How and Why to Give Your Bird a Bath or Shower
Bathing and/or Showering is an important part of your African Grey Parrot’s life. Keep in mind that every bird is different in the way they seem to enjoy getting a shower. People ask what is the best way and there is no best way—just think of how you would feel if you didn’t take a shower or bath. Bathing your parrot is important for their health, the quality of their feathers, and their overall happiness and comfort.
Bath and Shower Time Benefits for Your African Grey Parrot:
- Keeps their feathers in good condition
- Encourages preening
- Controls the dander / powder in the environment
- Keeps them happy and healthy
Bathing Tips: Ways to Give Your African Grey Parrot a Shower or Bath
There are a few ways you can give your parrot a shower. They will let you know which way they prefer by their actions. Listed below are some of the ways your bird can enjoy bath time.
Always, make sure that you use tepid / room-temperature water (bottled Spring water, or filtered tap is best), do not use warm or hot water as you will strip the feathers of their oils, which can bring on feather plucking / picking and dry out their skin so they itch. The object of giving a shower is to get them clean, comfortable and encourage them to preen their feathers.
Some parrots like to be lightly sprayed with a handheld spray bottle. To do this, mist your bird, letting it fall down on them like the rain would.
Others feel more comfortable bathing in a shallow bowl or dish of water, while other parrots like to wade around in the sink playing under the faucet. Some birds love to sit on a perch in the shower, and let the water rain down on them.
For birds that have an outside aviary, it’s not unusual for them to enjoy a sprinkler system overhead or getting lightly sprayed with a water hose.
Parrots are famous for jumping in and using their water dish and just start bathing. This is a definite sign that your bird would like a bath and is trying to get themselves clean. Take advantage of this and let them bathe in the way they are most comfortable with—whether it be by spray bottle, in the shower, a bowl or shallow dish—whatever. You’ll enjoy watching them spread and flap their wings, run in and out of the water, squawk, play, and thoroughly enjoy themselves! Laugh and play with them, act silly, or just sit back and enjoy watching your bird play. Or grab your camera and get pictures or videos to share with family and friends!
Birds will typically fluff up their feathers during bath and shower time to allow the water to penetrate through the feathers and to their skin. Their feathers can be a bit water resistant, especially if they have a build-up of dander, and you can actually see the water bead up and roll down their feathers rather than soaking in; so you might find it takes time for your bird to become wet.
After getting clean, your parrot will start preening and getting their feathers back in the position they normally are in. Your bird is getting pretty and is happy.
How Often Should An African Grey Parrot Get a Bath / Shower?
Birds in their natural habitat will take showers daily.
If time permits, make it a part of the day—your bird would most likely prefer to get misted, or showered on a daily basis. Otherwise, a good bath or shower once or twice a week is sufficient. Your bird should be bathed during daytime hours rather than night and given time for their feathers to dry completely.
It is important to realize that during molting periods, your bird will become very itchy due to the new feathers coming in. Increase the times if possible during the week for bath time as it will help keep the itchiness down and also make the feather sheaths soft, making it easier for your bird to remove them.
Bathing your bird will also help keep the dust—aka dander—down. This is the white powder that you will see that is on your bird, cage, and surrounding areas.
For African Greys who are feather pluckers, keep them cleaned and bathed on a daily basis. Misting them lightly with a spray bottle can help in between baths also. Keeping them showered helps alleviate the urge they have to pluck or pick at their feathers, and encourages them to preen, a normal behavior, instead.
How to Dry Your African Grey Parrot Off After a Shower / Bath?
Your bird’s feathers will dry off naturally after their bath. Make sure they’re away from a draft or breeze; instead ensure they’re placed in dappled sunlight or in a warm area of the house. Some birds enjoy being wrapped up in a towel for a bit after their bath, which will help to get some of the wetness off, and keep the chill away. Do not use a blow dryer as you can strip the feathers and skin of their moistness and essential oils—which defeats the purpose of bathing. There is also the danger of possibly burning their skin and unbeknownst to many, some blow dryers contain Teflon or other toxic chemicals, so please let your bird dry off naturally or with the help of a towel. Then let them have the chance to preen and get their feathers back in place.
What If Your African Grey Parrot Doesn’t Want a Bath / Shower?
Some parrots are scared or reluctant to get wet. Do not force them to bathe. A good tip is to remember that birds in the wild will get wet in the rain—so if you have a bird that doesn’t like to bathe, wait till it rains, pull out the spray bottle, and lightly mist them with it. Also, remember, our pet birds are very much wanting to imitate and be part of the flock, so go ahead and get yourself wet. Let them see you splash in the water and enjoy it! Don’t overdo, just take it a little at a time. Most mistakes and mistrust issues come from trying to push your bird too fast. Time, patience, and trust is imperative for anything that you do with your bird, so don’t push the issue, just sit back and enjoy the moment spent with your bird.