Is the Bourke's parakeet the right pet bird for you? Use this information to decide if purchasing this bird is a smart decision.
They are not as vociferous as many other species but have a pleasing voice. However, they do not talk, unlike some parakeets such as the Monk parakeet. While they are loving and affectionate, they are not co-dependent or overly demanding. Bourke’s parakeets happily frolic and amuse themselves for hours on end especially if they have access to a variety of bird toys.
Bourke’s parakeets interact well with other birds, which makes them a superlative addition to aviaries or multi-bird households. Their energy levels are moderate with most of their activity occurring either early in the morning or late at night. To keep them cheerful and healthy requires only regular flight time, a mate, proper diet and human interaction.
Best Diet for Bourke's Parakeets
Feed your parakeet a diverse diet, but remove any uneaten food after about one hour to avoid spoilage. Scrub all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly and rinse well to remove any traces of pesticides, and peel fruits such as oranges and apples.
Feed spray millet as an occasional treat but beware, because parakeets love this appetizing food and can become overweight if allowed to gorge. Clean and sanitize food and water dishes regularly to prevent disease.
- Seeds such as safflower, sunflower, niger or rape seeds
- Fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, grapes and strawberries
- Vegetables such as corn and carrots
- Greens such as kale, herbs, spinach or broccoli
- Parakeet mix composed of canary grass seeds, millet and oats
Feed small portions weekly:
- Chopped egg yolk
- Cottage cheese
Only feed fresh bird food, and test each new batch of food to see if the seeds will put forth shoots. If the seeds do not sprout, they will not provide the essential nutrients for your parakeet’s health. Store the food in a dark, dry space with good ventilation and always check the food for signs of spoilage or vermin infestation prior to use.
Use Nutritional Supplements
Include a cuttlebone for some supplemental calcium and beak maintenance. Ask your avian vet if he or she advocates supplementing a parakeet’s diet with vitamins or non-carbonated mineral waters. If he or she approves, add the vitamins to the bird’s drinking water.
Sprouted seeds are a good supplement at any time but are crucial when the birds are mating or molting to offer supplementary nutrients. Offer sprouted seeds often, and remove them after an hour if the bird has not consumed them as sprouts go rancid rapidly.
Parakeets need to eat small rocks to aid with their digestion, so be sure to include some gravel in the cage. Change the gravel each time the cage is cleansed.
How to Breed a Pet Parakeet
Visually sex your Bourke’s parakeet; the top of the male’s head is blue brown. The female is smaller than the male and has white brows. Parakeets are monogamous and mate for life.
Typically, these parakeets are easy breeders and quite prolific. Wait until they are at least 10 months old to breed them.
They need a nest box but brood in cavities, so they do not use nesting materials. Most parakeet experts agree that parakeets will only accept a nesting box with a one and one-half inch entry hole. The box can be inside or outside the cage, but again, most experts agree that the box is accepted more readily when it is installed outside the cage. The room temperature should be between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for best results.
The hen lays between three to six white eggs in the clutch and incubates them for about 18 days. During the incubation period, the male feeds the female. The best policy is to leave the eggs alone during the incubation period, and allow the hen to take care of them.
Amazingly, the chicks hatch in the exact order that the eggs were laid; the first egg laid is the first to hatch. Do not interfere with the eggs or chicks to avoid stressing the hen. The hatchlings will be naked, blind, and unable to move, but the hen will feed them and cover them with her wings to protect them and keep them warm.
The chicks fledge in about four to six weeks and can fly. While the hen can have several clutches over the space of a year, most experts recommend limiting her to two clutches per annum for the sake of her health.
Health & Welfare Tips for Your Bourke's Parakeets
In general, these parakeets are healthy and do not suffer from many diseases. However, there are some issues to be aware of such as overgrown claws, feather plucking, or abnormal molts.
Claws and beaks may need professional trimming if they become overgrown. Parakeets occasionally break a bone or damage a wing, and leg bands can cause infections or irritations. When any of these problems arise, the safest solution is to take your bird to an avian veterinarian.
Stop the Escape Artists
Parakeets are nomadic birds (their native range is Australia) with an instinct to fly and flock with others of their kind. Given the slightest opportunity, they will try to escape.
To reduce the danger of losing your pet, take precautions when you are allowing your bird some out-of-the cage time. Make sure all doors, windows, and other exits are closed. Check the birdcage lock frequently to make sure that it latches properly and the bird cannot open it.
Cage bars should not be far enough apart for the bird to slide through. Do not let the bird out of the cage when visitors are inside.
With proper care and the right diet, your Bourke’s parakeet will give you years of affection and companionship. Now that you know about these pet birds, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to add one of these delightful birds to your household and lifestyle.