I've always had a very diverse flock. Because of this, all my birds have reacted differently to certain aspects of thier life. For instance; bathing. My larger parrots such as my Rose Breasted Cockatoo (Galah), Congo African Grey, Blue and Gold Macaws, Military Macaw, and Swainson Toucans have always preferred to either bathe in the natural rain water outside, in the shower with me, or in a large bowl. When I first got my galah, Bondi, she wouldn't bathe for months. She hated any form of water. I took off on a cruise ship job and was forced to leave her behind with my parents.
They had no prior experience with birds before except for a parakeet named Skuttles (yes, after the seagull on the Little Mermaid) that I had when I was in kindergarten. They looked up tons of training courses online where they learned how to teach her "the retrieve" and how to talk. And they are the ones that got her to bathe. She loved to play in the sink, running in and out of the flowing water. Eventually, when I came home, she started showering with me. One hotel in particular that we stayed at together had a railing at which she loved the positioning. I turned around after pushing the soap from my eyes and saw how much she was enjoying catching the mist off my back. Ever since, she has been an avid shower taker!
As far as my budgies/parakeets were always concerned, they have always loved being misted by a spray bottle on a nice, sunny day. I've noticed none of them want to be wet when it's gloomy outside. And if you pay attention to wild birds, they prefer to bathe in the sunshine too. I love to move their cages outside to bathe them so they soak up the sun in the process (making it so they dry off easier and get some fresh air, always able to get out of the direct ray of light if needed). There are so many ways to bathe your birds, it's just finding out which way they like it.
My blue and gold macaws (Jersey and Chayko) would only bathe in a huge dish that could fit them both. They were sprayed by a bad animal trainer before and were traumatized by any sort of water coming out towards them in any form. However, if you got a huge dish they could both splash in, they were happy as could be. From the dish, we were able to show them that a shower was okay, too. If one bird sees the other try something new, chances are, he will try it too!To recap, here are all the different ways you can try getting your bird to enjoy bathing:
Invest in a shower perch and let your bird shower with you. Let him catch the mist off your back; never directly spray your bird with a stream of water.
Try taking your bird on a walk outside on a naturally rainy day, see how he reacts to being sprinkled on. Some birds love rain and thunderstorms, especially larger birds such as macaws.
Let your bird explore the sink while you run a light stream of water from the faucet. The water will create mist which your bird can then choose to run in and out of, or simply ignore.
Buy a spray bottle only for holding water and try misting your bird with it. Make sure the settings are on mist, and not one hard stream as this can be seen as punishment towards your bird if it comes across negative or hurtful.
Provide your bird with a shallow dish large enough to make a splash in. Some birds will use their own water dishes to bathe in so make sure he has an extra one so he's not drinking his bath water.
Let your bird shower without you there. Put your bird on a shower perch and aim the shower head at a wall where it can bounce off to create mist for your bird(s). My doves love this and actually prefer not to be perching while doing this but your bird may prefer to perch if it's not a dove. Everything is up to your bird's personal preference.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.