Rosy Bourke chicks - dead in shell

by Dave Stewart
(South Africa)

I have a pair of rosy bourkes who share an aviary with several pairs of zebra finches and a pair of chinese quails. The rosy bourkes have bred three times. Each time I get 5-6 eggs. The female sits fast on the eggs after the first few are laid, except for bathing early in the morning, and occasionally coming down for a drink of water. The Male feeds her in the nestbox.

Each time the eggs have passed the normal hatching time and when I investigate I find all the chicks dead in shell (not fully formed) My birds get a varied mix of seed, fresh fruit and vegetables, and crumbled brown bread on a daily basis. Where am I going wrong? I successfully breed budgies, cockatiels, kakarikis, finches and turquoisines under the same conditions and with the same feeding routine. Can anyone advise me?
Dave Stewart

Comments for Rosy Bourke chicks - dead in shell

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Mar 08, 2017
Also turquisines dead in shell
by: Marianne

between 3 pairs of mine I have now consistently had dead in shell at hatching time. Lost about 12 chicks in total now. Last year no problems with hatching. Humidity is good, we had lots of rain. You can actually find that the hen tried to nibble the chick out of the eggshell, but too late. They get good eggfood/Dutchfood mix with carrot, spinach and occasionally apples.

May 14, 2013
Rosey Bourkes Dead in Shell
by: Vin

I just experienced the same thing. The mother bird was very attentive and guarded the nest. After she stopped sitting on the eggs, I checked them and realized they were dead inside the shell. Both babies were fully formed and it looked one was trying to get out of the egg since there was a crack around the top. Someone told me the shell might have been too hard due to lack of humidity. The aviary is outside and I do not believe this is the problem. Another breeder told me the mother might have been scared in the middle of the night and left the next. It is frustrating.

Feb 18, 2010
quit feeding chicks
by: mona lacroix

I have a pair and she has layed 5-6 eggs the first time ,she hatched two chicks and feed them for about two weeks ,they looked like they were doing OK, they she just stopped feeding them. I hadden realized that she did until it was to late and the chicks were to weaqk to hand feed, did she stop feeding because we checked on the chicks and held one .

Oct 02, 2009
Rosy Bourkes
by: Linda

Dave, it is a mystery, and the only thing I can recommend is to have an Avian Vet check out your Bourke pair as there may be something wrong with them like an infection or some other anamoly you are unaware of. If the other birds are raising healthy babies eating food you described, then it HAS to be with your Bourke pair.

If you have an Avian vet somewhere near you, take both the Bourke's in for an examination. Vet will check for infections and will also do some bloodwork to see if there is a problem with one of their organs.

If you have not done so already, do a search on the internet about breeding Rosy Bourkes and find some breeders and see if they have had problems like this before and what they did about it. It will help you to connect with other Bourke people as they may be able to come up with solution. A trip to Avian Vet is highly recommended as this does not sound normal, and the problem could very well be the birds, the nestbox or the flight.

Let us know what you find out with vet and with Bourke people as information can help another person with similar problems.Thanks Much!


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