Shirley Morgan's Bourke's Parakeets Supplies

Various Supplies and Equipment We Use - See the Color Genetics Chart at the bottom of the page!
Toys: Bourke's like a variety of preening toys and bells. They like to pick at things, but make sure they cannot get their feet or heads tangled in their toys.

Cage perches, swings: Use an assortment of perches - different shapes and sizes. That is what is healthiest and most natural for their feet. Bourke's love swings! And small spiral "boings". You can see a boing in the flight cage in the next row of images.

Cages: Flight cage - inside and outside views. Two African Paradise Whydahs (males), one male Cockatiel, 1-3 Bourke's depending on who is in there at the time. Usually there is not a nestbox in the flightcage, but at the time these photos were taken, we had one in there for Ginny-gin since she had started laying eggs on the ground.

Several feeding stations and 2-3 water stations when housing multiple birds - this is essential.

Note the bells hanging in the flight cage. Also notice the swings are large. Bourke's fly, and move about quickly, so large swings are much nicer than small ones. They prefer cockatiel-size swings.

The cage on the immediate left is a stack of two breeding cages, and they are in our dining room. Bourke's enjoy attention, and sometimes they are set up in the bedroom, and other times in the dining room.


breeding cage

Nest Boxes: We use nest boxes that are custom-designed for Bourke's Parakeets by Jim Crouch. He designs and builds all sorts of nest boxes and breeding cages, and is located just up the highway from us in Arcadia, Indiana. You wont find a nicer fellow with whom to do business.

Bourke's Nest Box

Wing-clipping scissors Wing-clipping: sold as cat claw clippers

Food: Zupreem PARAKEET natural pellets, California Golden Millet, as a treat: Higgins parakeet seed mixed with Higgins Fruit and Veggie seed mix. Do not feed Cockatiel size pellets to Bourke's. Our #F9D9F7'tiel eats the same pellets the Bourke's eat. Cuttle Bone should be available all the time.

About Feeding: Never assume your young bird is eating. Picking at the food does not mean he is ingesting the food. Be sure to get the SAME brand and size grain/pellet food when you replenish supplies. Birds are very visually oriented, and if it doesn't look right, they may not eat it. If it doesn't feel right, they may not eat it. You may think they are eating, but they may not be. A bird can starve to death in 48 hrs., sometimes less. If you wait until your bird is weak before noticing he hasn't eaten, it's usually too late -- unless your avian veterinarian administers fluids, gavage-feeds your bird, and puts him in an incubator at a controlled temperature.

When switching brands or types of food, do so very gradually, making sure the bird is not losing weight in the process. See SCALES below.

Scales: I can't emphasize enough the importance of having an inexpensive but accurate gram scale. This one measures in grams and ounces, so it doubles as a postage meter! When your bird's behavior or body language is "off", weight is the first thing you'll want to check, so know your bird's weight and check it once in awhile. If your bird is losing weight (10% of his weight in grams) then contact your AVIAN veterinarian immediately. The average weight of an adult Bourke's is 42-47g. That means if you have a 44g bird that suddenly weighs 39.6g, you may have a serious problem! Scales is usually the one item people won't purchase - until they lose a bird. Get a good scale.


Incubator: We have two incubators because we have large and small parrots. An incubator is a life-saver when you have a sick bird. However, be sure you monitor the temperature, and don't but a "buddy" bird in with the sick bird. You'll over-heat the well bird. Temperature you set depends on age/condition of the bird. Usually, 82-85 degrees F is a good healing temp.

Do not trust a heating pad under a tub or cage. They are very unreliable. If you use one, place a thermometer in there, keep an eye on it, and have the heating pad under 1/2 the floor space of the container. Place a towel between the heating pad and the container, and never use the "high" setting.

We use an incubator that plugs into the wall (AC) and also plugs into the DC unit of the car. We can keep babies or ill birds warm while traveling, or while en route to the avian veterinarian's clinic. It has a built-in fan, thermostat, temp probe, and is lightweight - made in a Rubbermaid tub w/lid. This incubator cost about $150 and has more than paid for itself.

Bourke's Color Genetics
Rosy (Opaline) and Normal (Wild color) in Bourke’s Parakeets
Color is Sex-linked, passed by the male.

Remember that birds are WW = Male, WZ = Female. This is a reversal from people, where XX = Female and XY = male.
Science: In the laymen bird world… we say “split for” and in science we say “carriers” or “heterozygous”. In the bird world, we say “visual rosy” and in science we say “phenotypically rosy”. Phenotype is the scientific term for the general layman's term, “visual”. Normal split for Rosy means Normal carrying the Rosy gene or Normal heterozygous for Rosy.

Below is the Chi Diagram to show the color possibilities of the various pairings of Bourke’s. Remember, the Z chromosome on the female Bourke’s does NOT carry color. The W genes on all Bourke’s do carry color.

Bourke's Genetics - Rosy and Normal Colors