Parrot Grooming: Parrot Care Tips for Vibrant Plumage

Did you know there’s more to parrot care than just feeding and playing with your feathered pet? Parrot grooming is also an essential component of responsible parrot care, playing a crucial role in the health and well-being of these charming birds.

Proper grooming isn’t just for aesthetics; it’s important for your parrot’s physical and emotional wellness. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain what kind of grooming a parrot needs and explain what we’ve learned about maintaining healthy plumage throughout our years of owning parrots, with a focus on parrot care and general bird wellness.

Understanding Parrot Plumage

Close-up photograph of colourful macaw parrot feathers

Parrot feathers are an incredible feat of nature’s design, serving not just for flight but also for other purposes, such as communication and the regulation of body temperature. Recognising the importance of feathers in a parrot’s life is vital for effective grooming. Regular preening and allopreening (the preening of another bird), which are natural grooming behaviours, are of utmost importance for the maintenance of feather integrity as well as social bonds!

By creating an environment that supports this natural behaviour and understanding the different types of feathers, we can significantly enhance our parrots’ well-being. In the following sections, we will discuss grooming techniques that align with the complex nature of parrot feathers, ensuring a holistic approach to their care.

We’ll have a look at selecting appropriate tools and how to establish a routine, taking into account the unique requirements of different parrot species. Whether you’re a seasoned parrot owner or a brand-new parrot parent, this guide will provide you with the necessary information to ensure a positive grooming experience for both you and your bird.

Parrot Feather Care Tools

Parrot grooming requires a variety of tools and supplies to ensure the health and well-being of your feathered friend.

Here’s a list of essential grooming tools for parrot care:

  • Bird-Safe Shampoo: A gentle, bird-safe shampoo or cleanser is perfect for bathing your parrot. It should be free of harmful chemicals and designed specifically for birds.
  • Misting Spray Bottle: For feather misting and conditioning. Regular misting helps maintain feather health and can encourage natural preening. Some parrots like being misted more than bathing.
  • Bird Bath or Automatic Parrot Bathtub: Providing a bird bath or an automatic parrot bathtub allows your parrot to bathe as it would in the wild. The bathtub can simulate natural rain showers, making the bathing experience more enjoyable and less stressful.
  • Feather Care Mists or Conditioners: These are used to condition the feathers and skin. They often contain natural ingredients that help keep feathers clean, shiny, and healthy.
  • Parrot Toys: These include items that encourage natural preening behaviour and beak maintenance, such as preening toys, chewable wood, or cuttlebone with healthy calcium.

Including these products in your grooming routine, you’ll quickly notice your parrot’s feather health improving, resulting in vibrant, healthy plumage.

How To Groom A Parrot: Step-By-Step

Ready to organise a parrot spa day and seriously pamper your feathered pet? We’ve come up with this full parrot grooming routine to follow for clean, shiny feathers and a happy, relaxed bird.

Let’s dive in!

  • Step 1: Choose a quiet, comfortable space and make sure your parrot is relaxed. Have your bird-safe shampoo, misting spray bottle, automatic parrot bathtub (if using), and feather care mists/conditioners ready.

Does your parrot like to bathe? If so, continue to step 2. If it doesn’t, continue to step 4.

  • Step 2: Bath time! Turn on the automatic bathtub (or fill a normal bird bath) and allow your parrot to approach it on its own. Some like it when you place a few lettuce leaves in the bath.
  • Step 3: Apply bird shampoo according to the instructions on the bottle. Then rinse, or let the bird splash around more in order for it to rinse itself.
  • Step 4: For parrots that don’t like to bathe (yet), you can try gently misting them using your spray bottle. You can include a few drops of parrot shampoo.
  • Step 5: If your parrot allows it, you can gently pat it with a towel in order to remove excess water.
  • Step 6: Once the bird is no longer dripping, you can mist it with feather care mist or conditioner (check the instructions on the bottle).
  • Step 7: Parrots like to dry on their own. If it’s cold, be sure to place your bird in a warm environment: close to a heater, an air-con unit on heating mode, a heated perch, or just on your shoulder. It will likely extensively preen its feathers until it’s dry.
  • Step 8: Your parrot will likely want a nap after drying. While it’s asleep, you can introduce some nice new parrot toys for feather grooming, preening, and calcium.

Voilà! A good parrot grooming session is a great form of enrichment and leaves you with a squeaky clean bird.

Parrot Essentials Tip: You usually don’t have to shampoo your parrot every time it bathes. Every 5-6 weeks works fine for feather maintenance. If your parrot doesn’t allow you to handle it in order to apply shampoo, work on desensitizing it using positive reinforcement training first. Don’t force it to do anything unless a wash is essential (like if it got covered in oil or other substances that are difficult to remove).

Lovebird splashing around in a bird bath, photographed from the back.

Spotting Health Issues

Regular grooming is a great opportunity to keep an eye on your parrot’s health. While grooming, check for any abnormalities in their feathers and palpate their body for any unusual lumps or changes. Keep an eye out for any behaviour changes, as well as any signs of health issues in their vent area, eyes, beak, and feet.

Even if you regularly check your parrot for health issues, it’s still important to incorporate routine vet checkups for comprehensive monitoring. Early detection of any health issues is crucial to provide prompt vet care, which plays a vital role in supporting your parrot’s overall well-being.

Troubleshooting Grooming Challenges

When grooming your parrot, it is important to be patient and understanding. Establish trust by using positive reinforcement. Introduce grooming tools gradually and allow your parrot to explore them to address fearfulness.

For bathing challenges, provide a controlled environment and consider using the Automatic Parrot Bathtub. Natural calming solutions such as Casozen or Pet Remedy can help ease anxiety during grooming sessions. It is essential to tailor your approach to your parrot’s character to overcome grooming challenges and strengthen your bond.


Parrot grooming is essential to take good care of our feathered friends. It involves understanding feather health, setting a care routine, and using specialised tools. Nail and beak care, feather conditioning, and bathing are important aspects of parrot grooming.

Proper grooming not only keeps your bird looking good, but also strengthens the bond between the owner and the parrot and serves as a form of enrichment. Recognising potential health issues and handling grooming challenges are also important.

By including these practices in your parrot care routine, you can help your parrot live a healthy, happy life.

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