where do pet birds poop

So let’s talk about poop:-) What got me thinking about the topic is a recent e-mail from a customer considering buying an HQ bird cage. She bought a Molucaan Cockatoo from a pet shop 16 years ago. She’s been shopping there for 16 years and last year bought a dome top birdcage from them.

After one year the bottom tray of the cage had started rusting out. She talked about having bought all of her supplies from this particular pet shop including walnut shells which are used as bedding in the bottom of the cage. She wasn’t sure of the make of the cage.

The e-mail went on to question our policies and warranties on bird cages because the pet shop was not going to provide any renumeration on the rusted tray. That’s a whole other subject (bird cage maintenance) but it got me thinking about the Walnut shells and the rusted tray.

We have always been strong proponents of using newspaper (or paper of some sort) as a liner for bird cage trays. It’s cheap, it’s plentiful and it’s easy to dispose of. We have seen rolls of brown wrapping paper that been used. We know of people that go to their local newspaper publisher who will give them the cores of the newsprint rolls for free. If allergens are in issue you can even consider T3 antimicrobial paper from Prevue Pet

We have a problem with bedding, actually a couple. First of all it (bedding) retains moisture and in the case of birds, the moisture is uric acid as in acid. Acid will eat through the best powder coating and eventually the metal of the strongest of bird cages.

Second – it (bedding) hides the poop which is something that you need to watch a regular basis – which we’ll get to in a minute. It can also hide all sorts of infestations, parasites and other critters. Paper that is changed daily, solves these issues.

Now we’re not advocating that you analyze every dropping your bird produces but we want you to be aware of certain factors which can be indicators of ill health. Bird poop has three parts, the stool, urine, and uric acid. A change in the property of any of these three items -stool (or feces), the solid part – urine and uric acid (urates) – may indicate that your bird is sick.

The stool comes directly from the digestive tract and is the greenish blob you see. It’s color is affected by diet, change the diet and the stool changes color. Blueberries can turn the stool purple. Artificial colors in some diets can change the color of the stool too. What you really want to look for is if the stool becomes black and suddenly emits strong odor, this would be a warning sign of illness.

Urine is basically clear and is the watery part of poop that comes from your birds kidneys. If your bird drinks more water the droppings will be looser. Dry foods should produce drier poop. If you see unusually large amounts of water in the droppings making the poop very loose – this could be an indication of an illness.

The white creamy colored stuff is the uric acid and this is a key indicator of your bird’s overall health. It should be white or near white in color. If the white uric acid should turn to lime green, mustard brown, brick red or yellow, this should be a red flag that your bird is ill – a call to the vet would be in order.

Although record-keeping is a good thing, at the very least you should simply look for changes in your birds poop as a possible indication of illness

Obviously poop is directly related to a bird’s diet. Birds that eat nothing but seed will typically pass dry, sticky, greenish-black poop that can indicate undernourishment. Conversely some healthy cockatiels have light green bird poop which is normal.

Females that are laying eggs drink more water and spend more time in the nest box which makes them hold their droppings. When they exit the nest box and enter the cage they usually produce big, smelly droppings. Weaning formula given to baby birds will cause the baby birds to have large droppings comprise mostly of urine.

If you see bubbles or foam in the poop, this may indicate an infection. Conversely if your bird is straining to poop this could be a big indicator that your bird is suffering from a physical blockage caused by some sort of growth or egg-binding.

If you think your bird is sick in and your vet asks you to bring in fecal samples for testing the way to do it is shown in this video from Dr. Ross Perry

We have intentionally avoided listing potential diseases and infections that poop may be indicative of because were not veterinarians. We just want you to be aware of the properties of poop and God knows your bird produces enough of it.

Can you potty train your bird? Clearly it’s possible as indicated by the videos above. One simple way to start is knowing that birds poop roughly every 15 to 20 min. The spread can be as short as 10 minutes and as much is 40.

The point is if you can capture the “rhythm” of your birds poop let’s say every 15 minutes. If your bird hasn’t pooped on you or the furniture, put your bird back on top of his cage and let him poop. Reward him and praise him with the high voice, offer your hand for a step up and engage your bird for while. In 15 or 20 minutes your bird hasn’t pooped put him back on the cage, let him poop and repeat the process for few days.

This small time invested in this type of “potty” training will pay off handsomely in the time saved from not cleaning poop off furniture, clothing, doors and the floor.

Please let us know if you would like to add to this information or if you have any questions. Feel free to post any comments to our Facebook fan page found here.

Similar to humans, young birds may not be able to control their bowel movements until they are at least a year old. Do not punish your bird if an accident happens and you were not there to witness it. After using the restroom, your pet will most likely be thinking about something else in a matter of seconds. Your bird will be perplexed if they are considering cuddling up to your neck right now and you tell them no or punish them.

This bowel control behavior will take longer to teach. Say “No” and, if you can, try to hold your bird’s tail down to stop him or her from squatting and lifting it to relieve themselves. Now relocate your bird to a suitable spot and issue the potty command. Remain with them until they leave, and when they do, give them encouragement and gifts. If your bird has already defecated, do nothing. Just clean it up and try again next time.

As of right now, this training cannot teach your pet to control their bowels. Your bird will only learn to go on command; it won’t learn to wait for you to give the potty command. When your pet knows that you want him to go potty on command, you can start teaching him the idea of holding it until it’s time.

Because they pick things up quickly, tame parrots can be trained to use the potty at any age. Long-term house pets can benefit from potty training parrots, which can be achieved in as little as 72 hours.

When your pet poops on the couch or on your friend, it’s not their fault! A parrot that doesn’t know when and where to use the potty does not understand that they are doing something “wrong,” so it’s crucial to maintain a positive attitude around your bird. This is the most important concept in potty training your bird.

The idea is to record the “rhythm” of your birds’ droppings, say once every fifteen minutes. Reposition your bird atop his cage and allow him to urinate if he hasn’t already done so on you or the furniture. Give him a high five, offer your hand for a step up, and spend some time with your bird as a reward. If your bird hasn’t pooped after 15 or 20 minutes, return him to the cage, wait for him to poop, and repeat the procedure for a few days.

The time saved from not cleaning poop off of furniture, clothes, doors, and the floor will make the little time spent on this kind of “potty” training more than worthwhile.

Because we are not veterinarians, we have purposefully refrained from listing any potential illnesses or infections that poop may be a sign of. We just want you to know that poop has certain characteristics, and your bird produces a lot of it.

While keeping records is a good idea, you should at the very least watch for any changes in your birds’ droppings as a potential sign of illness.

This video from Dr. demonstrates how to provide fecal samples for testing if you believe your bird is ill and your veterinarian requests that you do so. Ross Perry.

FAQ

Do pet birds poop all over the house?

Most pet birds will poop every 10 – 15 minutes. So yes, your bird will poop everywhere. But it’s not really a huge deal. Just get a napkin and clean it up, if it landed on clothing, wash it.

How do I stop my bird from pooping everywhere?

When you notice your bird squatting and lifting his or her tail to potty, say “No”, and if possible, try to hold their tail down to stop the process. Now move your bird to an appropriate location and give the potty command. Stay with them until they go, then praise and reward them when they finally do.

Do birds poop where you feed them?

“And backyard bird feeding has always been the most common and widespread practice of feeding wildlife.” In situations where birdseed is spread out with easy access, like on a platform feeder, birds may poop right into the feed. If another bird eats the contaminated seeds, it can spread salmonella.

Where do birds poop?

Birds, unlike mammals, do not have separate exits for urine and feces. Both waste products are eliminated simultaneously through the cloaca.