Q. My birds do not want to take a bath. Is there something I can add to the water so they will take a bath?

No, there is nothing that you can or need to add to the water to entice birds to take a bath. There are a number of products that people add to the bath water that make the feathers feel softer or cleaner or remove parasites from the birds. These are usually marketed by the supply houses as "bath salts".

Some people add a little bleach to the water. Others use salt. More commonly, ivermec is used at 3 cc. per gallon. This is the sheep type ivermec or horse type ivermec. This is used to remove the parasites found on feathers such as the common feather mite. However, none of these products will entice your bird to take a bath.

Birds will prefer lukewarm water to cold water when taking a bath. They also like to take a bath on a rainy day. However, when they do not take a bath, it is not a preference of the water itself -- quite frankly, it is a health problem. Sick pigeons will not take a bath, so do not look for what to put into the water, but rather analyze what is wrong with your birds.

Also, when your birds do take a bath, it is a direct indicator of form or the health status of your birds. When your birds are in super health or form, the bath water will have a thick white scum on it. It will cover the entire surface in solid white.

When birds are not up to par, but still take a bath, the water will have a gray ugly look to it. I call it a dishwater look, but then most people with today's modern conveniences do not remember what dish water looks like anymore! But if your water is dirty and gray-looking after your birds have taken a bath, you better not waste any time in making an adjustment somewhere in the health department.

If you have a bird that does not take a bath, the bird is in major trouble healthwise. You definitely do not have a bird that can win a race.

The willingness of your birds to take a bath and the quality of your bath water when they are finished is a barometer of the condition and health of your birds. Don't minimize this very obvious and easy sign.