Clean, fresh, water is a must for both man and Macaw. Like us, your parrot’s body is just over 75% water, and to stay at its best your Macaw needs access to a generous water supply.
For birds like Macaw’s, water has primacy over food so it’s important you get this right.
Read this short article to familiarize yourself with the water needs of your Macaw and effective strategies to keep your pet fully hydrated.
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How much water does a Macaw drink each day?
The daily water requirements of an adult Macaw work out at about 5% of its body weight. For an 800g macaw, this works out as a daily water requirement of at least 40ml of water per day.
This correlates with the 50mls of water per day consumed by Macaws at a Floridian rescue center. Your parrot will need to drink this amount of water to replenish the water it loses through excretion, breathing, and evaporation. Water intake may be reduced if your parrot is obtaining water from eating fresh fruit and veg.
The actual amount of water you supply to your parrots should be greater than its actual requirement as your Macaw may want to use the water to bathe in or dip food pellets to soften them.
Some parrots really enjoy being misted with water, so you should factor that in too.
Without adequate water, a parrot will rapidly become dehydrated and unable to flush its system of wastes and maintain optimal cardiovascular function. A dehydrated bird will have disturbances in its behavior, becoming listless and lethargic.
To promote drinking, keep your Macaw supplied with fresh water throughout the day
Macaws need to have continual access to clean and fresh water, rather than stagnating water that has been left out for hours, or even days on end.
Water dishes are open-faced and can become easily contaminated with debris, seed husks, and even the parrot’s feces. Parrots also enjoy dunking their food in their water which can also promote the growth of harmful bacteria.
Drinking dirty water can sicken or even kill your Macaw
Drinking from stale or dirty water can infect your parrot with serious diseases like Salmonella, Giardiasis, or E. coli. These germs can even infect you too.
So regular water changes throughout the day are non-negotiable, whether the water dish looks dirty or not.
To learn more about the importance of water for your parrot, watch this helpful video from the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute:
Stainless steel is a sanitary option for providing cool fresh water to your Macaw
Stainless steel is durable and easy to clean. Unlike plastics, it is resistant to the build-up of bacteria and can be washed daily with soap and hot water.
Be careful with adding supplements to your parrot’s water
Vitamin supplements should not be left in water for long as they can actually promote the growth of harmful bacteria. If you must add them, ensure that the water is offered for a short period and then replaced with fresh water.
The kind of water you provide your Macaw matters too
Tap water is not always the best choice for your bird. Macaws can be sensitive to the high concentration of minerals in hard water as well as chlorination. Many owners will filter the water for their Macaw or provide bottled water to ensure that they are not affected.
As you can see, there is a little bit more to giving your Macaw water, than just filling its water dish every day. Regular water changes do take that much more effort, but it is a worthwhile investment for the health of your parrot.