This information is provided by
Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your
veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the
diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Water is a very
important nutrient for birds and a fresh, clean, uncontaminated supply should
always be available
If a bird is deprived of water it can die within
a few days. There are three ways in which a bird can obtain its daily water
- In the food that it eats. This is the only route by which fledglings can
get water until they learn how to drink. Some foods are naturally high in
water content - eg fruits, mammalian prey , whereas other foods eg seeds
are low in moisture content.
- From drinking at a water source. If water is provided in an artificial
container it should be positioned to minimise the chances of faecal
contamination, and it should be deep enough that the bird (especially
waterfowl) can immerse its bill under the water. Ideally waterfowl should
have access to running water.
- By absorption across the skin - this occurs in waterfowl
Except for pigeons, birds can not suck up water - they need to get the
water in their bills and hold their head up so the water runs down into their
throat by gravity
Water intake generally increases if the environmental temperature goes up,
and if the bird exercises more and the volume required varies from one species
- Small birds:
- budgerigars drink about 5ml/day
- canaries drink about 3ml/day
- Others may drink up to 20ml/100g body weight per day.
- Larger birds may drink less eg pigeons may drink 10--12ml/100g body
weight per day
- Waterfowl - about 1 litre of water per kg body weight per day needs to
be administered when hand feeding, and water should be provided at less
than 15oC. In fact water intake will decrease if the water
temperature is too high - such as occurs if containers are left in direct
sunlight, and this can be detrimental and cause gastrointestinal upsets
Updated January 2016