17th Aug 2016

The importance of bathing water for birds

Zebra finches have been used in research for as long as I can remember. This research project by Krause and Ruploh of Bielefeld University in Germany shows how important it is for many birds to have bathing water available even for a bird that has evolved to cope with droughts.

They measured the levels of the stress hormone corticosterone in birds that were deprived of bathing water for 30 days and compared it with birds with free access to bathing water. The birds deprived of baths had statistically significant higher levels of the stress hormone in their blood.

The researchers conclusion was “Our results show that even for birds that can tolerate long periods of drought in their natural habitat, access to a water bath is essential for their well-being and their welfare, and thus, water baths should be provided under captive housing conditions. As chronically elevated stress hormone levels can have short-and long-term detrimental effects, our findings have important implications for welfare considerations in the management of one of the most used laboratory birds.”

I wonder if bathing could help breeding birds too?

Reference: Krause and Ruploh, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, September 2016.