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Avoiding Pellet Dunking

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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby charlieandkiwi » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:17 pm

I just want to clarify that my post about bacteria being natural wasn't meant as support for leaving dirty water in your parrot's cage. As I said, I give my dunker a water bottle in addition to changing his water after he dunks. Even if we knew for sure that it was 100% safe to let our bird drink soupy water, I wouldn't do it, because the parrots clearly prefer clean water and with the glorious invention of a water bottle, there's absolutely no reason not to provide them with access to that simple pleasure.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby friend2parrots » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:33 pm

very interesting debate, thought I'd offer my thoughts --

some time ago, I had a pair of separately housed budgies. one of them dunked his pellets so I got him a water bottle. the other one didnt dunk, so i continued to give her water in a large wide bowl, which she also used for bathing (i'd replace the water if i noticed a bath had been taken)

well, they were both the same age, same in every way, really, and one day the boy budgie got sick. i took him to the vet, who diagnosed it as a bacterial infection, and asked if i used a water bottle. i said yes, and he said, after the course of antibiotics, i must NEVER use a water bottle for my birds again, as they breed germs. basically he said that it is impossible to ever fully clean the stainless steel spout. i told him that i would soak the spout in boiling soapy water and then in a bleach solution, and then let it dry, and he said nothing is ever enough to fully disinfect the little cracks of the spout and the rolling ball mechanism.

luckily that boy budgie survived the episode, and lived a long life thereafter with his water bowl, even though he dunked pellets. i just changed the water about twice a day or so. it also gave him the chance to bathe in there again, which, I agree with the posters above, is a fun and important thing for birds to have access to in their cages.
fyi the girl budgie never got sick ever in her life, and also lived a long life.

because of what the vet said, i have never used a water bottle for my current birds. i actually offer them a large wide bowl for drinking and playing, bathing, etc, and just change it twice a day, and neither has gotten sick in the five years i have had them (KNOCKING ON WOOD REALLY LOUDLY :roll: )
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby charlieandkiwi » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:01 pm

friend2parrots wrote:very interesting debate, thought I'd offer my thoughts --

some time ago, I had a pair of separately housed budgies. one of them dunked his pellets so I got him a water bottle. the other one didnt dunk, so i continued to give her water in a large wide bowl, which she also used for bathing (i'd replace the water if i noticed a bath had been taken)

well, they were both the same age, same in every way, really, and one day the boy budgie got sick. i took him to the vet, who diagnosed it as a bacterial infection, and asked if i used a water bottle. i said yes, and he said, after the course of antibiotics, i must NEVER use a water bottle for my birds again, as they breed germs. basically he said that it is impossible to ever fully clean the stainless steel spout. i told him that i would soak the spout in boiling soapy water and then in a bleach solution, and then let it dry, and he said nothing is ever enough to fully disinfect the little cracks of the spout and the rolling ball mechanism.

luckily that boy budgie survived the episode, and lived a long life thereafter with his water bowl, even though he dunked pellets. i just changed the water about twice a day or so. it also gave him the chance to bathe in there again, which, I agree with the posters above, is a fun and important thing for birds to have access to in their cages.
fyi the girl budgie never got sick ever in her life, and also lived a long life.

because of what the vet said, i have never used a water bottle for my current birds. i actually offer them a large wide bowl for drinking and playing, bathing, etc, and just change it twice a day, and neither has gotten sick in the five years i have had them (KNOCKING ON WOOD REALLY LOUDLY :roll: )


Whoa crazy. Thanks for sharing. That's good to know.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Michael » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:55 am

friend2parrots wrote:i took him to the vet, who diagnosed it as a bacterial infection, and asked if i used a water bottle. i said yes, and he said, after the course of antibiotics, i must NEVER use a water bottle for my birds again, as they breed germs. basically he said that it is impossible to ever fully clean the stainless steel spout. i told him that i would soak the spout in boiling soapy water and then in a bleach solution, and then let it dry, and he said nothing is ever enough to fully disinfect the little cracks of the spout and the rolling ball mechanism.


I took what you posted seriously and looked into it further but it just doesn't float. A well known avian vet said that this is not true unless it's a low quality or plastic bottle and that bottle is still safer than dish (in terms of water quality). However, he did say that it can also depend on the kind of water and that well water could pose a problem.

One thing that you should never do is put vitamins or additives of any kind into the water. I made the mistake of doing this at a point until I realized that A) They don't need them B) It greatly promotes bacterial growth in the water.

It might be possible that the types of bottles small enough for use with budgies could have these problems. However, when it comes to the large glass/stainless steel bottles like I use on my parrots, the standing is that they are still safer.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Pricey_boy » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:02 am

my lorikeets dunk there food in the water all the time i dont know about other birds but the lories do it to soften there food than eat it than i just clean out there water bowls after they eat it
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby marie83 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:34 am

Just because birds in the wild drink from dirty water it doesn't make it okay to leave dirty water in the cage. If you offer water via bowls then yes, you should change it more than once a day, people using dispensers and bottles can probably get away with once a day with no problems. Water which is obviously dirty should be changed.

Stainless steel is non porous so provided you disinfect the spouts properly there is no issues in keeping them clean, so bacteria buildup is not a reason not to have them. I can think of other reasons not to have them though like the birds draining the bottles.

I do disagree with Michael and I do think birds should have access to fresh water at all times, not just at certain times of day, although I do agree with him on the food management principles.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Pricey_boy » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:45 am

your right they do need theyre water all day they say that cockatoos can go long times without water but if my corella doesnt get water after an hour he starts panting like a dog.also its not a big deal to change your birds water every hour or few hours if they dunk there food i mean is it really that much of an inconvience, its not i do it every day with 8 birds and i dont complain they dont do it because theyre bored or have beehaviour problems they do it because it softens there food and makes it easier to eat
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Michael » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:56 am

marie83 wrote:I do disagree with Michael and I do think birds should have access to fresh water at all times, not just at certain times of day, although I do agree with him on the food management principles.


Ok, granted that it may be more species specific and you have to know your specific bird, mine have absolutely no problem going all day without water. At home they have their bottle. I never see/hear them drink from it other than immediately after their meals anyway. When we travel I only offer water in a dish morning and evening. Even if I offer it midday, they don't drink it. So while I agree that at home it is best that they have access to fresh water all day, I am not especially concerned about a water bottle getting stuck (never have in 4 years, have had them develop a slow drip though but never to the point that they run out of water in a day) and the bird being without water up to all day. In hotter climates or other species it may be more of a concern that I can't necessarily speak to. But like food, they have a crop and can go a while without water.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Pricey_boy » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:13 pm

ill have to start giving my birds more water summer just started and here in aus it gets some of the hottest summers ever
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Grey_Moon » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:58 pm

This might just be Jacko, but as a person who no longer feeds pellets or other really dry/dense food I've noticed she DOES NOT dunk food even if given the opportunity (she has a water bottle in her cage 24/7).

When she was eating pellets she dunked all the time, unbearably often where I was constantly trying to play catch up water change and clean.
She still dunked dense food like crackers, birdie bread etc.

As of late I've taken out all forms of dry/dense/fibrous food and low and behold she no longer dunks. She also no longer squats to poop or strains so is pooping much easier as well.

In my mind, pellet dunking/food dunking is a symptom of something the bird is trying to correct. No one can argue that pellets/grains/vegetables are NOT natural foods for parrots. Parrots evolved eating a ton of different fruits/berries with some herbs, grasses, bark, dirt, bugs etc.
So for me dunking is them trying to correct a food that is too dry and dense that their bodies are not equipped to handle, not a quirk that must be prevented rather their diet corrected.

Just my two cents.
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