If you provide parakeets with a bath, they will keep themselves clean and tidy. Sometimes, though, the birds need extra help with personal hygiene – during illness, or if the bird has become sticky or greasy due to contact with soiled materials.
Clean living - your parakeets should look as well-groomed as this chilled Clearwing Budgerigar
Cleaning a Parakeet’s Vent or Bottom
Too much fruit, or certain types of illness, can result in a problem known nas “pasting of the vent” – a dirty bottom, in other words! The feathers in this area are usually clean, and the dry nature of healthy parakeet droppings helps to keep them that way. An ill bird may have feathers stained by diarrhoea; and because all the liquid is being vented in this way, there may be other, hard droppings that cling to his vent and feathers. Poop will also cling in this way if the parakeet is dehydrated.
If the bird is unable to clean itself sufficiently, it’s time to intervene. Hold the bird gently, and use wet cotton wool balls to wash the dirty area, wiping down the feathers from root to tip. Soap can cause irritation, so don’t add anything to the water, unless it’s a product made specifically for cleaning bird feathers.
Cleaning Baby Parakeets
Baby parakeets are normally kept clean by their mothers; but an outbreak of diarrhoea will require human intervention. Chicks must be handled very carefully, as they are fragile. Use cotton wool balls soaked in warm water to wipe the parakeet’s soiled parts, and dry immediately with a very soft cloth or more cotton wool. Don’t do this on a routine basis – only handle the babies in this way if absolutely necessary.
Cleaning Parakeets' Feet
Adult parakeets will keep their own feet and toenails and good condition; but babies sometimes need extra help. If the nest is soiled, the feet can become congealed with poop, which sets as hard as plaster. To get rid of it, moisten the hard droppings with warm water and then gently pick off the larger pieces with tweezers and wipe the rest away with wet cotton wool balls afterwards. Dry the chick’s feet afterwards.
Parakeet Feathers Dirty
A parakeet will bathe using the water you provide, or some wet herbs or other soft, non-toxic foliage. If a parakeet becomes soiled by something fatty, sugary, or toxic, the bird will need cleaning, as you don’t want it to eat any of the nasty stuff during normal bathing or preening.
Remove as much dirt as you can using a soft wet cloth. If grease or oil is involved, you will need to use a bird-friendly soap. This will be available via your avian vet, and it’s a good idea to keep some in the cupboard, just in case. Rinse the bird-soap away after washing, and make sure none gets into the parakeet’s eyes, cere or mouth.
Normal detergents, such as hand-soaps and shampoos, can irritate a parakeet’s skin, and should therefore be avoided.