Parrots’ droppings consist of three separate components: feces, urates, and urine. Most of the waste should be chalky, off-white urates, green-brown feces, and a small amount of urine.
The average parrot poops 15-50 times a day (the smaller species poop more often), with urine released simultaneously. A parrot may have polyuria if it poops excessively or if the poop is very watery.
Polyuria is a symptom of another health concern. This could be a short-term issue, like stress, excessive water intake, hormonal imbalance, or a diet change.
However, if other symptoms accompany the condition, it could have diabetes mellitus, gastrointestinal tract disease, or kidney disease. Whether this is likely depends on how long the parrot has been polyuric.
Chronic polyuria will require more extensive diagnostic tests from a veterinarian.
What Is Polyuria in Parrots?
Polyuria is an increase in the amount of urine in parrots’ droppings.
Some owners confuse polyuria with diarrhea, as parrots release urine and feces at the same time. Polyuria is characterized by solid waste surrounded by white, milky urine.
A parrot with polyuria may not necessarily pee more often than usual, although this is also a common symptom. The concern is more related to the quantity of urine produced.
Look closely at the parrot’s urine in relation to its fecal output. A healthy elimination will involve a small piece of feces, some liquid, and squidgy, semi-solid urates passed through the kidneys.
If the urine is primarily liquid, the parrot likely has polyuria.
How To Treat Polyuria in Parrots
There is no one-size-fits-all way to cure polyuria in parrots. You must identify the cause of the polyuria and devise a treatment plan.
Seek veterinary assistance if the parrot shows other signs of sickness alongside polyuria. The parrot may require intravenous fluids. Before taking this step, consider if lifestyle changes will work.
Here are the causes of excessive urination in parrots and how each cause can be treated:
Excessive Water Intake
Polyuria is often connected to polydipsia, an excessive intake of water.
This may be due to the parrot hydrating to excess, or it could result from consuming too much fruit or vegetables. These foods usually have a high water content.
Avian Pathology explains how polydipsia can be remedied by limiting access to water in the parrot’s cage. However, it’ll be safer to see if feeding them less watery food is beneficial.
Depriving a parrot of water outright is inadvisable, as many species won’t survive for more than 24 hours.
If the parrot is stressed, its internal organs will be overstimulated.
Stress increases tension in the cloaca, the cavity from which a parrot eliminates urine and feces, increasing the need to urinate. Stress can also cause constipation, so the reactions can be entirely different.
Consider what may be distressing the parrot. Common causes of stress include the following:
- Lack of reliable routine.
- Excessive time alone.
- Unfamiliar objects.
- Wrong temperature.
- Excessive noise.
- Threats and predators.
- Lack of sleep.
Do your utmost to keep parrots calm and minimize exposure to stress triggers.
Polyuria could be linked to excessive protein or calcium in a parrot’s diet. Too much protein, which is a common complaint in seed-based diets, leads to elevated uric acid levels.
Excessive calcium will bind to the kidneys, potentially causing metastatic mineralization of the kidneys if it’s allowed to continue for long enough.
Hormonal changes can also be linked to polyuria in parrots.
This is likeliest in female parrots at the onset of Spring, as longer days and shorter nights encourage breeding behavior in birds, though intact males will also experience hormonal shifts.
Signs that a parrot’s hormones are imbalanced include:
- Verbalizing to excess, most notably screaming for attention.
- Demonstrating sexual behavior during petting, such as rubbing.
- Strutting and demonstrating their plumage.
- Biting when approached – a sign of sexual frustration.
- Plucking feathers on the chest and between the legs.
- Regurgitating food, as though sharing with young.
- Crouching and panting.
- Building a nest while getting territorial if you approach.
Avoid physical contact when the parrot has the desire to breed. Also, reduce fat in the parrot’s diet, and increase darkness by covering the parrot’s cage (because light stimulates hormones).
Parrots can get an infestation of intestinal parasites. While roundworms and tapeworms are more commonly associated with diarrhea in birds, they can also lead to polyuria.
Parasites can be a problem for captive birds, so worm the parrot with an over-the-counter remedy.
Polyuria could be a consequence of toxicity in parrots, which can be ingested or inhaled.
Clinical Insights warns how heavy metals, especially lead or zinc, are common causes of avian toxicity. Beware of certain paints, metallic toys, and household decor.
Be mindful of toxins parrots could inhale, such as cleaning products, scented candles or essential oils, air fresheners, and deodorants.
Toxicity can also arise through food, so keep the following away from parrots:
- Raw beans.
- Seeds of fruits that contain cyanide, such as apples, peaches, and apricots.
- Onions and garlic.
Be mindful of foods high in sodium. While not toxic, salty foods can cause an imbalance in electrolytes in a parrot’s body, leading to an increased risk of polydipsia.
An intravenous drip will be required to flush toxins from the parrot’s body.
Polyuria could be a symptom of another medical concern, such as one of the following:
Parrots regularly come into contact with bacteria when they’re around other birds and come into contact with contaminated food and water dishes.
Sometimes, bacteria live harmlessly in the intestinal tract. However, if a parrot’s immune system isn’t functioning as well as normal, perhaps due to stress, bacteria can quickly multiply.
This will be reflected in the parrot’s waste. Antibiotic treatment will be required if the parrot is acting strangely or experiencing streaming from the eyes or nostrils.
A diabetic parrot has an unquenchable thirst, no matter how much it drinks, which may result in polyuria.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology explain that birds have higher blood sugar levels than mammals. Unfortunately, this means that parrots are more prone to diabetes.
Diabetes is especially likely in obese parrots, so monitor the bird’s weight. Other warning signs include lethargy and depression, muscular weakness, and inexplicable fluctuations in weight.
Renal or Liver Disease
As explained by Veterinary Clinics: Exotic Animal Practice, polyuria can be connected to renal failure. If the kidneys don’t filter the urine, it’ll be released as a thick, gloopy sludge.
Poor performance from the liver can also lead to a lack of nitrogen in a parrot’s urine.
Polyuria is uncommon in parrots and doesn’t always suggest a major health issue. Never ignore changes to the parrot’s waste, though.
If the parrot is peeing more than usual, or the waste contains more urine than fecal matter, consider what’s behind the problem and how it can be addressed.