|Knowing what looks normal and what does not when your bird poops can help you know when they
have become ill or are stressed. On the following pages you will find what to look for in a bird's
|COLOR & SIZE ARE KEY
|Normal poop for seed eating Goulds is small, relatively tight (little water), brown to black with a small amount of white at
one end. Abnormal poop can be any other color, shape or size. However, birds fed soft food, greens or pellets on a
daily basis will have slightly different poop as their norm. Below are the different types of poops and what they can
|amount of clear liquid surrounding them generally mean
there is something amiss. If the bird has diarrhea, there is
definitely something wrong. Droppings are considered
droppings are extremely wet and messy for long periods of
time. Remember, a change in your birds diet, offering your
bird green food, high heat or humidity, and stress can cause
watery droppings - but this should not be for more than a
day or so. If you find your bird has excessively watery
droppings for more than a few days, you should have it
checked by a veterinarian!
|thing about poopology is that not every bird's normal droppings looks the same! It all depends on their diet, their vitamin supplements,
whether they are eating greens and/or fruit and how often they receive these items, if they have been stressed recently, if they are breeding
or molting, or if they have been receiving medication in one form or another. There are many reasons their droppings may be off, so it's good
to know what their normal droppings look like before you go into panic mode when they don't look quite right!
I recommend that every new bird be Vet checked by a certified Avian Veterinarian to verify a clean bill of health before you can really decide if
the droppings are normal. Once the bird has been settled and has acclimated to it's new environment and is used to the foods you will be
providing, you can then begin to observe their droppings daily in order to get an idea of what is "perfect poo" or if something could be wrong.
Once you know what their droppings look like you'll become an old pro at knowing when to take your bird to the Vet, and when a Vet trip is not
necessary! The photos below are normal for MY Gouldians on the diets I provide them and in my environment.
|OTHER REASONS THEIR POO MAY BE OFF
|It has been my experience that breeding birds will often have wetter than normal or larger than normal droppings. A hen who broods all day
and night with very few outings from the nest will have very large and smelly poo. Sex hormones can affect the cock bird in the same way
causing his droppings to be a larger than normal and a bit smelly.
Molting birds tend to have "funny" poo too. Some birds come through the molt without any difference in their poo, but some pass softer, less
solid poo while molting. I call them "splats" but monitor these splats as the stress of a molt can lower the immune system allowing problems to
If you give your birds a liquid vitamin supplement that has coloring in it (yellow, pink, or orange for example), chances are the urine portion -
the wet stuff - around their droppings may be yellowish on the days you give the supplement. This is normal as the bird does not absorb the
coloring and passes it out in its droppings.
Birds who have been moved or startled may have wet poo for a few hours, or even a day or so. Stress in any form can throw their system off
and cause them to produce wetter than normal droppings.
|If you own a microscope and are willing to do your own fecal smears, you could potentially save yourself heartache when your bird's droppings
are off. Fecal smears can show anything from parasites to bacterial infections - or merely normal poo! It should be noted that all droppings
will carry some "normal" bacteria and it will be seen moving in the background of a smear. Brownian motion will also set the slide in motion
(explained on the microscope pages). However, the shape and size of the bacteria can tell you a lot! Parasites such as worms and protozoa
can also be seen under the scope.
If you have a very large flock, as I do, you may find performing your own fecal smears very beneficial in maintaining the health of your birds. It
takes a lot of practice to get to know what you are looking at and for, but learning how to create a smear and what to look for can save your
birds life! As always, if you think your bird is sick and are not able to determine the problem yourself, take your bird to an Avian Veterinarian!
|Gram stains show good and bad bacteria. If your bird has a bacterial infection, a gram stain will let you know. However, gram stains can be
tricky and if you aren't certain what kind of bacterial infection your bird actually has, you can make matters worse by treating with the wrong
Even after years of practice, gram stains can be problematic if you don't know what you are doing. Over or under coloring or rinsing and
decolorizing can cause your results to be faulty. Some bacteria are gram negative, others are gram positive. There can be both good and bad
bacteria in both gram positive and gram negative results. It takes a trained eye to know the difference.
Here, I am able to grow cultures and perform sensitivity testing to determine the course of action that should be taken to treat my birds, but I
do NOT recommend this to any bird keeper unless they know exactly what they are doing. My protocols are very strict and all biologically
hazardous materials are sterilized and disposed of in bio-hazard containers. The stains I use require a chemical hood and are handled with
If you suspect your bird has a bacterial infection, ask your Avian Vet to run some gram stains. Based on the results, they will then run cultures
to determine which type of bacteria is affecting your bird and prescribe the correct antibiotic to correct the problem.
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|USING A MICROSCOPE & PERFORMING GRAM STAINS
|For those of you who keep very large flocks, a microscope and gram stain equipment can come in very handy. It takes years of practice to
know what you are looking for and at, but the time will be very well spent.
Head to the Using a Microscope page for more information - simple techniques and tips on how to get the most from your scope viewing
experience and basic instructions on how to perform and read a gram stain! The pages are still under extreme construction, but should be
|DISCLAIMER: This information, photos and all results are from my personal experience only. They are in no way
meant to be used as a diagnostic tool and may differ from your own birds droppings even with the same issue. If you
think your bird is sick, take it to your Avian Vet immediately!
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|Normal Gouldian Poop on
a Seed & Chitted Seed
|Normal Gouldian Poop
on a Seed & Water
|Normal droppings for YOUR birds may look very different!
Please use these photos as a guideline only. Chances are
your diet differs or you are feeding different foods or
Your flocks droppings will most likely look somewhat
different than mine!
|E.coli and Blood
|Severe Yeast & E.coli
|Severe Megabacteria (AGY) resulting
in death of a Gouldian
|professional diagnosis. Doing so could make matters worse or even kill your bird. While initial treatment of the wrong
medication may initially produces signs of recovery, chances are the bird will not fully recover and could end up with damaged
internal organs or chronic conditions.