Bird Bathing, Misting, and Showering
Your bird will do most of the work. You simply supply the water!
Why Pet Birds Need a Bath
Pet birds should be offered a bath daily. If they want to bathe every day really depends on your bird. Many birds like to take a bath every day, while others like to bathe once in a while, but you should encourage your bird to bathe often because their feathers and skin will look healthier if they bathe often. You can begin by offering a bath to your bird once or twice a week.
Even parrots that don’t want to take a bath, or have feather damaging behaviors, such as plucking and chewing, will take a bath if the water is lukewarm or at room temperature.
All birds should be bathed on a regular basis because they can get a buildup of dust, dirt, dead skin cells, and even lose feathers. This dust and dirt can stick inside their feathers and restrict their normal range of motion. They might even sneeze and cough more often. Depending on the severity of the problem, dirt and debris may also cause intense itching. To clean feathers, encourage grooming, provide relief for dry skin, discourage feather-damaging behavior, or for the enjoyment of it – baths or showers are an important part of basic bird care.
Baths or showers can play a first-aid role as well. If you suspect a pin feather (growing feather with blood in the shaft), want to provide relief for a wound or injury, feet problems, or to evaluate the alertness of a suspiciously inactive bird – then bathing or showering can be a way to evaluate the level of seriousness before you consult with your avian veterinarian.
Bird Bathing Methods
Various techniques can be used when bathing birds. These include using an infant-sized bathtub with 1-2 inches of water in it, bathing or showering the bird directly in or over the sink with the faucet running, adapting perches for use in the shower, or simply waterproofing the walls adjacent to your pet’s perch and mist the bird with a spray bottle. If your bird prefers to bathe by itself, there are many types of birdbaths available for sale that can be attached to the cage. If you are using a birdbath in the cage, change bedding if it is wet. It will prevent the chances of any mold growth in the cage.
Bathing in the morning may provide more opportunities to dry. A sunny, warm room, free of drafts provides the bird with a good place to dry out and preen so it does not get chilled.
Using a Misting Bottle
Turn the nozzle on the mist setting and give your bird a couple of sprays whenever they need a bath. Use plain tap water without anything added to it, and make sure the water is not too hot or cold - room temperature is fine. Don’t aim the bottle directly at your bird when you spray. Angle the bottle upwards so that the water gently falls on the feathers.
Using the Shower
Parrots are naturally social creatures and enjoy taking a shower with their owners. Some owners share quality time with their pets by having the bird either perched on the shower curtain or using a shower perch designed for this purpose.
Make sure to have the showerhead setting on an intensity that your bird will be comfortable with. Also, do not make the water cold, even if you like your showers that way. It can be hard for your bird to warm up when he's wet.
Using the Sink
Put the stopper in the sink so he won't slip into the drain, and use a rubber mat on the bottom of the sink for stability. Always use the sprayer hose if you're going to directly wet your bird. Don't hold him under the tap - let the water run so that he walks toward the sprayed water, or let him splash around in the standing water like he would in a birdbath.
Dry Your Bird
Aways provide a draft-free environment and have a warm heating source or lamp (100 watts is usually sufficient) in the room for when the misting, bathing, or shower time is finished.
Your bird will most likely dry himself. He will puff out his feathers and shake (like a dog shaking after a bath). Never use a hairdryer on your bird because it could emit damaging fumes. If your bird seems to need some help drying, you can wipe gently with a small towel.
Bird Bathing Dont's
- Never leave your bird in the shower or sink unattended - it only takes a few seconds for a bird to drown.
- Don't use too-hot or too-cold water. Make sure the water is comfortable for you to touch.
- Never use a blow dryer, shampoo, or soap on a pet parrot.
- Don't fill a bath too deep - keep water at about the knee level of your bird.
- Don't force a bath because sometimes birds just aren't in the mood.