Constipation makes it difficult to pass feces; therefore, the frequency of waste production decreases. Cockatiels usually go to the bathroom every 15 to 30 minutes, so it’s easy to tell when your cockatiel has signs of constipation. But, do cockatiels get constipated?
Cockatiels usually get constipated when they don’t get enough soluble fiber, oil, or water. As a result of the hard, dry, and lumpy stools, bowel movements are slow and uncomfortable.
Most constipated cockatiels experience inappetence and withdraw from social activities. Some cockatiels also get angry and sometimes hurt themselves, like by pulling out their feathers.
How To Tell If A Cockatiel Is Constipated
As mentioned, the most obvious symptom of a constipated cockatiel is a lack of droppings at the bottom of the cage. A cockatiel usually poops 18–30 times per day, even while napping and sleeping.
Even if a cockatiel is constipated, it will still sometimes poop, but it will do so much less often than usual, and the poop it does make will be very dry and hard.
The most common cockatiel constipation symptoms include:
- Straining when attempting to pass feces: If your cockatiel is straining to pass feces, this is a clear sign of constipation. You will know your cockatiel is straining if it takes much longer to poop than normal.
- Lethargy: When a cockatiel gets constipated it won’t want to play because it feels lethargic.
- Fluffed-up feathers: Fluffed-up feathers have various explanations. Typically, it signifies that the temperature is excessively hot or cold. An overheated cockatiel may well be dehydrated, and dehydration is a cause of constipation.
- Agitated behaviors: If cockatiels get constipated they won’t want to be petted, especially on their back feathers. If your cockatiel is nipping and biting more than usual, this impatience could be due to constipation.
- Refusing food: Another sign of constipation in cockatiels is food refusal (anorexia). According to VCA hospitals, birds may refuse food for medical reasons. In any case, appetite loss should be examined, especially if other symptoms are present.
- Reduced vocalization: Cockatiel vocalization when straining signifies cloacolith. Colacoliths are obstructions that prevent your cockatiel from passing poop properly.
If you notice a sudden change in how often your cockatiel poops, look for changes in its attitude and behavior. A happy and healthy cockatiel always has an active digestive tract.
Why Is My Cockatiel Not Pooping?
Constipation means that a cockatiel can’t poop easily, but it’s not the only reason cockatiels stop pooping. Therefore, you must identify the root cause, as each problem has a unique treatment.
Here are the most common reasons why cockatiels can’t poop:
Not enough food
If you have suddenly noticed that your cockatiel isn’t pooping, the chances are it’s not eating enough.
Without adequate food to digest, it cannot create feces. Fortunately, this problem can be fixed, though, by giving a cockatiel a lot of fiber-rich food and clean water.
Cockatiels are normally voracious eaters and will feed nearly constantly when given the opportunity. If your cockatiel isn’t pooping, don’t ration its food and allow it to free-feed.
Lack of appetite
A cockatiel’s fast-paced metabolism is reliant on regular food consumption. When a cockatiel eats, the food is broken down in the stomach and then ground up in the gizzard. The waste is then passed out of the body.
If your cockatiel is sick, depressed, scared, or dealing with a physical or psychological issue, it may lose its appetite. Similar to not consuming enough food, a lack of nutrition decreases excrement production.
If your cockatiel shares a cage with a conspecific, it may be the victim of bullying by a territorial bird that refuses to share food. If there are any signs of aggression, separate the two cockatiels.
Lacking fiber and oil
According to Behavioral Ecology, cockatiels sometimes prefer seeds over other foods. This will lead to a diet that doesn’t have enough nutrients, which could cause many problems, including constipation.
An excess of fat can produce diarrhea, whereas an excess of protein might cause constipation. Seeds can provide a cockatiel with appropriate nutrients when offered in moderation.
If your cockatiel’s diet lacks fiber or contains the wrong kind of fiber, its stools will be so hard, dry, and lumpy that they are near impossible to pass. The same applies when a cockatiel is dehydrated.
The best way to fix this problem is to give your cockatiel more foods with soluble fiber, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Fibers make the uninterrupted passage of waste easier.
Ensure your cockatiel consumes some seeds (pumpkin, flax, etc.) because they are rich in oil and fat.
Lack of water
Cockatiels need to drink regularly to maintain healthy bowel movements. The average cockatiel will drink about a teaspoon of water every day, but it will do so in several small amounts.
If your cockatiel isn’t getting enough water, its waste won’t have enough moisture and will become harder and harder to pass, which could lead to constipation.
Provide plenty of water, including hydrating snacks, and ensure your cockatiel isn’t too hot. An ambient room temperature of 75°F is optimal for a cockatiel, and anything above 85°F is too hot.
Female cockatiels can lay unfertilized eggs even if a male isn’t present. So if you have a lone cockatiel, don’t rule out the possibility that it’s gravid (carrying eggs). Cockatiels don’t technically get pregnant.
A female cockatiel struggling to lay an egg may be egg-bound (dystocia), which suggests the eggshell is too weak and the egg too misshapen to lay, so it’s trapped inside the body.
A cockatiel’s eggs leave through the vent, which also releases their feces, an egg may leave a cockatiel unable to poop until the egg has exited the body or been removed by a veterinarian.
The cockatiel’s digestive system can break down most foods and ensure they pass through the tract.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on the other hand, says that some foreign objects can block the digestive tract.
This issue arises when a cockatiel ingests small stones or something it can’t break down. If this happens, the solid object gets stuck in the intestine and doesn’t let food into the digestive system.
If a cockatiel’s gut is blocked, it can’t digest food and will probably throw up anything it tries to eat. This widespread lack of nutrients will soon become lethal, so the obstruction must be eliminated.
Using laxatives and oral lubricants, certain foreign items can be passed off as waste. Others must be manually extracted from the body through endoscopy by a veterinarian.
Dirty Bottom (Clumped poop)
If your cockatiel has a gastrointestinal virus, it will likely get diarrhea, or polyuria, which is the opposite of constipation. If your cockatiel can’t control its bowels, it will release wet and messy stools.
However, if you don’t clean your cockatiel’s bottom after diarrhea, waste will dry and clump, so the vent can become blocked. If so you will need to clean the vent so your cockatiel can pass waste as normal again.
Cleaning a cockatiel’s rear is a delicate process, so follow these steps:
- Run a warm water source. Avoid skin irritation by using perfumed shampoos and soaps.
- Soak a cotton ball or pad in this water.
- Apply a moist cotton ball to the stained area.
- Keep replacing the cutting until the area is clean.
- Dab the cockatiel dry with a soft cloth.
If the staining is stubborn, bathe your cockatiel in warm water. Don’t wait for the poop to fall away. Avian Diseases says that birds can get flystrike because bugs like to hang out on dirty bottoms.
See also: What Color Should Cockatiel Poop Be?
What To Do If Your Cockatiel Is Constipated?
You must get your cockatiel’s digestive tract moving to relieve discomfort and minimize risk. Beyond this, identify why your cockatiel struggling to eliminate, so constipation doesn’t become an ongoing concern.
If vet intervention isn’t required, relieve your cockatiel’s gastric discomfort by giving it some vegetable oil (virgin olive oil), which is a natural laxative.
Place a teaspoon of vegetable oil into a syringe and offer your cockatiel a few drops. If the cockatiel is reluctant to swallow the oil or the constipation is causing visible pain, put the oil into the cloaca.
You will need to hold your cockatiel upside-down for a few minutes to allow the oil to flow into the cloaca and work as a lubricant. This is likely to be upsetting; therefore, oral consumption is encouraged.
Cockatiels eat whatever is available to them in their surroundings without giving much thought to the benefits and after-effects of the food.
In most cases, cockatiels get constipated due to wrong eating habits or less moisture content in their intestines. Even pet cockatiels can get constipated if the owners do not feed them a proper and balanced diet.
Constipation is common in cockatiels and can be treated easily with proper medical attention. Food rich in dietary fiber, oil, and water content can help in keeping constipation away.