Most budgies like to bathe. In the wild a bath clears dust from their feathers and helps them cool off; and although pet birds don’t actually have these daily requirements, they still enjoy a good splash around. If you don’t provide a bird bath in the cage, your pet will often do his best to wash in the drinking water, making it dirty and possibly contaminated with budgie droppings. You can take this as a clear message from your budgie to install a proper bath.
There are all shapes and sizes of budgie baths available in shops and online. Some have splash-proof sides; some clip handily into the cage door or the space where the food or water tray sits; some resemble walk-in showers; and others are just non-tipping shallow trays that could easily be substituted with a small ramekin dish or wide-bottomed bowl. Installing and removing the bath needs to be trouble-free, so choose a model that suits your cage set up.
Baths can also be external to the cage: a bowl of water placed on the floor will often act as a budgie magnet. There will be a good deal of splashing involved, though, and some owners restrict these out-of-cage bathing sessions to bathrooms or kitchens, where the water can be easily mopped up. Always choose a bowl that will sit securely on the floor: if it tips or rocks, the bird will panic.
Bathtime is great fun for both bird and owner, but this fun doesn’t have to be restricted to a dish of standing water. An alternative to the bath is the budgie shower. This consists of wet leaves – lettuce, basil and parsley are favourites – or a wet clump of grass, which your budgie will roll in. This likely reflects their natural habit of rolling in dew-soaked grass first thing in the morning in their native Australia.
Some birds enjoy a real shower – flapping around under a running tap (Budgies should always be given cool or lukewarm water baths or showers. never hot). You need a very tame bird to get to that stage, however.
One thing to avoid is a fine-mist sprayer. Budgies inhale the water and this leads to sneezing and discomfort. A shower with bigger droplets – think watering can rather than mist spray – is acceptable, but that’s something your bird needs to approve of through exploration, and not something you hose him down with under the mistaken belief that all budgies love it. If your bird is enjoying the shower he’ll fluff up his feathers, and you can continue. If he runs away, let him – don’t chase him with the shower!
How Often Do Budgies Bathe?
Budgies will bathe whenever they want to, and you’ll get to know your own bird’s preferences. There are no rules, as such. Some owners put the bath in the cage every week and their birds leap straight in. Others say their budgie never bathes at all. Watch them, and you’ll soon work out what they need. A bird splashing around in its drinking water is clearly trying to tell you something. It will largely be down to you to establish the routine. A budgie that never sees a bath or grass-shower for its first six months might not take to its introduction so readily (although it will still enjoy nibbling the foliage); whereas a bird whose cage has always featured a weekly bathing opportunity will probably relish it.
Budgies should always be given cool or lukewarm water baths or showers