Most birds pee and poop together – they don’t have a separate “peeing” mechanism. In this article, I explore how they pee, why it is different from us, and some common problems with birds’ watery poops.
Cockatiels, like all birds, frequently defecate throughout the day. But what about urinating?
Birds poop and pee differently from us. In fact, they are able to do the two things together, in one go, if you know what I mean!
In fact, a bird’s poop+pee can reveal much about its health.
Watery droppings or less frequent pooping can be a cause for concern. Knowing how and how much your bird poops is important to track its health. Similarly, it is helpful to keep an eye on your cockatiel’s urination habits.
In this article, I will explore normal pooping/peeing in cockatiels and when you need to be worried.
How Humans Pee, And Why Birds Pee Differently
Humans pee through their urethra, which is connected to their bladder. Our pee consists of water along with urea, creatinine, and other trace components.
The urethra expels only urine. The bladder in mammals allows us to store urine and expel it as and when needed. Pale, straw-colored urine is usually considered normal.
Birds, on the other hand, have different anatomy than mammals. They do not have a separate urethra for urine or a bladder for storing pee.
Instead, the processed water from their kidneys is expelled directly, which is why birds release waste quite frequently.
They do this through an orifice called the ‘cloaca.’ The cloaca is a catch-all organ that expels both urine and fecal matter, and it’s the same place where birds “do the nasty”!
Bird pee is rich in uric acid and low in water content, giving it a thicker consistency. The high quantity of uric acid makes it toxic for storage within the body.
Exceptions to The Rule
While most birds excrete both waste matter simultaneously, some exceptions exist. The ostrich is one such bird that can pee separately.
Since birds rely on their low weight to fly, they excrete waste matter frequently so that the excess weight does not weigh them down.
The ostrich being a land bird, does not face this problem and has a bladder-like structure to store pee and release it intermittently.
What about Cockatiels?
Coming back to the point, cockatiels aren’t the exception to the rule. They release both waste matters at the same time.
A healthy cockatiel can poop (+pee) as much as 26 times in a single day!
What Does Cockatiel Pee & Poop Look Like?
Cockatiel pee and poop look similar to other bird droppings.
It consists of two components – a white liquid part (this is the bird’s pee) and a more solid, darker part (this is the bird’s poo).
The color of normal cockatiel poop can vary based on your bird’s health and diet.
Generally, the solid part will have a color ranging from straw to green. Greenish poops mean that your bird recently fed on veggies and fresh food.
Softer poop can mean they have been drinking more water.
However, consistently watery poop can signify a larger underlying illness, such as kidney disease or issues with the intestinal tract.
It can also be caused by Polyuria, which I will discuss next.
What Is Polyuria?
Polyuria is one of the more common renal diseases that various parrot species can suffer from.
It can be due to an underlying condition such as diabetes or hepatic disorder.
It is often accompanied by polydipsia, where they drink lots of water.
Polyuria is treatable with medicine and a good diet. It is not fatal, and typically a bird will not show any other signs of illness like depression or lethargy.
However, if you notice your pet bird has liquid droppings, it’s best to take them to the vet.
Symptoms of Polyuria in Birds
The most common sign of Polyuria is frequent urination. You will notice that their droppings contain more whitish components than solid droppings.
The dropping itself will be soft and watery. You might also find the bird drinks a lot of water as a result.
Causes of Polyuria in Birds
The most common cause of Polyuria is diabetes mellitus. Diabetes affects the kidney, reducing its ability to properly filter sugar from water.
If your bird has Polyuria, it is likely due to its diet.
You should give your cockatiels a pelleted diet with more vegetables and fewer fruits and nuts. Fruits contain sugar, and seeds have high-fat content. These should be saved as treats.
Alternatively, it could be triggered by stress or if you have recently changed your bird’s diet. They might be drinking more water to compensate.
Diagnosis of Polyuria in Birds
Avian veterinarians can diagnose Polyuria based on diagnostic testing.
The general treatment method includes a changed diet and environment to some extent (if it is causing the birds stress).
If the vet finds any signs of infection in the kidneys, then they may also prescribe antibiotics and antifungals.
Sometimes a cockatiel can temporarily become polyuric due to stress or anxiety. But this should discontinue in a few days.
Can I Potty Train a Cockatiel?
Yes, cockatiels can be potty-trained. You can start by creating certain spaces or “beds” for your cockatiel to poop in.
If your bird is in a large aviary, you must create multiple such beds.
Cockatiels cannot hold their poop or pee for a long time since they do not have a bladder.
Hence, having beds close by helps. If you are giving your bird some out-of-cage, free roaming time, make sure you provide beds outside as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What animal doesn’t pee?
All animals expel liquid urine and feces, albeit in different ways. Birds are among the only ones who excrete both at the same time.
Wood frogs can sometimes hold their pee for long periods of almost eight months, but they do eventually pee.
Is cockatiel poop toxic?
Cockatiel poop can carry bacteria and fungi, which can be harmful to humans. Psittacosis is one such example.
The bacteria in question – Chlamydia psittaci, can infect humans that come in contact with infected cockatiel poop. Dry or old poop can also carry infections.
Can a bird be drunk?
Birds can get drunk by feasting on fermented fruits – which act similar to alcoholic components.
After fermentation, the sugar in some fruits (for example – berries) converts into alcohol.
The effect subsides after some time. However, too much can be fatal for birds.
Which birds can pee?
All birds can pee and expel it from their body along with poop. Ostriches are the only bird that can release their pee separately and, thus, can “pee” as a separate action.
However, they still do this via the same body part – the cloaca, which expels both waste matter
You will generally notice changes in your bird’s poop throughout the day as they eat different food items and water content.
If you notice a continuous change, you can consult a vet to see if anything is wrong.
Cockatiels also tend to eat their poop if they do not receive the necessary vitamins for their food.
So keeping a clean cage and a healthy diet is paramount for a healthy bird.
Thank you for reading!