No matter how well you have trained your parrot to talk to you, it cannot tell you when it is not feeling well. As your avian companion’s human caretaker, it is up to your observations to determine if your bird is undergoing health issues. Birds will instinctively hide their ailments, as in the wild they would mark the animal as easy prey.
This desire to conceal illness makes your health monitoring very difficult. By the time noticeable behavioral changes are apparent, your bird may be very ill. Similarly, dull feathers may become evident to you after your bird is already seriously ill and in need of attention.
One method you can take to monitor your bird’s health on a daily basis is by examining its droppings. Your parrot’s poop is a window into its health. You will have ample opportunity to examine your bird’s droppings during the course of the day. According to petcha.com, the number of times your bird poops per day is inversely proportionate to its size. Small birds like parakeets may do it 40 times a day where larger birds like macaws may only leave dropping 15 times per day.
How Do I Check My Parrot’s Poop?
If you are monitoring your parrot’s droppings it is best done shortly after they leave them in the bottom of their cage. Over time, the droppings dry and will all tend to look black, negating any usable information that can be gleaned from observing the color.
The best material to use for your cage bottom is newspaper. By using several layers of newspaper, you can remove one daily and monitor your bird’s droppings while also moving uneaten food, dust, and moisture that can lead to potential health risks. When using wood chips or shavings you will not be able to get the same view of your bird’s poop for proper observation.
What Constitutes Healthy Parrot Poop?
Your parrot’s droppings are made up of three different excretions. As birdtricks.com explains: “The three parts are the feces, which is the green or brown solid matter of the dropping, the urates, which are the white to cream colored by-product of the kidney, and the urine which is clear fluid, the watery waste of the kidneys.”
Your bird’s droppings should be fairly consistent on a day to day basis. In the morning there may be a very large dropping deposited as the bird’s digestive system wakes up. Throughout the day, your parrot will do its business regularly based on its size and food and water intake. In the video below you can see what the droppings of some different species should look like.
Healthy bird droppings are odorless. The liquid urine should be clear in a healthy parrot. The urates appear chalky and white or cream colored. Feces are firm and will be colored based on your bird’s diet. If the staple diet consists mainly of seeds then the feces will be dark green. If it’s composed of pellets the feces will take on the color of the pellets. As it dries, all feces tend to look black, so for the most accurate reading, you want to be viewing a recently deposited sample.
Additionally, your bird’s most recent meals will make a substantial difference in their droppings. Blueberries, pomegranates, beets and other highly colored foods may alter the color of the droppings but not signal any problems. Fruit and vegetables with high water content will also result in more urine being produced, and should not be cause for alarm. So you really need to be monitoring what goes in, and what comes out of your parrot to get the full picture.
What Signifies Problems With My Parrot’s Droppings?
Some signs that your bird may not be feeling well are if its poop is discolored. An increase in output, as well as excess moisture in the droppings, are also a sign that things are not right. Any odor associated with the droppings is abnormal and should be a cue that further investigation into your parrot’s health is warranted.
In particular, we will list some of the abnormalities in the various components of your parrot’s poop, as reported by beautyofbirds.com. Some of these issues may signify serious problems that need to immediately be addressed, while others can be dealt with by modifying your bird’s diet. Parrot’s urine should be clear. These issues may be observed:
- Green or yellow urine – indicates potential liver disease.
- Red urine – internal bleeding that is occurring low in the digestive tract can indicate lead poisoning or kidney disease.
- Increased urine output – excessive drinking may indicate a bacterial disease.
Urates are crystals mixed with the liquid urine but can often be distinguished as a separate entity in the droppings. While normally appearing white or cream colored these abnormalities may be noticed:
- Green or Yellow urates – can indicate liver disease or anorexia.
- Brown – possible lead poisoning.
- Red – kidney disease or fresh internal bleeding.
- Increased rates – dehydration and possible kidney problems.
The feces is the part of the dropping that consists of digested food. It is solid and usually tubular, though the height it is dropped from may make this hard to see. As noted above, the feces color is largely dependent on the bird’s main diet. Abnormal coloration can be a sign of serious problems:
- Black or tar-like feces – indicates an internal injury with bleeding high in the digestive tract. Possible ingestion of an object causing an internal injury.
- Pea green – indicates potential liver damage
- White or clay-colored – problems with the pancreas or other digestive organs.
- Yellow, greenish, grayish water droppings – possible Chlamydophila psittaci
- Lumpy or undigested food – incomplete digestion, PDD or Giardia
Why Should I Monitor My Parrot’s Poop?
Simply put, this is one of the easiest and most effective ways of keeping tabs on your parrot’s health. Being familiar with your bird’s behavior and physical characteristics and watching for changes is also recommended. The daily paper change you will be performing to monitor your bird’s dropping will give you an opportunity to head off some potentially serious health problems while also keeping the cage area cleaner and bacteria free. This video below shows the importance of monitoring droppings as one factor in evaluating the health of a parakeet.