Healthy Bird Poop 101

How to Monitor Your Bird's Droppings

White Bird on a Roof
Tracey Quirk / EyeEm / Getty Images

At one point or another, most bird owners have heard that it's important to monitor their feathered friends' droppings for signs of illness. However, it can be difficult to determine exactly what is "normal" when it comes to bird poop. If you've got questions as to whether or not your bird is producing healthy droppings, we'll help you determine the difference between what is healthy and what is not in terms of your bird's waste.

  • 01 of 05


    Bird Droppings on a Blue Car
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    Healthy bird droppings can display an array of colors and still be considered "normal." Think about it -- your bird likely consumes many various types of fresh fruits and vegetables, a multitude of different seeds, and a variety of multi-colored pellets if you supplement your bird's meals with a commercially available diet. The food dyes in these pellets, combined with the natural colors of the fresh foods your bird eats, will naturally produce a rainbow of colors in their droppings. However, if you notice that your bird's poop is abnormally yellowish or tarry-black, it can be a sign of severe health problems that need prompt veterinary attention. Always check the droppings when cleaning your bird's cage to look for these red-flags.

  • 02 of 05


    Bird Atop a Statue
    Jared I. Lenz Photography / Getty Images

    Just as with the colors in your bird's droppings, depending on your pet's dietary intake, the texture of the droppings will also vary. However, there are certain things to keep in mind when analyzing your bird's poop to make sure that it's healthy. For one thing, the dropping should be neither too wet nor too dry. A good rule of thumb is that the poop should be close to mimicking the consistency of toothpaste, for lack of a less disgusting analogy. As mentioned above, be on the lookout for droppings that are very dark or seem "tarry" -- this can be a sign of internal bleeding, which requires immediate veterinary care.

  • 03 of 05


    Black-legged Birds Roosting on their Rocky Home
    © Santiago Urquijo / Getty Images

    In general, your bird's droppings should produce little to no odor. Poop that seems overly smelly can be indicative of infection, intestinal problems, or other types of illness. This is not to say that you should actually get down and sniff your bird's droppings -- that can actually be harmful to your own health. Rather, pay attention when you bird uses the bathroom, and see if there seems to be any noticeable scent wafting around the cage. If your nose detects something that's just not "right" about the odor, it's probably a good idea to contact your bird's vet for an evaluation.

  • 04 of 05

    Presence of liquids

    Gulls on Roof
    Melanie Hobson / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Unlike mammals and other types of animals, a bird's droppings are not normally solid. Rather, there should be a fair amount of liquid present in a healthy bird's waste. This is because a bird's anatomy does not have a separate mechanism for eliminating liquid waste from their bodies. Instead, urine and feces are expelled at the same time. The urine in bird droppings normally presents itself as a white colored, pasty liquid, and usually comprises around 30 to 50 percent of the volume of the droppings. While this can vary slightly without being cause for alarm, you should definitely report to your avian veterinarian if you fear that there is too much or too little liquid in your bird's waste.

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  • 05 of 05


    Bird on a Rusty Pipe
    Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul / EyeEm / Getty Images

    As one might expect, the volume of a bird's droppings will be largely relative to the size of the bird producing them. In other words, small birds will produce smaller droppings, where larger birds will produce larger ones. Depending on diet, slight variations in what is a normal amount of droppings for any given bird are to be expected, but any drastic change in the size or frequency of your bird's poop should be noted and reported to your veterinarian. Again, paying attention to your bird's droppings when cleaning out his or her cage will give you the best idea of what fits inside the normal range for your particular bird.