Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Importance of Water

A lack of water can quickly cause dehydration and can have serious and sometimes even fatal results for your bird.

How long a bird can live without water can vary greatly among the different species, and can actually be as short as only a few hours for very small birds such as finches and canaries.  In our experience females tend to drink more water than males, breeding females require even more water, parents feeding babies need even more water, and older birds or birds with health issues may require even more access to water.

Using open water bowls have both pros and cons.  Many birds just love to splash around in their dishes and all that splashing and bathing can add needed moisture to their feathers, especially during dryer indoor winters.  Birds are also notorious for soaking their foods, especially pellets, in their water dishes preferring a softer food or creating that interesting birdie soup as we like to call it.   Unfortunately, the above fun activities also keep the humans trying hard to keep clean water in the dish.

Water bottles provide clean drinking water for our birds, but also take away the fun baths and soup mixtures.  If you prefer to use a water bottle instead of an open water dish, always always be sure your bird is drinking from the bottle before removing the familiar open dish.  Placing the bottle over the regular water dish may help your bird discover the bottle tube easier and give it a try quicker.

However even using a water bottle for cleaner water can present a serious problem when used in a cage with a bird who has learned how fun it is to shower under the water bottle tube, or how much fun it is to push seeds and other foods (and even a small toy part or two) up the tube.  Unfortunately all these fun activities for the bird, can result in an empty water bottle or a stopped up one that keeps water from your bird.  When using water bottles it is so very important to check at a minimum of once daily that the bottle is not stopped up, and contains plenty of water.  Never assume just because a bottle looks full, it is working properly.

Bacteria can also begin to grow within 24 hours even in a water bottle, so just because the bird has a water bottle instead of a dish, that does not mean the water does not need to be changed daily for freshness.    If you filled a glass with water and left it sitting out for 2 or 3 days, would you want to drink that glass of water, or would you prefer to pour it out and get a fresh glass of water?

Sometimes using both an open water dish, and a water bottle will provide fun, and clean water for your bird.    Also having extra bottles and/or dishes on hand can make changing out the containers quicker and easier, and help everyone provide fresh clean drinking water for their feathered friends.

For a selection of water bottles and dishes visit

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dry Heat Making you Itchy?

If you are someone who suffers with dry itchy skin during the winter months when our indoor heat dries out the air, then you can well understand the need for some relief for the itch.

That dry indoor winter atmosphere often affects our feathered friends as well.  Most parrots are naturally rainforest creatures and are are more adapted for rainforest humidity levels than the average winter heated dry air home.

During the winter months our birds may often over-preen, molt excessively, or even pull out their own feathers, and it may be due in part to the dry skin itchiness of the indoor winter heated air.

There are a however few things you can do to help add some moisture back into our bird's environment and hopefully help relieve the itch at least a little.

 Shower PerchesMany people think warm spray baths or showers for our indoor birds during the winter is not a good idea as our homes may not be as warm as in summer months.  However skipping these baths can actually add to the dryness.  Just make sure the bath is early in the day so feathers have plenty of time to completely dry before evening temps lower.  If necessary you can let your bird preen and dry off in a heated bath area and once dry be moved back into their cage.

Adding a cool mist humidifier to your bird's room will also help add some moisture back into the environment and can be a big help in easing the itch.

Adding plants to your home also helps provide some humidity to the area.  Just make sure the plants are safe for your bird.

A really cool idea is to add a tabletop fountain to the bird's area.  You will be amazed at how fast the running water evaporates into the air as it adds much needed moisture.  So not only are adding cool moisture into the room, but the fountain will add the soothing waterfall feature for all to enjoy.

By adding one or more of the above suggestions to your winter routine, not only will your bird receive some of the extra humidity needed, but you may find the humans benefiting as well in the improved air quality.