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Coprophagous: Bird Term of the Day

Definitions of words used by pet bird enthusiasts with the pet bird slant.

Ollie, a budgie 
Ozzie the budgie, courtesy of Karen Kall, Illinois.
Although uncommon,coprophagy is more likely seen in smaller pet parrots, such as budgies and cockatiels.

Coprophagous: (adjective) Feeding on excrement. Coprophagy (noun; the practice of feeding on feces) is not uncommon in all animal species. Typically it happens due to diet or behavior issues. Birds very rarely eat their feces. If a pet bird is coprophagous, it is probably because of a nutritional deficiency (lack of nutrients or just lack of food). Pet bird owners should clean cages daily and make sure dropping don’t harden in layers on perches. They should also make sure their pet birds receive the right amount of food each day and food that contains the right nutrients. If your bird has a coprophagous problem, take him to an avian veterinarian for a full checkup to rule out any medical issues. Although uncommon and considered abnormal in parrots, coprophagy is more likely seen in smaller pet parrots, such as budgies and cockatiels. Coprophagy is not uncommon in dogs. For dogs the reasons are typically behavior or nutritional. Also, many small animals practice coprophagy for dietary purposes. For example, rabbits excrete hard fecal pellets, but they also excrete soft fecal pellets (sometimes called cecotropes) that have high levels of vitamins K and B, protein and fiber. The rabbits eat the cecotropes to help them survive when there is little to no food.

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Coprophagous: Bird Term of the Day

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Reader Comments
Now this is something I didn't know! Can this happen with my birds for the reasons stated - not a chance!!
Barbara, Kerrville, TX
Posted: 4/15/2011 8:49:55 PM
My first bird, Percival, was a foundling budgie that the veterinarian and I nursed more or less to health. Poor little Perce did like to eat his seeds, and I tried offering him other things, but he was a very slender little fellow, and ate his droppings. None of my other birdies have ever done that (Peridot and Pacific are numbers 14 and 15)
Elizabeth, New Hope, MN
Posted: 2/15/2011 5:24:51 PM
Ginny, Washington, DC
Posted: 2/14/2011 7:10:54 AM
So bird seed with nutrients aren't enough? Cause my parakeets do this, and they all eat the bird seed (with nutrients) daily.
Tom, Norwich, NY
Posted: 2/12/2011 11:41:05 AM
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