Let's Celebrate Pet Birds!
T.J. Lafeber D.V.M.




Most pet birds enjoy bathing, and the ones that don't probably have never had the opportunity. If bird cages were made with shower stalls, all pet birds would participate regularly.

Birds seem to know that water is good for their feathers, so wild ones sit in the rain when they could be under a shelter. Not always satisfied to have their outer feathers shed the rain, they will shift their feathers to allow the under feathers to become wet. Even on days when the temperature is in the 40's, cockatiels have been observed dancing in the rain until completely drenched, and enjoying it.

Owners can wet their birds' feathers in many ways -

  • Large birds can be showered in a bath tub or a regular shower.
  • In the summer any of the pet birds can be sprinkled with a fine spray from the garden hose.
  • Finger tamed birds can be sprayed in the kitchen sink or if spraying is offensive to them, wet with a small house-plant sprinkle r- home-made rain.
  • Cockatiels and other birds of the parrot family may splash in a saucer if a mirror is placed on the bottom of the dish.
  • Canaries are always pleased with a saucer of water.
  • In Australia parakeets will bathe in grass wet with dew. A substitute for grass is wet carrot tops.

Comments: The temperature of water probably should be cool rather than warm.

Experience shows that good chewers are generally good preeners, Preening is a beak and tongue activity just as chewing-so any activity that stimulates chewing or other beak activities can also be beneficial for preening. The best preened birds are generally the best chewers.

Birds that are wet from the top shed water and remain dry. Birds sprayed from underneath become wet.

For birds that are poor preeners, wet their feathers daily, and promote beak activities with all the suggestions on page 137.

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