Why Do Cockatiels Eat Their Poop

Why Do Cockatiels Eat Their Poop?

Cockatiels are charming and intelligent birds that make wonderful pets. However, there is one peculiar behavior that may puzzle their owners: the act of eating their own poop. While this behavior may seem unappealing, it is actually quite common among cockatiels and serves several purposes. Here are some reasons why cockatiels engage in this behavior:

1. Nutrient absorption: Cockatiels have a unique digestive system that allows them to extract as many nutrients as possible from their food. By consuming their droppings, they have the opportunity to reabsorb any undigested nutrients, ensuring they don’t go to waste.

2. Gut health: Cockatiels have a high fiber diet consisting of seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Consuming their droppings helps introduce beneficial gut bacteria, aiding in digestion and maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

3. Mimicking parental behavior: In the wild, parent birds consume feces to keep the nest clean and prevent predators from detecting their presence. Captive cockatiels may exhibit this behavior as a natural instinct, even without a nest to maintain.

4. Coprophagy as a social behavior: Cockatiels are social creatures and may engage in coprophagy as a form of bonding or imitation. If one bird sees another eating its droppings, it may mimic the behavior as a sign of friendship or camaraderie.

5. Boredom or stress: In some cases, cockatiels may eat their droppings out of boredom or as a coping mechanism for stress. Providing them with mental stimulation and a stimulating environment can mitigate this behavior.

6. Nutritional deficiencies: Cockatiels may resort to eating their droppings if they lack certain nutrients in their diet. Ensuring a balanced and varied diet can help prevent this behavior.

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7. Habitual behavior: Sometimes, cockatiels develop the habit of eating their droppings, which can be challenging to break. Consistent training, positive reinforcement, and offering alternative distractions can help redirect this behavior.


1. Is it normal for cockatiels to eat their poop?
Yes, it is a common behavior among cockatiels and serves several purposes.

2. Can eating poop harm my cockatiel?
Generally, eating their droppings is not harmful to cockatiels, but it is essential to ensure they have a balanced diet and a clean living environment.

3. How can I prevent my cockatiel from eating poop?
By providing a nutritious diet, mental stimulation, and a clean environment, you can reduce the likelihood of this behavior.

4. Should I be concerned if my cockatiel eats poop excessively?
If your cockatiel excessively eats its droppings, it may indicate an underlying health issue, and it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

5. Can this behavior be unlearned?
With consistent training, positive reinforcement, and providing alternative distractions, this behavior can be redirected.

6. Does eating poop indicate a lack of nutrients?
In some cases, it may indicate nutritional deficiencies, but a varied and balanced diet can help prevent this behavior.

7. Is it contagious for humans?
No, humans are not at risk of contracting any diseases from a cockatiel eating its own droppings.

Understanding why cockatiels eat their poop can help owners provide appropriate care and take necessary steps to prevent any potential health concerns.