Singing in the rain ...
by Jami Galindo
I have noticed an abundance of "my bird hates water" posts. If you find yourself in this situation, you're certainly not alone but getting wet and bathing is a natural instinct (and lots of fun) for birds, so you may want to take a 'critical look' at your process ... maybe it is not the water that your bird is objecting to.
Chillee is my mini macaw and he likes to bathe in three different ways...
First, he LOVES his shower perch. I started using this in the first few days of him coming home.
This was the "getting to know this new environment stage." I wanted him to know bathing is part of our flock's daily routine so I took him in the bathroom with me.
I still worked very diligently on the bond between us and this was a key part. Have him "travel" with the flock and see how we roll. Finally, the routine of it made him feel comfortable enough to follow me into the shower.
We did that a few times and I turned the water on gently, and goodness he just loved it! This is our default method of bathing.
Then came the more bird-like, opportunistic "bath on the run." I'm usually popping around in the kitchen doing this and that and by chance one day, still when he was young and exploring, he discovered a dish of water.
This particular dish is now his swimming pool. This method is my personal favorite because I can watch his amazing bird behavior ... spreading the water all through his beautiful feathers (and all over my kitchen). I think he enjoys making a BIG splash everywhere.
Finally we come to the outside "faux rain" method. With the help of a mister/gentle rain head on the hose he gets to play in the rain.
This is when he spreads his wings and calls to the "outside" birds and chatters with so much excitement that it makes me smile from ear-to-ear.
I love to see him love his life.
So I encourage you to think about the 'delivery system' ... water play is instinctual but the shiny glass shower in the human environment is not. Be patient and build that trust through your daily routine. Help them know they can trust what is coming next. Reassure them by building that bond and keep building it stronger day to day. Trust is so very important.
Chillee regularly goes outside (in a safe, controlled environment) to enjoy our beautiful tropical sunshine. Often I ready his cage for a rain by taking out all dishes and rope but I leave him a perch to sit on.
We have all been through the 'building trust' struggle and we are all here for you. Don't give up ... I am constantly challenging myself to see things from his point of view and I encourage you to do the same. You will be shocked at the impact this approach will have.