Posted:1/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
You are tired, stressed, overworked or just plain grubby and the only thing to make you feel relaxed and happy is a long leisurely bath. The same holds true for your feathered friend also. A good bath can wash away all of the negative and make 'all's well with the world' again. Some birds will 'overpreen' in its quest to keep its feathers clean and in good order. Regular bathing sometimes alleviates this need to preen so much.
How do I bathe my bird?.......how often?.......morning, noon or night?.....do I use shampoo?......do I use a hair dryer to dry the feathers?........why does he shake....is he cold? These are frequently asked questions of all of us at The Bird Shoppe. These are the very same questions all of asked when we purchased our first bird also. Hopefully, the following will answer your questions and make 'bath time' a happy regular activity for you and your little buddy.
Most of us bathe our birds more often during the warmer months and less often during the cold ones. Logical reasoning here....shorter days and less sunshine lessen the 'dry time' necessary when you give your bird its bath. It is also wise to bathe in the morning so the bird has all day to thoroughly dry before he is put to bed. I usually bathe my guys two to three times per week in the summer and once or twice in the winter. Some people use a blow dryer to hasten the 'dry time.' This is left to your personal judgement....I do not use a dryer because it has a tendency to dry out the feathers. One of the benefits of bathing your bird is hydrating the feathers to keep them supple and flexible. This helps in breakage and splitting of the feathershaft. By artificially drying, sometimes the feathers don't have the opportunity to absorb the moisture and thus eliminate that important benefit of bathing. Many successfully use a dryer so.....we will leave this up to you.
Shampoo is not necessary but certainly helps to 'break through' the powder on the Cockatoos and the African Greys. We sell a wonderful shampoo for those two dusty species. It is not to be used every bathe time, but once per month will keep the feathers clean and dirt free. Amazons, Conures and Macaws have oil glands so the powder is not an issue. But the feathers still become dirty and oily and need bathing regularly also. I use a shampoo on my birds at least once per month. Sometimes I use one of the shampoos we have at the store designed for our powdery friends and sometimes it is a human baby shampoo. Maybe it is not that necessary for these particular species but it surely makes them smell good!
Eclectus don't have powder or oil glands. This is good because the dander problem is all but eliminated. This is bad because the feathers and skin need a bit more attention to keep the bird in optimum health. Frequent bathing puts the essential moisture back into the feathers as well as keeping the skin clean and conditioned. It is not recommended shampooing the Eclectus.
Shaking is not a sign you have successfully frozen your pet! Birds have a wonderful ability to turn every feather upright and vibrate each one to hasten the drying process.....he is not freezing....he is drying. This is an innate talent possessed by the smallest finch to the largest macaw. How wonderful and unique our birds are. One more reason to love them.
Not all birds 'love ' their baths. My twelve year old African Grey has been bathed at least two times per week for the last ten years. I haven't done the actual math....but that adds up to a lot of baths! To this day he acts as if I am throwing hot soup on him every bath time. He also squeals 'help' and 'oh my god' as I carry him to the sink! O well....he can protest as much as he wants....a 'dirty bird' is not acceptable in my household! Whether your pet likes it or not, regular bathing is a must!
If you have a trusting relationship with your pet...try taking him into the shower with you. We sell wonderful, safe shower perches for every size bird. It can be fun and also save the extra effort to bathe your bird at a separate time. Stop in and we will help you find the right shower perch for your bird.
Hope this helps.....if you have any other questions, come visit us, give us a call or send me an E-mail. We welcome answering your questions and helping you enjoy your bird buddy even more. Have fun and enjoy bath time!