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Dr. G.
Dr. G., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 1248
Experience:  Bird and exotic animal veterinarian for over 16 years.
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my cockatiel is itching his butt.

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Just a few days ago, my two year old male Cockatiel Max started rubbing his butt on one of his perches. I noticed a little poop stuck on it. I misted the area with warm water several times and the poop eventually came off. Yet the next day, he was still rubbing the area on the perch. I don't see anything else on his butt area. He is not hand tamed but I do let him out of his cage during the day to be with his finch brothers and sisters. I have trained him to go onto a perch at night and I carry him back to his cage. He does not allow us to touch him or hold him so I can't wash the area with cotton. Should I be concerned?

Thanks for your question.

There are a couple of possibilities of why your bird is doing this.

1. It may not be a problem, but he may be masturbating. Male birds will often do this on their perches or favorite toy etc. They will often squat down on the perch and rub their bottom and their tail feathers will be moving back and forth. He may vocalize also.   If this is what he is doing, try not to react to it. If you get all excited by it and try to get him to stop he may actually be encouraged to do it more (he is getting attention for it). If it is on a favorite toy or he is showing off in front of a mirror, you may want to remove these objects for awhile.

2. If he is continually having stool stuck to his tail feathers, this would be abnormal. Every once is awhile is no big deal. Also monitor the stool in the bottom of the cage. Change cage papers daily. You should see firm brown/green stool with a little bit of white and a little bit of liquid (urates and urine). If you are seeing too much stool or too much liquid then he is having either diarrhea or polyuria. These are medical concerns such as a possibly gi infection or kidney problem. Both of these conditions are medical concerns and he should be seen by a vet who sees birds.   It is fine to continue to give him baths. Do not give him any OTC medications available as the products are not effective.

If you do not have an avian vet, you can go to (find a vet look up). Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Dr. G
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for the response. I have one more question and I will be happy to except your answers. His poop looks exactly as you descibed. I've been monitoring it closely. It looks fine. His behavior seems ever-so-slightly "off". I can't tell if it's my imagination or not. He stays on that perch alot now. He is itchy a little bit. So far it seems like normal preening. Can this butt rubbing be lice or mites? I will stay on-line and wait for your response. Thank you, Toni
hi Toni,

Mice and lice are very uncommon in pet parrot species.   I would highly doubt it is due to that. Again, since you know your bird best of all, your 'gut' feeling that he is off is important. Birds are very good at hiding the fact that they don't feel well. So, early signs are important. I would always rather see a bird sooner rather than later when there is a question of illness.

Once you make a vet appointment, put some wax paper down on the cage bottom for a day before and then bring this into the vet visit with you. This way the vet can see what he has been doing over time at at home. Many times the stress from the car ride etc. will cause them to have alot more urine output than normal at the exam. They will do a complete exam and may also start with a stool sample checking for parasites, abnormal bacteria types.

Also, monitor his water intake. If he seems to be drinking more than normal, tell the vet this also.

I'll be on/offline all day, so let me know if you have more questions. Best of luck with him.

Dr. G
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