Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rub a Dub Dub Two Times a Week in the Tub: The importance of regular baths for your cockatiel.

As with all things, every cockatiel is different in respect to bathing; some love to bathe and do it every single day, while others can not stand it.

For instance, all the cockatiels on youtube love to bathe, but of course my Loki cannot stand it.

Understanding the importance of regular bathing I have tried every way possible to encourage her to get clean: I have placed her near or in sinks with running water, I have taken her in the shower with me, I have even left a bowl with water in her cage.

Nothing works; Loki hates the water. I often have to hold her to get her into the water, while she tries her best to defy my grip and wiggle her way free.

I do not like having to put her in the water, but because it is so important for her to have regular baths I know it is necessary.

Cockatiels should be bathed a minimum of two times a week.

Regular bathing for cockatiels is important for many reasons:

  • It keeps your bird's feathers clean.
  • It prevents your bird from getting dry skin.
  • It cuts down on your bird's feather dust-if your cockatiel has too much feather dust she could breathe it in, which can make her sick. This dust can also create respiratory problems for you.
  • It helps soften the keratin sheath on new feathers allowing them to shed more quickly.

    A cockatiel bathing in the sink

There are a couple different methods for bathing your cockatiel:

  1. Provide your bird with a large, wide, and shallow dish filled with water. They can go in and bathe themselves at their leisure. Most pet stores sell bird bath dishes, but you can also use any dish that fits the requirements.
  2. Place your cockatiel under a faucet in the sink. Make sure to use cold water.
  3. Have your cockatiel bathe with you in the shower. Do not use soap, hot water, or let the water come out full force (it is best to adjust the shower head to a softer water setting for your tiel).
  4. Mist your bird with a spray bottle. Do not directly mist your birds; spray the water just above your bird. And avoid getting water into your tiels eyes.
A cockatiel bathing in a store bought bird bath.

I tried misting Loki because I heard that it was the easiest was to get a cockatiel that does not like bathing to bathe.

At first she was not sure about it, but it did work. I now spray her every day and I think she actually looks forward to it.

I showed Loki that being sprayed was safe by gently spraying myself (remember cockatiels have a monkey-see-monkey-do mentality; to make sure something is safe they watch their momma).

Taking your cockatiel in the shower may work for your bird as well, since they will see that bathing is safe for you and hopefully they will imitate it.

Some reminders about bathing:
  • It should always be done in the morning so that birds have adequate time to dry.
  • Allow your bird to bathe daily if she chooses to.
  • Avoid using a blow dryer on your bird, which can dry her skin out.
  • After bathing, keep your bird away from drafty, cold places such as air conditioning vents.

A clean cockatiel still damp after taking a bath.

Happy Bathing!


  1. Ive met Loki, she really loves Ashley. Actually that is an understatement, she worships her!

    1. Aww, and I love her back. Thanks for the comment CJ.