Monday, August 3, 2009

Cockatiel Showers

In reviewing the blog analytics, I've determined that a lot of people reach this website by researching the Internet for basic cockatiel information.  So this is a post on how to give your bird a shower.

Bathing is very healthy for birds.  They get dusty and showers are good for maintaining shiny feathers.  Plus, once the bird is comfortable showering, he'll really like it.  Birds like showing so much, they'll take dust showers in the wild.

The most important thing to remember about giving your bird a shower is that the process should be gradual so the bird doesn't become scared of water.  African grays in particular are known to dislike showers, so don't do anything drastic like bringing the bird into the shower and putting him directly into the stream the first time you introduce him to showering.

Start with putting a wide bowl of water on the cage.  The next time, try lightly misting the bird with a spray bottle.  Then, bring the bird into the shower but put her on a perch the first few times so she becomes used to the shower.  Then try putting the bird into a portion of the stream.  If at any point during this process the bird gets upset, stop immediately. 

Audrey grew up around cockatiels so he knows how to shower.  When he sees water running and he's in the mood, he gets puffy, spreads his wings, and dips down with his tail up in the air.  Audrey likes to get soaked!

When he's finished showering, he maintains the puffy posture.  If he's in the shower with me, I have to put him on the towel rack after he showers because he's so into posturing that sometimes he loses his balance and falls.  

Conner didn't understand showering until recently.  He would stick his head directly into the stream and breathe in the water...and then choke on the water.  That made him dislike the shower.  So we started again more slowly: I would put him near the water and let droplets fall from my hand onto him.  He progressed from tolerating showers to enjoying them.  Now when Conner wants to shower he'll run along the top of the shower door and lean towards me.

We've reached the point where I can put him in the stream if I deflect the water with my hand to avoid shooting water into his nose.  The last time he showered, he was so excited that he used my thumb for support so he could get the underside of his wings wet.    

After the bird finishes showering, move the bird to a warm room.  They're very vulnerable when they're wet both physically and mentally.  Audrey insists on being left alone after his shower.

I'll try to get pictures of Conner the next time he showers.


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