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How to check your bird's droppings

In their natural habitat birds are often the prey of other animals and habitually cover any signs of illness. It is therefore important to check your bird’s droppings daily as any changes can be the earliest indicators of an otherwise concealed illness.        

The components of a dropping

The droppings of a bird are made up of three components:

-         Faeces

-         Urine

-         Urates (concentrated uric acid)

Combined together they form the dropping; changes in any one of these may be a sign of illness, the bird’s excrement should be checked for any changes in moisture content, number, colour and texture.    

What is normal

This is a general guide to the characteristics of an average bird’s droppings; however age, species and individual variation should also be taken into account. 

-                                 Clear urine

-                                 Urates should be a creamy opaque colour

-                                 Odourless

-                                 Faeces should be firm, and of a dark green/brown colour, but the colour may differ depending on what diet the bird is on, if pellets are fed, then they will take on this colour.

Changes that may indicate a problem 

Once you are able to recognise what a normal bird dropping should look like, you will be better equipped to notice anything abnormal.  Such unusual changes may include:

-         Colour in the urine

-         Yellow/green urates

-         Light coloured faeces yellow/rusty brown in colour or containing blood

-         Faeces containing pieces of undigested food

-         Faeces that have an odour

-         Faeces that are larger than normal

-         Coarser faeces

-         Very watery faeces

-         Increase/decrease in the number of droppings.