A couple of days back, I was browsing the internet, not looking for anything in particular, when I came across an adorable picture of a pet parakeet, captioned ‘fresh out of the shower’. This got me curious as to how pet birds can be given a bath- does one sit them in a small tub and bathe them like you would for a dog?
Or can you simply take them into the shower with you?
So can you shower with your parrot, and if so, what are the dos and don’ts? Yes, showering with your pet parrot is indeed possible and is much easier for many owners to do rather than bathing the bird in a separate session using spraying mist and in other settings. However, there are certain rules and tips which must be followed to make it a safe practice.
At the very least, baths are important for parrots and for that matter, all birds, particularly during summertime heat. The water from regular baths helps in breaking down the dirt and pollutants in the parrot’s feathers and cleanses its skin thoroughly.
Showering with your bird is just a more convenient way of achieving the same results and trying to emulate for the parrot how it would have bathed if it had been in its natural habitat. Plus, it’s a fun bonding activity between pet and owner, especially given how interactive parrots are.
What to keep in mind before showering with your parrot
Now that it has been established that owners can indeed shower with their parrots, it is important to get an idea of the major things to remember before and while showering with the bird.
Like with any other pet, special care must be taken to ensure that the parrot is comfortable and the conditions for the shower are perfect for it. In the wild, parrots, which are tropical birds, enjoy taking baths in natural water and are known to be fond of getting drenched in rain.
However, since your pet parrot was most likely bred in captivity, it may not be used to the concept of a shower and thus, these are some things you must keep in mind:
Your parrot’s fondness of water
While baths are a comfort to most birds and they enjoy playing in water, not all birds will have the same affinity. Birds that do not enjoy baths may consent to being spritzed over now and then with a spray water bottle or may create a fuss even to that.
Gauge your parrot’s relationship with water and whether it is happy in water or averse to it, before trying to shower with it. A parrot that is clearly anxious or frightened about getting under water flow will not be receptive to a shower immediately.
Water temperature and speed
You must remember to prep the shower flow before you step in it, because this time your parrot will be with you and it may get startled by the temperature or water pressure.
Try to keep the temperature a little lower, that is less warm than you would generally shower in when alone.
Water too hot will cause your pet discomfort and will harm the quality of its feathers. In the same vein, remember that your parrot, even on a perch, will not be able to withstand or enjoy the heavy water flow you may be accustomed to. Keep the flow at a low level.
The water flow in the video below is pretty strong. However, the macaw seems to enjoy it and he always has the possibility to get out of the “rain”.
Do NOT use soap on your parrot
Unless there is some oily substance on its feathers that you want to clean. Soap is harmful for your bird’s feathers and skin and trying to bathe them with it may end up in a trip to the vet. Birds are naturally known for preening and parrots are no exceptions.
Just warm water will suffice to clean them on the regular. Only if there is something exceptionally greasy or dirty stuck to your parrot’s skin, you should use the smallest amount of soap in tepid water to bathe the bird.
Keep the weather in mind
Assess the weather well before deciding whether to take your bird into the shower or not.
If it’s on the cooler side outside, it would be advisable not to bathe your parrot and if at all you must, ensure that they are kept warm afterward (further details in the next section on post-shower care).
Try to give the parrot showers predominantly in the daytime to avoid making them sick, especially when it is getting colder outside.
An important thing to remember is that human showers are not the natural way birds are used to bathing.
While most parrots may not bother about being sprayed lightly or being sat in a shallow basin they can splash in, the water pressure, speed, and intensity of a shower may scare them.
Consider starting by using a handheld shower you can control fully and then continuing if your parrot reacts positively.
Treats always help
If your parrot is reluctant to try the shower, start with small steps. Encourage it to play around in shallow water first and add some greenery to the bathing space, such as fresh kale. Parrots love greens and will be attracted to trying such a shower.
If your bird has some favorite toys it loves to play with, see if you can bring those toys into the shower. This will distract your parrot and keep it engaged, perhaps making it a fun time for the bird.
You can even get some baby toys for your parrot, that do not get damaged from the water. We show you what baby toys you can get for your parrot here!
You need to prepare your shower
Most bathrooms aren’t made for pets to bathe in. Many parrot owners like to give their birds baths in the cages themselves or in small basins outside. However, for those who have larger parrots or prefer to shower with their birds, certain precautions must be taken.
The bathroom window should be closed, just in case a cat or another bird comes in or your bird flies out accidentally. The shower perch for your parrot should be placed at such a height that would be optimum for the shower water to fall on it.
Also, keep it at a level where soap from your own shower/bath won’t fall on the bird.
Is your parrot enjoying the shower?
While the above tips dealt with the dos and don’ts of showering with your parrot, it would probably be a lot more comforting for a pet owner to know for sure if the bird is enjoying the shower or not.
Most of the time you will be able to tell that on your own, but still here is how you can know for sure:
- You will know that your parrot likes the experience of the shower if the bird makes trilling, happy sounds. Luckily, parrots are chatty and chirpy birds, so by the sounds they make, you will get a sound idea of their pleasure or lack thereof. A singing, chirping bird is indicator that the parrot is enjoying. Also, if the bird is preening and shaking its feathers now and then, it is a good sign.
- Pay attention to whether the bird is moving around on its perch during the shower and to the kind of movement it is making. If it is crawling or walking up and down the perch now and then, it is very likely enjoying the experience. If its movement looks like it’s trying to escape the water flow, it is probably not happy.
- If your parrot is trembling and sitting at one end of the perch, not making any noise, the likelihood is high that it is scared or uneasy or just uncomfortable. Different birds express discontent differently, but shrieking noise or no noise at all accompanied by this kind of trembling shows that the parrot does not like the shower.
Get a good shower perch for your beloved birdie
If you want to shower with your bird, one item you might want to invest in is a good shower perch. Shower perches are essential for the comfort and safety of your parrot during the shower.
If you don’t keep one for your bird, it will have difficulty finding a comfortable place to settle down for the shower.
Shower perches of good quality can be attached easily to different surfaces, so you can place them at any level in the bathroom that make it convenient for you both to shower.
You can buy shower perches online from stores such as Amazon.com, perchfactory.com, and FeatherSmart. Depending on the size of your parrot, you will have to pick a smaller or wider perch.
There are different types of perches available in the market, the most popular being the ones with suction cups as these can stick to all sorts of surfaces and are hence perfect for the shower.
Alternately, you can make shower perches on your own- there are several good DIY tutorials for the same online, which will take some effort, but would be totally worth it to the enthusiastic pet owner.
Here are two great shower perches you can consider for your parrot:
Polly’s Sandy Window and Shower Bird Perch, small
This is a really convenient and small-sized shower perch with suction cups that enable the perch to stick to surfaces. It is also compatible with windows, so your parrot can have some fresh air and light while it is showering.
It’s also a fairly affordable option. You can get this perch here!
FeatherSmart Bird Parrot Shower Perch
FeatherSmart makes this perch in a semi-circular form so that your parrot can move more easily on it while in the shower. It comes in small and large size both so you can pick accordingly for your bird.
The material is stimulated wood grain PVC which gives a natural feel to your parrot when it uses the perch and does not have any coating that sticks out and can hurt the bird.
You can get this perch here!
Post-shower tips to care for your parrot
It’s not enough to just keep certain tips in mind before and while showering with your parrot. There are a few post-shower precautions you have to follow to ensure that your beloved pet remains healthy and well.
Post-shower care tips are something many owners may not naturally think of, but they are absolutely necessary, particularly if you are considering making this a regular practice for you and your bird.
- Be careful not to use certain artificial means of drying your parrot, such as a hairdryer. Not all, but many hairdryers can cause fatal harm to your parrot due to their heating coils, so be wary of that. Birds have the ability to shake off most of the water from their feathers, so in routine circumstances, drying should not be a concern.
- For better heating after the shower, it would do to ensure that the room the parrot is kept in is warm, perhaps by central heating or a lit fireplace (provided it is not too close to the bird’s cage/perch). You can also use a bird lamp and can cover the cage with a warm cover.
- Conversely, be careful not to overheat or over-dry your pet. In summers, it is beneficial for parrots to get completely drenched often as it keeps them cool. It is advisable not to use other drying methods during hot weather as it will dry out your parrot’s skin.
How to ensure the hygiene and cleanliness of the parrot in summer?
In the summertime, it is imperative that your parrot takes a bath every day if the bird finds water conducive. If not, you must try spraying it gently with water regularly to ensure that it remains clean. It is best if you can give it a bath that soaks it to the skin and let it air dry, in summer.
Can you use any external bathing agent for spraying your parrot?
You can use a little rose water and the tiniest amount of glycerine in the bathing spray for slight fragrance. On occasion, you can use a pet-store bought gentle cleanser to deep clean your parrot’s feathers, but only rarely.