Welcome to Hand Reared Cage and Hand Reared Exotic Birds Lisburn County Antrim.
Rosellas A Colourful Family
The family of birds known as Rosellas are probably amongst the most widely kept and bred of the Australian parakeets. Certain members of the family can offer a start into the hobby of breeding birds for the beginner, but they can also offer a challenge for the more experienced fancier.
All forms of Rosella should be kept in pairs, as they are well known for their quarrelsome nature. If you wish to keep more that one pair it is advisable to put a quieter species in between them, such as Barrabands, Cockatiels or Splendids etc.
Green Rosella (Sometimes referred to as the Tasmanian Rosella)
Crimson Rosella (Also referred to as the Pennants parakeet)
This group are the four largest physical species. All four species have blue cheek patches and the young when fledging the nest are mainly green. The hens sometimes show a slight wing bar on the underside of the flight feathers. Cocks show NO wing bars. The cocks and hens of these species both show the same colour markings so sexing birds can be difficult. The cock bird can usually be sexed by his more powerful looking beak, quite often it is broader across the head than the hen bird which carries a more delicate feminine looking beak.
The Golden mantled Rosella
The Stanley is the only form of Rosella where the difference between the sexes in plumage is obvious. The cock birds show a bright yellow cheek patch, whilst the hens normally have a duller yellow cheek patch. The young of this group fledge from the nest in a dull coloured plumage similar to that of the parent birds. The cheek patches are white in colour (Except the Stanley) and the hens often show a wing stripe on the underside of the flight feathers.
The Green Rosella or Tasmanian (Platycercus caledonicus) is the largest of the Rosella family. It is to be found in the wild throughout the whole of Tasmania, living their lives amongst the dense woodland and mountains. Because of their ability to live in a somewhat colder region they can cope quite easily with the UK climate.
Yellow Rosellas are becoming quite popular again in this country. Their numbers have declined as less and less attention has been paid to them as an aviary species. This species is slightly shyer than Pennants or Adelaide's and tends to be more flighty when kept in a small flight. The suggested size of flight for this species is a least 12 feet long 7 feet high and 3 feet wide. A pied colour mutation is now available.
Golden-Mantled Rosella This is a very easy species for the beginner it does not need any special attention, only vice is that sometimes the cocks can become extremely aggressive towards the hen, so it is advisable to provide a nest box for the hen to use as a bolt hole, but ensure the cock does not keep her captive in the box and let her starve.
The Mealy Rosella is a sub species of the nominate race the Blue- Cheeked Rosella (Which has white cheek patches with blue shadings on the bottom of the patch). The Mealy is quite easy to keep and again is a good bird for the beginner. Often referred to as the Pale Headed Rosella, the youngsters when they first fledge often have several red feather on the top of their heads, these disappear after the first moult, as yet no satisfactory explanation for this has been give.
The Browns Rosella or Northern Rosella is perhaps the most beautifully coloured of all the family, with its unusual light yellow (almost golden) plumage and its distinctive bright blue shoulder patches. This species comes from the tropical rain forests of Northern Australia, and when kept in this country can be susceptible to our cold climate. They do not prove very easy to breed, and when you are able to obtain a proven pair, they often only have 1 or 2 chicks a season. They can also prove to be very choosy about their partner. If one of the pair dies unexpectedly it is often very difficult to get the remaining bird to accept a new partner. Another of their problems is the fact that they do not adapt easily to our summer months, and are quite often ready to breed in the middle of winter. Some breeders have adapted their nest boxes so that they are heated, this way the eggs and chicks do not get chilled quickly when the hen leaves the nest box. Their dietary needs are much different to the other Rosellas. In the wild they are known to consume more insects, beetles and grubs than other types. This species is only recommended for the experienced breeder.
Stanley Rosellas or Western Rosella is the smallest member of the family, and is probably the least aggressive by nature. The Stanley is also the only Rosella that can be visually sexed. The cock bird usually has a strong coloured yellow cheek patch, whilst the hen's cheek patch is not so strong. Immature birds when they leave the nest show little or no signs of cheek patches until their first moult in Autumn. One sub-species of the Stanley has been recognised. A blue mutation of the Stanley is now becoming established in Australia.
Long flights benefit all of the Rosellas. A flight of at least 10ft is recommend for most species, but obviously if you are able to provide a longer flight then the birds will benefit from the extra exercise. The choice of wire is quite important because some birds have a habit of sitting next to the wire mesh trying to close the gaps on the wire. 19-gauge wire is not really suitable, when housing these birds (apart from the Stanley) it is recommended that a heavy gauge wire be used.
The Rosella family as a whole are very hardy and do not suffer any adverse affects from the British weather. They should be provided with a frost proof sleeping quarters and also quite large perching, so that they are able to cover their feet with their feathers thus preventing any frostbite. The exception to this statement is the Northern Rosella, this is NOT a hardy bird and heated winter quarters should be provided, these should be fairly large to allow the birds full exercise.
Rosellas benefit from a good quality parakeet mixture, containing mixed millets, plain canary, striped sunflower, safflower, buckwheat, all forms of nuts etc. Hemp should be offered in small quantities as the birds can become quickly overweight if they eat too much of this seed. A regular supply of fresh vegetable and fruits should also be offered, such as carrots, spinach, peas, corn on the cob, apples, oranges etc. The Browns Rosella especially need to be offered more fruit and vegetables that the other Rosellas. Their diet should contain at least 30 40percent fresh produce. They should also be offered the occasional live food, which they will relish.
All members of the family love to bathe regularly, (bathing water should be changed daily). Cuttlefish and grit should be available at all times.