Small pet birds and anything related by Pete Etheridge – aka – 'Stanton Birdman'

Archive for the ‘parakeet’ Category

Keeping your birds warm in winter

I had an email today in response to my article on ‘Article Base’ enquiring about more information; here is the answer I gave:

In answer to your enquiry you’ll be pleased to know that it is not the cold that causes problems for your birds but wet and draughty conditions certainly will.

To give you some idea of what I’m on about my birds have nothing more than a standard 6 x 4 shed as their night shelter, but I have made a few minor alterations for their comfort during the winter.

Firstly I lined the inside of the shed, between the supports, with old carpet underlay which I stuck on with ‘No Nails’ adhesive but any decent adhesive will do. You don’t have to use carpet underlay as I did but any old foam, old carpet or anything you have or can get hold of will do to act as insulation.
I then boarded out the whole of the inside with 6mm ply board, this was reasonably cheap and was easy to cut to shape with either a jigsaw or standard saw, I attached it with normal nails.

That’s basically the only alterations I made, the shed already had felt on the roof so this made it waterproof. I use no form of artificial heating whatsoever.

I noticed that you have finches and canaries; as small birds by comparison to the others these need to eat more often to build up their fat reserves to help their bodies stay warm so it is vitally important that you make sure their is always a plentiful supply of food, and of course fresh water, for them at all times, and the chances are they will eat considerably more than in the summer to help them to stay warm.

I also find it helps to provide some type of artificial lighting in the winter evenings; it gets dark by 5 pm and then does not start to lighten until 7 am the following morning, that’s a massive 14 hours without light and your birds will only eat if there is enough light for them to see what they are doing. As small birds like finches and canaries need to eat more often to ask them to go 14 hours without food can and often will cause problems.

Install the light in such a position so as to get light into the night shelter without your birds being able to make contact with the hot bulb and burn themselves; if you have a security area between your access point to the night shelter and the access point to the birds area then install it there, if the barrier is solid then remove some of it and replace it with aviary mesh or clear Perspex so the light will penetrate into the birds dorm. If not then install the bulb in the dorm but fence it off with some aviary mesh to stop them getting to it and of course make sure any power cables are out of their reach too, you know they are bound to chew such things if they can.

Allow your birds about 7 to 8 hours of darkness to let them sleep by switching the light on and off manually or fit a timer to do it automatically; this is what I do. I bought a cheap electronic timer (only cost me £3) and set it to switch the light on as it gets dark (about 4.30 pm in the height of winter) and off about 7 to 8 hours before dawn (about 11 pm to 12 midnight in the height of winter).

Of course you will need to get rid of the ice that should be their water and replace it with fresh water about 2 or 3 times a day, and keep checking the food supply. Also try and close off their access points to the outside once they are all in the night shelter if you can, this will help prevent draughts and keep them inside where it’s dry and draught free til you let them out in the morning.

To summarise in the clearest way; I’m sure you have noticed that even when it is bitterly cold if you have your winter gear on in still and dry conditions you’re quite comfortable, and it’s only when it’s windy or wet do you feel cold. It’s exactly the same for your birds.

The above things might seem like a lot of work but they’re not really, and are just a few basic and easily achieved precautions, and well worth that bit of extra effort for your birds’ sake.

Last winter we recorded some of the lowest winter temperatures on record, often below minus 10 degrees. With the added precautions above I had no winter casualties whatsoever, and I also have finches (plus budgies, cockatiels and Java sparrows) in my exposed outdoor aviary.

I know this has seemed quite exhaustive but I sincerely hope the information helps to ensure you have a casualty-free and successful winter of bird-keeping.

If you’d like a bit more information then please do not hesitate to contact me at stanton.birdman@gmail.com or Pete@stantonbirdman.com
More info about bird keeping can be found on my website at http://www.stantonbirdman.com/
or any of my blog sites: http://www.StantonBirdman.wordpress.com/
and also http://www.stanton-birdman.blogspot.com/.

To your success!
Pete
‘Stanton Birdman’

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Small Pet Birds – Grass Parakeets of Australia

Yes I know it’s took me a long time to get around to this as I promised it months ago.  I’ve been so busy it has had to take a back seat for a while and even now it is not much more than a previous post but with pictures and links added in, but at least you will be able to access more info about these beautiful little parrots.

Australian grass parakeets are popular as pets or aviary birds due to their colourful markings, small size and placid nature. About the same size as budgerigars; they do however command a premium price by comparison but are well within the reach of most enthusiasts. There are about 6 popular species of grass parakeet used in aviculture.

All the species of Australian grass parakeets are closely related to the budgerigar but unique in their own separate ways. When kept as domestic birds they have very similar requirements to budgerigars; same type and size of nest box, same or similar type of food etc. so their requirements are easily met.

Originating from the grasslands of their native land as the name suggests, these are beautiful little parrots in a good variety of colours; often the iridescence of their plumage makes them even more attractive to the bird keeper. Also their calm and placid nature is an added attraction along with the fact that they are not prone to annoying squawking and often emit nothing more than a just audible chirp, making them ideal in flats or apartments where a quiet pet is beneficial.
Grass parakeets are readily available on the market but due to their desirable characteristics and appearance you will find that demand often outstrips supply. So don’t expect to pay less than £30 each and often more; not a bad price really but quite steep when compared to their nearest pet neighbours, the budgerigars which can often be picked up for £10 or even less.

A bit more information about grass-parakeets (or grass parrots as they’re also known) is available from ‘grassparakeet.com’, ‘proaviculture.com’, and ‘avianweb.com’.
The most common species as pets are the bourke (bourke’s parakeet), scarlet-chested (splendid), turquoisine, elegant parakeet, rock parrot, blue-winged parakeet, and the red-rump. Search for any of these in a good online image search and you will notice immediately why they are so desirable to bird keepers.

 
Bourke
Neopsephotus Bourkii

It is claimed that of all the grass parakeets these are the easiest to keep in captivity, as they are very undemanding. They originate from central and south-western Australia and are approximately 7.5 inch 19 cm long. Bourke’s parakeets are considered by some to be rather dull due to their brown colour but they do have a pink front and blue on the wings, there are some brightly coloured mutations however such as the rosy bourke, and all have a calm and charming nature.

Click here for a related video.

More stuff on the bourke can be had by going here or alternatively click this link.

 

Elegant
Neophema elegans

Native to southern Australia the elegant grass parakeets are olive-yellow in colour with a blue band across the forehead and along the edge of the wings and are about 8.75 inch 22 cm long. Very popular as captive birds with many keepers throughout the globe.

The elegant grass parakeet on video

More information from ‘AvianWeb‘ and ‘Wikipedia

Red rump
Psephotus haematonotus

Originating from southeast Australia and found in flocks or pairs in open country, also frequenting suburban gardens and parks but avoiding the wetter heavily timbered areas and coastal regions. A medium sized parrot of about 25 – 28 cm 9.75 – 11 inches and emerald green in colour with yellow underparts, the actual red-rump only applies to the male of the species.

Red rump on video at ‘YouTube

Red rump at a our old friends ‘AvianWeb‘ and of course ‘Wikipedia

 

Blue-winged
Neophema chrysostoma

A migratory species that breeds in Tasmania but sees the winter out in southeast Australia, found in flocks of up to 2000 before migration but usually in pairs during the breeding season. These little parrots are about 20 – 22 cm 8 – 8.5 inches and mainly olive green with a blue band to the forehead and edge of wings and yellow belly (very similar markings to the elegant but the blue banding is less profound).

Here’s a video with the blue-winged grass parakeet in it.

More stuff on the blue-winged can be sought from ‘AvianWeb‘ or alternatively ‘Wikipedia‘, or if you like try both.

 
Splendid
Neophema splendida

Also commonly known as the scarlet-chested parakeet and often confused with the turquoisine due to similar markings. About 7.5 to 8 inches 19 – 20 cm in length. As their name implies these have a scarlet chest but also a yellow belly and underside, bright blue (often iridescent) head and wing edges and a deep green back and rump. Considered by some to be the most beautiful of the grass parakeet species and so making them very popular in captivity. Native to western new south Wales and interior western Australia.

Watch splendid grass parakeet at ‘YouTube’

More details by going here and here

 
TurquoisineNeophema pulchella

Once common throughout eastern Australia but now mainly found in the north eastern areas. Approximately 20 cm 8 inch long. Also a desirable and popular pet due to its calm and placid nature (a trait that seems common in all grass parakeets) and it’s wonderful iridescent turquoise colouring to the crown, face and edges of wings, green back, often orange-yellow chest and red belly.
A bit of a movie star is the turquoisine, here are not one but three vids for you:
Vid 1
Vid 2
Vid 3

Of course these entries wouldn’t be the same without our ‘Wikipedia‘ and ‘AvianWeb‘ links.

View the pictures connected to this post on ‘Facebook’

Hope this has satisfied your curiosity, more Aussie birds will be up here one day but I can’t promise when, after all it took me long enough to get this one on here, so just watch this space.

Pet birds – Wing clipping

Today I received an interesting email from someone who bought a budgie from me recently asking about wing clipping and if I knew how to do it.

Although I am aware of the procedure, wing clipping is something I have never actually done in practice.  I’ve kept birds for well over ten years and never actually clipped any wings.  It suddenly dawned on me that for such a simple procedure I wondered myself why I have never actually tried it in over a decade of bird keeping as a main hobby.

The simple answer is most of my birds are housed in a large outdoor aviary so I’ve never had to, and although I have kept a number of birds in cages as household pets I have never considered actually clipping their wings.

Some would argue that the procedure is cruel and unnecessary, whereas some would argue that all pet birds should have their wings clipped.

All I can say is it is a matter of personal preference, the bird feels no pain or loss whatsoever apparently and it does prevent them from flying away as with clipped wings they are unable to get any lift, and also if attempting to fly from a height they’ve climbed would simply glide to the ground with no pain or injury incurred.  If they attempt to fly it would go some way to preventing injury by crashing into windows and other inanimate objects.

So it’s up to you.  If you wish to tame your bird then wing clipping will help but if like mine your birds live in an aviary in a semi-wild state then there is no need.

The procedure is simple with just a trimming of the middle section of the primary feathers on each wing.  It would be quite easy to do yourself but if you are unsure then the best bet is to call in the professionals.

Below is a few videos I’ve found that will show you the procedure, just click on any or all of the links to access them, the diagram above will also show you where to clip.

http://youtu.be/eqhxMWBcNO8

http://youtu.be/NftNrmu3LFo

http://youtu.be/kvXMZ0kgeq0

http://www.ehow.com/video_2349545_wing-clipping-parakeets.html

Thanks!

‘Stanton Birdman’ – aka – Pete

Get your FREE pet bird eBook

Hi folks!

Here’s your chance to get hold of a FREE pet bird related ebook.

Although I am named as the author of this it is actually a PLR ebook I bought a while ago and added a few pictures and myself as the author, so it’s not brilliant but it does give some valuable information to anyone who wishes to start and keep pet birds.

I can write much better material and have done so  with my ‘Pet Bird Keeping Secrets, The Stealth Guidebook’, also available from my simple one page website at http://www.birdkeepingsecrets.com/.  The eBook I’m giving away free however will prove full of useful information to anyone new to the hobby so it is worth the original asking price of $14.97  but it’s now yours for FREE.  This can also be gotten hold of from BirdKeepingSecrets.com, just click the ‘Get Your Free EBook’ link.

It’s FREE so it’s worth having even if it don’t teach you anything, but I’m sure it will!

Please also feel free to give copies of it away to as many other people as you like, in fact I sincerely hope you do just that!  When you read it you will understand why.

So don’t delay any longer and click this link NOW to get your FREE copy.

You can either click the link and then once the book is visible click the ‘Save a Copy’  button in the top left corner or right click on the link and choose ‘Save Target As’  from the dropdown menu.

It is in ‘Adobe PDF’ format so you can read it on any computer that has ‘Adobe Reader’ installed, which is most of them.  If you don’t have ‘Adobe Reader’ then click here or here and get it for FREE.

The flutter of tiny wings

I will be giving more details about the Australian grass parakeets soon, as promised, although somewhat delayed due to my other commitments.

Thought I’d take the opportunity to do a little upgrade post about the bird situation at home.

Stanton Birdman currently has 5 baby budgies for sale to good homes only.  They have now been taken from the aviary and placed in a cage ready to go to eager buyers.  There was 6 to start with from 2 clutches but one has already been claimed, a beautiful bright yellow from Squeek’s first clutch of the year, go to my earlier post https://stantonbirdman.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/small-pet-birds-cleaning-nest-boxes/ to learn a bit more about their upbringing and a photo of them when they were younger.

To try and make sure they go to good homes I am asking £10 each for them.  I am only selling them locally however to minimise the phychological damage that they would suffer should they have to travel far to new homes.  If you would like any and live fairly local to Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, UK then please email me at stanton.birdman@gmail.com.

Of the 5 that are left, 2 are from ‘Squeek’ (hen) – not sure who Dad is –  and the other three are from ‘Blue’ (hen) and ‘Pied’ (cock), my most prolific breeders.

This year's first babies ready to go

Check the picture to take a look at them now but please excuse the quality as I only have my mobile phone’s 2mp built-in camera to take photos with.

They are all strong and healthy birds that are eating well and ready to go, but as they have not yet seen their first molt I can’t tell which are female and which are male.

So far there’s no cockatiel chicks (although they’ve laid eggs) and no Java sparrow chicks (they have laid eggs also), the Bengalese (society) finches and the zebra finches appear to be struggling with the concept of egg laying – the nests are built but no eggs laid.  Meanwhile both ‘Squeek’ and ‘Blue’ have already laid again, but I will only allow my birds to raise a maximum of 2 clutches each per year.

On a similar note, ‘Squeek’s’ baby from last year – another beautiful bright yellow – which I decided to keep myself because of her colour has also laid eggs but no chicks yet, so good luck to her!

Apart from the budgies the other birds seem to be struggling but I live in optimism.

Pet Birds from Oz – Grass Parakeets

Australian grass parakeets are popular as pets or aviary birds due to their colourful markings, small size and placid nature. About the same size as budgerigars; they do however command a premium price by comparison but are well within the reach of most enthusiasts. There are about 6 popular species of grass parakeet used in aviculture.

All the species of Australian grass parakeets are closely related to the budgerigar but unique in their own separate ways. When kept as domestic birds they have very similar requirements to budgerigars; same type and size of nest box, same or similar type of food etc. so their requirements are easily met.

Originating from the grasslands of their native land as the name suggests, these are beautiful little parrots in a good variety of colours; often the iridescence of their plumage makes them even more attractive to the bird keeper. Also their calm and placid nature is an added attraction along with the fact that they are not prone to annoying squawking and often emit nothing more than a just audible chirp, making them ideal in flats or apartments where a quiet pet is beneficial.

Grass parakeets are readily available on the market but due to their desirable characteristics and appearance you will find that demand often outstrips supply. So don’t expect to pay less than £30 each and often more; not a bad price really but quite steep when compared to their nearest pet neighbours, the budgerigars which can often be picked up for £10 or even less.

The most common species as pets are the bourke (bourke’s parakeet), scarlet-chested (splendid), turquoisine, elegant parakeet, rock parrot, blue-winged parakeet, and the red-rump. Search for any of these in a good online image search and you will notice immediately why they are so desirable to bird keepers.

Bourke

Neopsephotus Bourkii

It is claimed that of all the grass parakeets these are the easiest to keep in captivity, as they are very undemanding. They originate from central and south-western Australia and are approximately 7.5 inch 19 cm long. Bourke’s parakeets are considered by some to be rather dull due to their brown colour but they do have a pink front and blue on the wings, there are some brightly coloured mutations however such as the rosy bourke, and all have a calm and charming nature.

Elegant

Neophema elegans

Native to southern Australia the elegant grass parakeets are olive-yellow in colour with a blue band across the forehead and along the edge of the wings and are about 8.75 inch 22 cm long. Very popular as captive birds with many keepers throughout the globe.

Red rump

Psephotus haematonotus

Originating from southeast Australia and found in flocks or pairs in open country, also frequenting suburban gardens and parks but avoiding the wetter heavily timbered areas and coastal regions. A medium sized parrot of about 25 – 28 cm 9.75 – 11 inches and emerald green in colour with yellow underparts, the actual red-rump only applies to the male of the species.

Blue-winged

Neophema chrysostoma

A migratory species that breeds in Tasmania but sees the winter out in southeast Australia, found in flocks of up to 2000 before migration but usually in pairs during the breeding season. These little parrots are about 20 – 22 cm 8 – 8.5 inches and mainly olive green with a blue band to the forehead and edge of wings and yellow belly (very similar markings to the elegant but the blue banding is less profound).

Splendid

Neophema splendida

Also commonly known as the scarlet-chested parakeet and often confused with the turquoisine due to similar markings. About 7.5 to 8 inches 19 – 20 cm in length. As their name implies these have a scarlet chest but also a yellow belly and underside, bright blue (often iridescent) head and wing edges and a deep green back and rump. Considered by some to be the most beautiful of the grass parakeet species and so making them very popular in captivity. Native to western new south Wales and interior western Australia.

Turquoisine

Neophema pulchella

Once common throughout eastern Australia but now mainly found in the north eastern areas. Approximately 20 cm 8 inch long. Also a desirable and popular pet due to its calm and placid nature (a trait that seems common in all grass parakeets) and it’s wonderful iridescent turquoise colouring to the crown, face and edges of wings, green back, often orange-yellow chest and red belly.

As Featured On EzineArticles

More detailed information coming soon.

Pet birds – More information about rosellas

There are several species of rosella, all belong to the genus platycercus which refers to the shape of their tails ie. broad or flat, a common feature in all rosellas.

Medium sized parrots averaging about 12 inch in length, give or take a couple of inches either way depending on the subspecies. All are native to Australia and the nearby islands and have distinct cheek patches and a scalloped appearance to the plumage on their backs.

Absent from the barren outback but quite common in coastal areas where they live in suburban gardens and parks, woodlands and forests, and farmland.

Most live together in flocks or small groups out of the breeding season which is when they then pair up and go their own way. Their natural diet consists mainly of seed and fruit.

Their bright colours make them popular pet birds and in captivity can live for over 20 years, please note however that they are usually very aggresive towards other captive birds with which they have to share their home. For this reason it is advisable to keep them in pairs or alone although I have kept golden mantle rosellas in a large aviary with budgies, cockatiels, and kakarikis with no problem. If doing this though you must be sure to have a large aviary so the birds can get away from each other if they need to.

WARNING: don’t ever keep different subspecies of rosella in the same aviary or cage, they will fight to the death so be sure to prevent them from getting at each other if keeping more than one subspecies. The same applies if trying to keep more than two rosellas of the same subspecies together also.

Green Rosella  Platycercus caledonicus

Sometimes called Tasmanian rosella, the green rosella is not actually native to Australia but to Tasmania and Bass Strait islands. This is the biggest of the rosella family averaging about 14.5 inch (37 cm) in length, and is often regarded as the easiest rosella species to keep in captivity.

The green rosella showcase: Avian Web, Wikipedia, and not just one video but another one also.

Eastern Rosella  Platycercus eximius

This subspecies is predominant mainly in the south east of the country but also Tasmania and has three recognised subspecies itself. Mainly occupying light woodland areas, but these birds have also been introduced to New Zealand where feral populations exist in the North Island, Hutt Valley and Dunedin in the south island. The eastern rosella is about 12 inch (30 cm) in length and is a very popular pet where the bright and colourful plumage is a big attraction.

Of course we like Wikipedia and Avian Web so much because we get more information from there, and we also like to watch a movie.

Crimson Rosella  Platycercus elegans

Also called Pennant’s rosella and Occupying mainly forests and gardens in east and south east Australia but also introduced to New Zealand. The crimson rosella has five subspecies, of which three are actually crimson in colour. In the wild they will gather in small groups, pairs of feeding parties outside the breeding season. Found mainly in coastal and mountain forests and woodlands. Popular pet birds that are about 14 inch (36 cm) in length.

Find the crimson rosella on Avian Web and Wikipedia.

As popular as the green so it features in two movies:  here’s one, here’s the other.

Pale-headed Rosella  Platycercus adscitus

Often known as Mealy rosella this species inhabits open woodland areas and is native to north east Australia. The pale-headed has two subspecies and is very closely related to the Eastern rosella. The length is approximately 33 cm (13 inch) long but almost half, about 15 cm (6 inch) of that is the tail.  The pale -headed rosella is also sought after by bird keepers and does make a hardy pet which is easy to keep.

Pale-headed rosella on Wikipedia and Avian Web, and starring in its own show here.

Western Rosella  Platycercus icterotis

Sometimes known as the Stanley rosella this little parrot is native to timbered areas and eucalyptus forests in south west Australia. Usually found in pairs but will form groups of about twenty or so to forage. The western is the smallest rosella averaging about 10 inch (25.5 cm) with two subspecies. As with many rosellas these are often kept as pets or aviary birds where, as is usual with rosellas, their bright colouring is desired.

Read about the Western rosella at Avian Web or Wikipedia.

Watch a short movie featuring Western rosellas in the lead role.

Northern Rosella  Platycercus venustus

Also called Smutty rosella or Brown’s parakeet and is native in the north of Australia as it’s name implies, ranging from the Kimberleys and through Arnhem land to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The northern rosella is the second smallest of the common breeds at about 28 cm (11 inch) long. They live singurlarly or in pairs throughout the open savannah country.

Northern rosella on Wikipedia and Avian Web

Video link for Northern rosella

View lots of rosella pictures on the ‘Stanton Birdman’ ‘Facebook’ page

All the above are available to the bird keeper but the desire for birds with colourful plumage has outstripped demand in many areas so a premium price often accompanies the purchase of a rosella. Don’t expect to pay less than £80 for one unless you’re lucky!