Water. It’s essential for our existence.
As humans, all of our cells, organs, and tissues use water to function at top capacity.
But as we go through our daily existence, we lose a lot of water through breathing, sweat, and digestion.
In order for our cells, organs, and tissues to keep getting the water they need, we need to drink water.
And experts recommend that we should drink at least 8 cups a day.
But what about parrots? Do parrots drink water?
The answer to this question is yes – parrots do drink water. And just like humans, they need water to thrive. If you own a parrot, you need to supply them with lots of clean, fresh water throughout the day. Without it they can, like us, become dehydrated which can lead to other negative health consequences.
But this leads us to ask other questions as well.
Just how much water does a parrot need?
How long can they go without water?
What will happen if they go without water for too long?
Today we will answer all of these questions and more so let’s not waste another minute:
Why do Parrots Need Water?
We’ve already established that parrots drink water and that they need it to thrive.
Why do parrots need water? Well, for the same reasons that we do – because they can’t survive without it.
A parrots body is made up of 75% water and this water is essential to almost every process in their body.
Like humans, parrots lose a lot of the water within their body throughout the day.
Every time they respirate or remove waste from their body, water is being lost.
They need to replace this lost water by drinking it throughout the day.
What is water used for?
As we just mentioned, water is necessary for almost every function in a parrot’s body.
Water helps to keep the kidneys, the liver, and the heart functioning properly.
It also helps to remove wastes and excess minerals, to regulate body temperature, and to prevent their cells from dying.
What will happen to a Parrot without Water?
If a parrot does not receive an adequate amount of water throughout the day, they can quickly become dehydrated.
If not rehydrated quickly, a parrot’s body and organs can begin to shut down.
A parrot’s physiological functions need water to work and without it they can stop working very quickly.
How long can a parrot go without water?
Not very long.
In fact, parrots can go longer without food than they can water.
Most parrots will die after just three days without water.
Of course, even if you are giving your parrot lots of water, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are drinking it or that they are hydrated.
Parrots can lose hydration for other reasons as well, including illnesses and disease.
Here are some signs to look for if you think your parrot may be dehydrated:
Wrinkled skin around eyes
Dried mucous membranes
Reduced skin elasticity
Change in bowel movements (dry droppings or no bowel movements)
If you are concerned that your parrot may be dehydrated or have noticed that they are not drinking water, take them to a veterinarian immediately.
The Importance of Clean Water
For parrots, having clean water is just as important as having enough water.
When parrots drink out of a water bowl, lots can happen within a few hours – they can defecate in the water, they can take a bath in the water, they may have dropped food pellets in the water – the list goes on and on.
When this happens, bacteria can breed quickly.
By the time a full day has passed, bacteria can multiply and if your parrot then drinks the water, they can become sick.
This is why changing your parrots water regularly is so important.
Changing your parrots water once per day is not enough.
Change it every few hours, or more often if you can.
What’s better – a bowl or a bottle?
When it comes to providing your parrot water, you can opt to give them a bowl or a bottle.
Which is better?
A bottle! As we mentioned above, water bowls can harbor bacteria and it doesn’t take it long to build.
When you give your parrot water in a bowl, anything can end up inside – feces, newspaper pieces, debris, and anything else in or near your parrots cage.
A water bottle attached to the side of your parrots cage can help to prevent these things from ending up in your parrots water, reducing the buildup of bacteria within.
Having said that, don’t let a water bottle become an excuse not to change your parrot’s water or to clean the bottle.
Water does stagnate, and over time bacteria can build up in a bottle too.
Change the water in your parrots bottle as often as possible and wash it at least once a day.
Can my parrot have tap water?
It depends where you live.
If you would drink out of your tap water then it’s probably safe to give to your parrot.
But if you wouldn’t drink the tap water, you shouldn’t give it to your parrot either.
With that being said, most tap water is filtered out at a city-wide treatment facility.
Here any excess minerals and bacteria are removed before the water is sent to your tap.
In such a case, your water should be safe to drink for both you and your parrot.
The problem with tap water often comes in if you are in the country and your water comes from a well.
Well water is not filtered out before it enters into your tap and can therefore contain an excessive amount of bacteria and minerals.
Some minerals, like iron, can cause problems for your parrot over the long term if they are taken in excess.
For this reason, you need to be careful if you get your tap water from a well.
Can my parrot have bottled water?
Yes – depending on what kind (yes there are different kinds of bottled water).
Bottled water is just water that has been extracted from a source and treated through processes like filtration and reverse osmosis.
You can purchase regular bottled water that has the minerals added after filtration, or you can purchase distilled water that is made without the addition of any minerals.
While regular bottled water is safe for parrots, it is not advised that you give them distilled water.
Distilled water contains more hydrogen and is considered an acid.
To neutralize this acid, a parrots body will pull minerals from the bones.
Over time, this can be dangerous.
In return, you should not give your parrot distilled water as a regular drinking source.
Can my parrot have flavored water?
No. Parrots should not have flavored water.
Flavors are often added to water to enhance the taste, and sometimes vitamins, minerals, and preservatives can be added as well.
Some of the things used to enhance the taste of water can be dangerous for parrots, so should not be given to them for any reason.
Can my parrot have Carbonated water?
No. Carbonated water is water that has fizz or bubbles added to it.
Though it is safe for human consumption, the same cannot be said for your parrot.
Are there any other ways to hydrate your parrot?
In addition to water itself, parrots can receive hydration from certain foods.
Some foods have a high water content and can be a good option if your parrot is not drinking for some reason or even just as a treat.
Some of the best foods with high water content include cucumbers and watermelon.
With that being said, such foods should just be used to supplement your parrots drinking water – they should not be used as a replacement.
In conclusion, yes, parrots can have – and need – drinking water.
Without proper hydration, your parrot can become ill very quickly.
Always make sure your parrot has clean drinking water and if you notice any signs of dehydration contact your veterinarian immediately.