Constipation makes the passage of stools difficult, so the frequency of waste production goes down. Budgies usually poop every 15-20 minutes, so it’s easy to identify the signs of a constipated budgie.
Budgies get constipated when they don’t get enough soluble fiber, oil, and water. The result is slow and painful bowel movements due to hard, dry, and lumpy stools.
Most constipated budgies experience inappetence and withdraw from social activities. Some budgies also become irritable and, at times, self-destructive, such as picking at their feathers.
How To Tell If A Budgie Is Constipated
As mentioned, the most obvious symptom of a constipated budgie is a lack of droppings at the bottom of the cage. A budgie usually poops 40-50 times per day, even while napping and sleeping.
A constipated budgie will still produce sporadic droppings, but these will be far less frequent than usual and extremely firm due to a lack of moisture.
The most common budgie constipation symptoms include:
- Visibly straining when attempting to pass feces
- Reduced vocalization
- Agitated behaviors, including uncharacteristic aggression
Check for differences in your budgie’s demeanor and behavior if you suddenly notice a change in waste regularity. A happy and healthy budgie always has an active digestive tract.
Constipation means that a budgie can’t poop easily, but it’s not the only reason budgies stop passing waste. So, you must narrow down the cause, as each problem has a different solution.
Here are the most common reasons why budgies can’t poop:
If you’ve suddenly noticed that your budgie isn’t pooping, the chances are it’s not eating enough.
After all, without enough food to digest, it can’t produce poop. Fortunately, this can be resolved by offering a budgie a plentiful, fiber-rich diet and clean water.
Budgies are normally voracious eaters and will feed near-constantly when given the opportunity. If your budgie isn’t pooping, don’t ration its food and allow it to free-feed.
Lack of Appetite
A budgie’s fast-paced metabolism is reliant on regular food consumption. A budgie ingests food, which is broken down in the stomach and ground down in the gizzard before being passed as waste.
If your budgie is sick, depressed, scared, or dealing with a physical or psychological issue, it may lose its appetite. As with not eating enough food, a lack of sustenance leads to reduced feces production.
If your budgie shares a cage with a conspecific, it may be the victim of bullying by a territorial bird that refuses to share food. If there are any signs of aggression, separate the two budgies.
Lacking Fiber And Oil
According to Behavioral Ecology, budgies sometimes prefer seeds over other foods. This will lead to a nutrient-deficient diet, with constipation being one of many concerns.
Too much fat can cause diarrhea, while excessive protein is linked to constipation. Seeds can provide a budgie with appropriate nutrients when offered in moderation.
If your budgie’s diet lacks fiber or contains the wrong kind of fiber, its stools will be so hard, dry, and lumpy that they’re near impossible to pass. The same applies when a budgie is dehydrated.
The most effective way to resolve this problem is by adding more soluble fiber to your budgie’s diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber makes the uninterrupted passage of waste easier.
Ensure your budgie consumes some seeds (pumpkin, flax, etc.) because they’re rich in oil and fat.
Budgies need to drink regularly to maintain healthy bowel movements. The average budgie will drink around a teaspoon of water per day, albeit across multiple trips to the water bowl or bottle.
If your budgie is dehydrated, its waste will lack moisture and become increasingly tough to pass, likely leading to constipation.
Provide plenty of water, including hydrating snacks, and ensure your budgie isn’t too hot. An ambient temperature of 75OF is optimal for a budgie, and anything above 85OF is too hot.
Female budgies can lay unfertilized eggs, even if a male isn’t present. So, if you have a lone budgie, don’t rule out the possibility that it’s gravid (carrying eggs). Birds don’t technically get pregnant.
A female budgie struggling to lay an egg may be egg-bound (dystocia), which suggests the eggshell is too weak and the egg too misshapen to lay, so it’s trapped inside the body.
As budgies’ eggs leave through the vent, which also releases their feces, an egg may leave a budgie unable to poop until the egg has exited the body or been removed by a veterinarian.
The budgies’ digestive system can break down most foods and ensure they pass through the tract.
However, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, some foreign objects can cause gastrointestinal obstruction.
This issue arises when a budgie ingests small stones or something it can’t break down. If this happens, the solid object sits within the intestine and prevents food from entering the digestive system.
A budgie with an intestinal blockage can’t process food, likely expelling anything it tries to eat. This wholesale absence of nutrition will soon become fatal, so the blockage must be removed.
Some foreign objects can be passed as waste using laxatives and oral lubricants. Others must be manually removed from the body by a veterinarian through an endoscopy.
Dirty Bottom (Clumped Poop)
If your budgie has a gastrointestinal virus, it’ll likely get diarrhea, which is the opposite of constipation. If your budgie can’t control its bowels, it’ll release wet and messy stools.
If you don’t clean your budgie’s bottom after diarrhea, waste will dry and clump, so the vent can become blocked. If so, you’ll need to clean the vent so your budgie can pass waste as normal again.
Cleaning a budgie’s rear is a delicate process, so follow these steps:
- Run a warm water source. Don’t apply scented soap or shampoo to avoid skin irritation.
- Dip a cotton ball or pad in this water.
- Dab the stained area using the wet cotton ball.
- Keep replacing the cotton until the area is clean.
- Dab the budgie dry with a soft cloth.
If the staining is stubborn, bathe your budgie in warm water. Don’t wait for the poop to fall away. As per Avian Diseases, birds can suffer from flystrike, as bugs will be attracted to an unclean bottom.
What to Do if Your Budgie Is Constipated
You must get your budgie’s digestive tract moving to relieve discomfort and minimize risk. Beyond this, identify why your budgie’s struggling to eliminate, so constipation doesn’t become an ongoing concern.
If veterinary intervention isn’t required, relieve your budgie’s gastric discomfort by giving it some vegetable oil (virgin olive oil), which is a natural laxative.
Place a teaspoon of vegetable oil into a syringe and offer your budgie a few drops. If the budgie is reluctant to swallow the oil or the constipation is causing visible pain, put the oil into the cloaca.
You’ll need to hold your budgie upside-down for a few minutes to allow the oil to flow into the cloaca and work as a lubricant. This will likely be distressing, so encourage oral consumption.
Depending on the cause, constipation can be dangerous for budgies. Any time your budgie isn’t pooping should be considered unusual, so it’s recommended that you take your budgie to the vet.