Poop is a Many Splendor’d Thing

One of the first things I ever learned when I started keeping birds was how to look at their poop for signs of illness. Because bird poo contains everything in one drop, you have a pretty complete panel for finding clues. Birds hate to show any illness or weakness, because their flock might abandon them and predators will watch them. So long-time aviculturists learned other ways to track symptoms. http://beautyofbirds.com/poopology.html

While I randomly check my birds for these signs, sometimes I have no choice. Especially with lovebirds. Jake loves to be on my shoulder, and always leaves me a little token of his esteem. You would think that larger birds would be less fun to have poop on you, but it’s really different. Maynard only poops about every hour or so. And he makes a squeeze noise beforehand. I can usually move him or get out of the way. The worst is when he has floor walking privileges and leaves droppings so he can find his way home again. Stepping barefoot on one of those bombs is more than a trifle unpleasant.

Some very enterprising bird behaviorists have figured out how to train a parrot to poop on command. How awesome is that? I always expected Sunny (my second and most loving sun conure) of having been trained. She almost never pooped on me. And if I lost track of time and had her with me for more than a couple hours, it was my own fault and I deserved it.

How, you might ask, does one train a bird to poop on command? With patience, commitment, and positive rewards (it says here). http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=15+1795&aid=2997 Personally, I think I will stick to wearing bird shirts that are okay to be chewed up or shat upon.

Why not just put a diaper on your parrot? I heard many years ago that those diapers and similar things annoy parrots and cause them to hold in things that are not good for them to hold in. It might cause lots of physical problems, which result in medical expense for you. Well, it seems that is no longer the case. The new flight suits with poop pouch don’t put any pressure on your bird’s vent, so they poop freely when wearing it. http://www.flightquarters.com/

But there is a little issue with your bird not taking to it at all, and even turning against you if you keep trying to play dress-up. Know your bird’s stress level and limitations.

And by the way, baby lovebirds poop a lot, all the time. I am so astonished at what’s coming out of little Fin’s behind. Hopefully when he is fully weaned, he’ll poop less often and more solidly.

Thanks for reading, I should be back on Sunday. I may be late, so just be patient. Thanks!

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