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Birds like to get wet. Water makes them feel good and it stimulates normal preening behavior. You can dampen your bird by using a spray bottle set to "mist" not "spray." If your birds don't like being misted directly, spray up so the water falls like rain. If your bird is tame, you can take him in the shower, if not you can add a shallow bathing dish with an inch or so of water.

Q. What is the lowest the thermostat/room temperature should be set during the winter months? What about bathing in the winter time?

A. Most of the birds we keep as pets come from fairly warm climates (Australia, South America) so I usually recommend keeping the room they live in between 68-72 degrees and no lower. Drafts are especially important to avoid with birds so they shouldn't live near an open door or window. As far as bathing in the wintertime, as long as you can keep the bird warm during the time he/she is wet, it is fine. When birds are cold, they will often "fluff" their feathers up and they may shiver. If a bird is too warm, they will often hold their wings slightly away from their body and "pant" or open mouth breathe. Of course, you never want to wait to see these signs to determine if the temperature is all right. What kind of bird do you have? If you have a smaller bird, you should be able to heat up a small cage or carrier with a heat pad set on the "low" setting and allow the bird to sit in that after a bath until he/she is dry. You can also blow dry the bird as long as you make sure the dryer is set on "warm" and never "hot" and make sure you hold the dryer far enough away from the bird so they don't get too much heat. Also, you never want to use a brand new hair dryer on a bird. New dryers will burn off a toxic substance during the first several times you use it that can be dangerous to a bird. Check with your avian vet to find out how long the dryer must run before it is safe to use on a bird.

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