Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Importance of Water


Water, refreshing, energizing, fun, and absolutely necessary for life.

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.  Females often drink more water than males, and breeding females require even more water.  Older birds or birds with any health issues may require even more access to water.  Birds who eat more pellets than seed diets also usually drink more 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 molts.  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 their humans busy trying hard to keep clean water in the dish.

Water bottles provide clean drinking water for our birds, but can 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 also present issues as some bird learn how fun it is to shower under the water bottle tube.  Some also discover 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 can result in an empty water bottle, or a tube that has been stopped up and unable to release water to 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.

Even in a water bottle, bacteria can also begin to grow within 24 hours so it also needs to be changed regularly for freshness.  Sometimes using both an open water dish, and a water bottle will provide both fun, and clean water for your bird.  

Don't forget about those refreshing baths and showers and how important water is for your bird's feather health.  Doesn't matter if your bird enjoys bathing in a dish, sink, shower, or fun water bottle spray bath.  Water helps soften new feather shafts, refreshes feathers, helps control dander, adds moisture to the skin and just plain makes those feathers gorgeous.

Overpreeners often do much less damage to wet feathers as can be done to dry feathers, so regular bathing lets them preen thoroughly without as much damage to the feathers.  Overpreening also seems to be less in birds who bathe on a regular basis.   Feathers are healthier and stronger and hold up better to a bird who is a little more aggressive in preening.  

Not to mention the sheer joy of a bathing bird.

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