My friend contacted me the other day, he is also a parrot owner.
He was concerned that his parrot’s droppings had a rather odd odor that was sour-like.
I assumed it must be something he was feeding it, but I wasn’t quite sure.
That when I decided to do some research to help him find out what’s going on with his parrot.
Parrots poop shouldn’t smell and if it does it could be down for the following reasons, infection, steatorrhoea, or giardia. Typically, when it smells it’s a big indicator that they’re sick. You should seek professional help as soon as possible.
I thought this was a rather interesting topic and did some further research encase my feathered little friend also runs into this issue.
In this article, I’ll be going into detail about the infections causing malodorous bird droppings and what healthy bird poop should look like.
Does Parrot Poop Have a Smell?
As a parrot owner, it’s extremely easy to tell if your bird is sick or not.
Healthy parrot droppings shouldn’t have any odor and if it does, you should take your bird to the vets because it’s probably sick.
Why doesn’t it smell?
It’s because of their diet, they generally only eat some fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
When these foods are digested, they don’t smell bad.
Now, if a parrot was to eat some sort of meat or fish (which they don’t), then their droppings may have an odor due to the way the digestive system breaks down these types of food.
As mentioned above there are three main reasons why your parrot’s poop may smell.
These were due to infections, steatorrhoea and giardia.
What does this mean for your parrot’s poop?
Let’s start with the most common reasons first, as we now know parrot’s poop is odorless.
When there becomes an odor the first thing you should be thinking about is, “is my bird is sick”.
You don’t have to jump to this conclusion right away.
If you’ve fed your parrot any foods which are high in sulfur recently (such as Brussels Sprouts, leeks, onion) it can cause the bird droppings to have a small odor.
However, if you haven’t you should take your parrot to the vets.
A similar infection to what we humans might get, diarrhea.
Steatorrhea is the bird version.
It’s typically caused by a bacterial infection and can make a bird produce foul droppings.
The bacteria causing steatorrhea are E.coli, Citrobacter, strep and staph.
These types of nasty bacteria are commonly linked to the water they’re drinking, out-of-date food, humid areas, seeds, grit, sand, damp cages and dust.
Basic cleaning methods can eliminate most of these bacteria.
Now onto the last one, Giardia is a parasite that can be found in the water that they are drinking.
This parasite can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, potent poop odor, and chronic discomfort for the parrot.
If your parrot is showing these symptoms constantly over a period of days, I recommend you seek professional help before it gets worse.
What Does Healthy Bird Poop Look Like?
Being able to indicate a healthy bird poop is important as you’ll be able to identify if your parrot is healthy or not.
The main things to look out for when looking for healthy poop are the color, texture consistency, and the number of bird droppings your parrot is producing.
Let’s start with the visuals and this is color.
Color is a difficult way to tell if your parrot is generating healthy bird droppings or not.
This is because, various parrot diets have an array of different fruits, vegetables, seeds, and pellets, etc.
The reason it’s so hard is due to the mixture of these different foods and in theory, can be digested in multiple colors.
Especially if your parrot is on a heavily focused pellet diet if this is the case and the pellets are all different colors.
While it’s being digested, they’ll morph together.
However, when you get used to your bird and the diet they’re on, it can be easier to tell if they’re healthy through the color of their poop.
If your parrot is on a continuous diet, you’ll get to understand the color of its healthy droppings.
As soon as this turns another color, it’s a big indication that your bird has an infection.
Next is the texture of the poop.
The texture is an easier indicator to identify an issue in your parrot’s digestive system.
Your parrot’s poop should never be too wet or too hard, veterinarians actually say that it should be a similar texture as toothpaste.
If it looks too hard or wet and comes out in a darker color than normal, this can indicate that your parrot is experiencing internal bleeding.
You also want to look at the number of bird droppings that your parrot is producing.
This can obviously change due to the different sizes of parrots.
If you notice that your parrot is producing more waste than normal, it could also be a big sign of an infection.
Take note of what you’ve been feeding your parrot in the recent days coming up to this. If it continues over a number of days, I recommend seeking professional help.
They also may want to know what you’ve been feeding it.
Is Green Parrot Poop Normal?
If your parrot’s poop has always been green and looks healthy it’s probably due to something in its diet, dying the color of the poop.
Giving your parrot foods that are rich in color may reflect on the way it’s digested.
This is also the same for humans, if you ever drink food coloring your waste will be digested in that color.
Assuming that this has just occurred, it may mean your parrot is sick.
It could mean that your parrot is experiencing an infection or disease, like kidney and liver disease or steatorrhea and giardia (as mentioned above) infections.
This could have a “green” effect on your parrot’s poop.
However, there is some good news for you.
These types of infections and diseases have become increasingly easier to clear due to vets.
Once they’ve figured out the reasons for such droppings, they can then recommend such things as a diet change to clear the issue.
Why is My Parrot Eating Their Poop?
Something that can a bit weird when you first notice it. But there are reasons behind why your parrot is eating their poop.
Lack of nutrients
Only some parrots do this and typically it’s the cockatiel family.
There are quite spectacular parrots and can actually identify when they are low on certain nutrients.
This is because they’re such intelligent birds, they have figured out another way to gaining access to these types of vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately for cockatiel owners, this means through their poop.
Going through their diet and understanding what nutrients they lack and adding them will reduce the chances of your cockatiel feeding off their own bird droppings.
I say reduce the chances as it depends on the current wellness of the parrot.
If you’ve recently changed the parrot’s environment and it’s now being exposed to more light or noise.
It may be under more stress than it used to be.
Therefore, to reduce the levels of stress they actually need more valuable nutrients.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Sometimes a lack of engagement or boredom can cause a parrot to eat its own poop.
If a bird is bored and is looking for something to do and has lost interest in its toys.
The next thing they’ll go for is their poop, they’ll play with it and then probably eventually eat it.
For sure sounds pretty gross and unhygienic and this is why you should clean your parrot’s cage as regularly as you can.
Removing this will ensure they won’t eat it.
As briefly mentioned above when a parrot is stressed, they require more valuable nutrients to reduce these levels.
If they’re not being fed the correct number of vitamins or minerals, you can bet they’ll find these in their poop.
They generally like it
If you treat them to their favorite snack every once and a while, they may be able to smell it in their poop.
This can result in them eating it again!
You can’t really avoid this one, other than cleaning their cage as soon as you see bird droppings.