Cleaning Water Bottles, Crocks and Bowls
Cleaning your bird's water bottles, crocks and bowls on a regular basis is just as important in protecting your bird from illness as is keeping their cage clean. Almost anything from small food particles to mineral deposits can build up inside and begin forming bacteria forming slime if care is not taken.
Water Bottle Daily MaintenanceWater bottles should be washed daily, when you change the water. Using warm, soapy water, run a bottle brush, cotton swab or pipe cleaner down through the drinking tube to dislodge debris pulling it out towards the open end of the drinking tube. Clean the tube from both ends using this method to make sure it's not slick or slimy inside. Not only will this ensure a clean drinking source for your pet, it helps prevent water bottles from leaking onto the cage floor.
Disinfect WeeklyOnce a week, completely take apart the water bottle and disinfect all of the parts in the dishwasher with hot water. This should be a sufficient disinfecting process for most bird owners. Please note: most water bottle stoppers are dishwasher-safe; however, it will cause them to wear out sooner than using hot soapy water.
If you are really concerned about bacteria build up, you can soak the entire cap assembly in a solution of 10 parts water and 1 part bleach for 30 minutes. This will start the cleaning process and dissolve any clinging algae or organic deposits caused by liquid vitamins or medications. Follow with running a brush, pipe cleaner or swab through the tube as mentioned above. Then soak it again in the bleach solution for about 10 minutes to disinfect. You may be surprised how much "gunk" can be removed from a drinking tube that appears to be clean using this method. Rinse the assembly and water container thoroughly after disinfecting as you don't want your bird taking in noxious fumes or toxic chlorine gas.
Crock and Water Bowl Daily MaintenanceAs with water bottles, crocks and water bowls need to be washed on a daily basis using warm, soapy water normally when you change your bird's water. Use a scouring pad, scrub brush or toothbrush to dislodge and remove food debris or bacteria that may be hiding in corners or crevices.
Disinfect WeeklyWash water bowls and crocks first in warm soapy water as you would for the daily maintenance to remove food debris or bacteria build-up. Rinse and put them in the dishwasher to sanitize with hot water.
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