If you have a pet parrot at home, you are in for a lot of chirps. But is your feathered friend getting its adequate dose of water?
How long can parrots go without water? Parrots need to drink water several times during the day. While it depends on the size and age of the parrot and the weather, a parrot typically can go longer without food than without water. It can live for about 3 days without water before it will succumb to dehydration.
A parrot’s body is made up of 75% water. Hence, regular intake of water is extremely important for its well-being as well as survival. In the case of pet parrots who cannot go looking for water sources, it becomes the responsibility of the owners to make drinking water available at all times.
Ideally, a water dish that is regularly replenished should be placed within the parrot’s cage at all times.
This happens if your parrot is without fresh water for too long
Just like humans, parrots need enough water so that their body functions well. Birds usually drink water that is equivalent to 5% of their body weight. The quantity of water they drink might change slightly depending on the weather.
Water is needed to maintain adequate hydration. Ideal water content in the body is very important for a healthy digestive system. It is also required so that the toxins and waste produced in the body can be flushed out through excretion.
In addition, water also helps with the distribution of nutrients throughout the body. Proper hydration also helps with optimum body temperature regulation.
Apart from this, parrots, just like other birds, also need water for cleaning their bodies and their beaks. They also need water to sometimes dunk food pellets in order to soften them before they can eat them.
If a parrot does not get enough drinking water, it might get dehydrated very quickly. Soon, its digestive and other important bodily functions can get impacted. Absence of adequate hydration can cause the blood volume to drop.
Next to be impacted are the kidneys and the liver. If the dehydration is allowed to continue, the parrot will ultimately die. Of course, it should never come to this. As a pet owner, providing clean drinking water to your pet parrot is your basic responsibility.
How to ensure that your parrot gets adequate clean water at all times
You should keep a water dish filled with water inside your pet’s cage at all times. While most owners do this, the problem is often not about not getting water at all, but it is about not getting clean enough water. Water that is contaminated can cause more harm to the parrot.
When you provide water in a water dish, the parrot does not just drink the water. It also bathes in it and cleans its beak. It also puts bits of food into the water. It might also poop in this water.
Thus, soon enough, the water has a lot of debris in it. And naturally, it becomes a hotspot for bacterial breeding.
If this water is not changed, the bacteria multiply very quickly. So, even though a parrot will drink only a small amount of water, it will effectively be ingesting a lot of bacteria. This can make the parrot very sick.
Hence, as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that the water is always clean. Of course, if there are visible impurities in the water, it should be changed immediately.
However, do note that sometimes, even if there is no visible contamination in the water, it might still be infected with bacteria.
Hence, it is a good practice to change the water at least twice every day, or as soon as you see that the water has become dirty. Ideally, you can change the water once in the morning before you leave for work if there is nobody at home during the day.
You can check back in the evening and change the water once more.
In addition to this, keeping the water container clean is also very important. You should wash the water dish or the water bottle regularly with hot soapy water to get rid of any bacteria or residue.
Typically, it should be washed daily to ensure that no nasty bacteria enter your pet’s system.
You can also let your parrot take a shower alone or even with you. This is a great way to make sure that your parrot is well-hydrated and it is a much-welcomed mental stimulation for most parrots. Read here how to shower with your parrot properly!
Which water should a parrot be given for drinking?
Generally speaking, the water that you drink yourself is good enough for your parrot. So if you drink filtered water, you should give the same to your pet. Similarly, if you drink treated tap water, it should be fine to give the same water to your parrot, too.
This rule changes only if you live far out in the country and drink well water. In such cases, the well water might not always be suitable for parrots.
Well water usually contains a lot of excessive minerals and is generally hard water which might not go well with the parrots’ delicate systems. Also, if the water contains iron, it could lead to additional problems.
Parrots are susceptible to the iron storage disease which can be triggered by the high iron content in the water that it drinks. Thus, in such cases, it is best to use treated water, or bottled water for the well-being of your feathered friend.
You should never give water that is fortified with supplements to your pet parrot. Simply put, your parrot does not need it. Its daily dose of nutrients should be sourced from the seed mix that it has.
Vitamin overages in water can encourage bacterial growth in the water leading to infected water. This water can make your pet quite sick.
Water for bathing and misting
Apart from water for drinking, birds also need water for cleaning themselves. Thus, you should provide water in a shallow dish inside the cage so that your parrot can take a bath and clean its feathers.
The feathers shed a lot of dust which needs to be cleaned so that the feathers remain healthy and shiny.
Pet parrots should be encouraged from an early age to clean themselves by providing them birdbaths.
Also, a very good way to help them clean their bodies is to mist them. Most parrots would love to be misted with room-temperature water. This is especially true when the weather is warm.
Foods that are hydrating
Besides giving your parrot plain water to drink, you can also give foods with a high water content to your parrot. This is especially nice if your parrot refuses to drink or if your parrot has not learned to drink from his/ her water bowl yet.
However, feeding foods with high water content should not be done all the time as it can lead to watery stool, which would result in the opposite you wanted to achieve – dehydration.
In the articles below, we show you foods that you can feed to your parrot in this regard. We also show you how you should feed them to your parrot:
Do remember that your pet parrot depends on you for its well-being. Your pet cannot go out to look for clean drinking water. It also cannot find water for cleaning itself.
It deserves the best care from you and you should ensure that you provide it with clean water and a healthy diet. Remember that, in most cases, a parrot that is well cared for can live a long and healthy life.
If you are going away for a day or two, it is not advisable to leave water in the cage and hope that the parrot survives. It is always better to ask someone to keep an eye on your pet and give fresh food and water to your pet.
Why do birds drink less water? Birds do not have sweat glands. Hence, even though they need to drink water several times during the day, their water requirement is not as high as mammals. The quantity of water that they drink is less, however, do note that they need a continuous supply of water at all times.
Do birds drink sugar water? Yes, they do. However, it is not advisable to give them sweetened water. Added sugar can be harmful to birds and should be avoided in foods as well as water. Instead, give them plain drinking water.
Do birds eat snow for water? Yes. Birds in the wild in extremely cold temperatures can turn to snow to fulfill their water requirement. Even though they prefer actual water sources, if the water is not available due to extreme weather, they will eat snow.