I log into Facebook every morning to see what is going on with my bird loving friends. Most days I scroll through the pages quickly only pausing when something catches my eye, but I was stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of what appeared to be a cockatoo wading in soapy dishwater.
Because I know this particular party to be very responsible with birds, I was expecting a humorous story with an explanation for how this bird had gotten himself into this predicament. To my surprise, I learned instead that the bird was being bathed using a product called Cockatoo Renew Shampoo.
This product is made by Kings Cages, a company that makes sturdy, well designed parrot cages which I have recommended to people for years. I own one and love it. However, at some point, they started branching out into other areas including parrot related “health products “– most notably Pluck No More, the ingredients of which I have taken issue with in past blog posts.
Both of these products, among others, are listed in their “healthcare” section. Cockatoo Renew Shampoo claims to be designed for white feathers because, presumably, everyone wants whiter whites. The sales page assures us that the product does not use bleach, peroxide or alcohol, but “cleans, deodorizes and shines feathers” all the same. I would be very excited about this product if we were discussing dirty laundry.
While the packaging loudly boasts the inclusion of Aloe Vera, the complete ingredient list is nowhere to be found. That is always grounds for concern to me. If I were proud of the ingredients of my product, I would be bragging about them and placing them up front and center.
The sudsy water in the Facebook photo mentioned above tells me that soap is a component in this product. But soap dries out skin and feathers… and might result in the need for their Pluck No More product… what were they thinking?? Lucky for us that they cleverly added Aloe Vera to counteract the drying effects of the soap – even if it is kind of like using a product that, say, washes away color, but includes a packet of dye in the box. The logic is lost on me.
Wet It And Forget It
Bath time with birds should be very basic. Nature has given birds everything they need to keep themselves clean. Wild birds will seek out a puddle or watering hole for bathing during times when rain is scarce. Wet feathers encourage preening, at which time a bird will use its beak to remove any dander or debris from them. It will spread the oils from the preen gland throughout the feathers to maintain their condition and appearance.
Have you ever seen a photo of a wild cockatoo wearing dingy whites? No, you haven’t – and I have never known a captive cockatoo to be so dirty that it needed the addition of soap at bath time. Thank you Cockatoo Renew Shampoo for your offer of assistance, but nature already has the job covered – in fact, the position was filled millions of years ago.
Don’t fall for the gimmickry used to sell a product that is not only unnecessary, but, in the long term, harmful. You should never, ever, ever, ever use shampoo or soap of any kind to bathe your bird. All birds need to keep themselves looking pristine… is water, ONLY water!
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.