Parrots have the extraordinary gift for flight. Maintaining healthy
plumage is essential to their lifestyle. Bathing provides moisture
for their feathers and skin, aids in removing dander, loose feathers
and debris from new feather growth. It is instinctive for a parrot
to want to bathe and should be part of the daily grooming
activities. It should be encouraged, but never forced.
Since birds have
individual preferences ~ some like to bathe, shower or
both. Birds should always be supervised when bathing is taking
place. Note: The regularity of bathing should be
increased during your bird's molting. This helps those itchy pin feathers
come through and softens the keratin for easy removal.
Be observant if you pet bird is enjoying the bath and/or misting
session. Clear indications of a happy bird bathing are happy
twittering noises, incessant flapping of wings and pouncing in the
water. One of our birds' has been known to grab the water with
his talon out of sheer excitement.
After a healthy bath,
you may notice your bird's chest muscles shivering. Shivering is not due to being cold, but rather the result of muscles contracting and expanding which causes a great deal of body heat.
This is how the feathers quickly get dry enough for the bird to preen them back into perfection, as well as getting them ready for flight. A wet parrot
becomes vulnerable; so the need to dry quickly is a key to survival.
Note: Showering or bathing your bird will not cause it to become sick with a
cold. A bird becomes ill when its immunity has become compromised due to stress, poor diet and unclean living conditions. Please do not bathe your
bird when their immune system is recovering from illness.
Bathing or shower water temperature:
Luke warm to cool
Never more than an inch or two of
water when bathing.
Never point a shower or sprayer to
their nares (nostrils).
Never have a wet/damp bird in the
way of a draft.
Never use soap or shampoo to the bathing water. Please keep
in mind any products you put on your bird's feathers, will be
ingested during their preening sessions.
Bath/Shower in the morning to early afternoon. This allows
for adequate drying time before the ambient temperature drops. Never
have your bird go to bed at night with damp feathers.
Never force your bird to bathe. This is supposed to be a fun-
loving time for you and your bird. Forcing a parrot to bathe may
cause behavioural issues with regard to bathing/water phobias.
Do not use a blow dryer on your
bird. This will dry out his feathers and skin and it defeats the entire
bathing process. If your bird is accustomed to a towel, you might want to
lightly dry off some of the excess water.
Consistency is key!! Introducing bathing to your bird
gradually and consistently. Your bird may not like it at first, and
it may take a few months for he or she to start enjoying it.
Start a new daily routine. Taking your feathered companion
in the shower by allowing them to perch on the shower rod. Your pet
parrot will watch with anticipation and learn that showering is safe
and enjoyable. The humidity from showering is also very beneficial
to parrots. Our eldest African Grey took 9 months to start enjoying
showers. After much patience and love, he thoroughly enjoys bathing
and showering. Note: Showers are not recommended for small birds.
Misters or shallow bowls of water would be preferable.
Monkey See ~ Monkey Do! If one of the members of your flock
enjoys bathing, allow the rest of your feathered family to observe
and perhaps they will join in the fun!
Last but not least. Supervision is
TOP priority. Never leave your bird alone when bathing or showering.
Accidents can easily happen in a matter of seconds.
lovers across the world have come up with inventive ideas for persuading
their bird to bathe.
Low Profile Bath
Low Profile Baths. Allow your bird to go to town with a low
profile bath. The low height of baths is beneficial for perching and
eliminates the bowl from tipping. Helpful Tip: On a hot summer day,
throw in some ice cubes into the water or colorful plastic toys can
be added to pique their interest.
perch. Be sure it is secure to the wall of the shower.
Sink and/or Bath tub. This can be a great way for
your bird to bath or shower. Be sure to not overfill, control the
strength of the water coming out of the nozzle and point it away
from the nares of your bird. Be very cautious the sink and/or tub
are clean and disinfected prior to exposing your bird to it. Birds
are very susceptible to fumes and germs. Be sure to allow enough
time for the fumes to dissipate before bringing your bird into the
room. Always rinse thoroughly.
Bottle. Some birds enjoy a daily "sun shower" from the
water bottle. Never spritz your bird in the face. Take the spray
bottle and from low on the ground, point the nozzle directly into
the air, so the water droplets will fall gracefully down onto your
bird. This effect will appear as though a small sun shower is
occurring indoors and your bird will not know where it is coming
from. Warning: Please
never use a spray bottle to discourage bad behavior from your bird. This
can cause a water phobia.
Have a plain T-Stand in the bathroom next to the
shower. Your bird can watch you taking a shower. He/she will see
that you are enjoying it.
On a personal level: I gently patterned our eldest bird by
bringing him into the bathroom every morning. Once at ease with
being in the bathroom, I then had him step up and I explained to him
that it was a shower and how wonderful and fun it would be for him.
Most importantly mentioning it would not harm him. Once he was not
fearful of being in the shower, I would then bring him closer to the
water. After several weeks of this, I encouraged him to go under the
water, bringing him closer to the water. Keeping his nares
(nostrils) clear of the path of water. I would take my hand and run
under the water. Taking the water dripping from my hand and
sprinkling it lightly onto his back. After several weeks of doing
this, he eventually would start flapping and making fun-loving
noises. To this day, he enjoys showering with me. I have a very
difficult time in getting him out of the shower. We are thinking of
changing his name to "Water Boy".
crock. Fill it with an inch or two of plain water or
a Natural Aloe Juice solution. Work with what your particular bird
likes. If he is partial to food (grapes, currants, cranberries, etc)
or toys (uncolored wooded toy pieces (wooden rings, spools, etc),
acrylic toy pieces; I would then take those items and add them to
the bath water. Parrots by instinct are very curious. They will
eventually start to play with the items in the water, then taking to
the next level which would be taking a dip in the water itself. Be
prepared to have towels handy to clean up the water and of course a
camera. For filming those precious moments!
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