Home | General Bird Care | Avian Health Concerns: “My Parrot Seems Healthy, but Sometimes Passes Whole, Undigested Seeds in its Stool. Is this Normal”?

Avian Health Concerns: “My Parrot Seems Healthy, but Sometimes Passes Whole, Undigested Seeds in its Stool. Is this Normal”?


The presence of whole, undigested seeds in a parrot’s stool is cause for concern.  It is usually associated with hyper-motility of the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract — in other words, food is passing too quickly through the system, and digestion is not taking place.  The problem usually centers in the glandular stomach (proventriculus) or the gizzard (ventriculus).

A gram-negative bacterial infection, which may be caused by organisms such as Enterobacter mega-bacteria or various spirochetes, is often involved.  Fungal infections, and parasites such as Giardia or roundworms, are also possibilities that must be considered.  Less frequently, gastrointestinal hyper- motility can arise due to cancer, or to problems in the functioning of the crop and pancreas.  The possibility that your bird has contracted the very serious Proventricular Dilation Disease (PDD, or “Macaw Wasting Disease”) must also be investigated (please see reference below).

You should contact your veterinarian if undigested seeds show up in the feces of any species of parrot that you might keep.  The first step is usually to submit a fecal sample.  This may be followed by a radiograph or, if necessary, a biopsy of the area in question.

Please write it with health-related questions or to share your experiences in caring for sick or injured birds.


You can learn more about Proventricular Dilation Disease at:

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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