Most people regard what’s in the bottom of their bird’s cage as something they’d rather not look at, but much can be learned by taking a closer look.
We recommend you use newspaper to cover your cage bottom. Its non-toxic, inexpensive and gives you a clear view of what your bird has dropped on it. This should be changed a least once a day and examined at that time as it can tell you many things. You can see what your bird has eaten or not eaten, how his fecal droppings have looked during the course of the day and even find the missing piece to that toy he disassembled.
THE NORMAL DROPPING:
Normal droppings in pet birds consist of three parts. The stool is coiled or partially coiled and varies in color from rich green to brown depending on the bird’s diet. It will be green for birds on a seed diet and for birds on a formulated diet it will reflect the color of the pellet. Certain fruits and veggies can also effect its color…for example, beets, blueberries and others can give the stool their color.
The urates are a by-product of the kidneys and are usually snow white when dry. They are chalky in texture and will vary in size from tiny (as in the budgie) to large and spread out (as in the macaw). Its normal to have some transient color changes during the day and some colored formulated foods can tinge them a creamy color.
The urine is the liquid portion and its normally clear. The volume of urine will change according to what the bird is eating. You will see more after consumption of fruits and vegetables and less after pellets.
THE ABNORMAL DROPPING:
Once you’ve learned what your bird’s dropping normally looks like you can be on the lookout for problems.
Watery droppings…an increase in the amount of urine is often confused with diarrhea. The fecal matter will be the same, but there will be notably more fluid around the feces. A change in the color of the urine is also a warning.
Loose stool, or true diarrhea, can show up in one or two droppings due to stress, but if you’re seeing it constantly throughout the day it is cause for concern. The tubular formed feces will lose its shape and become mushy.
Color changes in the feces to bright green or black and texture change to slimy is an indicator of trouble.
Yellow or green stained urates is also a warning of trouble. This part of the dropping should always be white when dry.
Undigested seed or food in the droppings, pale or foamy droppings and a consistent change in the volume or number of droppings during the course of the day are also of concern.
Call your Avian Veterinarian to discuss it if you see any of these abnormal droppings.
What’s under your bird can tell an important story about his health…learn to read it!