Having a pet Cockatiel can be a joyous experience; they can give our lives a little extra meaning, company and brighten up our day. But just like any pet there also comes the responsibility and care. What about poop? Are cockatiels known to poop a lot and are they a messy pet? I decided to conduct some research into the topic. I would like to share this with you here today.
So how often do Cockatiels poop? A healthy cockatiel will defecate between 18 and 26 times a day. They will mostly do so during the night as they perch and sleep. Normal feces should be tubular, semi solid and multicolored with a darker, solid area with some white or beige colored urine.
What can be a bit misleading is that pet birds are not always as cute and clean as they appear; they can be challenging to keep clean and when it comes to managing their bathroom habits.
Let us now take a closer look at some common questions regarding Cockatiels so you can get a better understanding on the ease of raising and looking after them.
Birds And Their Toilet Habits
When birds release their waste, they do so in this special process. Like many other pets, they release both fecal matter and urine.
Their feces is the darker part of the droppings you may notice. With most birds, including the cockatiel, this will be tubular and centrally located if you look at a splatter of droppings. It will be semi-solid.
If you see something else in the bird droppings that appears that is more of a whiter or chalky color, this is the urates. This special substance is released by animals such as birds and some reptiles. This is the animal’s way of expelling crystalline waste from the kidneys.
Finally, the urine is similar to ours in nature. It is like water, but a little more cloudy. The color, consistency, and frequency of expulsion is a great indicator of the cockatiel’s health.
Cockatiels Pooping Habits
Cockatiels will make about 18 and 26 droppings a day. There may be some deviation which is to be expected, but if this deviation continues for more than a couple of days, you may want to consider visiting a certified bird vet.
For the most part, a cockatiel should defecate while it sleeps, perched in the same stationary position at night. This means that when you look at the lining of the cage in the morning, it should only have droppings in a more concentrated area.
During the day this will be a little bit more spread out and it is to be expected this will cover a large area as reflected in the activity pattern of the rowdy bird.
Can I Potty Train A Cockatiel?
Birds are difficult to potty train. Unlike other animals, this is not a concern they normally have. Many mammals need to learn how to control their bathroom habits in the wild as they don’t want to go where they sleep. For birds, they can pretty much just go wherever they want without having to worry about accidentally sleeping in it later.
Without the evolutionary pressure, you are not going to see the same tendency for your cockatiel to go to the bathroom in a particular spot just because it’s what they want to do. On the other hand, there are certain ways for you to train them to encourage them to have a little more control over their movements. Thankfully it is possible to potty train them.
Instead of teaching them when not to go to the bathroom, you can teach them when it is okay. This is going to require a lot of patience as well as attention to detail. You need to notice when they are about to go and apply a certain signal for them to recognize as a sign to go.
Perhaps the stand out way is to invest in a good quality perch.
- Free standing adjustable height Parrot Training Perch with Potty Tray
- Comfortable perch stand to use for your parrot anywhere
- Tray catches your parrot's mess, tray height indepently adjustable
- Use for training your parrot or as a convenient hang out perch
- Easy to use, sets up in a minute, durable, and portable
The trick is to monitor your bird and look out for signs they need to go. At this time, you need to place them on the perch. Talk to your bird here, repeat the same simple phrase – something like “poop”. Then, wait for them to go. At this stage, really praise your bird and then take them off the perch and back to their previous position.
If you manage to do this time and time again successfully, you will get to the point where they will go any time you offer a signal to them. In these cases, you can make it so that if you notice your bird has been out for fifteen minutes or so, you can guide them back to their little rest area and give them a signal to go now versus when they are flying over your carpet.
This can save a great deal of frustration, but with birds, it is a hit or miss. Some birds are easier to train than others and, unfortunately, cockatiels are not known for their bowel control.
Instead, you should just be prepared to clean up after them or get ready to dedicate yourself to a lot of time and commitment on a task that may not pay off.
What Color Is Cockatiel Poop?
The one good thing that can come from all of this is that the cockatiel poop is a great indication of their health. In other words, with how frequently they go, it is a great way to always have a relevant insight into their health.
The normal color of a cockatiel dropping is multicolored with a darker, solid area with some white or beige colored urine.
Any deviation from this color can be due to a number of reasons.
Sometimes, a greenish or darker color may just be an indication of whatever fresh foods they just ate. Likewise, much paler hues can be due to the fact that they just drank.
If the colors are ever consistently different or accompanied by weird changes in behavior, go to a vet immediately to diagnose the problem.
Do Cockatiels Poop A Lot?
While up to 26 times a day may seem like a lot to a dog or cat owner, this is pretty average for a bird.
You need to remember that they have a very different digestive system than we do and this is just normal for them, albeit more excessive than other pets.
As you may expect, the volume of a bird’s poop is related to the size and species of the bird producing them. So, smaller birds produce smaller droppings, and larger birds produce larger ones.
Finches and sparrows for example will poop a very small amount but will do so more frequently.
Medium parrots, like Cockatiels, will go more infrequently (once every 10-20 minutes) – but they also have the ability to hold their poop for latter time.
At the other end, larger parrots are known to go every 30 minutes – 1 hour.
It is also the case that baby birds will poop more than adult birds.
Are Cockatiels A Messy Pet?
Overall, as long as you keep their cages neat and clean, there is no reason why any bird would be a messy pet.
When their cages are cleaned regularly and they aren’t experiencing any health issues, they can be a carefree pet that won’t produce a horrendous odor.
Like any other pet you have, this will be extremely dependent on the type of care and attention you are willing to offer.
Thankfully, there are a range of effective and safe products that you can use to help you minimize and clean up your birds poop. Personally, I swear by these Scrubbing Wipes that I get for a great price on Amazon.
They’re extra thick and easy to hold, helping you to effectively lift and remove even dried and stuck-on poop debris from the cage. They also have a deodorizing scent which eliminates odors.
What To Do If Your Cockatiel Is Excessively Pooping
One thing to recognize is that a lot of pooping is normal for a bird. In order for you to have a good understanding of your bird is pooping more often than normal, you really need to keep an eye on your cockatiel’s bathroom habits.
If you then notice something is off, it may be time to look into the reasons why. If your cockatiel is pooping more than normal or their poop is exceptionally runny, they may be suffering from diarrhea.
This can happen for a number of reasons.
If it is diarrhea, this can be a sign that something is wrong. This can happen because their environments are not enough, their diet isn’t proper, or that they are suffering from a disease or parasite.
The extra liquid may also be something else. Polyuria is a phenomenon where the extra fluid is passed surrounding the feces. This is completely normal- although it does happen more often in times of stress such as where they are frightened and exciting causes an acceleration of defecation.
While it is harmless in small doses, it can be an indication of something more dangerous or sinister. If you notice polyuria happening more often than not, your cockatiel may be suffering from liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or hormone imbalances.
The most important thing to consider when you have a pet is that you must pay attention to a combination of behavioral patterns. Watching them closely is key to keep any pet happy and healthy.
While Cockatiels poop up to 30 times a day; while this may appear a lot its actually just under the average for a bird.
You can expect your Cockatiel to poop most at night, and for this reason their droppings will usually be found in the same place in their cage each morning.
The key as a pet bird owner is to frequently and consistently clean the cage. This will not only make your birds environment considerably more hygienic (preventing the proliferation of germs and bacteria) but it will also reduce/eliminate any smell fouling odors that you will want to keep out of your home.
Ultimately, if you have any concerns about the frequency or type of feces your cockatiel is producing, it’s always best to seek out an experienced and knowledgable bird vet. Better yet one with a background in parrots/Cockatiels.
Just remember, there are factors like diet which can change the colour and consistency of the poop of your bird. There is usually not a reason to worry.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.