Pikachu the cockatiel will not relieve himself in his cage

White face Pearl Grey cockatiel on mans shoulder
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Hello Mitch,

Here’s my problem

Pikachu the cockatiel will not relieve himself in his cage.

He is usually out with us when we are home, and even insists on sleeping on me; but if we need to go out, he is caged for his safety.

However, if we are gone for the day, he will not poop.

He will wait until we let him out of the cage and make a humongous turd.

Should I be worried about this? Is it normal? I know we spoil him, and he is very attached to us, but I hate to see him suffer because of it.


well anonymous

You are actually lucky because unfortunately many birds will poop where they eat and sleep but yours does not.

In cases where birds do poop in these places is often because their cage is too small or the arrangement of perches and toys is not carefully thought out.  

No bird poops while it sleeps. This results in that the first poop of any morning being really ginormous.

This does not harm the birds, it is nature.

It prevents it falling on other birds in the same tree or giving away the location of roosting places to predators in the wild.

Your bird is doing the same as the natural instinct imposes, only adding any cage time into the mix of times not to poop.

Think of it as how humans don’t “go” at inappropriate times, like during sleep, but we really have to go badly on waking — hence the evolution of the two and three bathroom house (j/k).

I have to wonder how large his cage happens to be because he clearly will not poop near where he sleeps or eats.

Usually cage size would be compensated for by the amount of time he is out of the cage but since he refuses to poop anywhere in the cage perhaps a larger cage would help him feel he had a spot to go without contaminating his home.

Also, keeping the cage fastidiously clean is especially important to this type of bird, since being near his own potty area clearly bothers him.

My first sun conure, SunDance, refused to poop where she lived even though her cage was large and someone was always home with her.

Plus she would not leave her cage when she was alone because someone wasn’t in her immediate sight.

We left her door turned into a “porch” and she would only poop on her porch so that it fell onto newspaper on the floor that was refreshed daily.

I also once had a super-fastidious budgie.

I kept her cage papers changed out daily with fresh cage liner yet during the day she would remove any poop once it hardened a bit, take it to the opened door and drop it to the floor paper.

She never tried to eat it, just removed it from her clean home. The only solution I found was to change her papers twice per day so the poop didn’t have time to become firm enough for her to pick up.

Also published on Medium.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.