Grooming and cleaning is a daily routine in the life of budgies, which is crucial for their health. Budgies only need to be hand-bathed when very young, sick, or poorly socialized.
You can mist budgies, take them in the shower, or bathe them in the sink. If a budgie is healthy, you’ll rarely need to wash them, as it’ll take care of all its hygiene responsibilities without human intervention.
Although bathing comes naturally to budgies, it’s a skill that birds develop as they age. If your budgie was separated from its parents too early, it might not know how to bathe.
Some areas of the body, such as the vent, will be difficult to clean, and some stains and hardened material can be hard for budgies to remove without human assistance.
How Do Budgies Wash?
As with all bird species, cleaning comes naturally to budgies. Your budgie will groom and wash whenever it needs to freshen up, even if it looks clean and its feathers appear tidy.
This satisfies a natural urge to keep away bacteria, parasites, dirt, and grime. Budgies that aren’t given the opportunity to properly groom can grow destructive, depressed, or aggressive.
Before dipping itself into the birdbath, a budgie will preen its feathers. Preening is a grooming process whereby a bird combs through its feathers using its beak. This tidies up how the feathers are layered, and some old and damaged feathers will be removed during the process.
Preening also removes:
- Skin flakes
- Food debris stuck to the plumage
- Poop around the vent (bottom)
- Dirt and grime
Budgies have a uropygial gland (or oil gland) located at the base of the tail.
The gland produces an oily substance that spreads through the plumage, protecting and waterproofing the budgie’s feathers when it takes a dip.
While it preens, the budgie will spread this oil over its feathers. According to Oecologia, preen oil has antibacterial properties, meaning that it helps keep illness and disease at bay.
Soon after preening, the budgie will dive into the birdbath and splash around. This disperses water across and throughout its shiny plumage. This routine rinses away the dirt and grime a budgie can’t remove.
Do You Need To Wash Budgies?
You rarely need to hand-wash budgies, as all birds instinctively know how to maintain their hygiene. Obviously, you can assist with cleaning hard-to-reach areas, such as the vent.
Budgies need access to clean water. Without it, pet budgies will grow dirty or become stressed. Most owners equip the cage with a drinking bowl but fail to consider a birdbath.
Unless the owner regularly takes the budgie out of its cage and lets it play in the sink or shower, it’ll be hard-pressed to complete this infrequent but vital part of its grooming process.
So, it’s wise to provide your budgie with a bathing bowl. Also, consider misting your budgie with clean, lukewarm water from a spray bottle 1-2 times per week.
How Often Should Budgies Bathe?
Ideally, your budgie should take a bath 2-3 times a week.
Budgies enjoy playing as much as they like staying clean. If given the option, horsing around in the birdbath will be a great way to pass the time.
Some budgies need to bathe more often, while others shouldn’t be bathed more than once a week.
Consider these factors and adjust your budgie’s bath frequency accordingly:
Young budgies less than 3 months old don’t require regular baths as their feathers are yet to develop properly. The water could make them feel cold or even become sick.
If you need to wash the young budgie, ensure that the water is lukewarm and isn’t too deep.
Budgies are native to Australia, but it’s a vast continent with diverse climates.
Most budgies are used to a hot, temperate environment, like on the west side of the Great Dividing Range. That means these budgies can do without frequent showers.
However, some budgies come from the vast northern area, which often experiences tropical rains. If your pet budgie originates from this area, it’ll require more frequent baths.
Budgies can withstand hot weather for a while, but they start to find life harder when exposed to temperatures that exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Exposing your budgie to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to heatstroke.
If you reside in a dry and arid region, you need to provide your budgie with ample water. The lack of humidity will make your budgie feel uncomfortable and frustrated.
Dry skin will cause it to preen more intensely, and without a cooling bath (or humidifier) to offset the loss of moisture, it may harm its skin and pluck out feathers.
Like all birds, budgies have to molt to replace old feathers with new ones.
However, the process can make your budgie itchy as the new feathers start to appear from their protective sheaths.
If your budgie is molting, occasional bathing will soothe its itchy skin.
Can Budgies Go in The Shower With You?
Budgies can take a shower with you. However, you can’t place your budgie directly under the showerhead or in the stream of running water. This will scare the budgie or damage/break the feathers.
Instead, put shower perches near your bathing area. Here, droplets of water from the showerhead will reach them. Your budgie will enjoy the light spray that ricochets off you.
You can let it preen, splash, and fluff its feathers at its leisure.
How To Clean A Budgie’s Bum
Most owners concentrate on cleaning a budgie’s feathers and body, forgetting about the butt. Usually, it’s the vent that needs cleaning.
Young, old, and sick budgies may be unable to clean this area, but you can assist in the following ways:
- Wiping the butt with a cotton ball soaked in warm water.
- Use a spray bottle to moisten any buildup around the vent and clean it off.
- Set up a birdbath, allow them to soak to soften any dried-in poop, and wipe it clean.
How To Dry A Budgie After A Bath
Budgies dry themselves off after a bath. However, if the room is cold or your budgie appears to be struggling due to the low temperature or physical limitations, you can assist in the following ways:
- Temporarily put the budgie’s cage in a warmer room.
- Use a small dry cloth to wipe them dry, following the grain of the feathers.
- Use a heat lamp or infrared panel to provide additional warmth.
Budgies rarely need your assistance to stay clean. They’ll usually clean themselves, as long as they’re provided with a water dish they can bathe in. However, bathing can be a fun activity that budgies enjoy.