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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7343
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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my budgerigar has very watery poo. What is the problem and

Resolved Question:

my budgerigar has very watery poo. What is the problem and how can this be remedied. The result is that the bird gets a very dirty bottom and has to be caught and cleaned regularly/
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 5 years ago.

All bird droppings are made up of three parts: Faeces (feces), the solid, central part which can vary in color depending on the food the bird eats.


Urates, the next layer of the ring, which can be cloudy-clear or with shades of white, yellows and greens, again depending on the foods eaten.


Urine is the clear liquid, usually outer layer of the ring. Depending on the amount of fruits and fluids the bird eats/drinks, this can be a significant part of the dropping.

Human companions to birds need to learn what’s normal for their bird. When the bird is healthy, acting fine and eating a well balanced diet, there’s a general look to the droppings that may vary depending on the time of day, but are usually similar looking.

If a bird eats beets one day, the droppings may look frighteningly reddish. Sometimes when the bird eats more dark leafy greens (or blueberries), the droppings can assume a nearly black hue.

When a bird is on a largely seed diet, the feces may be any shade of bright green; pelleted diets without added food colorings would produce a dull, brownish-green. If the bird is eating colored pellets, the droppings may reflect what colors are most often chosen.

Constipation or pasting of feces at the vent area may be symptoms of egg binding. Many owners discover that their ‘male’ is actually a female when this happens, sometimes after many years and even some vet visits over that time.

Other causes of what is perceived as constipation is ingestion of a foreign object (including grit if it’s made available), toxins or other disease.

If caught very early you might try administering a tiny drop of olive oil to the side of the beak so the bird ingests it; setting the bird in a shallow, warm ‘bath’ of plain water while gently massaging the vent area may also prompt a movement – or passage of an egg, but since this is a serious symptom and can become life threatening in a very short time, I wouldn’t wait or try home remedies.

Diarrhea is often actually Polyuria. True diarrhea is when the feces part of the droppings are not well formed and liquidy. Diarrhea is usually caused by a disease. Polyuria is when there’s more than usual amounts of the urine and urates (the feces are still well formed).

Polyuria may be caused by viral infections, allergies to foods or even a tumor somewhere. There are just so many possible causes that a vet visit is essential in order to catch things early.

‘Bubbly’ droppings are also considered abnormal. Some bacteria produce a gas and this is what may be causing the bubbles.

One day of abnormal droppings (usually appearing too loose or liquid) is not typically an emergency. As long as the bird is still eating, drinking and acting normally, there’s no change in vocalizations, there is no feather fluffing (looking bigger), staying at the bottom of the cage or excessive sleeping - sometimes a change in droppings is little more than something that will last a few hours and be fine.

If there’s ever red in the droppings and they have no dietary explanation, blood must be suspected and it’s prudent to make an appointment with an avian vet.

If droppings remain abnormal more than 24 hours, please see a vet or have a mobile vet visit your home. It’s far better to have a visit and exam find nothing wrong, than to miss something that with early treatment may insure the bird lives.

Some of the possible causes of abnormal droppings are liver/kidney disease, intestinal disorders or infections, food allergies, poisoning (such as zinc or other heavy metals), parasites, Psittacosis or even stress.


A vet should do a physical exam and may include any one or more of the following: Blood tests, gram stains/cultures, x-rays, even oral/crop/tracheal swabs and so on.

____________________________________________________________________

So much information is flooding the net these days about what to feed a companion bird, whether a budgie/parakeet, cockatiel or marvelous macaw, it’s sometimes difficult to wade through the junk science, old wives tales, well meaning owner advice or just plain dangerous suggestions.

The vitamins from pet stores can sometimes cause more problems than they solve. I really wish they weren’t allowed to sell them (or the supposed antibiotics or sprays or mite protectors).

It’s generally recommended that most of today’s companion birds have a predominantly pelleted diet. Pellets have been continually updated since being introduced to the market years ago and today’s formulas are better than ever.

Supplementing this diet with fresh foods every day is ideal and many owners find they can re-introduce seeds - in limited amounts (perhaps once or twice a week) without the bird refusing the pellets overall.

Whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, fruits and legumes. Include the colors orange, yellow , green, plus reds too! Think sweet potatoes/yams, squash, melons, oranges, peas, chard, beets and others.


Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat couscous and natural, whole grain pastas are great choices.



Limit fats, especially the kind from animals. Good fats are most plant fats like soy, olive and canola oils. No fried anything

Even though this is put out by a cockatiel site, it’s applicable to all hook bills from budgies/parakeets to conures, greys and macaws.

http://www.cockatiels.org/articles/nutrition/diet.html cites feeding both seed and pellets, but only after weaning the bird from a mostly seed diet.

http://www.letstalkbirds.com/cockatiels.htm

It sounds to me like you're very involved and responsible. I have no doubt that you'll be able to do this - and have a much improved budgie in a matter of days. Maybe a little longer, depending on how cooperative your companion is when it comes to food.

Good luck and God bless,

Here is more on ideal nutritional needs:

The American Cockatiel Society (not just for ‘tiels, it’s for all hookbills) http://www.acstiels.com/Articles/BasicCare/cockatie.htm

The Bird Care Library at Harmony Animal Hospital http://www.petvets.com/petcare/birds.html#nutrition

For some recipes to make that both humans and birds can enjoy, check the bottom of this page www.4AnimalCare/birds

S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7343
Experience: Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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