How to Get your Keet to Bathe
Be sure to first read Why Budgies should Bathe to learn more about the basics of birds and bathing. If you now understand why your bird should take a bath, here is how to convince them to!
Parakeets and Bathtime
First, your bird actually DOES naturally want to bathe. Just about every parakeet is happy when she hears the sound of running water. Birds instinctively want to keep their feathers clean and love to jump around in puddles. The problem is that there aren't any puddles in your house or in her cage. There are only strangely shaped water containers. So your job is to teach her that these water containers (i.e. tiny bathtubs and sinks) are not dangerous.
Start with a small bathtub, or a small dish. It should be something that easily fits into her cage and can be taken in and out. Your aim at the beginning isn't even to get her IN the tub. It's simply to teach her that this object is not a scary one. Each day, when you change her food and water, change the water in the tub. Make sure it's lukewarm. She is just learning that the tub is an OK, normal object in her life.
If your parakeet is not yet hand trained, you have to wait to progress until she is. Once she's hand trained and the bathtub has been in her cage for around 2 weeks, you're ready to move along to the next part.
Now, one of the times that you are refilling the tub, don't just put it back onto the bottom of the cage. Instead, hold it in one hand and with the other, reach in and get your keet on your finger. If she's hand trained, she'll hop on. Now SLOWLY bring the bathtub and the bird towards each other, keeping the tub low so that she can watch it approach. This is not a fast scary thing. It is a "I have a friend for you to meet" movement. Talk to her in a calm tone so she knows this is not scary. She might fly away the first time or two, but soon she'll get used to this. After all, she sees water in the tub. The tub is a normal part of her cage now. She knows that she drinks water every day.
Once she is able to be next to the tub, she might take a little sip of water. Press the tub gently against her chest and say "up" just like you do with a perch during hand training. She should get onto the edge of the tub. Again it might take a few days to get her to do this, but eventually she will. Just be patient and keep at it.
Once she's ON the tub she should pretty much decide to hop in or at least splash a bit on her own. If the water is nice and warm, it's very inviting to a parakeet. Once you get over that initial hurdle of having her go into it, she'll want to go in frequently after that!
Many birds love to bathe daily, just like humans do. Be sure to let your bird have somewhere warm and dry to dry off! Birds can catch cold rather easily.
Basics of Why your Bird should Bathe
Showering With your Bird
If you don't currently have a parakeet bathtub, they're available at any petstore near you, or at PetSmart.com.
Cat / Parakeet Info Homepage
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