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We are often asked about by what method and how often to bathe a pet bird. This answer can vary with the species, the individual bird's personality, the time of year, etc. etc.- there is no one right way to bathe a bird. My general answer is that rarely should a bird be forced to bathe (medical reason being one exception) and that it is better to do it early in the day on a warm sunny day so that the bird will dry quickly and well before sundown.

Many birds will bathe themselves, when they feel the need, if provided with a crock of clean water. Other birds enjoy a misting of warm water from a clean spray bottle (that never had anything but water in it, i.e. no pesticides, cleansers etc.). To entice a reluctant bird to enjoy a spraying, use a light, fine spraying (warm water) and say calm soothing words and/or spray some on yourself and act like you're enjoying it! If a bird really hates being sprayed after several gentle attempts, don't force the issue. I have found that many African Greys do not like to be sprayed.

Many birds love to get into a shower with their owners. This is something that is an individual decision on the bird's part and should not be forced! Birds that are introduced to a human shower at a younger age are more likely to enjoy it. To introduce your bird to a human shower, let the bird sit on the edge of the shower stall so that he can see what happens to you. The bird sees that you don't drown, fall down the drain, melt, etc., and that it looks pretty harmless! Say the bird's name often and praise the bird. Act like you're really having a good time! After a time or two observing, try to take your bird on your hand, lower into the shower stall near the stream of water. Do not put the bird immediately into the water stream! Let the bird observe the water until calm. Then you can put a finger into the stream of water so that a light spray of water goes onto your bird. Praise the bird with its name and show delight. It is amazing how birds can read our faces (our thoughts even? hmmmm) and a pet bird will really respond to cues from its owner(s). Gradually take the bird closer to the stream and divert a light stream of water onto the bird's back. If the bird is scared or really isn't enjoying this, stop. Perhaps another day your bird might be more inclined to get wet with you!

Don't soak your bird completely as it will take a long time to dry and this can cause a bird to become chilled. Birds rarely get thoroughly soaked in the wild as they would be in danger of predation if they soaked all their feathers and could not fly. Birds don't need to be bathed all that frequently as they preen their feathers with oil from a special oil gland or with powder down produced by special feathers (as in cockatoos, African Greys, cockatiels for example). Birds that are bathed too frequently can lose feather quality as the feathers can become depleted of this oil or powder down. For most species, one to four times per month is sufficient. Softbilled species and smaller birds such as finches, will often bathe much more frequently in their water dishes.

Our pet Hahn's Macaw, Globo, loves to go into the shower with my husband, Dave Venanzi.
We don't allow him to get soaked and not too often does he get a shower. (Globo that is, not Dave!)

Here is Globo, sitting on the shower stall,
moments away from one of his favorite activites,
a shower with my husband, Dave! He becomes
very animated when he realizes he's getting a shower and he begins to talk excitedly. When
he sees Dave in the shower, he calls loudly,
"Hey Dave, hey Dave!"

Globo loves to sit in a light stream of water.
He often flaps his wings excitedly in the shower
but was a bit shy about having his photo taken.
(Globo that is, not Dave!)

 We don't get him overly wet but sometimes he does get a bit more soaked than shown in this photo. Globo likes to sit on the edge of the
shower stall and dry out under the heat bulb
in the ceiling. Sometime he likes to sit bundled
in a towel but usually not for too long!

 This is Togo, our female Congo African Grey.
She was hatched in 1987 and is my husband's pet. She does not like to get in the shower or to be sprayed but she does enjoy a good "steam bath" sitting on the edge of the shower stall.

 Togo likes to make a game of throwing a wet wash cloth on me as I shower. I'm not exactly her favorite person; as I said earlier she's my HUSBAND'S pet. I hand-raised Togo but my usefulness to her has now expired and she is devoted only to Dave!

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