There will be times when you need to dry a parrot off or administer medication. These situations are usually stressful for pet birds, so knowing how to towel wrap a parrot makes things easier.
To towel a parrot, you’ll need a gel pack, two towels, a Velcro strap, and a spray bottle. You’ll need both hands free to place the towel over the parrot and tuck it under the neck and around the body. Move slowly, and never wrap the towel too tight, as this can restrict breathing.
Towel training a parrot takes practice to get right. So, progress at your parrot’s preferred pace and stop if your parrot becomes too stressed out.
Should I Wrap My Bird in a Towel?
Knowing how to safely wrap the parrot in a towel makes administering first aid easier and is an essential part of the grooming process.
Parrots keep themselves clean by preening and bathing in a shallow bird bath, but they sometimes need assistance. This could be when they’re unwell, or something won’t come off their feathers.
Start wrapping your parrot in a towel early in life to teach it that there’s nothing to fear. If you don’t desensitize your parrot, it won’t react well when you approach it with a towel.
A large open towel resembles a large bird of prey, making your parrot fear it’s being hunted. Getting your parrot used to a towel will be more receptive when an emergency arises.
While wrapping your parrot in a towel is safe, you must consider three factors:
- Poor handling
- Wrapping technique
Handling your parrot too hard or aggressively can cause injury. Many owners don’t realize that a parrot’s air sacs are located throughout the body. Compressing the area above the hips too tightly can suffocate your parrot, so you must leave a small amount of room when swaddling.
Parrots are prone to stress, which will be heightened when a bird is forcefully restrained. According to Conservation Physiology, high stress can reduce reproduction and causes sickness.
You may want to leave towel wrapping to your vet, but because your parrot trusts you more than anyone else, it’ll feel more comfortable being towel-wrapped by you.
How To Hold A Parrot in A Towel
Holding a parrot in a towel isn’t as easy as you think. If you don’t wrap it properly, it’s at risk of physical or mental harm, including stress or injuries from where it struggles to get free.
Before you start, introduce your parrot to the towel by hanging it on the back of a chair or laying it on the floor. If your parrot becomes agitated, move the towel away and ease it toward your parrot again.
This process will take a while at first, but once your parrot’s been wrapped a few times and understands what a towel is, it’ll become easier. Once ready, you’ll need the following items:
- Two towels that are three times the size of the parrot with expanded wings.
- A spray mist bottle with room temperature water.
- Gel pad
- Velcro strap
Then, wrap your parrot using these steps:
- Place the gel pad on a flat surface or worktop to produce additional padding.
- Put the Velcro strap open on the area of the gel pad where you intend to place the mid-section of your parrot.
- Gently place the towel over your parrot’s head and body without covering the eyes and beak.
- Tuck the towel under the neck with one hand, then wrap the sides around the parrot’s undersides with your other hand. Ensure it’s firm but not overly tight.
- Keep the towel closed with one hand and slowly flip your parrot over so it faces you.
- Wrap the towel around the parrot’s neck, leaving a small gap, so you don’t restrict its breathing.
- If you have a large bird, you may need a second towel to wrap it in before fastening it with the Velcro strap.
Once the Velcro is in place and fastened, check your parrot has room to breathe and that the towel won’t fall off. If you’re confident your parrot’s safe and secure, you can start grooming or check for injuries.
If you’ve wrapped your parrot too tightly, you’ll notice:
- Rapid breathing
- Signs of overheating
- Increased vocalizations
You may not need the mist bottle with room temperature water, as this is for overweight parrots that aren’t used to being swaddled. Spraying a parrot with water is cooling and eases the wrapping process.
How To Towel An Aggressive Parrot
When toweling an aggressive parrot, you can follow the same steps, but aim to do them quickly to minimize any stress you cause your parrot.
You may need two people: one to hold the bird steady and the other to do the wrapping.
Don’t prolong the process by moving the towel slowly toward your parrot. Instead, take your parrot by surprise to prevent it from becoming aggressive.
According to Lafeber Vet, birds that have been handled roughly in the past are more likely to get aggressive, so keep the towel out of sight until you’re ready to begin.
You must also be careful of your fingers, as your parrot will try to bite you to get free. This is bound to hurt, particularly if you have a large parrot with a powerful beak.
How To Restrain A Parrot
You can restrain a small parrot by supporting its back against your palm. Cradle the wings with your thumb and last two digits, and support the head with your second and third digits.
For larger birds, restrain the head with one hand and use the other hand to support its torso and wings. You’ll also need to rest the palm of your hand on its back, placing your thumb and forefinger around the neck without constricting it.
Place the knuckle of your thumb in the space between the mandible (jaw) for control. When restraining your parrot, never use excessive force on the bare facial patches because they’ll bruise.
In time, your parrot will adjust to being wrapped in a towel, even if it doesn’t enjoy the process.