Cleanliness is next to Godliness as far as canaries are concerned. Clean cages and clean birds generally equate to a clean bill of health. It does not matter how cold it is outside, your birds will enjoy a morning dip, and they prefer cold water to tepid water so theres no need to get your elbows wet by testing it! As far as baths are concerned, there are a few simple rules. Firstly, never over-fill the bath. Half an inch depth of water is ample for any canary or flight containing several birds it leaves plenty of water to splash around in, whilst at the same time being shallow enough to ensure the birds do not drown. Secondly, do not leave the bath attached to the cage for hours on end. A dip, then out should be the order of the day. Canaries will play in the bath as long as it is fitted to the cage, and a friend had one bird which would stay in all day long if he left the bath in place.
Which brings me to the final and most important rule. Baths should only be used in the early morning, to allow the birds ample time to dry out before they finally roost for the night. Wet plumage can mean chills, which should be avoided at all costs.
Finally, ensure your baths are a good fit onto the cage door. Always hook the door in the open position, so that it cannot trap the bird in the water and throw away any baths which are damaged.
Spraying birds is the next option. This is best achieved in a training cage so as not to wet the stock cage, simply by placing three or four birds in their training cages onto the floor of the birdroom, and spraying away. It helps if you drill small drain holes into the training cages, so they do not become waterlogged, or remove the wooden bottoms and replace them with wire mesh, if necessary.
Whenever using baths or spraying, remember that you can include additives such as plume sprays or mite preparations, which will be beneficial to the birds. Always remember to mop up afterwards you do not want to slip and fall who would look after your stock if you injured yourself?
Hand washing birds is a skill which it appears that only experienced fanciers now possess, because with the clean air act, there is now very little reason to accomplish this task. You will need a drying cage, some soft cloth, tissue or kitchen roll to absorb the excess moisture, and three bowls. Use warm water and a shaving brush, dipping the bird and applying diluted baby shampoo to the bird. Always work in the direction of the feathers, so that you do not damage the plumage. The second and third bowls are used to clean off the shampoo. A little vinegar added to the final rinse, helps to kill any remaining shampoo. If you are at all unsure, approach an established fancier to learn how to handwash. This is where CBS club members have the advantage they can call on local expertise, whenever necessary.