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Excessive Water Drinking - any advice?


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Hello. I have a 6 month old Timneh African Grey named Oliver (attached a picture!) who has since the first few weeks after he arrived home been exhibiting some really weird drinking behavior. He went to the vet for his first check up about a month ago and he had just started excessively drinking water when he went and all of his bloodwork and fecal tests came back fine; no elevated glucose, no elevated uric acid levels. I told the vet about his drinking problems as well as the breeder that I purchased him from (which is a very reputable breeder, DJ Feathers in Virginia) and both of them could only guess that because of all of his normal diagnostic tests, that this problem was behavioral.


Oliver will drink almost non-stop if he is provided with water. He is bottle trained but will also drink from a bowl if he is on the top of his cage which is a gym. I give him Deer Park spring water instead of tap. For his weight, he should drink roughly 50ml of water per day but if he is allowed unlimited access to water, he will drink literally as much as is provided, and will drain over 160 ml in one day. His poop at this point will become almost nothing but water. He will drink so much that the water will fall back out his mouth as a clear warm viscous fluid when he puts his head down to eat. This will cause him to get his food soaking wet and then he doesn't want to eat it. However, if I water restrict him and give him water only for 3 to 4 sips at a time in intervals to where he can only drink about 50 ml per day, his kidneys concentrate urine appropriately, his poops look normal, there is no regurgitation of any kind, and he behaves normally. He never acts sick, is always active, and plays regularly with toys.


His diet is as follows:

Caitec Oven Fresh bites baked diet mixed about 50/50 with Harrison's high potency course pellets.


A daily mix of dried fruits and grains (about 10%) of diet. I forget the brand but these came from the breeder; he was weaned onto this as well as the oven bites.


Fresh organic broccoli, carrots, and sweet potato, steamed, once daily. (about 10% of diet).


I have been for about the last month water restricting Oliver at the advice of my avian vet and breeder. If I am gone for less than 7 hours, I will not leave a water bottle in his cage. I will allow him to drink upwards of 50 mls a day, which I provide to him in his bowl. He will whine and call when thirsty and I will give him his bowl but take it away after about 4 sips or he will drink too much and begin regurgitating it everywhere. He has gotten used to the restriction and doesnt seem to be thirsty all the time; my vet and I honestly think that he is drinking because its there, not because he is actually thirsty. He still acts very babyish and will bob his head and grind his beak up and down on my fingers and whine as if he wants formula, but I visited him often during his weaning at the aviary and he was not weaned until around 18 or 19 weeks old and was eating and drinking fine before we were allowed to take him home. I feel like it is not the best situation to not allow him to always have access to water but he will sit at his bottle and drink until he drains it if I provide it for him. I weigh him daily, and he always weighs around 250-260g, he is not losing any weight and has a normal appetite. Even when water restricted (which is all the time now), he maintains his weight and eats normally.


Has anyone had an experience similar to this, what seems to be like behavioral excessive drinking??

This is my first African Grey but I have had other parrots and am well educated in caring for Oliver but I cannot find anything like this problem online, nor has my vet heard of anything this extreme before. I could take him in to get x-rays and a crop sample but he is not exhibiting any other signs of crop infection problems and my breeder and vet both agree that it would probably be better not to stress him through all of the testing and to just take an approach of water restriction for the time being, since it appears that he has normal function and that his kidneys do concentrate urine properly if he is restricted to normal water intake.


Any advice from anyone who has heard of these kind of problems would be much appreciated!




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Wow, this almost sounds like obsessive compulsive behavior. I have never heard of one drinking water like you describe. Have you ever considered seeing if your grey may still like a morning and/or evening formula feeding? My grey liked to have feedings until he was around 9 months old and then just started rejecting them. Maybe see if this might slow down the drinking of water behavior.


We have a very experienced grey breeder on this forum named Dave. I hope he perhaps can shed some light on this.

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My CAG is a big guy (505g) and likes water; but he does not drink obsessively but much more than my TAG and ZON. I give him lots of foods that retain water. Strawberries, cherries and noodles. Perhaps your home is overly dry have you tried a humidifer. I would have your avian vet check to see if you TAG has an infection of any kind. Perhaps he has a slight fever or the room is overly dry. Do you let your grey out to fly or perch in your home, give him things to keep him busy. Do you give him baths or spray him with water/aloe vera juice. See that he gets ways to stay hydrated other than drinking.

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Very odd behavior indeed. Have you tried switching to a different brand of water, to see if he does the same with it? It may be that the dissolved solids in the Deer Park water are particularly tasty to your guy, or there may be enough trace amount of sodium or other types of mineral salts in the spring water that could be affecting his system and putting him into a thirst feedback loop. Also is it sparkling water or flat? Sparkling may make it fun for him, but may not be a good idea.


There is a similar condition that can occur in humans, and is a type of compulsion. I looked up polydipsia in birds and found the following link. It is from Wikipedia, and since it is not from a scientific journal or an avian vet article it's accuracy can't be verified and you should not take it as fact. It may, however, give you a bit of information to open another dialogue with your avian vet. There are some journal/scholar articles out there that you could look for that also might be helpful.




As others have said, Dave007 will likely have some good advice for you. I have come to believe in my short time here that he has forgotten more about birds than most people will ever learn.

Edited by Inara
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Dan...OCD behavior in Greys?? NO! :) In over 45 years of dealing with birds, I've never heard of this kind of drinking either. Even with diabetes, the drinking isn't that excessive.


Well, at this point in time I cannot think of a better description. :P As you said, even a bird with diabetes does not drink water like that. I do believe a bird can exhibit OCD, like chronic pluckers for example. They are almost impossible to stop. They did not start out that way, but over time developed it.


Inaras link had some good thoughts and the link detailed a possible cause of drinking water. But, a bird with salt toxicity will not drink water to that extent either. They will drink a lot, but not drain the container and purger themselves until it's all gone for as many containers you decide to continue refilling.

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. . . They will drink a lot, but not drain the container and purger themselves until it's all gone for as many containers you decide to continue refilling.

One would think not, I agree. I do believe also that animals can exhibit OCD, and when an avian vet rules out any physical explanation then the answer that is left would lead one to believe that it is something psyocholical/behavioral in nature. One of the scholarly articles I ran across stated that this was rare but had been seen in smaller parrots and 'tiels who were eating an extruded pellet diet, but banewymer is also feeding other things. It's definitely a question for the experienced breeders who may have seen this (someone shine the Dave007 Light! :) ), and the avian vets. For now, the system that banewmyer and the vet have worked out seems to be working and let's hope the behavior ceases over time, as interesting/rare as it is. Very fascinating topic.

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  • 1 month later...

It turns out that my African Grey was diagnosed with PDD, which was likely passed from parent to egg, as he began to present symptoms at such a young age and was the only bird in my house. His excessive water intake was likely due to the fact that he had trouble digesting food and water was the only thing he could easily keep down; my vet did a barium trace study on him to diagnose for PDD and his crop emptied extremely slowly, which also supported this. He was switched back over to hand feeding and every attempt was made to make him comfortable but his crop would simply not empty; formula would begin to ferment while still in his crop and he would regurgitate it. Oliver had to be euthanized at 7 months old. Necropsy revealed a severely dilated ventriculus and crop with almost no nerve innervation. The crop was ballooned out and paper thin; it seemed that his CNS lost all ability to contract his crop to move his food along.


Just sharing this information for any other owners down the road with parrots who exhibit this excessive thirst. It is obviously not a symptom that can diagnose this disease but if you see it, PDD could be a possibility if there are other symptoms as well. Because avian bornavirus isn't entirely indicative of PDD, I know that PDD is difficult to diagnose without radiography and necropsy. Its a shame that it ravaged my bird so quickly.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Yup you shared good information actually i am new here i just want to say you that i was very ten's about my fat and i am suffering from different diseases because of my extra fat i consult with many doctors and other gym owners but they said me for walk and jogging and exercise. But one of my

said me for use Green tea in my breakfast and dinner.

Now i am very well green tea burn my fat .

Thanks .

Edited by Jo jo
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