Can Bathing in a Dish of Water Help My Arthritic Cockatiel?

Can Bathing in a Dish of Water Help My Arthritic Cockatiel?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

You have received a new ticket from Diane P.

Subject: Cockatiels and bathing


I am again contacting you with questions. I am sorry if I am a pest doing so, but I trust what you tell me.

My old cockatiel King has suddenly decided he likes to stand in a shallow bowl of drinking water, getting his legs and barely his stomach wet, dipping his “chin” barely into the water.

I don’t think he’s somehow drinking but he could be. He is happy to just stay there; I’ve never timed how long, and I have no idea if I should be concerned or just let him relax and enjoy himself.

His appetite hasn’t changed nor has his other behaviors.  He now likes standing in water.

Since he began this behavior a few days ago, I’ve tried looking it up on the Internet without much success.

With some other bird varieties, I wouldn’t have any concerns, but I’ve never heard of cockatiels liking to just stand in water for extended times, perhaps wetting under their face or getting a sip while there.

Budgie bath ~ video

Do you think I should feel any concern or just consider it a new interest of his?

I realize this is vague, but I would appreciate any thoughts you may have.

I’ve not read of cockatiels doing this nor seen pictures of them just standing in shallow water chilling out.

I am unaware of any health issues. His appetite is excellent. If there is something wrong, it isn’t apparent yet.

Snow stands near, watching him, and once climbed in for several seconds after he exited, but she clearly didn’t share his attraction to the water.

EDIT: A close friend reminded me that King has arthritis and wondered if standing in the water helped reduce pain. I admit I didn’t think of that possibility. I felt I should inform you of this additional information.
I am stymied.
Thank you,
Diane P.

Dear Diane

I did see your add-on ticket in which you state that King also has arthritis. You may very well have answered your own question.

Water therapy can help ease arthritis in humans and animals.

You may want to start providing an additional dish, either on the cage bottom or hanging. Something wide and shallow, and about the same time daily, offer some warm water.

Leave it for an hour or so, then remove it.

It may allow King to expect it and thus jump in daily as he will learn it won’t be there all day.

That way you don’t have a large dish of water collecting other messes all day long.


NOTE: BTW we learned with an injured budgie you can dissolve a 5-grain aspirin in a gallon of water and then replace his daily water with an easy-serve analgesic.

Added 5/5/2024: Hello, Yes it can be very soothing.  Warm is best… I would say no warmer than hand feeding formula in temperature…. If I remember correctly, about 100-105 degrees.  You may need to refresh the water to extend the length of time in the water.  I hope this helps.

Barb M.

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