Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bathing Your Parrots

Our female Congo African grey parrot Arua loves to bathe in her water dish. Taking a shower? Not so much.

Some parrots love to bathe. Some parrots would rather not. Bathing is an essential part of feather care and maintenance. Most parrots and other birds naturally take to the water to bathe. Just try keeping your outside bird bath full during those hot summer days! Some parrots are highly particularly about how they bathe. Other parrots are not. Be thankful if you have a parrot that belongs to the latter category. If the former category, just keep plenty of towels and wipes handy. It's another problem entirely if you have a parrot that refuses to bathe. Then you'll need to experiment with different solutions to try to encourage the parrot to dip its toes in the water.

Of our eight parrots, four of our five macaws love to take showers with us, perched on our hands and arms in the bathtub. Our foster Ruby macaw Mr. Cracker probably would as well, if we could get him to step up. Instead, he prefers to bathe in his water dish. Somewhat modest, he doesn't like people watching him bathe, so if we're in the room when he wants to take a bath, he'll politely pipe up with a Bye, Bye, until we get the message, and leave the room.

Our male Goffin's cockatoo Kid Kadra loves to bathe and would probably take a bath daily if we were up to it. His preference is a spray bottle on the shower rail in the bathroom. Barring that, he'll sit on the shower rail and bathe in the spray of the macaws taking showers.

As our male Goffin's cockatoo Kid Kadra demonstrates, sometimes a bath just needs the right soundtrack! If a shower is not in the offing, maybe a parrot just needs to settle for a soak in the nearest tub, or water dish, especially on those hot summer days:

Our female Timneh African grey parrot Tillie will tolerate a spray bottle on the shower rail. Usually she'd rather not. On those occasions that Tillie will take a bath, she can get quite animated:

On those rare occasions when Tillie really really wants to bathe, no parrot enjoys a bath as much as she does!

For sheer entertainment value, we can't beat our female Congo African grey parrot Arua. Arua loves to bathe. But in her water dish, not the shower. She's very large for an African grey. Our avian vet Tracy Bennett called her fat the very first time she met Arua, but that's another story entirely. Plus, her water dish is very small. A Number 1 Fenix crock. That's a lot of parrot in a confined space. Much water displacement:

We've tried putting out large water dishes and trays for her to bathe in. She ignores them. So now, when she jumps into her water dish, we just lay out the towels along the side of her cage.

If you have a parrot resistant to taking a bathe, two things you can try. If you can take a cage outside on the porch or in the yard on a warm day, let a hose spray across part of the cage, but leave room for the parrot to retreat to if the bird doesn't want to get wet, or wants to get out of the water. If you're not able to take the parrot outside, get a parrot perch for your shower, and let the shower flow over part of the perch so the parrot can choose to take a dip or not. Just keep trying different methods until you find one that works for your parrot.

Of course, some of our parrots will tell you that the best part of any shower is the blow dry following the shower!

Our male Blue and Gold macaw Aboo is a cowboy when it comes to taking baths. He'd rather not, until he becomes so gamey even he can't stand it. But the blow dry? Just loves it!

Happy Bathing!

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