Bird Care E-mail

Using Water Bottles Properly

Have you considered the benefits of using water bottles instead of cups? It is a great way to provide your bird with clean, fresh water all day long. It’s absolutely normal for your bird to want to dunk its food in its water cup, but those bits and pieces of food that remain in the water create the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. A water bottle can be the solution to this "drinking problem."

Plastic bottles are fine for smaller birds, such as finches, canaries and budgies, but larger birds will need a glass bottle with a stainless-steel ballpoint tube. Some cockatoo and macaw owners will tell you that their birds love water bottles---love to take them apart, that is. But other medium to larger birds may not be interested in the finer mechanics of a water bottle and will use it just fine.

It’s a popular misconception that bottles can be left without attention or refilling for days at a time. In truth, water bottles should be cleaned every day, just like any other cup or dish, because bacteria can begin to grow after 24 hours. At least once a day, you will want to reach in the cage and give the ball in the tube a tap to make sure everything is working properly. This is because some birds will stuff bits of food or seeds into the tube opening, which will either clog the tube or cause all the water to run out.

A bird that is using a water bottle for the first time should be watched closely the first few days to make sure it is actually using it. For instance, you wouldn’t want to go away for the weekend without being absolutely sure your bird knows how to drink from the bottle, or without knowing if your bird is one of the ones that clogs the tip. Some learn to use the bottle immediately, and some may take a little training. In the meantime, continue to offer a water dish a few times a day to be sure your bird is getting the hydration it needs.