So let’s talk about poop:-) What got me thinking about the topic is a recent e-mail from a customer considering buying an HQ bird cage. She bought a Molucaan Cockatoo from a pet shop 16 years ago. She’s been shopping there for 16 years and last year bought a dome top birdcage from them.
After one year the bottom tray of the cage had started rusting out. She talked about having bought all of her supplies from this particular pet shop including walnut shells which are used as bedding in the bottom of the cage. She wasn’t sure of the make of the cage.
The e-mail went on to question our policies and warranties on bird cages because the pet shop was not going to provide any renumeration on the rusted tray. That’s a whole other subject (bird cage maintenance) but it got me thinking about the Walnut shells and the rusted tray.
We have always been strong proponents of using newspaper (or paper of some sort) as a liner for bird cage trays. It’s cheap, it’s plentiful and it’s easy to dispose of. We have seen rolls of brown wrapping paper that been used. We know of people that go to their local newspaper publisher who will give them the cores of the newsprint rolls for free. If allergens are in issue you can even consider T3 antimicrobial paper from Prevue Pet
We have a problem with bedding, actually a couple. First of all it (bedding) retains moisture and in the case of birds, the moisture is uric acid as in acid. Acid will eat through the best powder coating and eventually the metal of the strongest of bird cages.
Second – it (bedding) hides the poop which is something that you need to watch a regular basis – which we’ll get to in a minute. It can also hide all sorts of infestations, parasites and other critters. Paper that is changed daily, solves these issues.
Now we’re not advocating that you analyze every dropping your bird produces but we want you to be aware of certain factors which can be indicators of ill health. Bird poop has three parts, the stool, urine, and uric acid. A change in the property of any of these three items -stool (or feces), the solid part – urine and uric acid (urates) – may indicate that your bird is sick.
The stool comes directly from the digestive tract and is the greenish blob you see. It’s color is affected by diet, change the diet and the stool changes color. Blueberries can turn the stool purple. Artificial colors in some diets can change the color of the stool too. What you really want to look for is if the stool becomes black and suddenly emits strong odor, this would be a warning sign of illness.
Urine is basically clear and is the watery part of poop that comes from your birds kidneys. If your bird drinks more water the droppings will be looser. Dry foods should produce drier poop. If you see unusually large amounts of water in the droppings making the poop very loose – this could be an indication of an illness.