Cockatiel Poop Issues? Reasons & What to Do

This guide will help you understand most cockatiel poop issues, why they happen and what you can do about them

Did you know that just like us, our feathered friends often gave various poop problems too? 

That’s not all – a bird’s poop is a major indicator of its health, especially the health of its digestive system. 

I know checking on your pet cockatiel’s droppings regularly might sound a bit gross, but it’s a crucial responsibility of every bird owner.

Any changes in the consistency, volume, color, and distribution of poop in the cage might be a sign of fungus infection or other major complications.

In this article, you will take a wild ride with me through the world of cockatiel poop, its various colors, distribution in the cage, and what it all tells you about the birds’ health.

Read on. Your bird will be grateful to you!

Cockatiel Poop Issues

Cockatiel Poop Indicators: Summary

Let’s dive into it right away, starting with a quick summary of cockatiel poop indicators. 

This will give you a brief understanding of what complications your feathered friend might be suffering from if it has any poop problems.

Different health problems and the respective changes in cockatiel poop

ConditionPoop appearance/texture
Normal poop (healthy)Properly formed green or brown fecal matter, clear urine, and white urate
Liver diseaseThe feces turn mustard yellow
DiarrheaPoor fecal formation with a watery and pea-soup-like appearance
Kidney damageExcessive amounts of urine
HepatitisThe poop contains yellow urates
Egg binding, tumors, intestinal infection, and bleeding in the digestive tractPresence of black or fresh red blood in the poop
RoundwormsThe fecal matter contains blood and turns sticky and dark
Avian PapillomatosisFeces with a putrid smell and a tinge of blood
Lead poisoningThe urates are brown
Kidney disease, internal bleeding, and heavy metal toxicityPoop contains red urates
Yeast overgrowthA slimy texture
Bacterial infectionA bubbly or foamy texture
MelenaThick and black stool with a tar-like texture
Prolapsed cloaca blockageLess frequent droppings, often with blood content. The bird might be straining to poop. 
Pancreatic disease and Avian GiardiasisPopcorn-like poop
ChlamydiosisYellow or bright green fecal matter
Inadequate food intakeYellow, bright green, or no feces, but the poop still contains urine and urates.

What Does a Normal Cockatiel Poop Look Like?

As you might notice in the chart above, there are three main components of bird poop. A healthy cockatiel’s droppings would contain the following:

  • Fecal matter: This is the solid part in a bird’s droppings that comes from the intestines. The color depends on what the bird eats, but it’s usually brown or green.
  • Urine: Unlike humans, birds expel their urine together with feces. This clear liquid comes from the kidneys. Bird owners often fail to identify this component as it stays mixed with feces and urates.
  • Urates: Bird poop also contains a urate component – a white and solid form of urine produced to conserve water. The urates are made of uric acid crystals.

Remember, normal cockatiel poop does not contain any blood and has a toothpaste-like consistency.

Normal poop looks a bit like toothpaste

How Often Do Cockatiels Poop?

If you’ve ever wondered why the perches and the bottom of your cockatiel’s cage keep getting splattered with poop all over, it’s because they poop a lot. 

A healthy cockatiel poops about 20 to 25 times a day, and just like a human baby, you can find it soiling its cage every 15-20 minutes or so! 

Just as in humans, young and juvenile cockatiels can do much, much more than this. 

I know, it all sounds too much to take in. But you will learn to live with it.

How Much Do Cockatiels Poop?

The volume of a bird’s poop depends on the bird’s size. Since cockatiels are rather small, so is the volume of their poop. 

However, their frequent pooping can still make a mess to clean up. 

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    On average, if you leave their cage without cleaning for an entire day, you will find the floor littered with poop stains everywhere.

    Why Is My Cockatiels Poop Watery?

    Like humans, our avian friends can also suffer from diarrhea. In fact, it’s a fairly common disease in birds and might not always be worrisome. 

    Watery poop is one of the clinical signs of diarrhea in cockatiels, just like in our case. 

    Possible causes of diarrhea in cockatiels include:

    • Sudden dietary changes
    • Psychological stress
    • Food allergy
    • Consumption of poor-quality food
    • Tumor
    • Viral infections
    • Poisoning
    • Bacterial diseases
    • Parasites
    • Inflamed pancreas or liver.

    Among these, the first two are the most common reasons why cockatiels suffer from diarrhea

    If you suspect that your feathered friend has diarrhea, observe its poop for a day. 

    Quite often, it goes back to normal once the food causing the problem has been expelled. 

    Diarrhea and watery poop are quite common in cockatiels

    If diarrhea persists longer than 24 hours, you need to take the cockatiel to an avian vet.

    Diarrhea in cockatiels can be a serious cause of worry if there’s a more dangerous underlying issue, such as a major infection. 

    Depending on the cause and condition, the vet would prescribe medication and a suitable diet.

    The high urine content in a cockatiel’s poop can make diarrhea a bit hard to detect. 

    This is why you should also watch out for behavioral changes. Sick birds often stop chirping, eating, or preening their feathers.

    How To Treat a Cockatiel With Diarrhea?

    Once the vet checks on your cockatiel and prescribes a treatment plan, all you have to do is follow it. However, here are some points that you should keep in mind.

    • A cockatiel expelling watery poop loses a lot more water than usual and can easily get dehydrated. Make sure to provide your pet with enough fresh and clean water every day.
    • Even if the veterinarian has advised you to make some changes to your cockatiel’s diet, don’t do it right away. A sudden change in the diet might aggravate the condition faster. Give your feathered friend time to adjust to its new diet.
    • Allow your pet to rest in a stress-free environment. Keep it in a quiet room away from all the noise.
    • Wash the cage and all its accessories in soapy and warm water every day if your cockatiel is suffering from diarrhea. This is to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading around.

    Poop Colors: What Do They Tell You?  

    As shown earlier in the summary chart, the color of your cockatiel’s poop says a lot about the complications it might be suffering from.

    Let us check out what different poop colors mean.

    Cockatiel Poop Black

    There are several worrisome reasons why its poop might be black. However, usually, it’s either because the poop contains blood or due to metallic and zinc poisoning.

    Colored poop can be a sign of bigger issues

    Cockatiel Poop Brown

    The same problems that result in black poop can also turn the stool brown instead. 

    In case your cockatiel’s poop has brown urates, it’s possibly due to lead poisoning. Your feathered chum requires veterinary care immediately.

    Cockatiel Poop Yellow

    Damage to the inner organs, especially the liver, can cause urine and fecal matter to turn yellow. 

    If your cockatiel’s liver is fattening or suffering a bacterial infection, it will produce more bile than usual and cause yellow poop.

    Cockatiel Poop Green

    If you didn’t feed your pet lettuce or any other such leafy greens, green poop might be a sign of parrot fever. 

    Young cockatiels may also produce such green poop when suffering from anorexia.

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      Poop Color Also Depends on its Food

      You should note that a change in your cockatiel’s poop coloration isn’t always a bad sign. 

      The poop color also depends on what the bird eats, which means your cockatiel might be producing discolored poop just because it ate something of the said color.

      Leafy greens can cause green poop; seeds can sometimes cause brown poop.

      The important thing is to see if the color remains the same over two or three days.

      Why Does My Cockatiel Poop Have Blood?

      It isn’t normal for bird droppings to contain blood. If your cockatiel is producing red or black poop with blood in it, you should take it to see a vet immediately. 

      Blood in a bird’s poop usually indicates a major infection in the GI tract, urinary tract, or reproductive tract.

      Common causes behind bloody droppings include bleeding tumors, broken or retained eggs, foreign bodies, heavy metal toxicity, and tumors. 

      Parasitic infections can sometimes lead to this issue too.

      Pooping all over the cage indicates that the bird is restless at night

      Regardless of the cause, your pet needs immediate medical attention if its poop has blood in it. A vet would be able to diagnose the underlying issue and treat it quickly.

      However, you should also keep in mind that the color of the food your cockatiel eats can give its poop a red tinge too. 

      For instance, the droppings might seem to be bloody if you feed the bird red berries.

      Why Is My Cockatiel’s Poop Smelling Bad?

      Remember, a healthy bird would have odorless poop. If your cockatiel’s poop smells bad, it might be suffering from an underlying stomach problem. It might be accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss.

      The bad odor of cockatiel poop could also be due to bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. In some cases, parasites are the culprit. 

      Your pet would likely need antibiotics, but make sure to consult a veterinarian before administering medicines. The vet might need a blood sample for an accurate diagnosis.

      Stomach infections in cockatiels can sometimes be quite severe. If things go too bad, you might even have to get your feathered friend hospitalized.

      Do Cockatiels Poop Everywhere?

      Apart from pooping very frequently, cockatiels also tend to poop everywhere. You’ll usually find poop all over the bottom of the cage, perches, food bowls, and water bowls. 

      This isn’t just the case with cockatiels – you’ll have this issue with pretty much any bird you get as a pet.

      Thankfully, cockatiels poop mostly at night, and most of these droppings land around the same spot. 

      Pooping all over the cage indicates that the bird is restless at night

      In case you ever wondered why a certain part of the cage seems to be particularly dirty each morning, this answers your question.

      If your cockatiel is restless at night, you’ll find its droppings spread all over the place in the morning. 

      You might want to investigate the reason behind your pet’s restlessness because the lack of adequate sleep can negatively affect its health.

      Why Is My Cockatiel Eating His Poop?

      You might sometimes find your cockatiel eating his poop, which is understandably gross. 

      Besides, you might be worried about your beloved pet getting infected by the various bacteria present in his droppings. 

      Let us find out why cockatiels engage in such behavior in the first place.

      Fulfilling a nutritional deficiency

      This is one of the most common reasons why cockatiels and other parrot species eat poop. 

      Often, they are unable to absorb all the nutrients in the food they consume due to various reasons. 

      This means their poop still contains the undigested nutrient. Cockatiels have a sort of internal method to detect exactly what nutrients their body is lacking. 

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        Even more surprisingly, they know where to find these nutrients – in their poop. 

        Vitamin B, Vitamin C, amino acids, and choline are the main nutrients present in a cockatiel’s poop. 

        If you find your cockatiel eating poop, it might be running low on one of these nutrients.

        Boredom

        Cockatiels have a natural instinct to start foraging when they’re bored and feed on whatever they can find, including their poop. 

        The same applies to domesticated cockatiels too. 

        If you leave your tiel without any entertainment for too long, it might turn to eating poop.

        Sweet taste

        Cockatiels may also eat their poop simply because it tastes sweet. 

        If you add sugar to your bird’s water to prevent hypoglycemia or feed it a lot of sweet stuff, the poop might have some sugar content in it. 

        The bird can smell it and would be drawn to eat the poop for its sweetness.

        Apart from these scenarios, a cockatiel might also eat poop if you don’t clean the cage often. 

        As its droppings lie in the cage for too long and start to get pungent, it would try to flick them out or just eat them up to keep the cage clean.

        Human Diseases That Spread Through Bird Poop

        The various pathogens present in bird poop often carry human diseases. 

        This is why bird owners should take precautions when cleaning cages. Common human diseases that are spread by bird poop include:

        • Psittacosis: Also known as parrot fever, this mild illness often comes with pneumonia, fever, lethargy, chest pain, dry cough, nausea, or headache.  
        • Histoplasmosis: This is a respiratory infection caused by a fungus that primarily lives in and around bird poop.
        • Salmonellosis: Commonly known as food poisoning, Salmonellosis can sometimes spread due to dust from bird droppings contaminating human food.
        • Candidiasis: This is one of the fungal infections, too, primarily spread by pigeons and affects the intestines, the urogenital tract, the mouth, the respiratory system, and the skin.
        • E.coli: Although E.coli is carried by cattle, pet birds pecking on E.coli infected dung can become vectors and spread the bacteria through their droppings.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Do cockatiels poop a lot?

        The volume of poop per dropping isn’t much, as cockatiels are small birds. 
        However, they poop very frequently – up to 25 times a day (even more for young cockatiels). 
        So, to answer your question, yes, cockatiels poop a lot. They do it several times a day and very very frequently!

        Why do birds struggle to poop?

        Although birds can suffer from constipation, it is uncommon. If your bird is struggling to poop, there’s a high chance that something is blocking the gastrointestinal tract. 
        This “something” is usually an egg or a foreign body, but you will have to take the bird to a vet to find out and clear the passage.

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          Should I worry about bird poop?

          Bird poop expelled inside the cage usually isn’t something to worry about. 
          However, if the droppings are contaminated, breathing in their dust or water droplets can lead to Psittacosis and other diseases. 
          Always take sanitary precautions when cleaning bird poop, especially if it’s an infected bird.

          How do you fix bird poop damage?

          The best way to fix bird poop damage on your vehicle or property is to wash away the poop while it’s fresh. 
          It will be much harder to get rid of the stain once it dries up. You may use a suitable cleaning solution or soapy water if necessary.

          Wrapping up

          Many bird diseases aren’t that severe and only take some fresh food and rest to heal. 

          If your cockatiel’s poop shows any signs of infection and you aren’t sure if it’s something severe, take it to the vet anyway. 

          Try to avoid giving your bird medicated water or any other medication without a vet’s approval. 

          Remember that cockatiels poop a lot, so it is important that you keep their cages clean and while doing so, observe if there are any changes that you see.

          That covers it all, and I hope you found this article useful!

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          Team Beauty of Birds

          Beautyofbirds.com's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

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