When Is The Right Time To…

Posted by Bird Tricks on

…bathe your bird?
…get your bird to eat healthy foods?
…put your bird to bed for the night?

These are some questions that have come up recently, so I thought I would answer them in a single post.



During the winter months, I prefer to bathe my birds in the late morning or early afternoon since this is the warmest time of the day.  Once the weather has warmed up, I bathe my birds any time from early morning to late afternoon. I avoid bathing them in the evening time to ensure that they are going to be fully dry by the time I put them to bed.
This also allows them plenty of time to preen. My favorite thing to do with them in the warm weather is bath them right before they head to the outdoor aviaries for the day. When a parrot preens, it expresses oil from a “preen” gland (uropygial gland) that they transfer to coat the feathers during preening. The oils react with sunlight to produce vitamin D3, which is essential to the health of all living things.


Birds tend to eat often throughout the day. They expend a lot of energy with their activities and have a high metabolic rate that burns food off quickly. After a long night’s sleep, your bird is going to wake up hungry! This is the time to offer the most healthful parts of their diet because it is more likely to be eaten, or a t least tried.

If you have a finicky eater that doesn’t want to indulge in a healthy morning meal, make sure you don’t leave any pellets or other foods in the cage overnight. Sometimes they wake up before we do and there could be some snacking going on which will take the edge off his hunger and minimize your advantage in this area. It is not true that birds don’t eat after dark. I have heard each of mine hit the pellet bowl in the middle of the night at one time or another.



I cover my birds at night, especially during the spring months to cut back on their daylight hours to keep the breeding urges under control. Another reason I use cage covers is because I work well past sunset a couple of days a week. Covering them gives me a bit more control in keeping them quiet in the morning so I can get some rest.

Some people choose not to cover their birds. It’s an individual choice that one makes based on lifestyle needs and their bird’s comfort levels. In these cases, a bird will go to sleep once it has begun to get dark.Your bird will graciously make you aware that bedtime is approaching as he raises the roof with his sundown calls.

In a perfect world, which mine is not, I would let the birds follow nature and allow them to sleep and rise as the sun dictates. But more important than a perfect schedule is providing your bird enough sleep, which is about 10 hours a day, and ensuring a good quality of sleep, which means sleeping in a quiet and dark room where your bird feels safe and secure. However you manage to achieve those standards is fine and your bird will be well rested and happy.

Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

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  • I would like to know if there is anyway to prevent my Amazon from chewing up his perches and anything that is made of wood. I cannot keep a wooden perch in cage for any length of time. He chews anything that is wood he even chews on my walls. I would like to be able to let him on window sills, but I cant because he chews everything up. Do you have any helpful hints for me.


    Charlene Boudreau on
  • I have a 3 year old male Eclectus named Jack who loves his shower. He will stay in there as long as I let him! And, oh my gosh, it is so much fun to watch him eat. He enjoys his food with gusto! He will sit and then prance back and forth on the perch in front of his food bowl until his food arrives and then he just goes for it! The other funny thing he does is to hang upside down in his cage to get my attention and he’ll say “I’m a monkey bird” – it’s too funny!

    Lori on
  • My African Grey, Touga, tells me when it’s bedtime (around 7:00 p.m..) by saying “Time to go to bed…go nice to house, nice clean house?” He calls his cage his house, because we don’t like the word cage for him. I cover him at night, and he makes little sounds of delight when he sees the blankie going over his “house”. He’ll say, “Oooh, nice blankie. Blue blankie. Sooo nice.” He is a 3 year old charmer.

    Laurie Cormack on
  • I have a 9 week old African grey, Can I bath him yet? I do not have a shower. Is is sufficient just to spray. He really needs a bath

    yolande on
  • Hi Glen,
    It’s really hard to give you an answer to a problem that can’t be observed. One thought I had is that your sun conures, which are loud and territorial birds by nature, and South American by origin, might be uncomfortable with the species of birds around them, including the wild birds that visit the yard. In any event, rewarding their screaming with treats will only serve to increase the behavior, even if it does offer you temporary relief. I would look into the environment as the cause of the screaming and see if you can make any changes. Do a google search on the habits of wild sun conures to give you some hints as to what changes to make.

    Patty on

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