We have no Bourke's for sale and we no longer breed Bourke's. We also do not know anyone who is breeding Bourke's.


baby bourke

Frequently Asked Questions: Bourke's Parakeets


1. Are Bourkes like parakeets (Budgies)?

Regarding behavior, no, they are not. They do not play with toys. They do not climb cage bars vertically the way parakeets tend to do. They don't talk, although some have developed some speech abilities. They don't preen one another or become tightly bonded with one another. They do not bite, although they might if biting is their last resort for defense. Bourke's, like budgies, enjoy taking a bath once in awhile, or enjoy getting a misting as a shower. They are named after Sir Richard Bourke of Australia, thus the apostrophe in their name, Bourke's parakeet, and sometimes they are called the Bourke's parrot. They are an Australian grass parakeet, and travel in flocks.

2. What are their personalities like?

Bourke's are not "needy" or "clingy". They are independent and entertain themselves. They enjoy human companionship, but they do just fine left by themselves for hours at a time. They like to sing and chirp as the sun rises and sets. They tend to take naps in the afternoon. They can be prone to night-frights, where they fly about wildly in the dark. It is wise to leave a night-light on for them so they can see if they awaken from a night-fright. Our Bourke's sleep in the bedroom where it's dark. We turn a lamp on if they have a night-fright. They settle down and go back to sleep right away. They enjoy the company of other Bourke's, but don't seem to mind if they are alone or living with others. They perk up and chirp when people they know enter the room. They love to fly freely about the room. Their favorite "toys" are preening toys, things they can pick at, but they don't play with balls, ladders, or chew-type toys. They enjoy their swings and sometimes enjoy a bell to ring with their beaks.

3. Are they nice for apartment living?

Excellent! Bourke's are quieter than Budgies, and both are quiet enough for apartment life.

4. Can children handle them with supervision?

Children who are gentle and loving toward small fragile pets can handle them with supervision. Children should not be expected to be their primary care-givers. It is unrealistic to place the burden of responsibility of bird care on a child. Birds cannot communicate their needs as easily as dogs and cats can, and they do not fare as well left unattended as some other pets can. A bird can die if left without water or food before the parent realizes the child forgot to care for the bird. A bird can be lost, injured, or killed if forgotten and left outside its cage.

5. I heard they are aviary birds and usually do not make good pets. Is this right?

They make excellent aviary birds and they make excellent pets! If they are tame, they remain tame even when given an aviary to live in and fly about with other birds. They'll fly right up to you if they are tame to begin with.

6. Will a hand-raised Bourke's parakeet make the best pet?

Sometimes a hand-fed Bourke's is tamer than a parent-fed Bourke's, and sometimes that is not true. Sometimes co-parenting is sufficient. Sometimes a parent-raised Bourke's becomes just as tame as a hand-fed baby. We let our Bourke's feed their babies, and we handle them from pin-feather age onward. Whether hand-fed or not, some babies are more inclined to be tame than others, and when taught with positive reinforcement, they become tamer and tamer. Bourke's respond very nicely to Positive Reinforcement: Behavior that is repeated is being reinforced, and behavior that is not repeated is not being reinforced.

7. What is a good diet for the Bourke's parakeet?

We feed natural pellets such as Zupreem parakeet natural pellets, Roudybush crumbles, or Harrison's. Additionally, we feed a quality seed mix such as Higgins parakeet, Higgins fruit 'n' veggie mix, and we make a mixture of fresh and frozen thawed raw veggies: corn, grated carrots, green beans, peas, grated squash, and such. Their veggies are served in a separate dish on the floor of their flight cage. They have several feeding stations and two or three water stations.

8. What size cage should I house one or two bourkes in?

Bourke's prefer a "horizontal" cage - they use the flight space, not the vertical climbing space. Three feet long is nice, but 24" long is sufficient for one or two birds if they are taken out for free-flight on a regular basis. Depth and height of the cage should be proportionate - as large a cage as you have space for is nice! They love to fly!

9. What other kinds of birds can I house with my Bourke's?

Bourke's, like most other species, do not choose to flock with other species. However, there are occasions where you can mix species under certain circumstances. The cage should be a large flight cage with several levels of perches, several food and water stations, and lots of flight space. These flight cages usually have two large doors on the front. The birds should be flighted, not clipped. The birds should co-habitate with minimal bickering, otherwise, separate them. Some Bourke's do not get along with other Bourke's, and in that case, they should not be forced to live together. Sometimes, a Bourke's will live somewhat peacefully with a finch or even a cockatiel, but this is not usually the recommended living arrangement.

10. How much sleep do Bourke's need at night?

Bourke's will take afternoon naps, and then go to sleep from sundown to sunrise.

11. Are there household chemicals that are hazardous to Bourke's?

Bourke's are sensitive to the same chemicals that harm and can kill other birds: non-stick (PTFE found in Teflon) cookware if heated above 450 F can release toxic fumes that travel throughout the ventilation system of the house, candles can release toxic fumes, Fabreze carpet cleaner, certain plants, woods, and more. There are websites that list dangerous plants, foods, woods, and chemicals. Chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and avocado should never be offered.

12: Who do you recommend for avian veterinary care in the central Indiana area?

I recommend Dr. Ellen K. Cook, owner of Cicero Veterinary Clinic in Cicero, Indiana, 10 minutes north of Noblesville, 30 minutes north of Indianapolis northside. She treats dogs, cats, and birds, and has been in practice since 1975. Her patience, compassion, and loving care for her patients and their human owners is exceptional! She has two dogs and several cats of her own, as well as Merlin, her Moluccan cockatoo, Shelby, her Bare-eyed cockatoo, and Lucas, her albino cockatiel. All her birds are flighted, and can be seen on YouTube at morganvideo, where Shelby flies freely outside from one person to another, and Merlin does several behaviors she's taught him. Visit her clinic at www.cicerovet.com.


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