© RAAVE 2017
Reno Area Avian Enthusiasts The joining together of people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding birds
THE JOINING TOGETHER OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON INTEREST IN KEEPING AND BREEDING BIRDS

Water

Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission. What an important element water is. It is a large portion of our body and it is necessary to sustain life. Not only inside, but also outside of our bodies. It is just as important to our birds. They need fresh drinking water daily- we all know that. But have you ever considered how important bathing is for them? Bathing is part of grooming and daily care, which helps to keep birds healthy. Most birds love dipping in the water without any instruction from us. In the wild, birds will perch in the rain and ruffle their feathers to get thoroughly wet. Some birds will walk through the wet underbrush to take a bath, or bathe in the wet leaves on the ground. Others prefer to bathe along the edge of a body of water or in puddles. They seem to instinctively know that bathing is good for them. It keeps their feathers in prime condition and promotes preening. Preening is a time of inspecting each feather and making sure it is aligned properly. Birds have more than 2,000 feathers, so the grooming process can take up a large portion of each day. Feathers insulate the bird's body and maintain their body heat. Bathing and preening frees the feathers of dirt and fluffs the downy feathers beneath. They are then lubricated either by oil from the preen gland or the powder down. You'll notice that conures do not produce an abundance of dust like cockatoos or african greys. Encouraging a reluctant bather can be done in several ways. You will need to find the type of bathing your bird favors. Conures seem to prefer to bathe in their water bowls. Start with a shallow bowl of water. The water should not be higher than the bird's underbelly, or the top of the legs. Cool, clean water is all that is necessary. If your little guy does not immediately jump in and start splashing around, you can try wiggling your fingers in the water. Usually they become interested in the splashing noise and the chance to play with fingers and start to check out the water. Soon your fingers will no longer be necessary. Another approach is to put some fresh, wet greens in a shallow bowl of water. This simulates the wet leaves on the jungle floor, which may have been the ancestral bathing preference. As your bird becomes more comfortable you can add more water and less greens. Misting is an easy way to bathe your bird - for you. But it may not be as much fun for your bird as splashing around in the water bowl! Use a fine mist of cool, clean water aimed upward to allow the water to fall on the bird's back like raindrops. It is best not to spray directly in to the face and the nares, or nostrils, of your bird. As you spray, you may notice your friend ducking his head and spreading his wings. He's having fun now! He's trying to soak up as much of the water as possible. Be sure that the mister has never been used with insecticides or other poisons. It is difficult to completely clean a contaminated sprayer, so ease your mind and use a new sprayer to be safe. Small fountains are a wonderful way to encourage bathing. And what fun to run around in a pool of water, as well as a miniature waterfall! Again, be sure the water is cool and clean, and that there are no hidden dangers in the fountain. The kitchen sink or bathtub is a readily available "fountain". A cloth on the bottom will give your bird a non-slippery surface on which to stand. Some birds will like the trickle of the water from the faucet, others will prefer to just have the pool. If this seems like your bird is having all the fun, you can try taking him into the shower with you. There are shower perches available through many bird supply companies. If you use one made of PVC, make sure it is grooved or wrapped with a safe product. Wet surfaces can become very slippery. A wash cloth on your shoulder, or wearing a tee shirt will save your skin if you prefer the shoulder perch method. Keep soap and hot water away from your little friend, and the spray aimed at the body instead of the head. Then tune up and see which of you sings the best in the shower!! Daily bathing is beneficial, especially during molting season. Pin feathers are itchy and the water helps to keep the feather sheaths soft and easier to remove. In hot weather, bathing reduces the chance of heat stress. During cold weather, make sure your wet bird is placed in a warm, draft free area while he dries. Morning baths give him time to dry before the cooler evening hours. Using a blow dryer is unnecessary and can be harmful. Dryers take away the moisture from the feathers and skin, and can burn if they are too hot or held in the same area too long. Some blow dryers contain a teflon coating which, when heated, is a toxic substance to your bird. If you are concerned that your bird is too wet, use a clean towel to dry the feathers. You might see your bird shivering. Don't worry, it's not due to being cold. The chest muscles expand and contract which creates a lot of body heat. This dries the feathers quickly. Have you noticed the wild birds at your birdbath and how they all sit around and preen each other after bathing? This is a time of flock bonding. You can take this opportunity to build a stronger bond with your little guy and share the bathing and preening time. Once your bird gets used to bathing, it will be hard to keep him out of the water. So if you have a reluctant bather, don't give up! Remember to keep it a happy, fun experience. With patience he will begin to look forward to bathing, and become a prettier and happier bird!
© RAAVE 2017
Reno Area Avian Enthusiasts The joining together of people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding birds
THE JOINING TOGETHER OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON INTEREST IN KEEPING AND BREEDING BIRDS

Water

Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission. What an important element water is. It is a large portion of our body and it is necessary to sustain life. Not only inside, but also outside of our bodies. It is just as important to our birds. They need fresh drinking water daily- we all know that. But have you ever considered how important bathing is for them? Bathing is part of grooming and daily care, which helps to keep birds healthy. Most birds love dipping in the water without any instruction from us. In the wild, birds will perch in the rain and ruffle their feathers to get thoroughly wet. Some birds will walk through the wet underbrush to take a bath, or bathe in the wet leaves on the ground. Others prefer to bathe along the edge of a body of water or in puddles. They seem to instinctively know that bathing is good for them. It keeps their feathers in prime condition and promotes preening. Preening is a time of inspecting each feather and making sure it is aligned properly. Birds have more than 2,000 feathers, so the grooming process can take up a large portion of each day. Feathers insulate the bird's body and maintain their body heat. Bathing and preening frees the feathers of dirt and fluffs the downy feathers beneath. They are then lubricated either by oil from the preen gland or the powder down. You'll notice that conures do not produce an abundance of dust like cockatoos or african greys. Encouraging a reluctant bather can be done in several ways. You will need to find the type of bathing your bird favors. Conures seem to prefer to bathe in their water bowls. Start with a shallow bowl of water. The water should not be higher than the bird's underbelly, or the top of the legs. Cool, clean water is all that is necessary. If your little guy does not immediately jump in and start splashing around, you can try wiggling your fingers in the water. Usually they become interested in the splashing noise and the chance to play with fingers and start to check out the water. Soon your fingers will no longer be necessary. Another approach is to put some fresh, wet greens in a shallow bowl of water. This simulates the wet leaves on the jungle floor, which may have been the ancestral bathing preference. As your bird becomes more comfortable you can add more water and less greens. Misting is an easy way to bathe your bird - for you. But it may not be as much fun for your bird as splashing around in the water bowl! Use a fine mist of cool, clean water aimed upward to allow the water to fall on the bird's back like raindrops. It is best not to spray directly in to the face and the nares, or nostrils, of your bird. As you spray, you may notice your friend ducking his head and spreading his wings. He's having fun now! He's trying to soak up as much of the water as possible. Be sure that the mister has never been used with insecticides or other poisons. It is difficult to completely clean a contaminated sprayer, so ease your mind and use a new sprayer to be safe. Small fountains are a wonderful way to encourage bathing. And what fun to run around in a pool of water, as well as a miniature waterfall! Again, be sure the water is cool and clean, and that there are no hidden dangers in the fountain. The kitchen sink or bathtub is a readily available "fountain". A cloth on the bottom will give your bird a non-slippery surface on which to stand. Some birds will like the trickle of the water from the faucet, others will prefer to just have the pool. If this seems like your bird is having all the fun, you can try taking him into the shower with you. There are shower perches available through many bird supply companies. If you use one made of PVC, make sure it is grooved or wrapped with a safe product. Wet surfaces can become very slippery. A wash cloth on your shoulder, or wearing a tee shirt will save your skin if you prefer the shoulder perch method. Keep soap and hot water away from your little friend, and the spray aimed at the body instead of the head. Then tune up and see which of you sings the best in the shower!! Daily bathing is beneficial, especially during molting season. Pin feathers are itchy and the water helps to keep the feather sheaths soft and easier to remove. In hot weather, bathing reduces the chance of heat stress. During cold weather, make sure your wet bird is placed in a warm, draft free area while he dries. Morning baths give him time to dry before the cooler evening hours. Using a blow dryer is unnecessary and can be harmful. Dryers take away the moisture from the feathers and skin, and can burn if they are too hot or held in the same area too long. Some blow dryers contain a teflon coating which, when heated, is a toxic substance to your bird. If you are concerned that your bird is too wet, use a clean towel to dry the feathers. You might see your bird shivering. Don't worry, it's not due to being cold. The chest muscles expand and contract which creates a lot of body heat. This dries the feathers quickly. Have you noticed the wild birds at your birdbath and how they all sit around and preen each other after bathing? This is a time of flock bonding. You can take this opportunity to build a stronger bond with your little guy and share the bathing and preening time. Once your bird gets used to bathing, it will be hard to keep him out of the water. So if you have a reluctant bather, don't give up! Remember to keep it a happy, fun experience. With patience he will begin to look forward to bathing, and become a prettier and happier bird!