If you own a budgie, you will spend time dealing with fecal waste.
Budgies poop a lot because they have a fast metabolism. As small birds are prey animals, budgies need to immediately gain energy from their food. Food turns to waste within 3 hours of being ingested.
Budgies also have small stomachs, so while their metabolism is fast, they must pass a meal through the digestive tract in installments. So, budgies are constantly digesting and excreting waste.
How Many Times a Day Do Budgies Poop?
The average budgie poops 40-50 times per day. This means that a healthy adult budgie poops every 15 minutes, regardless of whether it’s awake or asleep.
Budgie poop doesn’t smell offensive. If you notice a strong smell of excrement from the cage, your bird may have a bad stomach or digestive problem.
Budgies only have one posterior orifice, known as a cloaca. In mammals, the cloaca separates as a fetus and becomes three separate orifices – an anus, a vagina, and a urethra.
Budgies urinate and defecate simultaneously, with the same regularity.
What Does Healthy Budgie Poop Look Like?
In terms of color, healthy budgie poop is an olive shade of green and white.
The green is processed food that has passed through the digestive tract, while the white comes from the uric acid in the urine.
The waste of a healthy budgie will have a semi-soft texture. It shouldn’t be solid, but it shouldn’t be watery. This suggests diarrhea due to a nutritional imbalance.
Why Do Budgie’s Poop So Much?
All birds have a high metabolism, meaning they digest food very quickly.
Typically, the smaller the bird, the faster its metabolism. According to the Journal of Experimental Biology, budgies have the highest metabolic rate.
Consequently, food passes through the digestive tract of a budgie rapidly. Budgies have small stomachs and can’t store much food, so it must be quickly passed as waste to keep the bird healthy.
Provided that poop remains a healthy shape, color, and smell, there’s no need to be concerned if a budgie is pooping seemingly constantly.
If the waste begins to resemble diarrhea, or you find traces of blood or other poop discoloration, consult an avian vet for advice.
How Does a Budgie’s Digestive System Work?
Birds have a unique digestive tract that includes a storage crop and two chambers within the stomach.
The budgie will swallow food. As budgies don’t have teeth, they don’t chew in a conventional sense. Instead, they swallow seeds and nuts whole, provided they are small enough. Larger foods, including fruit and vegetables, are shredded with the beak.
When the food is small enough to pass through the esophagus, the budgie tilts its head back and swallows. At this point, it also creates saliva to help the food along its journey.
The food passes through the esophagus and reaches the first part of the digestive system, the crop. The crop is a sack that sits at the bottom of the throat, where it’s stored. Wild birds may fill their crop before flying away to eat in a safer location.
When ready to start digesting, the food moves to the proventriculus, the first of a budgie’s two stomach chambers. The food is softened by digestive juices, including mucus and gastric acids.
Once softened, the food moves to the gizzard, the second stomach chamber, to be ground into smaller pieces. If you notice your budgie swallowing pebbles or sand, this is designed to create grit in the gizzard and aid digestion.
Once broken down sufficiently, food passes to the small intestine. Nutrients are absorbed here with the help of the pancreas and liver. The food then reaches the large intestine, where any final water is removed and passed as waste through the cloaca.
Is Budgie Poop Toxic?
Capturing and cleaning every incident of droppings as and when they occur is unrealistic without potty training. So, conduct daily spot cleaning to keep the cage floor poop-free.
Left to stagnate and dry out, budgie poop releases bacteria and fungi into the air. These concerns are also present in moist and fresh droppings.
Common health issues related to budgie excrement include:
- Psittacosis (Ornithosis)
As per Emerging Infectious Diseases, budgie waste can also contain roundworm larvae. Thankfully, this is less likely in tame budgies that live in a human home.
Each of these concerns is zoonotic, meaning they can make humans unwell. The fungal or bacterial infections are spread through inhalation or contact with the skin. Dermatitis details a case of a man that developed a rash within 24 hours of wild budgies defecating on his arm.
Wear gloves when removing poop from a budgie’s cage. Dried waste should be cleaned with a scouring brush and soapy water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose until complete, and if you have a respiratory condition, consider wearing a face mask.
Do Budgies Poop Everywhere?
Budgies aren’t proud or fussy about where they poop, so they’ll not just eliminate anywhere they like in a cage. When you let your budgie out for exercise, it may leave a trail of excrement behind it.
If you have a budgie, expect it to:
- Poop all over the house, including on your soft furnishings
- Poop while flying, rarely breaking airborne stride to do
- Poop while sleeping
- Poop in its food
- Poop in water, whether that’s the budgie’s own or a water bowl for another pet
- Poop on you during handling
The budgie is just doing what comes naturally.
How to Toilet Train Budgies
To potty train a budgie, do the following:
- Gain an insight into how often it poops and any preferred times.
- Choose where you’d like your budgie to poop, such as a specific cage corner.
- Line this area with newspaper, as it’s easy to remove for cleaning.
- When you think your budgie is scheduled to poop, position them in this area.
- Wait for the budgie to eliminate, then make a fuss of it, praising and using a word you can use as a command, such as “good potty.”
- Use “potty” as a command for the budgie to eliminate. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 every time your budgie is scheduled to poop until it uses a set area by choice.
As per the Journal of General Psychology, budgies are fast learners when developing new skills, especially when rewarded.
This doesn’t mean that toilet training will be successful immediately. So, you’ll need to be patient and dedicate several days to the process.
Taking care of a budgie involves resigning yourself to cleaning up bird poop. Budgies poop near constantly and rely on owners to clean the mess up after them.