7 Intriguing Reasons Why Budgies Eat Their Poop

Last updated on February 5th, 2024 at 10:36 pm

Written by Isra P

Trying to understand why budgies eat their poop is mind-boggling. If you think about it, it’s hard to come up with any reasonable explanation for why our feathered friends decide to partake in such a disturbing activity. However, they do it for several reasons, even though we, as human beings, may not agree with them.

Budgies eat their poop if they are malnourished, bored, stressed, or sick. They may also do it when their poop is sweet, their cage is dirty or simply to imitate their fellow flock members. When budgies consume their poop, it’s usually a sign that something is not right. So it’s crucial to watch them and determine if their behavior results from a serious problem or just wanting to fit in.

Of course, once you know what motivates them, it’s up to you to solve the problem. If your pets have a dire need for something you are not providing, you’d better deliver, or things might get out of control faster than you can imagine. So here are the typical reasons that compel budgies to eat poop.

Now that you have noticed that your winged companions have a bit of a weird habit, which is consuming their own feces, also known as coprophagia, you have to understand why that is happening (reference). You may not like it, but there are valid scientific explanations for the behavior even though it’s, well… strange.

why budgies eat their poop

1. Malnutrition

In my experience, a nutrient deficiency or malnutrition is easily the number one factor that leads budgies to eat their poop.

My pets have done it in the past, and yeah, one or two vitamins absent from their diet can trigger the behavior.

Think about it. All nutrients have a role to play in a budgie’s body, and missing any of them can be devastating to their health in the long term.

What they are trying to achieve by consuming their droppings is to scrape every vitamin, mineral, or amino acid that might have eluded them the first time they ate their food. In other words, they are on a quest for extra nutrients.

Instinctively, they know that something good should still be there, which is why they might take such drastic measures.

2. Lack of Excitement

Budgies get easily bored, and one of the simplest ways they amuse themselves is by foraging, which they do in their native land. However, inside a cage, their options are limited. If at some point, they find themselves with nothing to do, they may decide to forage poop as a form of entertainment.

We have to agree that it isn’t exactly the ideal way to pass the time, but given their choices is one that they might pick if everything else fails.

3. Stress

Stress can make your budgies do unthinkable things like consuming poop. Like people who grind their teeth or bite their fingernails when under duress, our pets search for droppings to feel at ease.

Why does that happen? For starters, as budgies get stressed, their metabolism and nervous system get accelerated. When that occurs, their bodies burn calories and nutrients like crazy (research). All that means they need more nutrient-dense food under such circumstances.

Strangely, stressed budgies excrete in their poop many more water-soluble vitamins and minerals than they normally would. Potassium, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B and C are a sample of all that goes into poop. Our pets know this well and won’t miss the chance to partake in a poop meal in a desperate attempt to keep their bodies working.

4. Hygiene

It’s all about keeping things tidy. Some budgies can be neat freaks, and they will go to great lengths to clean up their mess to ensure their living space is spotless, even if that means chowing down feces to prevent waste build up, which means they really like hygiene!

5. Sickness

Certain health conditions might cause your pet to ingest poop as a solution. It’s rare for that to happen, but it does occur.

6. Fruity Poop

A budgie that is fed sweet fruits almost exclusively can develop the habit of looking for any sugary treat it can find. Often, it turns out to be poop.

Bananas, strawberries, apples, or papayas, when given in large amounts, may cause budgies to have high sugar in their blood and poop! This can also lead to a lack of nutrients and the dreadful habit of searching for sweet poop.

You see, your pets’ droppings usually contain traces of their meals, and when they perceive the scent they are in love with, they might go as far as eating feces just to savor that delicious snack again.

7. Imitation

Sometimes, budgies could learn this poop-eating habit from their peers. At first, they might not care about it, but as soon as one budgie begins the trend, others will follow.

They will get curious and won’t want to feel left out. So to strengthen the bonds with their flock members, they will go as far as eating poop to join the club.

What can Happen if a Budgie Eats its Poop?

Okay, so we’ve talked about why budgies might eat their own poop, but what happens if they go overboard with this… interesting behavior? Let’s dive in.

First off, poop is not pretty or a delicacy. But more than just being unappetizing, eating poop can actually be dangerous for our little feathered friends.

If the poop is contaminated with harmful bacteria, fungi, or parasites, the bird can get sick. Naturally, nobody wants that, not even the budgie.

Plus, overeating poop can also lead to a buildup of toxins in their system. Sure, poop contains nutrients that didn’t get fully absorbed the first time around, but it also has undigested or partially digested food that can ferment and produce harmful compounds.

And let’s remember the nutrition aspect. If a budgie is scarfing down poop instead of a balanced diet, it could lack the key nutrients needed to stay healthy.

It’s like trying to survive on junk food all the time -it might taste good at the moment, but it’s not gonna do you any favors in the long run.

So, if you notice your budgie going a little too crazy with the poop-eating or having any digestive issues, it’s best to bring them to an avian vet.

How to Stop Budgies From Ingesting Poop

Okay, so we’ve established that budgies eating their poop isn’t the most pleasant behavior.

But how can we get them to stop without completely losing our minds? It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s doable. Here are some tips that can make it happen.

Feed Them Well

Next, it’s critical to make sure your budgies are getting a balanced and nutritious diet. So, what is a good diet for them?

Well, they need from 60% to 80% pellets to get most of their vitamins (source). The rest should consist of fruits, veggies, and a tiny amount of seeds, so they don’t feel the need to recycle nutrients from their poop. Because let’s face it, nobody wants to eat the same thing all the time – even budgies!

pellets for birds

If your budgies are still determined to get that poop even while on a pelleted diet, there’s a chance they require minerals as well, which can be solved with a cuttlebone and mineral block attached to their cage.

Provide Entertainment

Of course, keeping your budgies physically and mentally stimulated is also important. Give them plenty of toys and opportunities to play and exercise so that they’re not bored and seek out poop-eating as a form of entertainment.

Given their inclination to destroy everything they see, offer wood and other natural materials they can focus on without harming themselves.

Wood toy for budgies

Swings, bridges, ladders, and sticks can grab your pet’s attention long enough for them to forget about eating poop. You may also offer puzzles they must solve to get snacks.

It might seem strange, but sometimes you just need something to occupy their mind!

Offer Relaxation

We want our budgies to have a good time. So we must get rid of all elements that can be a source of distress for them. Nearby predators, uncomfortable temperatures, loud noises, unwanted food, threatening objects, and people they dislike can all upset a budgie to the point of eating poop.

If we can’t eliminate all possible triggers, we must put them at ease as much as possible. Talk to them softly, spend time with them, play some music, or get new toys to make them unwind. Use whatever means you have to put their minds at ease.

Keep Their Cage Clean

First off, cleanliness is vital. Ensure you keep the budgies’ cages and surrounding area clean so there’s less opportunity for them to munch on their feces. Food and water containers, perches, toys, cage bars, and liners should be washed weekly or bi-monthly to avoid poop accumulation.

Watch Them Carefully

Once you have ruled out all normal culprits, such as a nutrient deficiency, boredom, stress, or untidiness, you may have to consider that a disease may cause your budgie to eat poop.

If that is the case, you will see other signs accompanying a budgie’s illness, such as remaining puffed up for a long time or being unwilling to do anything. Again, calling an avian vet is your best bet when that happens (resource).

Balance Their Meals

Eliminating fruity poop is as easy as giving your budgie the right food. Pellets, followed by veggies and not fruits, should be the foundation of their nutrition.

Once you do that, your budgie won’t have a reason to pursue sweet poop anymore.

Train Your Pets

You might need to resort to tough love if they’re still going at it. When you catch your budgie chowing down on some poop, say “no” in your firmest voice and make sure they get that you mean it. Over time, they’ll understand that this behavior isn’t acceptable.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know why budgies get the troublesome habit of eating poop and what you can do to deal with the problem, it’s time to act. If all else fails, it’s best to take them to an avian vet.

They can help you figure out if there’s an underlying problem causing the behavior and may have additional tips on how to stop it. And remember, with a bit of patience and perseverance, your budgie can kick this habit and be on its way to a healthier, happier life.

He is the leading creator of featheredbuddies.com, a website dedicated to helping bird owners. For many years, Isra P has cared for budgies and other birds to ensure their happiness and well-being. His passion and enthusiasm for them have led him to a quest to find out why birds act the way they do and how to enrich their lives.