How To Bathe A Cockatiel

My niece recently got her first cockatiel.

She adores her parrot and has lovingly called her Talulla.

My niece was nervous about giving Talulla a bath as she was scared she might get cold or fly away if she didn’t like it.

I decided to take the time to show her how to bathe her cockatiel and decided it might be helpful information for other cockatiel owners.

Let’s answer the question, how do I bathe a cockatiel?

There are three easy steps to bathing your cockatiel. You will first want to clip their nails roughly once a month; the second is the option of cutting their wing feathers and finally washing them regularly to keep them clean.

Clipping nails and wing feathers are best left to a professional. If done wrong, this can cause injury to your parrot, and they will need veterinary attention. Bathing is easy and very enjoyable for most cockatiels.

This article will discuss how to bathe a cockatiel, what shampoo to use, how to dry a cockatiel, and much more.

Let’s discuss all things to do with bathing our cockatiels.


How often should I bathe my cockatiel?

Bathing is essential to the proper maintenance of parrot feathers.

To have healthy feathers and skin, birds need to get wet. A parrot in the wild would bathe during a rain shower or in a puddle, lake, or stream. Some parrots will snuggle playfully in wet grasses and vegetation.

Bathing encourages parrots to preen themselves and keeps feathers free of dirt. It helps preserve their natural sheen. The dry air in our homes is not beneficial to maintaining healthy feathers and skin, so pet parrots should be encouraged to bathe every day.

Parrots should be offered a bath daily.

Whether they opt to bathe every day depends on the cockatiel.

Many parrots enjoy cleaning themselves every day, while others prefer to bathe occasionally.

Parrots should be encouraged to bathe regularly, as their feathers and skin will benefit if they wash frequently.

Start by offering a bath to your cockatiel once or twice weekly. You may see that your parrot has a preference about the time of day they like to bathe.

If your cockatiel is reluctant to bathe, try to bring your parrot into the shower at the time of day; it chooses to wash.


What shampoo should I use for bathing my cockatiel?

Soaps and shampoos are not recommended for parrots.

This is because it can remove natural oils that are important for good parrot hygiene.

Only use water for bathing your cockatiel.

Some parrot owners like to bathe their parrots in light rain, or a walk in the damp grass is a perfect place to take a bird that is learning to clean themselves and a natural experience.

You can purchase a harness for parrots to take them outside for a wash or just for general outdoor fun.

There are many available, and a quick search online will give you an abundance of options.


Do cockatiels like to bathe?

Some will love to bathe, and others won’t.

You can never force a parrot to do anything they don’t want to do, which is why you may need to get creative with bathing techniques.

It is much like young children.

My daughter loves to bathe and makes herself look pretty, and does her hair, as my son instead likes making mud pies and remains covered in mud for the majority of his days. I hope he grows out of it, or he may still be living with us in his thirties.

All parrots have their own personality and quirks so whatever works is an excellent way to do it.


If my cockatiel smells, should I give them a bath?

Bathing your cockatiel should be a regular maintenance routine; however, there are reasons why your cockatiel may smell.  

Parrots should not smell bad, but poor hygiene, hormonal changes, diet, bad breath, or illness can cause an unlikeable smelly odor. If you notice that your parrots smells more than expected, you should go to the vet and get it checked out.



How to bathe a cockatiel?

There are 3 main methods to bathing your cockatiel. Let’s investigate them, and you can decide what is best for you and your parrot.

Provide a small dish for your cockatiel to clean themselves.

Parrots often love bathing themselves and keeping clean.

Offer your cockatiel a small dish or bowl filled halfway with lukewarm, chlorine-free, and filtered water. 

Use something like a ceramic bowl; the heavier weight will prevent your cockatiel from spilling or knocking it over.

Remove the dish when the cockatiel has completed its grooming routine.


Bathe the cockatiel under running water.

Alternatively, you can provide a small dish for your cockatiel to clean itself. You can place your bird in the sink or put it beneath the bathroom shower.

Give your cockatiel a shower perch to the side of the shower or sink and let your parrot sit on it.

If you choose to use the sink, it helps if the tap head has a multi-stream spray option that imitates the water from a showerhead.

If it does not, turn the tap on so that there is a steady stream of lukewarm water.

Either way, wash the cockatiel by moving the tap over the parrot on all sides of their body.

If you decided to wash the cockatiel in the shower, remove the showerhead if possible.

Move the shower perch into the water, and the cockatiel should be wet all over.

Do not open the tap so far that the force of the water is overly powerful.

This will be distressing for your parrot, and they won’t be able to clean themselves.

After the bath, place your cockatiel in its cage and allow them to preen.

After your parrot has completed its grooming practice, disinfect the sink to keep hygiene optimal.

Make sure to remove any sink mats, dish drainers, or other objects which may have been contaminated by your cockatiels bathing in the sink.


Mist the bird with a spray bottle.

The third option for cleaning your parrot is to use a spray bottle.

Fill the bottle with filtered, chlorine-free, lukewarm water.

Set the nozzle to emit a fine mist.

Take a distance of nine to twelve inches from your cockatiel and aim the nozzle in the parrot’s direction.

Spray your bird two or three times.

Your cockatiel will then be able to groom themselves.


Does my cockatiel like being sprayed with water?

Yes, cockatiels enjoy being sprayed with a mist bottle.

It allows any grease and oils to run off their feathers.

Your spray bottle should create a soft mist that your parrot will enjoy.

If your spray bottle makes more of a jet stream of water, then that isn’t recommended as it may upset and aggravate your cockatiel.


How do I dry my cockatiel after a bath?

Your cockatiel should dry in the air naturally.

Unless the weather is hot, shut the windows closed to ensure your cockatiel doesn’t get cold.

Always bathe your cockatiel in the morning and not at nighttime.

Move your parrot’s cage close to a sun-lit window or provide a bird lamp for your cockatiel to speed up the drying process.

You must not use a blow-dryer on your cockatiel.

Many blow-dryers contain nonstick coating on their heating coils, which can be toxic to birds.


What temperature bath should I make for my cockatiel?

Water that is too hot or too cold can shock your parrot’s system and even cause burns.

Always check the water temperature before offering your cockatiel a bath.

Many birds prefer their bathwater to be lukewarm or room temperature.

Lukewarm water ranges between 100 and 110 F or 36.5 to 40.5 C, but others report lukewarm water falls between 98 and 105 F.

If in doubt, use the skin of your inner wrist.

It is the most sensitive part of the human body to temperature.

If it feels uncomfortably hot, then you know it’s not suitable for your parrot.

That is all the answers about bathing your cockatiel.

Many of these aspects apply to all parrots in bathing safety and can be used for all species.

If you doubt your parrot’s health or well-being, always seek veterinary advice to discuss your parrot’s individual needs.

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