can birds eat their own poop

There can be few things more gross than seeing your beloved parrot have a taste of its own poo.

With all the fresh fruits and healthy vegetables, you offer them, it can be quite confusing why your parrot may choose to eat their own poop instead.

It is actually a concerning issue for many parrot owners as it directly affects the parrot’s health and well-being. This poop-eating behavior is actually a disorder called coprophagia, where the animal feeds on its own feces for nutrition.

When a parrot eats its own poop it could be for a few different reasons including, nutritional deficiencies, stress, boredom, or natural instincts. It is important to understand why your parrot may develop this issue as it can be indicative of underlying health and behavioral problems that need corrective action.

In this article, we’ll cover the reasons why parrots engage in this behavior and also tell you the strategies to quickly solve this problem.

The remarkable behavior is woefully understudied. Scientists think it could help keep the nest clean, or it could also be a way for the adult bird to retain nutrients and microbes that it might have lost from the hard work of parenting.

While some of these birds enjoy the taste of more exotic excrement, such as dog, whale, river otter, puma, cow, seal, and bird poop, others prefer the taste of their own species’ excrement.

Scientists from all over the world have discovered species of ostrich, ptarmigan, duck, crossbill, petrel, vulture, magpie, and moorhen with their toes in the poop jar in the last twenty years or so.

In a 2020 study on the giant babax, the fecal sacs of hatchlings were found to have a high abundance of Firmicutes bacteria – which is a key feature of the gut in many bird species.

As the researchers suggest, swallowing droppings may help rebalance good bacteria in avian guts, similar to how fecal transplants work in humans.

Clean The Cage More Often

We know parrots poop a lot. Almost every 10 minutes or so throughout the day. Thus, it can very quickly start to look like a turd buffet down there if you forget to clean their cage. Making sure your parrot does not see its own excrement is crucial.

Granted, cleaning the cage after your parrot relieves itself may not always be feasible. But you can keep the litter from piling up. It would be sufficient to clean cage 2 twice a day to avoid any significant build-up. Therefore, a parrot would be less inclined to consider putting its excrement in its mouth if it did not see it lying around.

How To Stop Your Parrot From Eating His Poop?

It is difficult for parrots to break bad habits, as is the case with most such issues. But there is a quick trick you can use to get around this one. To avoid feeling sick from your parrot, try these simple tips:

Preventing your parrot from getting to the poop is the best way to prevent it from eating its own waste.

It’s likely that your parrot will consume its own droppings if you allow it easy access to the bottom of the cage. They can even reach down to the bottom of the cage with their claws to reach a piece.

To allow poop to fall to the bottom, most cages have a grate above the poop tray. You can easily raise the grate slightly so that your parrot cannot access the lower section and prevent them from doing so. It is a failsafe technique that will put an end to such behaviors right away for your parrot.

If the bottom of your parrot’s cage isn’t equipped with a grate, you can cover the dropping area with a net.

Make sure to clean the netting frequently before it dries up because part of the excrement may get caught in it as it falls.

It’s possible that doing this will limit the amount of space you can use in the cage, but if you only have one or two birds living there, that’s acceptable.

Your parrot will eventually kick the bad habit and only pay attention to nutritious foods. Because it takes up more space for your parrot, you can lower the grate or remove the netting when you think the time is right.


Why is my baby bird eating poop?

The best guess—the one with the most research—is that birds eat fecal sacs because nestling poop serves as a nutritional treat (a trait known as coprophagia).

Do birds poop in their nest?

Baby birds produce what are called “fecal sacs”. A small package of poop surrounded by a mucous membrane, and about the texture of a bath oil (don’t ask me how I know that). This fecal sac is easy for parents to pick up, and doesn’t leave any mess behind in the nest.