Most birds will naturally clean them selves and look after their complection. Cockatiels in the wild will find puddles of water and regularly take a bath. Also when it rains they allow themselves the luxury of a shower. However, domestic cockatiels don’t have this natural pattern.
We as cockatiel owners must introduce them to water, bathing and showering… Note, that not all cockatiels are going to want to bathe or even get wet at all.
How to bathe a cockatiel
You can do this in a few different ways.
- Put a bowl of water into the cage.
- Spray them with a small mist sprayer.
- Take them into the shower with you.
The most important thing is not to force any bird to get wet. They will naturally want to come to the water. Wiggle the water with your fingers so that it makes splash sounds, like rain patter. You should notice that the tiels that are excited by the sound will make a move to come closer. This is a sure sign that they are keen to get wet.
At this stage allow them to investigate at their own pace. If you want, just drop a few drops of water onto them and see how they react. They may turn away and then come back a few seconds later. Continue with this process until they basically stand there and allow you to splash them.
At this stage you could introduce the mist spray bottle. (In this video on Youtube you can watch cockatiels getting sprayed). Fill this with hot water. Don’t be alarmed, by the time it touches the bird it will be cool and just how they like it. Always test the temperature on yourself first.
Next you may want to lift them and put them directly into the shallow bowl of water, that is if they are have not already stepped in themselves. Always use a bowl that is easy for your cockatiels to step in and out of. NEVER fill the bowl to deep or have high sides which they could struggle to climb in and out of.
Why is it necessary to bathe cockatiels?
- First of all it keeps them clean.
- It helps them to keep cool especially on hot summer days.
- It add moisture to their skin.
- Some cockatiels to produce a beautiful feather coat. Bathing helps the feathers to soften and open to their maximum, some birds look like they have dandruf. It is the coating that protects the feather called keratin that is visible.
- Helps control the dust that the feathers create. This is good for you aswell as your cockatiel because it can cause alergic reactions in us and cause respetory problems for your tiels.
- Nesting cockatiels will require moisture for good breeding conditions in the nest, this is very important.
Things to avoid when bathing cockatiels
- Never use any soap or shampoo. Only clean water.
- Always test the temperature of the water, never to hot or to cold.
- Avoid getting water in their eyes.
- After they have finished bathing keep them out of any cold and draughty areas.
- Do not force dry your bird with a hot air dryer. (A few of ours actually enjoy a gentle hot air flow)
Tips for good bathing
- Get used to placeing a bath bowl into their cage.
- If you are showering allow the the opportunity to join you (optional of course).
- In the colder months chose your bathing times sensibly.
- Make sure that the bowl is big enough as they will want to spread their wings.
- Bathing in the early morning is best as it allows the cockatiels time to dry naturally in the warmth of the day.
- Learn to recognise the signs that your birds show you when they are interested in bathing, you could be filling the kitchen sink and they are getting excited…
Right, I’m off for a shower…