Home » Do Parrots Make A Mess? [Dropped Food, Poop, Dust + Feathers]
are parrots messy pets?

Do Parrots Make A Mess? [Dropped Food, Poop, Dust + Feathers]

(Last Updated On: November 20, 2022)

Parrots spend hours cleaning, bathing, grooming, and preening their feathers. Unfortunately, parrots drop food and items everywhere. So, most new owners are surprised by how much mess parrots make.

Parrots are messy birds because they use their beaks and feet for everything, lacking precision when handling objects, food, or washing. This means they destroy items, scatter food, and splash water everywhere. Large breeds of parrots are even more prone to messy eating.

While small breeds usually create smaller messes, they aren’t tidy. So, you’ll need to clean your parrot’s cage at least once a week. During molting season, you must tidy up feathers and parrot dust daily. 

Are Parrots Messy Pets?

Parrots are messy animals, especially when confined to their cage. You may find seeds, feathers, poop, and toys scattered anywhere your parrot has been.

Naturally Untidy

As wild parrots live high up in trees, all seeds, feathers, and poop fall away from their nests. Parrots are accustomed to a wide and varied territory that may stretch miles at a time.

Also, parrot waste and dropped food benefit other animals and the ecosystem.

According to Ecology and Evolution, parrots don’t defecate seeds capable of growing into plants, but their biology still contributes to the environment.

Feathers, poop, and food can feed other creatures, fertilize the soil, and be used in bird nests.

Lack Precision

Parrots don’t have hands and fingers, so it’s not easy for them to pick up food and put it in their beak. Parrots rely on their beaks and feet to:

  • Transfer food from foot to beak
  • Crack open un-shelled nuts
  • Drink water
  • Preen their feathers
  • Bathe themselves

Due to the sizable gap between their mouths and feet, things get dropped. According to Watchbird, parrots display impressive precision with their beaks.

However, this process just involves picking up food, cracking it, and eating it. There’s no need to waste time and energy putting leftover shells in a neat pile.

Bathing is also a messy process. According to Applied Animal Behaviour Science, parrots bathe less when exposed to sources like waterfalls, which can douse them more easily.

This practice isn’t possible in a cage with a water bowl. Instead, it demands that the parrot:

  • Physically dips itself in water.
  • Thrashes from side to side and ruffles its feathers to coat itself in water.
  • It shakes its body dry.

Parrots may be agile and dexterous, but not in these ways.

Do Parrots Make A Mess?

Are Certain Parrot Breeds Messier Than Others?

Some parrot species are messier for the following reason:

  • Strength
  • Beak size
  • Waste production
  • Food consumption
  • Playfulness
  • Personality

So, bigger parrots like macaws are messier because they:

  • Have a large beak, allowing more seeds to fall out.
  • Eat more food so that the mess accumulates sooner.
  • Are stronger and can tear apart toys and cuttlebones easily.
  • Produce more waste, so cages must be cleaned more often.
  • Produce more dust and molt larger feathers.

Smaller parrots, like lovebirds and budgies, keep their space tidier.

Why Is My Parrot So Messy?

Aside from breed, personality determines if your parrot is messy. Some birds will be more carefree, scattering seeds all around their cage. Some factors may cause your parrot to be messier:

  • The cage is unclean. A parrot that’s stressed by its unhygienic environment will make more mess.
  • Emotional distress. Parrots that are angry, depressed, or lonely may grow destructive.
  • Sickness. Parrots with digestive issues may defecate more often.
  • Scared. Parrots new to your home may eat more carefully or messily.

So, if your parrot is suddenly messier, check its environment and mood.

What Messes Do Parrots Make?

Common sources of parrot mess include the following:


Parrots shed feathers, especially when they’re molting. Molting is a process where a parrot sheds its old, worn-out feathers to grow new ones. It happens 1-3 times yearly and continues for 8-12 weeks.

During this time, parrots shed their feathers and produce dust. They won’t be picky about where debris lands, as it would be swept away by the wind or fall from the trees.


Unless toilet trained, parrots defecate everywhere and often.

Worse still, parrot feces aren’t solid and have no discernible shape. Parrots’ waste is watery and will splatter. Then, it’ll dry quickly and stain if not cleaned up.


Parrots are messy eaters due to their hooked beaks, so they may not pick up food easily.

  • For items like nuts, the shell casing will fall out of their mouths once cracked.
  • For juicy foods, like strawberries and pineapple, liquids will be released.
  • Parrots don’t have lips, so food may fall out when they swallow.
  • Since parrots’ feet are thin and long, they regularly drop food.

These limitations can scatter food and water everywhere.


Bird cages are where your parrot spends most of its time, so it’ll get dirty. This may include:

  • Lost feathers
  • Regurgitated food
  • Dander
  • Thrown toys
  • Chipped pieces of cuttlebone
  • Splashed water

Parrots can get sick from occupying an unclean cage, so cleaning the area is crucial.


Parrots love to destroy things, especially large breeds. In the wild, this behavior is a way to:

  • Find bugs in trees
  • Sharpen or wear down their beaks on hard surfaces
  • Break apart hard food
  • Entertain themselves

Parrots will entertain themselves by ripping up cardboard and stuffed animals.

How To Clean Parrot Messes

We get used to the smell of a home with a bird in it. Sometimes, certain messes get past us because we’ve grown accustomed to the odor, so it’s important to establish a cleaning routine.

How To Clean Up Parrot Food

Seeds get scattered in and around the cage. Once there, a single flap of the wings sends them under a couch or behind a drawer. They can turn moldy if not picked up or removed. So, you should:

  • Pick up any leftover and dropped foods.
  • Remove any spilled water or excess moisture.
  • Clean your parrot’s beak and face.
  • Change the cage lining.
  • Wash any toys, perches, bells, ladders, etc.
  • Vacuum or sweep up small debris.

If your parrot has a cuttlebone and the leftover dust is getting everywhere, consider grinding it up and mixing it with its food. Only do this if your parrot has another way to wear down its beak.

how often should I clean my parrot's cage?

How To Clean Up Parrot Poop

Feces contain harmful bacteria that can make you and your parrot sick. Since most people keep their parrots in a cage, that’s where they go to the toilet. So, do the following:

  • Place newspaper (or a liner) on the bottom of the cage.
  • Replace it once a week or sooner if it becomes overly dirty.

How To Clean Up Parrot Feathers

Parrots shed feathers and dander constantly, especially when molting. Leaving the feathers around your home may harm you and others.

Bird-keeper’s lung (hypersensitivity pneumonitis) is a lung disease. It’s caused by hypersensitivity to the protein in parrots’:

  • Feathers
  • Feces
  • Dander

It can cause pulmonary hypertension, leading to breathing problems and heart failure.

How Often Should I Clean My Parrot’s Cage?

A parrot’s cage must be deep-cleaned weekly. In addition, you should:

  • Clean the cage with a mixture of white vinegar and water.
  • Let it dry out in the hot sun to kill mold and fungi.

The risks of not cleaning the parrot’s cage weekly are high because you’ll miss the following:

  • Certain details about the condition of the cage, such as rust, damaged bars, and broken perches.
  • Signs of fungal growth, leading to skin conditions, such as ringworm.
  • When mold dries, it releases spores that your parrot breathes in, leading to aspergillosis.

Parrots make a mess due to how their feet and claws are designed. While this may be advantageous in the wild, it can be a problem in the home. So, you’ll have to clean up regularly after your parrot.