Why Does My Bird Smells Bad? (And How To Make Them Less Smelly)

Why Does My Bird Smells Bad

Birds usually don’t have an odor, but poor hygiene, unclean surroundings, hormonal changes, or illness could be a reason for bad smell.

Smelly birds could be a challenging problem for many owners, and if you think your bird has an unpleasant odor, don’t just sit and wait to be all right by itself. 

There are a few reasons why a bird would smell bad, and in this article, we will go through all of the reasons and what you should do to make them less smelly.

Why Does My Bird Smells Bad?

Typically birds don’t have a bad “odor,” but if their surroundings it messy, unclean, and unhygienic, they are bound to smell bad.

However, different birds have unique smells according to their species, but they aren’t strong enough to burn your nose.

There are a couple of other reasons why your bird might smell bad, like illness, wrong diet, hormonal changes during mating season, and bad breath.

Poor Hygiene

Poor hygiene could be a reason why your bird smells bad. Birds that are not bathing regularly will begin to smell after some time. 

Only bathing the bird isn’t enough. A clean environment also plays an important role in how your bird will smell. 

If the cage is not cleaned for several days, your bird’s feathers will attach to the bad odor, and eventually, they will smell bad.

So, you should at least bathe your bird twice or thrice a week with clean water to keep them out of bad odor and their feather in healthy condition.

And line newspaper underneath their cage and replace them whenever you find them messy to keep their surroundings clean and hygienic.


While there is no proof that illness could lead to a bad smell, however, certain illnesses could make your bird’s poop smell bad. 

A healthy bird’s poop doesn’t usually smell bad, but it can stink if not cleared. Therefore, you should regularly change the droppings of your birds to avoid smelly cages.

Still, if your bird smells bad, you should immediately take your bird to a vet and get him checked up.

Wrong Diet

Diet has an impact on the way your bird smells. Birds that are only seeds diet would smell differently than the other one.

Wrong Diet

Also, a wrong diet could lead to vitamin A deficiency which is a serious problem in birds. Vitamin A deficiency could be susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections, which will eventually lead to several diseases, including diarrhea, sneezing, and feather infection; as a result, your bird will smell bad.

However, if your bird smells bad due to the wrong diet, you should change their diet and add various fruits and vegetables to their diet.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes elevated during the mating season could affect how your bird smells. For example, male birds will smell stronger during the mating season.

Moreover, birds’ smell also changes according to their mood. For example, a happy or excited bird will smell pleasant, whereas an anxious or stressed bird is more likely to smell bad.

However, if you think your bird smells stronger than it should be, then you should immediately contact a vet so he can properly diagnose your bird’s condition.

Bad Breath

Usually, bad breath is caused by a bacterial infection or yeast infection, and it can turn your bird into a smelly one.

However, you can stop the bad breath problem in your bird by considering simple things. 

For example, you should always offer fresh fruits and vegetables and rancid or spoiled ones. 

It’s also important to wash them thoroughly to remove fertilizer and pesticides, which can cause bacterial infection in your bird’s mouth.

Lastly, if your bird’s bad breath problem is getting worse, you should make an appointment with your vet, and he will find out the cause, whether it’s a gastrointestinal tract or respiratory tract infection.

What Does A Bird Smell Like?

Birds usually don’t have a strong smell. But birds might smell like the food they have eaten, or they might smell like their surroundings if it’s unclean.

However, if your bird has a bad odor, you should take your bird to the vet as it could be a sign of disease, parasite, or internal injury. 

How Can I Make My Bird Less Smelly?

A few simple steps that can change the way your bird smells.

Bathe your bird at least twice a week and keep their cage and surrounding clean and hygienic. Line a piece of paper under their cage and replace them whenever you find them messy or poop on them.

How Can I Make My Bird Less Smelly

Diet can change the way your bird smells. And something they smell exactly like the food they have eaten.

So, if your bird smells bad due to the food they had, you should try changing their diet and try adding more fresh vegetables.

Birds, especially male birds, might smell different in the mating season, and it’s completely normal, and there is nothing to worry about it.

However, you can create a stress-free environment and make sure there is nothing that could make your bird feel threatened, like a spinning ceiling fan over their cage.

If everything seems good and still your bird smells bad, you should immediately contact your vet or bird expert and get them to examine. 

Strong smell indicates serious infection or other illness, and birds are great at hiding disease for a long time, and you might not be aware of it. 

How To Make Your Bird Less Smelly Without Bathing Them?

Not only birds but mostly all animals (except a few) hate bathing, making it challenging for owners to keep them fresh and healthy.

However, I found an interesting way to make your bird smell good even without bathing them.

Here is what I do when my parrot doesn’t want to bathe.

Get a spray bottle filled with water and start spraying on your bird at a little distance from their cage.

Your bird may or may not react suddenly, but they will react by bobbing their head or by spreading their wings sooner or later.

Sometimes they climb up inside the cage and hang upside down, spreading their wings to the spray, which means they enjoy it.

Here’s the video of their reaction.

Why Does My Bird Smell Like Poop?

Well, there could be a couple of reasons why your bird smells like poop. Usually, birds don’t have a strong smell unless their surrounding is dirty and unhygienic.

A bird’s smell depends on how often you bathe them and how clean their cage is. Your bird will smell like poop only if its feathers are dirty. 

So, if your bird smells like poop, you should bathe them with clean water at least twice a week.

Also, spare some time to clean their cage with fresh paper, line a piece of paper beneath their cage, and replace it every other day to improve your bird’s overall health.

Do Birds Smell Bad When Wet?

Birds may have a scent after they have taken bathe or wet. However, it disappears once when they are dry. 

Some birds may smell woody or a bit musty, while others may smell sweet and fruity; it depends on various factors like environment, food, and bird species.

The smell shouldn’t be too strong or inviting unless you have a very sensitive nose, and it should go away once your bird is dried off naturally.

However, if the smell is too strong or not disappearing even after your bird is dried, you should take your bird to a vet as it could be a sign of infection.

Why My Bird Does Smells Like Vomit?

Birds could occasionally smell bad due to the food they have eaten. An occasional bad smell could happen due to hormonal changes in the mating season.

Also, diet could affect the way your bird smell. So, try changing their diet for a month or so and see if the vomit-like odor is changed or not. 

If you see a certain type of food causing the smell, you should reduce or completely cut off the food from their diet if possible.

However, if your bird constantly smells like vomit, then it could be a sign of poor hygiene, illness, or parasites. 

In this case, you should immediately consult with a vet and get your bird treated.

Final Thoughts

A healthy bird doesn’t usually smell bad. However, their dropping could smell bad due to issues in their digestive system.

Usually, birds eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and when their digestive system can’t digest it properly, it may smell bad.

Moreover, infections, hormonal changes, and their environment could also affect the way your bird smells.

So, by now, you should have an idea why your bird is smelled bad. I hope this article has helped you solve your problem.

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