Bathtime is great fun for both bird and owner, but this fun doesn’t have to be restricted to a dish of standing water. An alternative to the bath is the budgie shower. This consists of wet leaves – lettuce, basil and parsley are favourites – or a wet clump of grass. The budgie will roll in the stuff, sometimes with an apparent pleasure reminiscent of a cat writhing in catnip. This reflects their habit of rolling in dew-soaked grass first thing in the morning in their native Australia.
A budgie checks out the greenery shower
Some birds enjoy a real shower – flapping around under a running tap (cold, never hot). You need a very tame bird to get to that stage, however.
One thing to avoid is a fine-mist sprayer. Budgies inhale the water, and this leads to sneezing and discomfort. A shower with bigger droplets – think watering can rather than mist spray – is acceptable, but that’s something your bird needs to approve of through exploration, and not something you hose him down with under the mistaken belief that all budgies love it. If your bird is enjoying the shower he’ll fluff up his feathers, and you can continue. If he runs away, let him – don’t chase him with the shower!
How Often Do Budgies Bathe?
Budgies will bathe whenever they want to, and you’ll get to know your own bird’s preferences. There are no rules, as such. Some owners put the bath in the cage every week and their birds leap straight in. Others say their budgie never bathes at all.
Watch them, and you’ll soon work out what they need. A bird splashing around in its drinking water is clearly trying to tell you something. It will largely be down to you to establish the routine. A budgie that never sees a bath or grass-shower for its first six months might not take to its introduction so readily (although it will still enjoy nibbling the foliage); whereas a bird whose cage has always featured a weekly bathing opportunity will probably relish it.
Budgie Bath Water Temperature
Budgies should always be given cool or lukewarm water baths or showers. Don’t use water that has been refrigerated, and if your tap water is very cold, let it stand for 20 minutes or so before offering it as a bath. At the other end of the acceptable heat scale, room temperature is good. The bath water must never be hot, though. If you stick with a ‘cool to tepid’ scale, you’ll be fine.