Cockatiels are one of the easier birds to care for, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things to learn about them to ensure you meet all of their needs. Just like other pets, cockatiel needs water and can quickly become dehydrated without it. But do cockatiels drink a lot of water?
Do Cockatiels Drink A Lot Of Water? Yes, cockatiels drink a lot of water, and just like us, they need water to thrive and stay well hydrated. Also, you must supply them with lots of fresh and clean water throughout the day. Without water, cockatiels can dehydrate, leading to other adverse health consequences.
How Often Do Cockatiels Need To Drink Water?
Cockatiels need to drink water 2-3 times a day or about 5% of their body weight. This will keep them hydrated and happy. They may appear to not drink water since they prefer to drink alone, but they still require constant access to water!
You should find your cockatiel sipping from its bowl at least 2-3 times per day, perhaps more often.
Cockatiels consume water regularly rather than drinking a day’s supply in one go. However, cockatiels will drink more or less often, depending on the following factors:
- Air humidity
- Room temperature
- Activity level
- Food ingested
- Water freshness
How Much Water Do Cockatiels Drink?
Using a secure water bowl in their cage is the best way to give them water access. Although some people opt to train their cockatiel to use a hanging water bottle, it depends on the owner and bird’s preferences.
Cockatiels will drink about a teaspoon of water a day overall. The average adult cockatiel weighs about 1/2 ounces, so this small amount of water is proportional to its body weight. However, this can vary depending on how much activity the cockatiel has had in the day, the weather for that day, and their health.
Also, offering them water in more than one place is an excellent option to ensure they will always have water ready and convenient to drink.
Cockatiels should drink their water throughout the day and not all at once.
While this is only a guideline, if the cockatiel appears to be looking for more water during the day’s activities, they should be given more to reduce the chance of unforeseen dehydration.
Their needs will also change when cockatiel gets older and beyond their senior years.
On days when the cockatiel isn’t doing as much exercise out of its cage, they may not drink water as much as usual.
The weather is also an essential factor for your cockatiel’s water intake. Of course, depending on how hot the weather is, the cockatiel may need a lot more water than what is required on a regular day.
How To Tell If Your Cockatiel Is Drinking Water
Sometimes, it looks like a cockatiel isn’t drinking water, but that’s not necessarily the case.
If you have a new cockatiel, it may be afraid of sipping at its water bowl in front of others. After all, this procedure entails lowering the head, blocking their eyesight, and temporarily diverting their attention away from potential predators or hazards.
If the cockatiel is scared or unfamiliar with its surroundings, it will feel vulnerable. So, it drinks when nobody is around. As long as the cockatiel stays hydrated, you don’t need to witness it each time it consumes.
Here is how to tell if your cockatiel is drinking from its bowl:
- Set up a camera near the cage to see if water is being consumed.
- Mark the bowl at its current level and check if the water level drops.
- Watch for signs of dehydration, such as lethargy and panting.
What Water Is Safe For Cockatiels To Drink?
The majority of people think that if water is healthy and safe for you, it must therefore be healthy and safe for your birds!
Others opt to give their pets filtered water with a steady Ph level. Since cockatiels only drink so little, the water needs to be the absolute best for them.
Cockatiels must drink clean water throughout the day. You may not think twice about filling your cockatiel’s water dish from the tap, but not everything found in water is healthy, such as chlorine. That leaves some bird owners wondering what drinking water is safe for cockatiels.
The safest water for cockatiels is bottled spring water. Depending on how soft or how hard the water is, tap water might be safe. Never give a cockatiel unfiltered tap water where you can smell chlorine. Also, avoid water softeners, carbonated water, flavored water, vitamin water, and distilled water.
As we already said, tap water can also be excellent, especially if the city water department filters it. However, if your house gets water from a well, it may have hard water with hard metals that the bird should not be given.
Tap water needs to be boiled or filtered to make it safe. Installing a reverse osmosis filter purifies water and removes chemicals like fluoride. A standard filter will remove unwanted contaminants, fluoride, and hard minerals (calcium and magnesium).
Water bottles with added vitamins or minerals in them may not be healthy for your cockatiel and may encourage bacteria growth in their water bowl. So check the label before buying, and never give your cockatiel carbonated or distilled water!
How Often Should You Change Тhe Water?
Changing the water daily is the best way to ensure the water stays clean, especially if you have a cockatiel that enjoys cleaning its beak after eating or taking a bath in its drinking water.
Although changing it 2-3 times a day may seem excessive, it is the best way to ensure that bacteria will not be growing in their water dish.
Ensure you clean the bowl and refill it whenever excess feathers, droppings, food pellets, or any other materials drop into the water. If the water becomes too dirty, your cockatiel may refuse to drink it, leading to dehydration if it is not changed soon.
Also, you need to change the water bottles frequently. The water inside of the bottle may not seem dirty, as they cannot get anything inside of the bottle like pellets or droppings, but the water becomes stagnate and has a high risk of bacteria growing inside.
If your cockatiel loves leaving droppings in their water bowl, try putting a flat top perch over it, where they are less likely to perch on it and make their drop. A lava ledge or clam-shaped perch above the bowl might be an excellent illustration. Ensure you leave enough room between the perch and water dish for them to drink and move between them quickly.
Is My Cockatiel Drinking Too Much Water?
Sometimes your cockatiel may increase their water intake, and it’s nothing to worry about!
Like humans and other animals, they are more likely to drink water when their physical activity increases. For example, if you allow them to fly around the house, or they love playing around their cage with their toys, they are likely to drink more water. Likewise, cockatiels that have other birds to play with are more likely to drink more water, as they are using more energy than birds that live alone.
The air temperature may also encourage them to drink more water on hotter days or when the house’s heat is on.
Cockatiels do not have sweat glands, so they lose less water during exercise or in high temperatures, yet their body still increases water usage for other functions. Therefore, water access is so critical because there are times when their body needs a good drink!
If cockatiels have a change in their diet, routine, additional stress, new medication, or if they recently had babies, this could also increase their water intake.
Why Does My Cockatiel Not Drink Water?
There may be a few reasons that your cockatiel is not drinking water.
If your cockatiel is sick, it may stop drinking water or eating because your cockatiel does not feel well. Therefore, it is crucial to have them looked at by a veterinarian as soon as possible because they can only go a few days without drinking any water.
Always ensure the water is clean, as they may refuse to drink it if it is not.
If you think your cockatiel may be dehydrated, then another underlying cause might be. For example, they might suffer from a sickness or something wrong with their water. When you are in doubt, reach out to your vet.
But, if cockatiels don’t drink water regularly, they will become sick and die. Unfortunately, new cockatiels may refuse to hydrate when they arrive at your home. This is a typical reaction to stress and panic, but it should pass with time. Nevertheless, you must ensure that your cockatiel doesn’t get dehydrated.
If your cockatiel is new, it may refuse to drink water because it feels scared and unsafe. That’s because putting their head down to drink puts them vulnerable. Also, cockatiels may be unsure where their water bowl is and dislike the taste of hard mineral water or the smell of chlorine.
Some new cockatiels will drink water, but not while you are watching them. You can test this by marking the water line on the bowl or recording the cockatiel with a camera while it is alone. No matter the case, cockatiels must stay hydrated as they are unlikely to survive more than 24 hours without water.
How Long Can Cockatiels Survive Without Water?
Cockatiels will rarely survive for more than 24 hours without access to drinking water.
At this point, they will start to experience organ damage, reduced energy level, and disorientation. Water is crucial to every part of a cockatiel’s system; without it, the body falters quickly.
If a cockatiel can get its liquids from another source, it will be able to survive longer. Cockatiels can go around eight days without drinking water, as long as their food contains water.
In this study, cockatiels were given a food diet containing about 8.7% water. They survived for eight days and were provided with water again.
However, during these eight days, cockatiels experienced issues with their:
- Internal temperatures
- Breathing and respiratory systems
Without sufficient water, cockatiels will experience dehydration and long-term health issues. In addition, the longer your cockatiel goes without hydration, the less likely it will recover once it drinks water again.
Signs Of Dehydration
When a cockatiel doesn’t drink enough water, whether, from sickness or lack of water access, it can quickly start to show signs of dehydration.
Some of the most typical warning indicators are listed below:
- Dry mouth
- Feathers become discolored
- Unusual dropping consistency
- Eyes become sunken
- Notable fatigue
- Skin becomes less elastic
- Lack of energy
- Change in attitude
- Less chirping
Cockatiels are not keen to show their weaknesses or sickness, so you must watch them closely to see how they feel. Unfortunately, nothing how cockatiels act and look when they are healthy and feeling well can help you pinpoint when they are not feeling like themselves.
Ways To Encourage More Water Intake
Encouraging water intake can help your cockatiel stay hydrated, even when they may not want to drink a lot.
Flavoring water is a great way to help your bird drink more water. You can add a teaspoon of fresh fruit juice (without preservatives or added sugar) to a pint of water. A teaspoon of local honey is recommended as well.
Giving them flavored water now and again, or when they are notably drinking less, is much like giving a person a soda or sports drink. A change in flavor can occasionally be a welcome one!
Also, giving them fresh fruits and vegetables can be a great way to get water without having them drink it! A variety of food can increase their hydration level without knowing it.
Besides these, there are other ways how can you help your cockatiel stay hydrated:
1. Bowl change
Your cockatiel may dislike its water bowl’s size, color, or smell.
Although it is rare for a cockatiel to be that picky, it happens. You can circumvent this problem by providing more than one bowl or offering a glass bowl.
The least likely material to smell is the glass, to have an odd color, or hold onto any chemical residue.
2. Location change
Your cockatiel may be uncomfortable sitting out in the open.
If the water bowl is hooked on the cage’s side, it could force the cockatiel to leave a safer corner. Also, it may require the cockatiel to approach a side of the cage that is open to the rest of the room.
This will scare them, but you can resolve this by changing the bowl’s position. Put it in a spot that is isolated from the rest of the room or shade that area with a blanket covered in half.
Tap water may contain high levels of minerals that are distasteful for cockatiels. You can provide various types of water, such as filtered or bottled water.
As an alternative, you can flavor the water by adding fruit or vegetable juice.
4. Food water content
Your cockatiel will glean water from eating fruits and vegetables.
Providing sliced blueberries or strawberries can help with hydration. This should not become a regular meal or a permanent substitute for drinking water, but it is a temporary solution.
Your new cockatiel may refuse to drink water if it is scared of its home or specific people. Also, your cockatiel may dislike the water’s taste or only drink when you are not around.
5. Avoid confusion
Many juvenile birds are unable to identify which containers hold water, according to research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a result, they might not be aware of how to hydrate themselves.
So, teach your cockatiel to recognize the bowl as safe, present, and complete. To do this, you can stir the water in the bowl, drop a small bit of it on the ground, or lower the bowl below the perching point.
Any action will suffice, as long as it informs your cockatiel that the water is available.
This is just another reason your cockatiel needs access to water, and that’s because it requires a good bath, just like any other pet. They are more inclined to utilize their drinking water as a makeshift bathroom if there isn’t enough water available in their designated bath location. This may result in the water getting dirty and requiring more frequent replacement.
Also, bird baths that attach to the outside of the cage may come with the purchase of the cage, or they can be purchased separately. Drinking water doesn’t get dirty when bath water and drinking water are kept apart.
Cockatiels vary on how often they like to bathe. Some like a bath every day while others like it a few times a week. It all depends on the cockatiel!
Some cockatiels even like taking showers with their owner. Whether it comes from the sink or the shower, they adore the sound of flowing water.
Water should never be hot, only at normal temperature or slightly cool. Give them plenty of time to dry before evening. Bathing them when the house or the outside temperature is slightly warmer will ensure they don’t get too cold while drying.
Some cockatiels will never take to the water and will continue to preen their feathers more to keep them clean. That is perfectly fine! They will be okay if their skin does not get itchy or irritated. However, it is still wise to offer them a bath now and then to see if they have warmed up to it and want to try it again.