Winter Care for Parrots: Feather, Skin and Heat Needs
Winter Bird Care: How Help Your Subtropical Pet Survive Dry, Cold Winters
Life in a Rainforest
Most parrot species originate from temperate, tropical climates with high humidity and minimal seasonal changes. There are minimal lighting changes between the seasons. A parrots body is adapted to flourish in tropical rainforest conditions that are hot and humid where the average temperature is about 77° +/- Fahrenheit. The rainforest climate has very little temperature variation and the light cycle, being near the equator, changes little, as well.
Most of us parrot lovers live much farther from the equator and we experience more drastic changes in temperature, humidity and light. If you live in regions of the U.S., UK or Europe your environment has distinctly different temperature, humidity and light cycles than that of a rainforest.
Humans adjust to harsh winter conditions easier than a caged bird. For instance, if we have dry skin, it is easy to use a humidifier, apply soothing bath oils, slather on lotion, and drink more water.
A caged bird may have no choice but to suffer dry, itchy skin, dry eyes and congested nasal passages. Simply put, they are miserable, dehydrated, cold and at high risk for developing illness in the winter. Winter cold is a major source of physical stress to our parrots. Long periods of dry, cold conditions may weaken your birds system and leave it vulnerable developing a feather plucking problem or respiratory infections as well as a multitude of other infections.
Stabilize Your Birds Environment
To help our birds weather the winter it is important to stabilize temperature, humidity and light exposure. Our parrots will need a highly nutritious diet, as well. Frequent bathing and moisturizing skin is important. You'll need to insure that your bird doesn't get chilled after a bath. Showering with your bird on a shower perch washes away dirt and bacteria and moisturizes nasal and skin. You can regulate lighting from full-spectrum bird lights.
With that in mind, some of the most useful bird supplies you can purchase to help your parrot weather the winter includes the following bird supplies:
- Bird Snuggle Hut: Your bird will appreciate a bird snuggle hut. The bird snuggle hut traps body heat in a confined space allowing your bird to conserve energy. Placed near the high in the cage and near bird cage bars for easy access, your bird will be able to tolerate cooler night time temperatures.
- Heat Source: A heated perch, such as the Thermo-Perch, offers parrots an easy to access, stable source of soothing heat. The heated perch works by passing warmth through the feet, a body part where parrots lose a lot of body heat. Keep your bird’s favorite perches in the cage too, but put the Thermo-perch in the bird cage in the winter months or when temperatures dip below 60°. A heat source is also essential when your bird is stressed or ill. Be sure to manage the electric cord so that you parrot is unable to chew it. This is a photo of our stressed bird in a Wingabago sleep cage with a Snuggle Up Bird Warmer attached to the door. We plug it in at night when our thermostat is below his comfort zone. The Wingabao fits perfectly in a Snap N Go Stroller for easy mobility.
- Bird Lights: Full Spectrum bird lights provide important health benefits for birds that can't get 12 hours of sunlight a day. These bird lights duplicate natural sun light allowing even captive parrots to enjoy the benefits of sunshine. While many bird light brands proclaim to simulate natural sunshine make sure to buy bird lights that are recommended for parrots such as Featherbrite Bird Lights.
- Specialized Bird Bath Sprays have recently been developed with a bird's sensitive skin conditions in mind. Natra Pet Bird Bath Spray rinses dust and dander off of feathers while restoring essential skin softening preening oils. Clean feathers and supple skin are essential for winter bird care. Birds with itchy skin may resort to feather plucking to cope with the irritation. A new bird bath spray from Natra Pet contains both Alovera and natural bird preening oils to sooth itchy, dry skin and bring the color out in your birds feathers. Your parrot will feel so much more comfortable with the soothing effects of Alovera and the skin moisturizing natural preening oils. Did you know that preening oils actually coat feathers for improved insulation? We all know how uncomfortable it feels when your skin is dry. It makes you feel cold and itchy. Natra Pet Bird Bath and Alovera help soothe itchy skin, promote healthy preening and reduce dander.
- Humidifier: Just like people, birds need to breath and live in moist air. Birds thrive with moist skin, nostril’s, and eye tissues. Dry skin and nasal passages leave parrots to health problems. Supple skin withstands minor scratching, bumps and bruises while keeping toxic agents outside of the body. It stretches and flexes, whether it is our nostrils, eyes or body skin.