovely Rosy or Opaline Rosy Bourkes, but no Fallows with red eyes. In her third clutch there was one Opaline Fallow.
The video below shows four of Rosie's sweet babies. Two are from her first clutch and the two I'm hand feeding are from her third clutch. All ten of her sweet offspring have been sold and have gone to new homes. The last two, very sweet hand feds shown in the video left today. We met both buyers in Reedsport. One of our babies will live in Florence, Oregon and the other in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Bourkes are among the cleanest and quietest of birds. I highly recommend them. Although I love Linnies, cockatiels and finches of all varieties, Bourkes remain my favorite Small Exotic Bird.

Peace & Blessings!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Amazing Praying Parrot

A bird brain? Don't think so ... he's brilliant.
Catholics should especially appreciate this.
Love it!

Peace & Blessings to All.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lineolated Parakeets, Two Youngsters Added to the Flock

On Sept. 2, 2014, I brought home two very young Lineolated Parakeets from two breeders in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon, USA.

Cobalt blue on left is male. Creamino on right is a hen.

Trying to name them has been fun. For a little while I called them Angel and Sparkle. Later thought about Sunshine and Stormy, but I once had a pair of cockatiels by that name and it did not feel right. Wanted them to have their own unique names. Of all the combinations tried, I decided on Summer and Winter.
Aren't they a pretty pair?

Within two days Summer and Winter were inseparable.

Below are photos of their parents. I want to be certain to remember each bird's color history.

These are Winter's parents, a mauve (gray) and a cobalt blue.
Summer's parents are a lutino and a cobalt blue.
Look how bright yellow! Brighter than Summer.

Summer's parents again. One peeking out of nest box at right.

I have many videos on YouTube under "Rosie Birds." Rosie Bird is my alter ego, just like  Below is a video recently uploaded starring these two Linnies. There are many more videos there, especially about Rosy Bourke Parakeets. Our Bourkes, by the way, are very interested in these young Linnies, especially the hens with babies of their own.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rosy Bourke Fosters Another's Baby At 18 Days of Age

So many things to post about and so little time. 

There really are five baby Bourkes in this photo.
Red-eyed baby is laying in front of the two in back.

Our Rosy Bourke, called Rosie, is the sweetest of birds. She and Fuchsia were both on their 3rd clutch of the year and I didn't want them to begin laying more eggs even before their current clutch had fledged ... just knew they would. To prevent that, I removed their youngsters to hand feed and took the nest boxes off their cages.
I'd been hand feeding their babies for a day and a half when the unexpected happened. It looked like my husband was having a stroke and I called 911 for an ambulance. Fortunately, it wasn't a stroke, it's Bel's Palsy, which most people recover from in a few weeks ... thank you, Lord.
However, Wednesday morning proved very chaotic. I had to follow to the hospital. What to do with the hand fed babies!? It seemed highly possible that they might fly my husband to a larger city than our rural community. Even if they didn't, under no circumstances would I get home in time to keep feeding the baby Bourkes. We live a half hour drive one-way to the hospital as it is. I wouldn't leave him and commute back and forth while he was in danger.
As they loaded him into the ambulance he asked if I'd be following. "As soon as I can," I said. Then raced around the house making sure the dog and cat had plenty of extra food and water. Fortunately, I'd already freshened all the birds' waters, but I added extra water bottles to all the cages and gave them all two sprays of millet (that was fastest).
Still, what about the babies?

Hand feeding baby birds, I change their box each time
they're fed. Throw out the paper towel liner, and allow
pine shavings under them to dry from droppings that
soak through the towels. A clean box at each feeding.

Fuchsia's nest box uses plastic cables to attach it to her cage and my husband puts it up while I hold the box ... not a quick fix.
I decided to trust my sweetest bird, Rosie. Her box has two hooks that allow it to quickly hang from the side, easy to install. I sliced through half the duct tape covering the hole where her nest box had hung and folded it back like a door. Then put the box back on. It hadn't been cleaned yet, but that wasn't much of an issue.
The real issue was, will they re-accept their young after almost two days absence? And, more worrisome, Will Rosie and Pretty Boy accept a foster baby that is already 18 days old? Not even a newly hatched chick?  Not only do they need to feed it, they need to not "savage" it as an intruder in their nest ... a potential risk.
Yet, it appeared to be my best option and I put all five babies into Rosie's nest box.
No one was home at our house from early Wednesday morning until late Wednesday evening after my husband was released from the hospital. I immediately checked the babies. All five were stuffed full and contented. 
What a wonderful bird is Rosie, our Rosy Bourke hen!  And, what a grateful diagnosis for my husband. He may be very uncomfortable for several weeks, but it isn't life threatening. God is good.
I still want to post photos of the two pretty baby Linnies we've had for two weeks now ... that post is coming up next, I hope. If things will only slow down a bit, smile. 

Peace & Blessings.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Today's Bourke Question & Answer on Lone Bourke Hen Laying Eggs

Today's photo of Rosie on four eggs.

There are still many questions and answers to post, but little time. This one came today, so all it takes is a quick copy and paste.


Photo of Fuchsia on eggs.

Hi Gail,
First, thanks for creating this blog! I love reading your posts :)
I'm hoping you might be able to offer some suggestions on how to discourage my beautiful female normal bourke from constantly laying eggs?  My husband and I have had her for a year and a half now and she has never had a mate. We don't intend on getting another bird.
She is such a sweet little character and I honestly don't mind that she lays eggs, but I am concerned for her health. We have taken her to our avian vet and consulted local bird shops, but none of the suggestions seem to deter her.  The vet suggested we remove the eggs as soon as possible (but she continues to lay eggs until she reaches about 4 or 5. The bird shops suggested hard boiling them and putting them back, changing the location of her cage often, and misting her environment with water occasionally to simulate the rainy season?  Nothing seems to work and she is already on her third round this year. 
For the most part she is still behaving normally and will come out to interact a few times a day. She's still eating and drinking normally and does not sit on her eggs at night. We only use newspaper on the bottom of the cage and change it regularly (especially if we've noticed nesting behavior). Unfortunately, she will tear up any new paper we put in and create another nest.
Any suggestions you have would be much appreciated!

C ---

My 7 young Rosy Bourkes in a travel cage and about to go to their buyer.
Hello C ---,

I'm curious where she's laying her eggs. I assume she doesn't have a nest box? That would stimulate egg laying, and isn't necessary for birds unless they are intended to lay. Is she using a seed cup or bowl? If so, remove it and feed her in something very shallow. If she's laying on the floor, that's another matter.

Egg laying is stimulated by sunlight ... longer days in the summer and shorter in the winter. She needs to get less light, whether sunlight or artificial light. Do you have a dark room where she can spend the late afternoon, evenings, etc. Allow her only 8 hours of daylight each day and she should quit laying. That might seem mean ... taking her away from the family; however, producing eggs is physically stressful and continuous egg laying puts her at risk. Have plenty of calcium available for her ... cuttlebone, mineral block, oyster shell. She needs to replenish her reserves.

When hens lay eggs and are allowed to sit on them, that's better for them then taking the eggs away. To do so can cause them to quickly lay another clutch. If she sits are her existing eggs for over 20 days and realizes they won't hatch, that might dissuade her from continuing to lay. She needs to know they are not any good. So, by leaving the eggs with her, she will lay fewer eggs and perhaps educate herself that laying is futile.

Even hens with mates sometimes have to abandon eggs that are infertile. They will typically sit for about 24 or 25 days before giving up (this can vary). I always recommend letting hens abandon their eggs themselves, rather than removing eggs before a hen gives up on them. Hens aren't producing more eggs while they're brooding. Also, they won't see you as the "bad" person who stole their eggs.

If she has eggs now, leave them with her. Let her keep brooding. Eventually, she will quit. Then, do the "dark" days treatment before she can start laying again. If she is in a room where you have the lights on late, that could be stimulating her to lay eggs at any time of the year. She's reacting to a longer day length and needs more hours of darkness.
Best of luck. Hope this helps.
Additional Thoughts:

Two of my Bourke hens are on their third clutch of eggs this year. Typically, I have allowed them to raise two clutches and hatch a third. When the babies in the third clutch are two weeks old, I remove and hand feed them so that I can take the nest boxes down. If I don't do that, the hens will begin laying more eggs before their previous young have all fledged.
This year, I hand fed the first clutches because there were two babies I wanted to keep and wanted to ensure they were very, very tame. Now, I need to decide if I'm going to hand feed their third clutches too. I probably will need to in order to prevent them from laying more eggs...

Young, hand fed Opaline Fallow with Red Eyes.
He was DNA tested and is a male.

Sister of the bird above. She was also DNA tested.
She is an Opaline Fallow Bourke from Rosy parents.

Two hand fed birds in front are promised and will leave us
next week. The Lutino hen in the background is staying.

Peace and Blessings