Cockatiel Bathing Behavior

Let’s explore cockatiel bathing behavior. If you never thought of your cockatiel bathing, you should perhaps try it with your bird. Once cockatiels are introduced to bathing, they love it (well most of them). If I don’t provide my male bird with a bath at the bottom of his cage, he politely has a bath in his water bowl.

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cockatiel bathing

Cockatiel Bathing Behavior

It is super important to provide your cockatiel with the means to have a bath.

Bathing can have numerous benefits for cockatiels, namely:

  • It helps to prevent dry skin.
  • It softens the keratin coating on new feathers allowing them to shed faster.
  • The cockatiel’s feathers are kept bright and clean.
  • There won’t be so much feather dust on the bird or in the cage. This is great if you have allergies.

Birds should be allowed to bathe as often as they want to. Provide a flattish pan or tin for your bird and place tepid water into it. This should encourage your bird to step in. Some pet shops sell bird baths with mirrors at the bottom which will also encourage them to step in.

For birds, like one of mine (the female), who refuses to bathe in a water dish, try gently misting them. Mine love this and open out their wings to get the full effect of the water.

Some cockatiels will enjoy standing under a running tap. Some even enjoy a shower with their human friends, but this could be tricky as the bird should not come into contact with the soap or water that is too hot.

Baths should preferably take place in the morning so that the cockatiel has plenty of time to dry before nightfall. Make sure that the bird is not in a draft when it is wet.

Some birds love a good soaking and others prefer you to spray them with a mist of water. After bathing, you need to let your cockatiel’s feathers dry naturally without using a hair dryer. A hairdryer will dry the bird’s skin out too much. If the bird is soaking wet you can lightly dry it with a towel.

What If My Bird Doesn’t Want To Bath?

Some birds will be nervous when bathing is introduced to them, especially if they are older and they have never done it before. You just need to be patient and introduce different types of bathing to him. Once he allows you to get him wet, reward him with a treat so that he starts associating bathing with a positive experience. Be warned though, it might take a lot of patience with some birds and could even take weeks or months to get them to take a bath on their own.

The bird will normally naturally start to preen itself after a bath. Before you know it your bedraggled bird will look soft and fluffy once again.

Some Amazing Cockatiel Baths To Purchase Online

Here are some awesome bird baths that I found online. Simply click on the picture to find out more about how you can get one for your favorite feathered friend.

And last but not least, a shower perch if your bird enjoys a shower with you.


  1. Maintaining proper bathing habits for your pet cockatiel is an essential aspect of their care. Providing them with a comfortable and safe environment during bathing can help prevent stress and discomfort, while also keeping them healthy and clean.

    I have a few questions though:

    How often should a pet cockatiel be bathed? Can cockatiels be trained to enjoy bathing, or is it an innate behavior?
    Is it necessary to use special bird bath products, or is plain water sufficient?
    Can you use other types of water, such as distilled or filtered water, for your cockatiel’s bath?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lizzy,

      Baby cockatiels will get into bathing quickly, but an older bird who is not used to it will need to be coaxed.

      Plain water is best and I use tap water. I suppose it depends on the quality of the tap water in your area. I don’t use any soap or detergents in the water.

  2. This is awesome!! I didn’t know that birds needed to do this. The bathing tools you provided are so cute and look like they really work well for a bird. How do you know that a bird or specifically this bird needs a bath? I am not a bird person and I was truly drawn into this article. It fascinated me. I wanted to learn more so I went through your whole site. Great job!!

    1. All birds in nature take opportunities to bathe when they can. I think we sometimes forget that when it comes to our feathered friends in captivity.

  3. Thanks for such an interesting article. I was unaware that it was better to give your bird a bath in the morning rather than the evening…Is there a rule of how often Cockatiels need to be bathed, or really how often is too often? Do you only use a little water, or is there a specific soap to use for their feathers and skin?

    1. Hi Kelly. I would say offer them a bath daily. They will let you know whether the bath is welcome or not. Always use plain water and no soap.

  4. Providing bathing opportunities for cockatiels is critical for their well-being, and this article points out this importance. Bathing encourages good feather development and hygiene while also preventing dry skin.
    The suggestions for encouraging bathing habits, such as using a flattish pan with tepid water or gently misting the bird, are practical and effective. It is critical to be patient with hesitant bathing birds and to praise them for positive experiences.
    Have you ever had trouble getting your cockatiel to take a bath? If yes, what methods did you find most effective in encouraging them to engage in this important behavior?

    1. Hi Miki. I merely spray mine as the two I have at the moment don’t seem keen when I place a bowl of water in their cage.  You can see whether a bath is welcome or not and if they shy away I don’t force them, but most days they fluff their wings and enjoy the shower. 

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