Bathing birds

Unlike most other pets, birds actually enjoy taking baths. Bathing is important for birds, as it not only removes dirt, but also helps to maintain skin moisture and the insulating properties of feathers. While figuring out what works best for your bird can take a little time and effort, it is important to your bird’s health and therefore necessary.

  • There are a few simple rules that apply to bathing for all birds:Use a bird bath spray or plain, clear water—no soaps or shampoos. Birds produce a special oil that they preen their feathers with, and soaps can strip the feathers of this essential oil.
  • Bathe your bird during the warmest part of the day. Wet birds get easily chilled, which is a serious health hazard. Make sure there’s enough time for their feathers to dry before the temperature drops. Some larger birds may allow you to wrap them in a towel to help them dry.
  • Use lukewarm or room temperature water. Water that’s too hot or too cold can shock your bird’s system, not to mention burns or other problems that could arise.
  • Never soak your bird’s feathers. In the wild, a bird would only become saturated with water in extreme circumstances. This can lead to loss of body heat and flight impairment.
  • Never use an electric hair dryer on your bird. It can quickly and seriously burn your bird, and may even emit toxic fumes.

Some birds enjoy bathing every day and others only occasionally. Initially offer the bath once or twice weekly to figure out your bird’s preference. Where to bathe your bird depends on its size. Smaller birds can bathe inside their cages, while larger birds may need to be bathed in the shower, kitchen sink or bathtub, or with a spray bottle or mister.