Does my bird need a bath?
Bathing is very important to the proper preening or maintenance of feathers. All birds do it and most really enjoy the experience. In the wild a bird may bathe during a rain shower, find a puddle, lake or stream to splash in or nuzzle playfully in wet grasses and vegetation. Bathing encourages healthy preening of the feathers, keeps feathers free of dirt, and preserves their wonderful, natural luster. Central heating and air conditioning tends to create a dry environment. Many of our pet birds come from moist rainforest environments so bathing or dampening your bird gently with a misting bottle is a very natural thing.
How often should my bird bath?
Birds should be offered a bath regularly. The frequency will depend on the bird. Many birds enjoy bathing every day, while others only bathe occasionally. Start by offering a bath to your bird once or twice weekly. You will quickly learn the bird’s preferences. We have to respect there will be times the bird does NOT feel like a bath. Your bird may have preferences such as the time of day it likes to bathe. It’s best if the environment in the home is 60 F or more when bathing tropical species of birds.
How do I bath my bird?
The bird will actually do most of the work. You will simply supply the lukewarm water. Some birds enjoy using a dish of water. There are special bathing chambers that attach to the side of a small bird’s cage and keep water from splashing about the room. A shallow sink of water is convenient and many birds will frolic under a gentle trickle of water from the tap while dipping their head and fluttering their wings in the water. A clean spray bottle such as that used to mist plants can be utilized gently to simulate rain. Your bird may dance about excitedly with its wings in the air, tail fanned out and turning frequently to catch as much of this light rain as possible. Often you will tire of spraying before the bird tires of being sprayed. Some birds enjoy taking showers with their owners. We recommend that you acclimate them to the sounds and sights of the shower before bringing them into the water. This is easily done by having them perch just out of the splash zone (sitting on the shower curtain rod or a suction-cup mounted shower perch) for the first few times. If they do not seem frightened, you can gently cup water over them or splash them lightly. Care should be taken as direct water pressure in the shower may frighten or even hurt the bird. Some smaller birds such as finches and canaries will wet themselves on the moisture dripping from freshly washed vegetation in the cage such as carrot tops or other greens. Please ensure you monitor a bird’s bath time to help avoid accidents such as drowning.
Birds only need clear, fresh water for bathing. Do not use soap on your bird. Consult your veterinarian for specific directions if you should have occasion to actually wash something (e.g., oils, adhesives, or household chemicals) off your bird’s feathers.