Regular bathing is very important to the health of parrots. Not only to help keep their skin and feathers clean, but to keep their nares clear and their respiratory systems healthy.
Some parrots prefer to bath in their water bowls, some like to roll around in wet leaves, but many enjoy a nice misty shower, like gently falling rain. During warm weather months you can take your bird outside, in an aviary, outdoor cage, cageoller, or carrier and mist them until they are soaked, with no mess. During the winter months, you certainly can’t take your bird out in freezing weather and wet them down. But winter is when the air is naturally drier, and inside our homes, with windows closed and heaters on, even drier still, so this is the time when misting showers become even more important for your bird. You can of course mist them on their cages or playstands, and as long as you have water proof floors this is fine, although a bit messy.
For me, I find it to be much easier to take my birds into the shower with me every morning.
Even birds who don’t actually like to get wet will benefit from humidity of joining you in the bathroom when you shower.
One caution on taking birds into the shower, if you have public water (not a well) it is most likely chlorinated water, and when heated the chlorine in to water turns into a gas. Chlorine gas is very dangerous and cause serious damage to your parrot’s respiratory system. There are inexpensive filters available that easily installed on the shower head and neutralize all chlorine. http://www.showerfilterstore.com/product/APSF/APRIL-SHOWER-CLASSIC-FILTER.html
Be aware that heavily perfumed shampoos and body washes can be irritating to your bird’s respiratory system as well, so if possible, you may want to switch to something fragrance free. Always wash off any soap or shampoo that gets onto your birds feathers immediately.
I’m really lucky that most of my birds enjoy showering with me in the morning. We have been through a progression of perching options as our flock has grown, and changed with foster birds of differing needs and showering preferences. Here are a few we have used in the past.
Trixie, the Blue & Gold Macaw, is sitting on a tension shower rod centered over the middle of the tub.
Ariel, the Amazon, is on a folding PVC floor perch.
Ruby, the African Grey, is on a wire shelf, that was the bottom grate from a small cage, bend to form an L shape, and hung on “Command” damage free hanging hooks. Ruby has missing toes and needed a perch that provides easier grip for her.
Today, our flock has changed a little, and with two macaws now, I needed to make separate higher perches for them, and still have room for Ariel. I also made a small perch for Winnie and attached it to the mirror on the medicine cabinet, as she’s not yet comfortable with coming into the shower.
You will notice that Trixie’ perch has a longer top piece to keep her up above the shower head.
Here are the directions on how I made these perches
PVC Suction Cup Perch (can also be used as a window perch)
2 ½ feet + of PVC (½” or ¾” or 1”)
1 PVC cross
1 PVC 90 degree bend
4 PVC caps
3 Large suction cups (from the craft store)
PVC cutter or saw
PVC Primer & Glue
Using Drimmel tool, cut a groove into three of the caps.
Slide suction cups into the groove.
Cut three 6-8” sections of pvc.
Prime the ends of all sections of pipe and the insides of the caps, and inside the cross.
Apply glue to one end of a section of pipe, push on cap.
Repeat with other two sections of pipe.
Apply glue to opposite end of the sections of pipe, push into cross. Be careful to align so that suction cups will lay flat. Repeat for remaining two sections of pipe.
Cut a 1 ½ -3 ” section of pvc, prime, glue and push into cross. The exposed end of this small section of pipe will remain unglued.
Cut one 7-9” section of pvc, prime & glue cap on one end. Prime & bend onto the opposite end.
Once glue is dry, sand or wrap the longer perching section of pipe.
I used a rasp bit on my drill press, and it gave the pvc a texture like bark on a tree branch.
Place unglued end of bend onto unglued shot section of pipe in the top of the cross. This joint remains unglued, so as to act like a hinge and allow the perch to fold flat against the wall when not in use.
If you have tiled shower walls, you will need to adjust the measurements to insure that each suction cup is centered on a tile, as crossing grout lines will not allow proper suction and your perch may fall, possibly causing injury to your bird.
Always check to make sure the perch is tightly secured to the wall before placing your bird on it.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE
Make sure to use pvc primer & glue only in a well ventilated area, well away from the birds, preferably outdoors or in a detached garage, for the fumes are toxic.
Allow to cure in that well ventilated area, preferably outdoors, for at least 24 hours.
Once cured it is completely safe.
Remember this can also be made into a window perch.