This is a very important topic, and it is probably the easiest way to keep an eye on the health of your cockatiel.
I call it Poo-ology. Not a subject that you’d openly discus, but in this case at this early stage I think it is worth putting it out there.
Once you know how to spot an abnormal poo you will be in a much better position to identify any potential ill health. Daily observations of the poo from your birds will become your early warning system.
First of all we need to establish what is a healthy dropping (poo)
The dropping is made up of three parts
Part #1 The Faeces…
This should be a solid yet not a firm mass. It may be coiled up, wormlike shape or broken in pieces. However it looks, it should be tube like and a good green/brown colour.
Please note that the colour may change depending on what the cockatiel has consumed. For example if the bird has been eating blueberries then it is likely that the faeces are very dark in colour.
This would explain why the colour is different, however you must be well aware of what your cockatiel is eating. If your cockatiel has not eaten any blueberries for example, and the faeces is black and possibly thick looking, please act immediately and take your bird to a vet.
The sooner you can come to the conclusion that something is different, the better the chance of your birds recovery.
If the faeces is not resembling a wormlike shape and appears wet and runny, they are possibly suffering with diarrhoea. (similar to us humans).
You may notice that the poo is very wet yet a clear worm or strip of faeces is visible, this indicates a larger amount of urine is present and is not Diarrhoea.
Sometimes after having a bath, your bird will display poo like this.
Part #2 The Urates…
The urates are the waste product from the kidneys and represent the digestive part of the poo. This is the white/cream coloured part. You need to pay good attention to this part. If you notice any colour change then take your cocktail to the vet. More on this later.
Part #3 The Urine…
Depending on the diet and water intake, the amount of urine will change. The more fruit and vegetables that your cockatiel eats the more they will urinate. Due to the high water content of those foods.
All three components make up the poo. Although sometimes not all will be present 🙂
Confused? Not to worry, let me make it a bit easier to understand.
Things to be aware of;
What you must be concerned about are the changes in colour, volume, consistency, and size. Make this a habit and start to monitor the poo daily. Change the cage flooring regularly so that you can easily see any changes. For example use white butchers paper and change every few days to clearly see the droppings.
Once you notice a change, go and visit your vet.
Let’s look at a normal poo…
They should be quite small and have a visible white/cream colour end, moist, yet not wet and free from odour. The photo above is a good example of a healthy dropping. This is what the droppings should look like. By always checking you will notice any difference.
Let’s take a look at what could be abnormal…
- Abnormal droppings may be if the poo is larger than normal, maybe even bulky.
- The colour of green has changed, anything from pale green to yellowish.
- If the poo is too moist and has a smell to it.
- The poo might even become firm or very loose.
- The major difference is in the urates (the white/cream part) If this has changed colour, get to a vet.
Colour changes to the urates can indicate;
- Yellow to green can indicate a problem with the Liver
- Brown can be Lead poisoning and this is very dangerous
- Red can be some internal bleeding or possibly some problem with the Kidneys
- Black, this could be the remains of some blood
If your bird is showing an excess amount of urates, this could be a sign of dehydration or even some kind of kidney problem.
Sometimes the liquid is very clear and opaque, if it dries a different colour then you need to visit the vet.
I personally have lost a bird to lead poisoning of which I was unable to diagnose quick enough. Since then I have managed to save one thanks to my quick reaction and ability to make a clear judgement on the difference in the poo.
If the faeces become;
- Black or even like tar, this could indicate some internal bleeding.
- Bright green like fresh peas, this could indicate Liver problems
- White/grey could indicate a digestive problem
- Yellow/green or Grey like, It could be the contagious ‘parrot fever’ known as Chlamydophila psittaci. Protect yourself and keep healthy.
- Smelly or thick, this could be a diet rich in fat.
Well I hope that has given you some good information that will allow you to sleep better knowing that your cockatiels are healthy. At the very least you can spot the difference between a healthy dropping and one that is different, and now understand that you must act quickly to save your cockatiel. Keep reading this blog to find out more great tips on how to look after your cockatiels.