Cold Weather Skin And Feather Care | Using Aloe on Parrots

The winter months are some of the driest months of the year. Not only are the natural humidity levels typically down during these months, but heating systems further deplete the air of moisture. The result can be dry, itchy skin for everyone – humans and parrots alike.

Typically, when our skin gets dry, we grab some hand or body lotion. But when our parrot’s skin gets dry, they might scratch with their feet or make a fuss to let us know that they are uncomfortable. Some might begin to preen…and preen…and preen.  Some might cross the line into plucking to alleviate the itchiness.

There are three courses of action we can take:

Bath your parrot more frequently. Somehow, bird owners have gotten the notion that it is unsafe to bath parrots in the cold weather.This is simply untrue. For all the reasons listed above, it might be MORE important to get them nice and wet at least a couple of times a week during the winter. It is a necessary grooming procedure and your bird’s feather and skin health will suffer if it is overlooked.

If your house is cold and drafty, bathe your bird earlier on so it can dry off during the warmest time of the day and be completely dry for bedtime.This is more for comfort than safety.Your bird is not going to “catch it’s death of cold” from being wet in the winter any more than you will. Being cold AND wet temporarily lowers the body’s immune system. It makes one more susceptible to disease but does not CAUSE illness. Don’t let this misinformation cause you to avoid baths in the winter.

Buy a humidifier. Here is a post that outlines the different types available and which ones are safest for use with parrots.

Use bath sprays.There are several brands available on the market today. When it comes to selecting these products (or any type of product) for your parrots, go for the ones with the fewest ingredients. They are typically the safest and most natural. I have gone through the ingredients in the some of the more popular bath sprays and these are my findings:

  • Avix Rain – This product uses ingredients that can be irritants to eyes and skin. It also appears that the more natural ingredients they use are of low quality.
  • Avix Soother Plus – This product is frequently recommended, but it is an analgesic with medicinal purposes and is not all natural. I don’t recommend this product for aiding dry skin at all.
  • Mango Parrot Bath Spray – Not even going to go here. These morons sell this SHAMPOO(??) stating this in their product description: ” Caution: Parrot Shampoo is extremely mild but keep away from eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth.” Run away. Run far away.
  • THE WINNER:  Featherapy – Its ingredients are 100% Aloe Barbadensis Miller, a species of Aloe native to northern Africa. You simply dilute it and put it in a spray bottle. Aloe, as it has multiple uses, is something we should all have on hand in our first aid kits for the treatment of cuts and burns.

Whichever product you decide on, spray some on your hand before you spray it on your bird so that you can feel the texture and consistency. You should not be able to actually feel any of the ingredients. There should only be the feeling of soothing moisture. If  it feels oily to you, it will to your bird. It is in a bird’s nature to remove anything foreign from the feathers and your bird will set out to remove the what doesn’t belong. Even the oils secreted from their own preen glands are barely detectable. Never use more than what is recommended with the idea that you are making your bird even more comfortable. You will in fact be causing him distress and giving him a reason to over preen.

Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

5 comments

Yisreol manies

I have to cocktails what the best way to flight train them

Yisreol manies
aliah

my birds hate bathing and they don’t trust me, its like I just got them, how can I help them like bathing and get off there seed diet

aliah
Laura

My Sun Conure loves to take a shower with me. I try to keep him away from the drain in case any soap goes down. So far, NO problem, NO itching or plucking. My main concern is when he wants to bathe before bed. I don’t like him to, as I put him to bed at 8:00. Worried he won’t dry well in the dark with a covered cage. Do I need to worry about this? I know your article says not to worry about it that it’s more important to bathe him often. He is 27 years old and has never had any health problems. I was told that to spray him to bathe him might make him afraid of the water. Is this true???

Laura
ELLEN OCALLAGHAN

My Jardine’s parrot is plucking his feathers on his legs and under his wings. My vet said to try a humidifier and spray him more. Is it okay to use George’s 100% Aloe Vera to spray him? It feels like water to me. It’s the same subspecies (Miller) that’s in the Featherapy. How do you tell when the parrot is done with the bath/spray?

ELLEN OCALLAGHAN
MrsA Martinez

Our bird was dropping his feathers, over preening and hyper sexual. We took him to the avian vet bc he developed a bald spot on his back. The vet told us 2 things we were doing wrong : diet and lack of sunlight and recommended vitamins (added to his people food) and adding a UVA/UVB light to his environment 12hrs/day. He also suggested we switch him to pellets and get him off the nuts and seeds. After 22 years, changing his diet has been quite a challenge! We have wasted a LOT of the expensive pellet food this month. He did not mention more frequent showers. Our Amazon eclectus gets 2 showers/week.

MrsA Martinez

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