Sun Conure in cage

6 Reasons Why Parrots Eat Their Poop (And How To Stop Them)

There can be few things more gross than seeing your beloved parrot have a taste of its own poo.

With all the fresh fruits and healthy vegetables, you offer them, it can be quite confusing why your parrot may choose to eat their own poop instead. 

It is actually a concerning issue for many parrot owners as it directly affects the parrot’s health and well-being. This poop-eating behavior is actually a disorder called coprophagia, where the animal feeds on its own feces for nutrition.

When a parrot eats its own poop it could be for a few different reasons including, nutritional deficiencies, stress, boredom, or natural instincts. It is important to understand why your parrot may develop this issue as it can be indicative of underlying health and behavioral problems that need corrective action.  

In this article, we’ll cover the reasons why parrots engage in this behavior and also tell you the strategies to quickly solve this problem. 

Reasons Why Parrots Eat Their Poop

There are several reasons why parrots eat their poop. Let’s discuss them in detail to better understand this condition: 

Salvaging Undigested Food 

Most of the time when parrots eat fruits, they will be able to digest the flesh part of it. However, the seeds of the fruit often pass through their system undigested. So, sometimes the parrot may attempt to extract the seeds by digging in its own feces. 

This behavior is instinctual, driven by their natural inclination to extract as much nutrition as possible. By consuming the undigested seeds, parrots have another opportunity to absorb the nutrients they may have missed during the initial digestion process.

If your parrot’s diet is more seed-based and contains less soft foods like fruits and vegetables, it is going to lack in nutrition and resort to such an activity. It is not recommended that you give your parrot an all-seed diet because it does have many of the essential vitamins and minerals that they need.

Nutrient Deficiencies 

It is commonly believed that parrots have the ability to know when their diet is lacking essential nutrients. And as a result, they tend to look for these missing nutrients in their poop.

However, parrots droppings don’t contain any real nutrients. It is just bodily waste after all. Eating poop does help to reabsorb some of the nutritional content that was passed through the digestive system previously but it is a negligible amount.    

Playing And Not Eating

Sometimes what we may see might not actually be the case. Parrots can sometimes engage in activities where they might give the impression that they are eating their poop when, in fact, they are simply playing with it.

This behavior can involve tossing, manipulating, or even shredding their droppings. While it may appear puzzling to you, it is important to understand that parrots are curious by nature.

And if they do not find any other way to keep themselves engaged, they may resort to playfully beaking their feces. However, it must be noted that it can be a sign of boredom and if the situation is left unaddressed, it may likely cause the bird to develop poop-eating behavior.  


Boredom can also play a huge role in this behavior. As highly social creatures, parrots need interaction from their owners on a day-to-day basis. It is one of their basic social needs. 

When a parrot lacks proper mental and physical stimulation in their surroundings, they may resort to unhealthy behaviors such as eating their own poop. Parrots may turn to coprophagy as a way to simulate the foraging experience they instinctively crave. 

In the wild, parrots spend a significant amount of time searching for food, using their keen senses and problem-solving abilities to locate and extract nourishment.

If they don’t have such opportunities in their current environment, they can easily get bored and as a result, may start eating their poop. 


A lot of the time stress in parrots is because of boredom. Parrots can be affected by various stressors, such as changes in their environment, lack of stimulation, inadequate social interaction, or even the presence of other aggressive or dominant birds. 

When a parrot experiences stress, it can disrupt its natural living conditions and make it more susceptible to falling into negative emotions. Parrots are more likely to eat their poop when they are stressed. 

Natural Instinct

In the wild, parrots may engage in coprophagy for several reasons. When they consume their droppings, they may be ingesting some of the beneficial bacteria and other microbes that aid in the breakdown of food. 

This process helps maintain healthy gut bacteria, which contributes to optimal digestion.

Some theories suggest that parrots in captivity may do this to keep their surroundings clean. Parrots are often confined to small cages, which does not really allow them to separate their living space from their waste.

By consuming their droppings, parrots may attempt to minimize the buildup of waste in their immediate environment, thereby maintaining a cleaner and healthier lifestyle, or so they think. 

Is It Normal For Parrots To Eat Their Poop?

Coprophagia is not an uncommon occurrence among captive parrots. It may start typically at a younger age but some cases reported also show parrots in adulthood who have developed this condition. However, not all parrots engage in this behavior. In fact, the majority of parrot owners never witness their bird consuming its own poo.  

What Happens If My Parrot Eats His Own Poop?

Eating poop will not cause any immediate harm to your parrot but it can be a cause for concern. It could indicate that your parrot’s diet is possibly lacking in essential nutrients, as they attempt to salvage undigested food from their waste. However, relying on undigested foods in feces as a source of nutrition is not ideal or good for their health.

Moreover, the droppings that are left sitting for an extended period, can become contaminated with other bacteria and parasites and increase problems for your parrot.

In case your parrot shares its cage with other birds, it could possibly mean the parrot has also eaten the feces of a second bird which can cause bacterial infection.

In most cases, this does not have immediate detrimental effects on your parrot’s health but you need to stop this unhealthy behavior before it turns into a destructive habit. It is crucial to address this behavior because it can potentially lead to infections and have fatal consequences for the parrot. 

Parrot looking down at its poop

How To Stop Your Parrot From Eating His Poop?

As with most such issues in parrots, it is not easy for them to let go of their bad habits. But you can work around this one with a simple hack. Follow these easy strategies to keep your parrot from making you throw up: 

Raise The Grate

The most effective way to stop your parrot from eating his own poop is to keep it from reaching the poop.

If you let your parrot have easy access to the bottom of the cage, chances are it will eat his droppings. They can even stretch their claws to the bottom of the cage to grab a piece.  

Most cages have a grate above the poop tray or the base to let the poop fall down. To stop your parrot from accessing its poop, you can simply adjust the grate a little higher so that it doesn’t let them reach the bottom area. It is a fail-safe method that will immediately stop your parrot from engaging in such behaviors. 

In case your parrot’s cage does not have a grate, you can simply use a net over the base of the cage where the droppings are.

The netting may catch some of the poop as it drops so make sure you clean it off regularly before it dries up.

By doing this you may not be able to use as much space in the cage as before, but it is okay if you have only 1 or 2 birds living in that cage.  

Over time your parrot will lose the bad habit and only focus on the healthy stuff. So when think it is the right time, you can lower the grate or remove the netting since it takes up more room for your parrot.  

Clean The Cage More Often 

We know parrots poop a lot. Almost every 10 minutes or so throughout the day. So if you forget to clean their cage, it can very quickly start to look like a turd buffet down there. It is important to ensure that your parrot does not get sight of its feces. 

Granted, it might not be possible to clean the cage every time your parrot uses the loo. But you can keep the litter from piling up. Cleaning the cage 2 twice a day would be enough to prevent any substantial build-up. So when a parrot does not see its poop lying around anywhere, it would be less likely to think about putting it in its mouth. 

Provide A Balanced Diet

Experts theorize that poop-eating can be a result of improper nutrition. So a proper diet plays a vital role in addressing this issue.

By providing a nutritionally balanced diet that meets the specific dietary requirements of your parrot, you can help reduce the likelihood of coprophagy. 

Ensure that your parrot’s diet is nutritionally complete and meets its specific dietary requirements. A healthy diet for parrots may look something like this – fresh fruits, vegetables, high-quality pellets, some seeds, and nuts. These have all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and proteins to satisfy their daily needs. 

It is also a good idea to consult with an avian vet or an avian nutritionist. They can provide guidance on the right types of food and appropriate portions and also suggest the necessary supplements if needed for your parrot. 

Increase Time Out Of Cage

Staying caged inside a small space most of the time can become a cause of frustration for parrots. Parrots are highly sociable and intelligent animals that thrive on communication with their flock or family members. So a room full of toys isn’t always enough to keep them mentally active.

You should let your bird out of the cage more often and spend time with it, whether it is playing games, trick-training sessions, or a little workout to release the extra energy.

And don’t worry about your parrot pooping everywhere around the house. Potty training your parrot can be another way for you to interact and bond with your bird.  

Encourage Foraging 

Foraging plays a crucial role in minimizing negative behaviors in parrots and promoting a natural way of living for them.

Parrots are natural foragers, spending a significant amount of time in the wild searching for food and engaging in their surroundings.

When parrots lack opportunities to satisfy their instinctual foraging needs, they may get irritated and pick up undesirable behaviors such as coprophagy.

By incorporating foraging into their daily routine, you can redirect their natural instincts and provide them with mental and physical stimulation.

Introducing foraging toys and puzzles inside a parrot’s cage can be highly effective in removing negative habits.

Not only this, but it also satisfies their need for exploration and promotes a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. Foraging encourages physical activity, reduces boredom, and allows parrots to engage in natural behaviors.

Final Thoughts

Poop-eating parrots can be a concerning issue for many pet parents. And it is indeed a serious problem. However, the solution you’re looking for always comes down to providing your pal with an enriching experience with you. I had this problem with my cockatiel who was 2 years old.

At the time it developed this condition, it just refused to eat any vegetables. All it ate was some fruit and pellets, which could have triggered the problem. Having knowledge of the issue, I did not let it exacerbate further. While the feces were easily taken care of, I did have to consult with an avian vet about its selective eating habits. Parrots should primarily get their nutrients from a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, pellets, and, if necessary, additional supplements.

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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