…bathe your bird?
…get your bird to eat healthy foods?
…put your bird to bed for the night?
These are some questions that have come up recently, so I thought I would answer them in a single post.
During the winter months, I prefer to bathe my birds in the late morning or early afternoon since this is the warmest time of the day. Once the weather has warmed up, I bathe my birds any time from early morning to late afternoon. I avoid bathing them in the evening time to ensure that they are going to be fully dry by the time I put them to bed.
This also allows them plenty of time to preen. My favorite thing to do with them in the warm weather is bath them right before they head to the outdoor aviaries for the day. When a parrot preens, it expresses oil from a “preen” gland (uropygial gland) that they transfer to coat the feathers during preening. The oils react with sunlight to produce vitamin D3, which is essential to the health of all living things.
Birds tend to eat often throughout the day. They expend a lot of energy with their activities and have a high metabolic rate that burns food off quickly. After a long night’s sleep, your bird is going to wake up hungry! This is the time to offer the most healthful parts of their diet because it is more likely to be eaten, or a t least tried.
If you have a finicky eater that doesn’t want to indulge in a healthy morning meal, make sure you don’t leave any pellets or other foods in the cage overnight. Sometimes they wake up before we do and there could be some snacking going on which will take the edge off his hunger and minimize your advantage in this area. It is not true that birds don’t eat after dark. I have heard each of mine hit the pellet bowl in the middle of the night at one time or another.
I cover my birds at night, especially during the spring months to cut back on their daylight hours to keep the breeding urges under control. Another reason I use cage covers is because I work well past sunset a couple of days a week. Covering them gives me a bit more control in keeping them quiet in the morning so I can get some rest.
Some people choose not to cover their birds. It’s an individual choice that one makes based on lifestyle needs and their bird’s comfort levels. In these cases, a bird will go to sleep once it has begun to get dark.Your bird will graciously make you aware that bedtime is approaching as he raises the roof with his sundown calls.
In a perfect world, which mine is not, I would let the birds follow nature and allow them to sleep and rise as the sun dictates. But more important than a perfect schedule is providing your bird enough sleep, which is about 10 hours a day, and ensuring a good quality of sleep, which means sleeping in a quiet and dark room where your bird feels safe and secure. However you manage to achieve those standards is fine and your bird will be well rested and happy.
Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.
I would like to know if there is anyway to prevent my Amazon from chewing up his perches and anything that is made of wood. I cannot keep a wooden perch in cage for any length of time. He chews anything that is wood he even chews on my walls. I would like to be able to let him on window sills, but I cant because he chews everything up. Do you have any helpful hints for me. Charlene
I have a 3 year old male Eclectus named Jack who loves his shower. He will stay in there as long as I let him! And, oh my gosh, it is so much fun to watch him eat. He enjoys his food with gusto! He will sit and then prance back and forth on the perch in front of his food bowl until his food arrives and then he just goes for it! The other funny thing he does is to hang upside down in his cage to get my attention and he’ll say “I’m a monkey bird” – it’s too funny!
My African Grey, Touga, tells me when it’s bedtime (around 7:00 p.m..) by saying “Time to go to bed…go nice to house, nice clean house?” He calls his cage his house, because we don’t like the word cage for him. I cover him at night, and he makes little sounds of delight when he sees the blankie going over his “house”. He’ll say, “Oooh, nice blankie. Blue blankie. Sooo nice.” He is a 3 year old charmer.
I have a 9 week old African grey, Can I bath him yet? I do not have a shower. Is is sufficient just to spray. He really needs a bath
Hi Glen, It’s really hard to give you an answer to a problem that can’t be observed. One thought I had is that your sun conures, which are loud and territorial birds by nature, and South American by origin, might be uncomfortable with the species of birds around them, including the wild birds that visit the yard. In any event, rewarding their screaming with treats will only serve to increase the behavior, even if it does offer you temporary relief. I would look into the environment as the cause of the screaming and see if you can make any changes. Do a google search on the habits of wild sun conures to give you some hints as to what changes to make. Patty
Hi Barbara, Thank you for sharing this. I am going to put a warning on our facebook page. Please do keep us updated!! Patty
I have a warning from my Remembering Alex Group. From: Dassi To: Remembering-Alex@yahoogroups.com Sent: Fri, April 8, 2011 2:08:57 PM Subject: [Remembering-Alex] parrot deaths a friend just lost her 2 african greys within minutes after eating grapes from a well known big box store. she washed them and gave them to her parrots. the first parrot died within minutes of eating the grapes, the other parrot was dead 20 minutes later. the necropsies showed now abnormalities- still waiting for the toxicology reports. the one necropsy was performed by dr. zantop from maryland and the other necropsy was performed by dr. davidson at new bolton. both veterinarians believe it was due to possible chemical poisoning from the grapes. the department of agriculture at university of penn has been notified and an investigation is pending. the grapes, as well as pellets and other fruit are being tested for toxins. i post this with the hope that others will not have to experience such a loss. if you don’t already— please consider feeding only organic fruits and veggies to your parrots. certain fruits/veggies, such as grapes are heavily sprayed with chemicals that can be toxic. try and buy local rather than imported. regulatory practices in other countries vary greatly in regard to the management of produce. feel free to cross-post. i will update the group about the toxicology findings when they come in. She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot. -Mark Twain Please be very careful my dear bird owners. Barb :)
Shana, my cockatiel hates water and misting too. But she loves taking showers, maybe you should try that.
Hi Cheyenne, I bathe my birds 2 or 3 times a week depending on the temperature and season. Please never use ANY type of product when showering them. Soaps will dry their skins and remove the natural oils from their feathers. Water alone gets the job done just like it does in nature! Patty
Hi Beth, Your bird will most likely do the morning calls again if left uncovered, but it’s more important that he be secure and get enough hours of sleep. Here’s a link to the proper parrot diet: http://www.birdtricks.com/blog/the-4-most-important-components-of-a-healthy-diet/. Patty
To answer your question on how to bathe your birds, when I first became a bird owner, I researched the Internet only to find nothing on what to do. So I turned on the water in the kitchen sink (luke warm/cool temp.). Adjusted the water flow to a gentle flow & cupped my cockatiel in my hands & at times preening her neck with my fingers. I usually keep my tiels under the faucet about 4 minutes. I then place them in a white towl and hold them against my chest to keep them warm. I use an Intertherm baseboard heater year round to heat up the room. They preen for about an hour. Repeat once or twice a week. The first few timed your bird will freak out, but will eventually like or at least tolerate a kitchen sink bath. Good luck.
I bought a severe macaw from someone who no longer could take care of her. shes never been outside, but had no choice since thats where I keep all my birds, they love it. this macaw does not like to eat in a bowl, every time I fill it she throws all the food on the floor and forges, had her for many years and she is stubborn in a good way
I have a Sun Conure and 3 zebra ginches. They all get covered no later than 7PM on DLST, earlier off DLST. They will chirp and squawk in the morning if I don’t uncover them at the right time. My finches don’t all bathe and at times they look really dirty on their bums (females) and Sunny my Conure loves to bathe. He was using the water bowl and I changed it to a larger bowl that he can actually stand in and really get wet.. I love to watch them bathe.
I have two tiels and one parrotlet. " Alfie", my male tiel will tell me ( pacing, squalking) when it is time to be covered up. It is usually around 4:30 – 5:00 pm. I have 2 cages side by side as the male started picking all the female’s feathers off of her head.( They had been sharing the same cage for about 5 years.) I give them short times together to play several times a day – supervised visits! ) I cover the 2 cages together at bed time so they can still see each other. They sleep close together on the pearches that are side by side. Some times in the AM, I will hear Alfie talking to his girl friend- “Charlie”…… " Hello Pretty bird, Whatca ’ doin?, Peek- peek-peek-a-boo, are you my baby?, you be a good boy today, go poopie – go poopie, good boy, go fly baby-go, Hello baby! " So I know that it is time to uncover them. They love to take a bath in a larger feeding dish that I add to the cages, with about 1 inch of water in it. They love to have their own dish of water, and I’ll usually sing…“Splish.. Splash.. I ..Was.. Taking… A…. Bath.. On…About.. A…Saturday… Night” to them so they really get into it. My male Pacific Blue parrotlet." Zulie" likes to stay up later and when he is ready to be covered up he hangs up-side-down at the top of his cage and squeeks to gently remind me that I still have one of my babies to put to bed. This is usually about 6:00 PM. Zulie’s water dish is a bath tub shaped dish. when he is ready to take a bath he gets down in the water and really splashes around. He loves the water and my singing!. This usually happens early in the AM. To dry off, he takes a path around his cage to all the soft toys till he gets rid of all the excess water. He talks also and says all the same stuff that Alfie says as well as “Jesus Loves You”… and " You’re a Scalawag"! Just an aside…I got the parrotlet at 11 mos. old. He didn’t talk at all. now I have had him for about 2 years and he knows about 30 words/ phrases and he is “potty trained!” I had read that a parrotlet can’t be potty trained – well… I didn’t believe it.. I have been working with him for these 2 years and he is really consistant now and will usually " go poopie" before he comes out of his cage. He is such a cutie! P.S. Yes, I also sing… “What;s it all about, Alfie….. ?” to my Alfie. Thanks for all you do. I love your blogs and my b1rds :)
I gave my Birds a bird bath on a pedestal in the aviary, there is easy access to it as they are not flighted. In the evening when I bring them in they drink water as if I have starved them of it during the day. No bathing no drinking the bath is clean and water is clean.I even put toys in but the U2 is the only one who goes to the water to throw them out. And The temperatures have been quite hot. Birds range from Macaws to eKkies and a and U2. My cages are too big to cover, and the Macaws and U2 sleep on top of the cages they like being high and like intimidating the Ekkies. My U2 also sometimes likes sleeping under the covers of my bed or in the nap of my neck. He is sooo soft and gentle and if he does sleep with me i have to sleep very lightly and get up a few times a nite to let him poo As for showering. We don’t have such severe winters as you guys in America and so our houses are not heated to to 21 -22 deg C. Our houses are quite cold, so its a mission to blow dry a bird as they seem to take longer to dry than my thick mane of hair. Any comments will be appreciated.
My Cockateil lets me know when it is time to be covered up. About 9:00 every night, he starts saying “ready to go to bed” and keeps on saying it till I cover him up. He is only a year only and has quite a vocabulary.
I have a 17 yr old blue front amazon, she has an overhead light above the cage on a timer. If I am up watching TV and the timer shuts off the light, she whines for me to turn it back on! She has been out of the cage for over 15 of those years and sleeps on the top of the cage, its what she wants and the little hussy ALWAYS gets her way!
Nice post! My male cocketiel, Shadow, is a fussy eater!! All he eats is his bird food! I’ve tried to feed him veggies & fruit, but he isn’t interested. But, when it comes to my dinner, he will eat anything! He loves nachos, lasagne, salad, pretty much anything I am eating! He will eat of my fork as I am eating and ill even hop onto my plate and eat the food off it! What should I try and feed my bird? And also, I cover my bird at night, but he used to do his beautiful morning call, and now that he is covered, he has stopped. :( If i don’t cover him will he make his morning call? Thanks for this post, It was helpful!
Aloha all, My four birds are loose in my studio apartment all the time. The cinnamon & yellow-sided green-cheeks (Hedwig & Errol) are a mated pair. They sleep in their nesting box. They like to bathe in a Japanese flat dinner plate that has an inch high rim around the edge. Since it’s warm here, they can bathe any time they feel the urge, and I see to it that clean water is always available for them. It’s so comical to watch them spash around in that bowl. My other two birds, a male Red-belly (Sirius) & a female Jenday (U’i) each have their own personal corners & sleep in their open cages. I cover a corner so they can have some darkened area. They haven’t shown the same kind of interest in a bowl bathing, so I occasionally take them with me into the shower, or spritz them..
Oh my, let me tell you about Alaska. after a long winter, I do mean LONG.. come summer and 23 hours of beautiful sunshine, which really seems like summer is two months and here comes darkness for ten. Well it seems that way. Now I would really love to cover my babies, but they talk and talk, well he does. Cupid, male and Sugar female, really odd colors for cockatiels (sp) ( I am French, English is so hard to spell,) very young, he, so far, has a one word…. “up”. Now to get to the point… Our summers can be very “HOT” well, for us. Short of placing their cages, each have one for night, really a must, believe me. Short of placing a box over them from 9 to 9 I have no idea what to do come summer. Gages “must” be side by side so they’re an inche apart. Must not be covered seprately, or else, oh well kind weird screaming, so they have their way. In summer windows are open 24/7 for the majic word, SUNLIGHT .. could try the bathroom and close the door, no window, but poor me, I am in my 70’s early 70’s, have a need of bath room often during the night, need a light, don’t know why, everything is where it’s always been, then light would wake them up. sooo my dear, a solution, other than giving them away, would be wonderful. Are they spoiled you may be asking, well, almost as much as my four great grandchildren. I have cross poles in all my windows so Cupid and Sugar can look out any window in the room I happen to be in. Not spoiling, just aim to please. I belive every apartment here in Senior should have a bird. When they have babies I will aim to please them all. THEY HATE WATER Keep the children happy. Do you still only have one boy?? Try harder. HUGS .. Carol
My cockatiel hates bathing or just getting wet… How do I teach it to like water?? So far I just use spray bottle with mist setting. There is no way my bird would get in a dish of water to bathe…
I Have An Amazon & I Was Wondering How Many Times A Week I Should Shower Her? Also Should I Use A Cleaner Like Shampoo Or Just Plan Water?
My Birds have their special room in the house which has just cages and play gym and walls decorated to be playable for them,it’s so quiet but they like to be covered at the night with sleep light on. Thanks for the tips.
My 2 babies shower with me in the mornings or stand on a perch in the bathroom while I shower if they don’t feel like getting in. I have 2 wall-suction perches in the shower so they can stand IN the mist or stay OUT of it… Sometimes they want to be on ME in the shower so I cup my hands together, they stand on my arms & play in the ‘bowl’ of water. My Sun Conure perfers showering, but I think my Blue Crown Conure would rather bath in his water dish still! He’s still pretty young and not completely used to showering yet but he’s getting braver all the time. Mostly he loves to talk and sing in the shower and see how much louder he can get than me! LOL I cover my birds at night. I put them to bed at 8:30 pm and get them up at 6:30 am so they can spend time with me before I have to leave for work. I get home at 5:30 pm and get them out of their cages right away so they have 3 hours of freedom/play before bedtime again. On weekends they spend most of their time out of their cages but I do try to keep them on thier 10 hours of sleep routine or they can get grumpy!!
IM IN A SMALL AT AND I DO COVER MY PARROT AT BED IN FACT HE TELLS ME ITS BED TIME GOES TO HIS CAGE HIMSELF ABOUT 9 PM AND STAYS TILL ABOUT 1 PM NEXT DAY HE GETS CROSS IF WOKE UP SOONER,,LOL , BUT EATS WELL BEFOR SLEEPING . I FOUND IN WINTER BECAUSE APT IS DRY I WET A TOWEL AND DRAPE OVER COVERS AT BED TIME I FOUND IN 5 HRS THE TOWEL IS JUST DAMP SO I DONT WORRY ABOUT HIM CATCHING COLD I HOPE THIS HELPS SOME ONE ELSE LIVING IN SMALL SPACE AS I DO OH AND MY MANGO HAS FREE RUN OF APT EVEN WHEN IM OUT IN 3 YRSHAS NEVER DAMAGED A THING AND HAVE 300 DOLLS ON SHELVES ALL THROUGH ABOUT A FOOT FROM HIS HANGING TOYS , THOUGHT YOU MIGHT FIND THAT INTERESTING HES A YELLOW SHOULDER AMAZON
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