Budgies empty their bowels near-constantly throughout the day and night, even while sleeping. This waste should be solid and cleanable. So, if your budgie has diarrhea, this isn’t normal.
Budgies release urine and excrement from the same vent in their body, the cloaca. This means that budgie poop is often wet and slick, but it shouldn’t be loose or runny.
You’ll learn to identify what diarrhea is and what normal waste is. Often, this is diet-related. Budgies also experience diarrhea through stress, parasites, or because it was exposed to toxins.
What Does Budgie Diarrhea Look Like?
As budgies release urine and feces simultaneously, all budgie poop is wet. You’ll need to learn to distinguish between diarrhea and watery poop.
Healthy budgie poop will be comparatively solid and green, surrounded by thick, creamy urine. Perhaps more importantly, there will be no discernible odor from the waste.
If a budgie’s droppings are wet and loose, but the feces are solid, the budgie doesn’t have diarrhea. It’s just releasing more water than usual.
Your budgie has diarrhea if the waste is purely liquid or releases a strong, cloying scent. Check for signs of blood in the feces, which suggest a serious health complaint.
If you don’t find any blood in the stool, it’s not necessarily a medical emergency. Observe your budgie and look for any warning signs of ill health, such as labored breathing or erratic behavior.
Why Does My Budgie Have Runny Poop?
Unless you find blood in the feces, vet care may not be required.
There may be an innocent explanation for a bird’s loss of bowel control that can be remedied at home. However, seek veterinary advice if the problem persists for longer than 24 hours.
Keep a diary of its bowel movements and overall demeanor, and take a sample of the loose stool.
Here are some of the possible reasons for diarrhea in budgies:
1/ Sudden Change in Diet
Wild budgies eat a varied, omnivorous diet. The New Zealand Journal of Ecology explains how budgies seek alternative nourishment, such as plant life, seeds, fruits, and insects.
Captive budgies will eat what’s provided, which means that owners are responsible for ensuring that a budgie is fed an appropriate, balanced diet without any wholesale changes to nourishment.
If your budgie is fed more seeds than usual, its digestive tract will struggle with the high fat intake. Equally, if an ingredient is replaced, the budgie may experience stomach upsets while it adapts.
2/ Too Many Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve explained how there’s a difference between watery stool and diarrhea.
This is rarely more prominent than when budgies eat fresh fruit or vegetables as treats. These water-dense foods will be metabolized quickly and excreted as soft, wet stools.
Consider a slice of cucumber or lettuce. These foods are roughly 97% water, leading to wet poop. If you’re feeding in moderation, your budgie will still produce a solid waste portion.
3/ Excessive Hydration
Polydipsia (overhydration) could be a sign of ill health in birds. Current Science links excessive thirst to diabetes, which is comparatively common in overweight budgies.
Your budgie’s desire to drink may be born of competition and territoriality. If multiple budgies share a water source, they may be compelled to drink beyond their fill, which is an act of survival.
4/ Stress and Anxiety
If your budgie is frightened, it may be reflected in its stool.
As budgies poop roughly every 15-20 minutes, a bout of diarrhea may come on the heels of an unexpected fright, such as a loud noise or encounter with a predatory pet.
It’ll soon recover if your budgie only has one bout of watery feces. However, you may find the budgie continues to struggle with diarrhea, which suggests that it’s living in a near-constant state of anxiety.
Something has changed in your budgie’s life, which is upsetting its delicate digestive tract.
5/ Intestinal Parasites
Captive budgies can develop intestinal worms and similar complaints. Ascaris roundworms can be passed between budgies through the droppings.
Give your budgie regular worming treatments to keep its gut health in order. Intestinal worms can grow as large as 3-4 inches, which is almost half the size of an average budgie.
6/ Exposure to Toxins
Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine warn that companion birds are more prone to ingesting or inhaling toxins than other animals. This is partly due to a budgie’s curious nature, with the danger magnified due to the fragility of the respiratory tract.
If your budgie has swallowed or inhaled a toxin – which could be wet paint, inappropriate human food, scented candles, bug spray, or non-stick cookware – diarrhea is likely.
Look out for the other warning signs of toxicity, which include changes in energy levels, vomiting, and a lack of coordination when walking or flying.
7/ Molting Feathers
Budgies molt every year, shedding existing feathers and replacing them with new, brighter feathers.
Occasionally, a budgie’s molt is accompanied by diarrhea, which is usually a warning sign of something else happening alongside the molt.
If this is your budgie’s first molt, diarrhea may occur due to stress. Budgies’ personalities change along with their plumage during molting, as they become less active, often less verbal, and can appear passive.
Some budgies react to molting differently, becoming increasingly jumpy and skittish. If your budgie is already naturally nervous, a molt could magnify its anxiety.
Give your budgie space during the process, cleaning up feces and waiting for the molt to pass.
8/ Ill Health (Internal Organ Problems)
Budgies can get fungal or bacterial ailments, especially when sharing a cage. Many of these concerns list diarrhea among their symptoms, so further symptoms analysis will be necessary.
If you observe blood in your budgie’s diarrhea, this suggests that your budgie could have a disease of the kidneys, pancreas, or liver.
How To Stop Budgie Diarrhea
If you find diarrhea in your budgie’s cage, separate the bird with the digestive complaint from any cagemates. If the problem is contagious, you don’t want it to spread.
If several budgies have diarrhea, something is amiss with their communal food or water.
After the stomach has settled, ensure it’s warm. Aim for an ambient temperature of around 80OF. Next, replace the fluids the budgie likely lost during its stomach upset.
Mix two teaspoons of glucose (get this from a vet or pick up a glucose-centric artificial sweetener from the supermarket) with seven cups of water. Offer your bird a teaspoon of this solution several times a day. Also, a probiotic for your budgie will rebalance gut health.
Some people feed charcoal to budgies to shore up stomach complaints, which absorb additional liquid and solidify stools. Avian vets don’t recommend this approach, as while it’ll treat the symptoms of your budgie’s diarrhea, it ignores the cause.
Arguably the most crucial component of treating budgie diarrhea is learning what is causing the digestive upset and ensuring it doesn’t happen again. That means removing stress triggers, amending diet, or seeking veterinary advice and medication.
Diarrhea can be comparatively common in budgies, but that doesn’t mean it’s something to ignore.