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Potty Training

When it comes to potty training parrots - whether the goal is for them to poop on command or “just” to go potty in a certain area - it realistically carries a lot of unnecessary risks, especially if attempted by one who is not well versed in avian behavior/psychology and positive reinforcement training methods. This practice being trained by an inexperienced hand often leads to the bird holding in or forcing out their waste, both of which have detrimental effects on a bird’s health.


Parrots naturally have very quick metabolisms, and the smaller the bird, the quicker it is. Their metabolisms are specifically tuned to keep their systems in sync, and to keep them light for efficient flight. Parrots in captivity are already prone to a plethora of kidney and liver issues, especially when kept in too-small cages (that inhibit movement/exercise) and fed high fat/low nutritional value diets - like all-seed diets. To run the risk of further impacting these organs in the name of human convenience is, on the risk/reward scale, not advisable.


While most parrots do hold their waste overnight/while sleeping, keep in mind during that time they're also not eating or drinking anything, so the metabolism slows accordingly. During awake/active times, they're taking in energy (eating/drinking) and burning energy (playing/flying/preening/etc.) so getting rid of the waste products from that process in a timely manner is much more important. 


Plus, parrots can be so eager to please/earn a treat they can go overboard with it once they connect the dots. So if you're training it with a command, and you give it when they don't need to poop, they can strain themselves straight into a prolapse trying to accomplish the task. If you try and train a specific spot/area rather than a command, it can also become an issue if you someday are in a new room without their "pooping spot" (like moving to a new place or taking them on a vacation) - birds are certainly more adaptable than we often give them credit for, but they are also highly sensitive to change. Even putting a new rug down in the room with their "pooping spot" could be enough to throw them off to where they do not poop at all. 


Our preferred alternative is to provide a dedicated perching/play area (or multiple!) in the room(s) that the bird spends time in, so there are areas that they will naturally want to hang out on - then they also end up pooping in those areas. A few well-placed puppy pads or old drop sheets will make cleanup a breeze!

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