Do Cockatiels need baths?

Bathing is a natural act that all birds do in the wild, and should be part of our cage setup for your pet If you are and want to know more about your pets health and care we will get into the ins and outs of your pet Cockatiel and what you need to know to help keep them healthy.

Do Cockatiels need baths?

Cockatiels need baths to keep their feathers and skin healthy. By bathing regularly, you can prevent dry skin, help the shedding process become more manageable, and lessen the amount of feather dust in their cage. 

Dry skin is an issue and can cause your cockatiel to pick at their skin due to itching or pluck their feathers. Have you ever suffered from irritating dry skin? It’s no different for a bird. Even though they have feathers underneath it all is sensitive skin that needs hydrating. There are several ways you can keep your bird’s skin adequately hydrated. 

A bath is the best way to keep a bird’s skin from becoming dry and flaky. There are specifics when it comes to bathing captive birds, which we will get to later. But this is the surest way to provide your pet with the comfort of good skin as well as a natural process to keep their outer layer healthy. 

Another way to assure that your bird’s epidermis remains fully nourished with moisture is by providing the right amount of humidity to their living environment. You can add wetness to the air with mechanical humidifiers or even spraying them with a mist once a day. Unlike other vertebrates, the skin of a bird is delicate and fragile, so it needs more attention. 

How often should I bathe my cockatiel?

A cockatiel should have the opportunity to take a bath every day. Keeping a bird bath in their cage and changing out the water daily will allow the bird to bath on their own just like a bird would do in the wild.

We will follow this up later with bathing techniques, but, for the moment, a daily bath is a beautiful way to keep your bird’s skin and feathers at an average healthy level. 

One thing you cannot overlook is that it’s up to the bird whether or not they want to take a bath every day. Like humans and every other animal on our planet, birds are individuals, and there is no guarantee that your bird will enjoy taking a bath. Some may like to bathe but only feel like doing it once a week. You will know when your bird is unhappy with you because she will hiss or become quite vocal. 

While bathing is essential, it’s equally as important not to stress out your cockatiel. Stress is not suitable for humans or any other creature on Earth. If you see that your friend is becoming aggressive or aggressive when you attempt to bathe him, don’t do it. You can compensate by creating a more humid environment for him to live in or by misting them once or twice a day with room temperature water. You may find the more you mist your bird, the more likely he will be to allow you to bathe him if he once showed fear. 

How to bathe a cockatiel.

For cockatiels, the good news is that like bathing; it shouldn’t be too difficult to get them in the bath. When we say, “get them in the bath,” we don’t mean to fill your tub with water and put your bird in there. Tubs are human-sized and intimidating to a sweet little cockatiel so, you want to purchase a birdbath for their cage. There are several types available. 

Cockatiel bath for the cage.

When it comes to bathing your bird in their cage, you want a tub that is specific for this. You could put a bowl at the bottom of the enclosure, but this could leave you with quite a mess to clean up, especially if your cockatiel enjoys splashing around in the bath

For energetic bathers, there are covered baths that can be attached to an opening of the cage. You can put it there once a day with water and let your bird have a grand old time. There are also baths without covers that attach to cages, but those also propose a messier situation. Whichever you choose, the idea is to create a fun and safe environment for your cockatiel to follow her instincts of bathing. 

All you have to is give your bird access to a bath, and you will find out if they like bathing or not. The water will draw your cockatiel in, or it won’t. Some birds don’t want to bathe, so don’t be surprised if he isn’t interested. It truly is a trial and error process. There are some things you need to keep in mind when getting a bath ready for your cockatiel. 


While humans love to relax in a lovely hot bath, birds, and many other animals, for that matter, are pretty different. 

Cockatiel bath temperature.

For a cockatiel, the water temperature should be room temperature, which is about 70 degrees. Anything colder or warmer, then you risk harming your bird. Water that is too hot can burn them, shock the system. It’s best to have a tepid bath for them, so their experience is much more pleasing. Remember, a bath a day is healthy for your cockatiel, so making sure it’s an enjoyable experience would make her more likely to bathe again. 

How much water should I put in a cockatiel’s bath?

Specialized birdbaths will indicate water level but, if you are using a sink or small tub, then just put enough in for them to shuffle around in the water. Cockatiels can’t swim, and you don’t want them to drown, so only enough for them to play safely. 

How to dry a cockatiel after a bath.

You don’t. You let your bird dry naturally. If you think about it, a bird in the wild doesn’t towel off after a shower or hurt your cockatiel and traumatize them and possibly kill them. 

Always let your bird find their natural footing, and you’ll be surprised at how well they take care of themselves. The entire bathing process is instinctual for cockatiels, so the less effort you put in, the better off they are. 

What NOT to do when bathing your cockatiel.

Although we’ve gone over this, we think it’s important to reiterate that you should never use a blowdryer on your bird or any of your pets, for that matter. Not only will you risk injuring them it will be highly frightening for your little friend. 

Do NOT use soap when getting a bath ready for your cockatiel. The water should be clean and free of any pollutants or toxins. Filtered tap water is fine, but there is no need for shampoo or dish soap. 

Do NOT use a large tub. If you don’t have a birdbath and want to see how your friend reacts to water before purchasing one that attaches to their cage, then use a small tub or sink. The larger the area, the more room there is for problems. 

Do NOT put your bird in a full tub with you. While it sounds like fun again, there should only be enough water in the bath that they can safely play in. 

You CAN put a perch in your bathroom so, when you shower, your bird can enjoy the humidity. 

Water is one of the most precious resources on our planet, and for a good reason. No living thing on Earth could survive without it, not you or your cockatiel. So get that bath ready and let your feathered friend start enjoying a bath once a day. It will do them good, and you’ll have less feather dust in your home. 

Check out some of our other interesting read Do Cockatiels need a Heat Lamp and Can Cockatiels play with Toilet Paper Rolls? to read more.

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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