How to Help Your Parrot Love Bathing
I'm the first to say that bathing/showering/misting in our house has been a long slog to find who likes what and who will, at the very least, tolerate water.
Felix, our African grey, was interested in showers, and then one day, not so much. When dad was showering him, you could hear his apoplectic screeches of apocalyptic protest throughout the zip code. A year later Felix is taking multiple baths in his water bowls rather than remain in the hands of dad in a shower. I suppose that's a Grey's way of working around the details.
The Horde of cockatiels love an outdoor misting. Stella, matriarch to the Horde, loves floating in a sink full of warm water just deep enough to lift her toes off the sink bottom.
Kirby, Indian ringneck parakeet, is a Serial Water Bowl Bather. EVERY birdy's water bowls are used by the end of the day excluding his own. His is for drinking.
Snickers and Butters have to shower together and prefer to shower with dad. They are all in and all happy and completely soaked when done. IF it's dad. If it's together. IF it's the master bath shower. They have standards.
So why the disconnect? Why the change of heart? Why some and not all? Who knows? Why I have two children who grew up to be totally different humans is also a question I toy with at times. Getting a water phobic, or H2O challenged, parrot interested in water takes time, and lots of iterations and suggestions and variable options offered. The end game to success is that they picked the water.
Felix is currently assisting in dish washing and fake dish washing. He's all of a sudden really interested in watching that water spigot. I let him watch, I let him touch the sink sides, the spout, the handles the sprayer. He's considering his options. This could take a while.
It's all in the iteration introductions!
Iteration Introduction is you purposely offering an option to water.
- A bowl with warm water, a bowl with cool water, a bowl with temperate water with floating fruit bits. (They need a reason to look sometimes).
- Buy a plant mister and use it with your parrot as an assistant to plant misting. If you have multiple parrots, let the observer see a mist loving parrot in action.
- You like baths? Let your parrot watch that play out from filling the tub to drying off. Give him a perching area close enough for viewing, far enough to show him he will NOT be participating. Share your confidence in the idea.
- As you iterate through options, watch for body language and vocalizations that are a request for more time or information on the matter. Let your parrot take you to their promised land of water park fun.
You may have to include floating fruit; you may have to have a hand towel laid out to feel secure. Keep what works, get rid of what fails, and it will all add up to your parrot's first mist, bath, or shower being his ritual.