Bourke’s Parakeet Health

A happy bourke’s parakeet has clean smooth feathers, bright clear eyes, and is alert and active.

Signs of Illness in your Rosy Bourke

Signs of illness in the rosy bourke parakeet include:
crusty beak or toes
loss of appetite
fluffled up on the bottom of the cage
poop stuck to vent

A Bourke’s Parakeet will hide feeling sick

A rosy bourke’s parakeet in the wild learns to hide any sign of illness, as that can attract predators or make their flockmates chase them away or kill them.
Watch your rosy bourke’s parakeet closely to catch the first signs of failing health.
They will try to hide it and if you don’t notice it until it’s very blatent, it could be too late.

Make sure your bourke’s gets healthy bird checkups from a certified avian vet.
A regular cat/dog vet won’t have the knowledge and expertise that a certified avian vet will.

Bourke Parakeet claws

Keep your bourke parakeet’s claws trimmed.
If you are unsure how to do this, have your avian vet do it. Better safe than sorry and risk damaging your bird’s toes!


A bourke’s parrot needs cuttlebone for calcium – keep one on the wall of their cage at all times.

Bourke Parakeet Poop

Be sure to use plain newsprint or paper towels on the bottom of the cage so that you can watch their poops for signs of illness.
They should always be pretty much the same small, compact size and not overly watery.
Avoid corncob bedding or shredded newspaper, etc for several reasons: these can promote mold growth, if ingested by your bourke’s parakeet their crop can become impacted – which can lead to death, and you will be unable to watch their poops – which is one of the best ways to track the health of your bird.

When a Bourke’s Parakeet Molts… What is Molting?

A couple times a year your bourkes parakeet will molt.
This means their old feathers will fall out – it will seem like someone had a pillow fight with pillows filled with pretty pink Bourke feathers!
New feathers will grow in little spiky sheaths.
These spikes are called “pin feathers”.
A waxy sheath covers the feathers until they are ready and your Bourkes will scratch themselves against things, or scrape the wax off with their feet.
Some birds enjoy a little human help rolling the sheat between thumb and forefinger when it’s ready to go. It will crumble off easily.

Molting Bourke? Can you help?
Most Bourke’s don’t like to have their heads touched.
They will let you know if they want a little help and will offer you their head.
This comfort zone won’t be gained overnight and it could take months of patience to get to this level of comfort.
Just keep spending time with your bird, singing and talking calmly to them, feeding them from your hand.
They need to know you are a flock member and not a big predator that intends on eating them!

Baths help with Molting itchiness!
Provide them with a shallow bath and/or try giving them a warm misting with warm water. I
If they like the mist bath, they will stay in the mist, perhaps spreading their wings for the water. If they run or fly away, they don’t like it.
Be sure to buy an empty spray bottle from the store just for this purpose. You don’t want to accidently spray your bird with toxic chemicals which may harm or kill them.

Wing-Clipping: Should you clip your bourke’s wings?

Unless your bird is hurting themselves by flying too fast and out of control, never clip your birds wings, especially young birds.
Birds need to fly to maintain optimum health – both physical and mental. A clipped bird will become afraid, tentative, introverted and sad.

A Fully-Flighted Bourke is a Happy Bourke
It is amazing to watch a previously clipped bourke’s parakeet grow in their flights and suddenly be able to join the other birds, to fly where they want when they want.
Their personalities blossom – they no longer fear everything and everyone.
They sing with happiness.
Their confidence in themselves and the world around them soars.
A young bird, especially, needs to learn to fly immediately so they can explore their world and learn about it firsthand.
They should not spend their first months or years trying to fly but unable, watching other birds fly around while they cannot, afraid of everything and everyone.

Dangers to your Bourke’s Parrot: Avoid

Air fresheners
Halogen lamps
New carpet
New carpet
Scented anything
Scented candles
Space heaters
Parrot Hazards

Training your Bourke’s Parakeet

Training your Bourke’s Parakeet

Train your Bourke’s Parakeet to Talk?

I’ve never heard of a Bourke’s parakeet talking – so I’ve no advice for that. If you want a talking bird – look for a male budgie or one of the bigger birds like an African grey parrot, an amazon or macaw. I would only recommend these bigger birds to someone who has years of experience with birds.

Teach your Bourke’s Parakeet to Step Up

You can train your bourkes parakeet to pal around with you, to step up on your finger or step up onto a stick.

There are 2 secrets to training just about any bird, and this includes the bourke’s parakeet: PATIENCE and MILLET.

You need to be consistent.
Spend time with them daily and do things the same way with the same words every day.
You can start with a stick and a sprig of millet.
Put your hand in their cage and put the stick just touching the front of the lower belly of the bird, just above their feet.
Hold the millet sprig so that they have to climb up onto the stick to eat it.
When you put the stick in front of them, just touching their belly, not too far away, always say, “Step up”, and they will learn this command.
Talk to them softly while they eat.
Do not try to touch them.
After you have done this for a couple days or weeks (depending on the bird), you can inch your finger closer to them with the stick until they have to get on your finger.
Then after they are cool with getting on your finger, you can try bringing them out of the cage.
Before you do this, make sure the room is bird-safe. All doors and windows should be closed, windows covered, any other animals that could harm them should not be in the room (cats/dogs). There should be no open water, toxic plants, candles, etc in the room.

Bringing Home Your Bourke’s Parakeet

When you first bring home a bird, I’d even recommend not trying to touch them for awhile.
Let them get used to you and their new home.
They will be scared and confused so it’s important to help them feel relaxed and comfortable.
Keep them in a quiet stressful place.
Do not place them in direct sunlight or in front of a window or fan or heater.
Sit beside the cage and read to them and/or sing songs. Bourke’s like nothing better than to be sung to.

Bourkes Parakeet Personality and Temperment

The Bourkes parakeet has a sweet and gentle temperment.

The bird makes a good pet for the experienced avian-lover.

They are affectionate but not needy or clingy like some parrots.

They are quite independent and can entertain themselves for long periods of time.

They don’t need as much one-on-one attention as other larger parrots.

They enjoy flying around in the evening and riding around on their human’s shoulders.

However, unlike cockatiels, the Bourkes parakeet doesn’t care for cuddling or scritches.

They rarely, if ever, bite.

They will just nibble at your fingers or taste things with their tounge out of curiosity.

Female and male Bourkes parrots are equally affectionate with their human friends.

They will give you kisses and preen your hair and face.

Taming and Training the Bourkes Parakeet

Bourkes parakeets are easily trained or tamed if they aren’t already tame when you bring them into your home.

Unlike other parrots such as the Quaker (Monk Parakeet) or Parrotlet, the Bourkes parakeet will remain tame, even if not handled for a while.

A hand-raised Bourkes parakeet or a hand-fed Bourkes parakeet makes just as good a pet as a parent-raised Bourkes parakeet.

Each can be tamed at any time.

When you teach them using positive reinforcement techniques, they will become tamer and tamer.

They respond very well to positive reinforcement bird training techniques.

Can I teach my Bourkes Parakeet to talk?

Bourkes parakeets rarely learn to talk.

However, they’re known to imitate speech when chirping by whistling the words in the same tone of voice.

Just repeat the same words over and over again and in time they may pick up the words and repeat them.

Bourkes Parakeets Voice

The Bourkes parakeet is one of the quietest parrots, quieter even than budgies.

This makes them great apartment parrot.

Their pleasant voices are described as sweet, melodic, tinkling.

During the day their calls are pretty musical whistles.

They sweetly twitter while eating.

When they fly they have a soft chirruping twitter.

When they are startled they have a shrill double note alarm call.

How can I prevent hormonal behavior or egg-laying in my Bourkes Parakeet?

Keep your birds in same-sex pairs.

Don’t provide a nest box.

Do not house together a same-sex pair under the age of one year.

What food should I feed a Bourkes Parakeet?

In the wild, Bourkes Parakeets feed on the ground (only occasionally in the trees), in pairs or small groups of 4-6.

They feed on the seeds of grasses and herbs.

A Bourkes Parakeet needs a balanced diet of high quality seed mix, pellets, dark leafy greens like kale, grains such as quinoa and brown rice, and other unsalted fresh or frozen organic vegetables like corn, carrots, peas, broccoli, green beans, squash.

They also enjoy safflower, sprouted seeds, boiled egg, and chopped apple.

Fruits and veggies should be grated or chopped finely and mixed with a pellet mush (Harrison’s or Roudybush or Totally Organic Pellets – soaked in hot water until mushy) and high quality seed mix like Higgens Parakeet or Dr Harvey’s Best Parakeet, and organic sugarfree baby food (a fruit or vegetable mix).

Mix all together in a large casserole dish and keep refridgerated.

Keep a cuddlebone in the cage at all times to provide calcium.

Grit is not required as this is for birds with gizzards who do not hull their seeds.

Bourkes Parakeets hull their seeds and therefore do not have a gizzard and do not require grit.

Grit can cause crop impaction which can be deadly.

What is the proper cage for a Bourkes Parakeet?

Unlike American Parakeets, or budgies, the Bourkes parakeet doesn’t tend to climb the bars of their cage so horizontal bars aren’t as important.

They do enjoy flying in their cages so get the biggest lengthwise horizontal cage you can, at least 3 feet long, as they love to fly.

Even with a cage this large, be sure they get plenty of out-of-the-cage time each day.

Newsprint, paper towels, or black and white newspaper is best to line the cage with for several reasons.

First – you want to be able to keep track of the state of the birds poop.

Irregular poop is one of the first signs of illness and it’s hard to keep track if it gets lost in bedding.

It’s also important to avoid loose bedding such as corn cob bedding or pine or cedar shavings because these easily can grow mold which is deadly for birds fragile respitory systems and the pine and cedar shavings potent fumes are toxic for birds.

Mite protectors should be avoided as they too are toxic for birds.

Sand perches should be avoided because they can cause bumblefoot and other foot sores.

Provide clean water and food dishes, and the proper toys.

Bourkes Parakeets are happiest and healthiest when the temperature is between 60-85 degrees.

Avoid drafty locations and keep temperatures steady.

“They are certainly not ‘beginner’s birds’ and will usually not thrive if they are not provided with a spacious aviary where a small flock can be kept in company of a few other small and harmless birds.

It is possible to keep a pair or a single bird in a cage, but they will be sluggish and unhealthy if they are not let out to fly and socialize with humans frequently. ” Wikipedia.

The bar-spacing should be no more than half an inch.

Bourkes parakeets tend to fly or hop from perch to perch and climb wooden ladders.

Housing Bourkes Parakeets with other Birds

Bourkes parakeets are fairly timid, calm and unassuming.

They aren’t nervous or excitable like some parrots.

They are not known to be aggressive with other species of birds – even birds smaller than themselves.

However, their gentle nature can make them an easy mark for aggressive birds.

They can be housed in an aviary with other peaceful, passive birds such as cockatiels, finches, doves, quail.

Make sure the flight is quite large to provide ample flying space with many levels of perches and food/water stations.

All birds must be able to cohabitate without bickering or those should be removed.

All birds must be fully flighted.

Not all birds will get along, similiarly, not all Bourkes parakeets will get along with other Bourkes parakeets.

It is not recommended to house Bourkes parakeets with budgies because of budgies bossy, aggressive natures.

Budgies have been known to pluck out the feathers and bite off the toes of Bourkes parakeets.

“They are certainly not ‘beginner’s birds’ and will usually not thrive if they are not provided with a spacious aviary where a small flock can be kept in company of a few other small and harmless birds.

It is possible to keep a pair or a single bird in a cage, but they will be sluggish and unhealthy if they are not let out to fly and socialize with humans frequently. ” Wikipedia.

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