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Why Your Cockatiels Poop Smells Bad!

Keeping birds as pets is slowly increasing in popularity as more and more people add a feathered friend to their family and the cockatiel has been ranked one of the top three birds to keep as a pet in North America and Europe for over a decade now.

Due to being one of the more commonly kept pet bird species in the areas the majority of our readers live, we have noticed a number of questions from the community with a recent spike in people asking why their cockatiels poop smells bad.

If your cockatiels poop smells bad then this is a clear indication that there is a problem with your cockatiel that needs to be addressed as smelly poop is not normal in the species.

The most common cause of smelly cockatiel poop is due to a bacterial infection that is usually easy to treat, less common causes include fungal and parasitic infections as well as a poor diet with these being easy to fix too.

In some cases, you will still have to get a vet involved to get the correct medication required for your cockatiel though and you can often save some money by using an online video call veterinary service.

If your cockatiels poop smells bad and has a mustard color then you really do have to get a vet involved as soon as possible as this could be due to a bile issue in the bird caused by a tumor and the sooner you catch it, the higher chances of your cockatiel surviving.

Is It Normal For Cockatiel Poop To Smell Bad?

It is not normal for a cockatiels poop to smell bad and smelly poop is one of the earliest and easiest to notice signs that there is something wrong with the bird.

You should always start treatment as soon as possible as problems due to tumors and infections can quickly get out of hand and potentially result in the bird dying for something that could have been easy to treat only weeks earlier.

When it comes to a cockatiel having smelly poop due to its diet, this is almost always due to the bird being fed a low quality pellet based bird food.

Even some of the pellet foods on the market with a good reputation are not as good as they suggest with their nutritional profiles often being much lower than what your bird actually requires in its diet.

Thankfully, problems with your cockatiels diet causing its poop to smell are usually very easy to fix and simply switching to a high-quality cockatiel food with seeds may be enough to get your birds poop smelling normal again.

If you do have to use a pellet based food, always look for one that’s main ingredient is different types of seed rather than other ingredients as the macronutrient ratios for seed based pellets are much close to what a cockatiel requires.

What Causes Cockatiel Poop To Smell Bad?

The most common cause of smelly cockatiel poop is definitely bacterial infections but thankfully, these are also one of the easiest problems to fix.

Fungal and parasitic infections are less common but still almost as easy to fix with problems in your bird’s diet being slightly less common again but usually very easy to fix.

All of these are due to the natural gut bacteria in your cockatiels stomach being out of whack for the various reasons resulting in problems with digestion and smelly poop.

Unfortunately, there is one cause of smelly poop in cockatiels that is often lethal even if you do catch it early and that’s tumors in the digestive system of your bird.

Even small tumors can be problematic to treat due to the small size of a cockatiel often presenting serious health problems.

For everything else, you can usually just use an antibiotic, antifungal or antiparasitic medication or just switch the diet of your bird.

If you are struggling with a diagnosis, you can book a video call with a vet to have them assess your bird’s health to get a professional opinion though.

Should I Be Worried If My Cockatiel Poop Smells Bad?

For the most part, there is no need to worry if your cockatiels poop smells bad as the majority of cockatiels that do have smelly poop will make a full recovery within a couple of weeks of having the correct treatment.

Even though your bird has a high chance of surviving, it is important that you do start treatment as soon as possible though as every day a condition is left to develop is a day it gets harder to treat.

The most serious issue is tumors as we mentioned above and this will often have other side effects with the most obvious one being mustard yellow poop colors giving you an obvious indication that something is seriously wrong with your pet cockatiel.

Blood in your cockatiels poop is another serious indication but blood in the poop of your cockatiel may smell bad or not smell at all.


That brings our article going over why your cockatiels poop smells bad and how you are able to fix it to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the common problems that can change the smell of your cockatiels poop. Although this does tend to be a rare problem, the more common causes are thankfully all very easy to treat and it is very likely that your cockatiel will be fine in time.