Parrots love bathing. Water gets rid of dirt and grit in the feathers, and encourages preening. Pet parrots should be given access to a bath at least once a week.
Is it a bath or a drinking tough? This Meyers Parrot doesn't mind either way!
Keeping Parrots Clean
A permanent bath in the cage will need a daily clean, as it will soon get messed up with bits of food, grit, and falling feathers. The parrots will also use it as a drinking trough.
Most parrots don't need much encouraging to investigate the water. If your pet is reluctant to dip a toe in, encourage his interest by spraying him with a water-mister (from above, ideally, to simulate rain). Most parrots will welcome the sudden shower, spreading their wings, ducking down their head down and holding their wings out a little, fluffing up and shaking their feathers.
- As long as the weather (or room temperature) is warm, you can allow your parrot a mister shower or bird bath at least once a week – more, if he seems to like it a lot. Getting completely soaked is fine – the parrot will shake the water off. In hot weather this a great way for the birds to cool down.
- In colder weather, bathing can be kept to a minimum; and ideally you need a safe heater in the cage (e.g. a bird lamp) to speed up the drying process.
- If the bird are outside, bathing should be restricted to mornings in the winter, to prevent the parrot going to bed wet and possibly catching a chill.
- Larger parrots can be bathed in your own shower. You can buy suction-perches to attach to shower or bathroom walls for this purpose. Some birds can get quite attached to taps, and will happily bathe under them. The water must never be hot, and if your bird doesn’t like the procedure, abandon it.
- Some birds don’t take to the idea of showers and soakings at all. These will need to feel their own way into the world of personal parrot hygiene. Provide water in a custom-made parrot bath or bowl, and leave them to it. Eventually, the itchy skin and dry feathers will encourage these reluctant birds to take a dip.
Parrots like taking a dip - this Scarlet Macaw is no exception
- Don’t force a reluctant bird to bathe. This will only make them even more frightened. Encourage the relationship with water by putting kale, spinach or other greens in the bath/bowl and let him play around and eat.
- You can use a towel to partly dry a wet bird, if the parrot seems happy with this arrangement. Never use a hair-dryer, though, unless you know for an absolute fact that there is no non-stick coating in the device – fumes from such things can be fatal for birds.
- Don’t use soap in the water, unless you need to wash something oily from the parrot’s feathers. Even then you should only use a mild detergent such as glycerine soap.
- After getting wet, parrots' muscles begin to move rapidly, making it look as if the bird is shivering. This is normal, and is simply the bird’s way of warming up after a cool bathe.
Bath Water Temperature
The parrots' bathing water should be cool or lukewarm. If your tap water is very cold, leave it standing for 20 minutes before filling the bath. The water should never be hot.
You won't have to force parrots to take a wash. If there is a permanent water feature in their enclosure, the birds take a dip whenever they feel like it. On really cold days you can add hot water to bring the temperature up a little.