Archive for August, 2009
If you’re looking into purchasing a parrot, you might look to an experienced friend for some advice. Be aware, however, that there’s plenty of misinformation out there regarding a parrot’s dietary needs. Some people swear by a diet of seeds alone because, they say, that’s what the birds would eat in the wild. Unfortunately, that viewpoint fails to consider a parrot’s natural desire and physiological need for variety.
A well-balanced diet will mix and match parrot seed with pellets, fruit and maybe even a cracker or two. Establishing a diverse meal plan will actually help to prolong a parrot’s life while also improving plumage color and feather condition. A healthy parrot is a friendly and active one, so be sure to vary the diet immediately if you bird seems sullen or withdrawn.
After reading that parrots don’t like bitter foods and seeing my birds eating radicchio, dandelion and drinking some of my often bitter teas, I started to wonder about how much our attitude influences our birds food choices. Sometimes I meet people who tell me “my bird does not like carrots”. Though, the same bird, when at a boarding place where the lady feeds organic fresh parrot food, including carrots, the bird eats them. As soon, as he is back home, he refuses to eat them again. Unfortunately I did not ask the woman if she likes carrots.
I like bitter foods and it seems like my birds do too. They always have the choice to leave it in the bowl. And they sometimes do. But other times they eat it, which I think they would not do if they really don’t like it.
Thinking of how our birds pick up on our moods and emotions, they might pick up on how much we savor a food or dislike it. I would really appreciate it, if some of my readers would experiment with this and give me some feedback. How much do you like the parrot food you offer to your bird? What do you think about its taste?
A while ago I was reading an article about parrot food. There was a lot of good information in it. But at one point it stated that parrots don’t like bitter foods. That surprised me. My fresh organic parrot food often contains such things as dandelion leafs, arugola, radicchio. All of which are bitter. I thought, maybe they threw it out and I did not realize it.
So, this morning I made an omelet for us. I took 2 eggs, beat them up, cut 1 zucchini in small cubes and cut up ½ of a small radicchio, added a pinch of pepper and mixed it all with the eggs. I heated some coconut oil on medium heat, threw in the mix and fried it from both sides. I cut it in half. One half I cut in small pieces for the birds, the other half I ate.
And than I was watching what they ate, and what they threw out. Well, they ate all of the egg, some of the zucchini and all of the radicchio. I love radicchio and use it in a variety of dishes. And I wonder if parrots take on the likings of their owners.
I know many people, who are convinced that only raw food is the best organic parrot food. In Nature there is no cooked food.
Then there are the ones that cook and bake for their birds. Who is right? None of them is right or wrong. It often depends on the bird.
It is correct that there is no cooked food in nature. But what about parrots, that don’t eat raw vegetables? My Grey, for example, eats specially carrots only when at least slightly cooked. Or I know people who bake birdie bread to hide fresh vegetables, so their bird will eat them. Warm food, for many living beings is comfort food. It reminds them of the times, when they were babies and nurtured from their parents. At that time the food they were fed had the body temperature of their parents. Also the nutrition in some veggies are easier to be absorbed by the body when cooked. It often is enough to cook them in steam for a short time.
With some birds we have to be quite tricky to get them to eat fresh foods. And we have to find a way to get to eat them their veggies.
When you think about it, parrots are a lot like rambunctious young children. They have the ability to repeat things – sometimes to embarrassing effect. And they’re notoriously messy eaters. Despite these behavioral quirks, parrots make for charming pets that constantly reward their owner’s care and patience. To get off on the right foot with your new bird, try to pinpoint the foods he likes best. Parrots are finicky eaters, but it shouldn’t take long to figure out their dietary preferences.
Fresh fruits are a staple of most parrots’ diets. Bear in mind that they are not suited to handle junk food, so keep the salty, fatty foods out of reach. It’s best to supplement the fresh fruit with nutritional parrot food in the form of pellets. You can think of these as the parrot’s snacks to be distributed between mealtimes.
I always found it rather funny, that zucchini originate from the Americas, but have an Italian name. They are high in folate, potassium Vitamin C, vitamin A and contain some minerals. Don’t peel them, because the nutrition are in the skin. They are readily found year around in the grocery store and easy to grow in the garden.
The easiest way to feed them as parrot food is to just give the whole zucchini to the birds (like in our photo). This way it is not only a healthy food, but provides plenty of “work time”, which usually only a rather expensive toy would do. I also use them, cut into cubes and ad them to the omelets or the cooked quinoa I make for my parrots. Another way of feeding them, would be to cook them lightly in steam for a few minutes. They should be still crisp. Cut them into pieces or stripes. Mix some olive oil with fresh pressed orange and lemon juice, add some mint and pure it over the zucchini. This Italian recipe and is not only a yummy parrot food, but after adding some salt and pepper a wonderful side dish for yourself. Buon appetito!
Peanuts contain a lot of nutrition and I have not seen one parrot, which does not love them.
On the other side, if they are not organic, they are heavily sprayed with herbicide, fungicide, pesticide and I don’t know what else. I don’t want to put these chemicals in my parrot food.
So, what about organic peanuts? They might have aflatoxin, which is a fungus found rather frequently in Nature. A healthy body would not have any problems if exposed to small amounts of this Aspergillus producing toxins. The FDA has set limits on how much aflatoxin foods, which are prone to contain them, can have. The problems is, nobody checks this amounts between they are measured and finally reach the consumer. It seems peanuts contain more often higher amounts than most other foods. And if the immune system is already compromised, aflatoxin can cause aspergillosis.
I was looking into the recall of peanut products at the beginning of this year and was flabbergasted how many products were affected.
If you want to have a look at it, here is the link to the FDA:
Peanuts are not in the menu of my parrot food, because there are so many other nuts, which are saver. Though everybody has to decide this for her/himself.
Usually when we hear the word nettle, we do not think about parrot food or food at all. Though, the sting of the nettle is but nothing compared to the pain that it heals, is an old saying in Europe. Through centuries of experience people knew that nettles are very useful plants. They contain a high amount of chlorophyll, more then most other plants. The young plants are also rich in protein, Vitamin A, C and D, first class calcium, and a variety of minerals. It has been proven that nettles provide impressive results in treating rheumatoid arthritis, because they neutralize uric acid. They are also known for their immune stimulant and anti-inflammatory actions, strengthening of the adrenals and are said to restore youthful flexibility to blood vessels.
If you want to use them fresh, boiling or putting the leafs in hot water removes the sting. Young nettles prepared like spinach or made into a soup are quit delicious. In spring I sprinkle them fresh over the bird food. The rest of the year I use them dried.
One of my favorite foods is fennel. I eat it raw and cooked in many different forms. Added to a salad it gives a delicious flavor. I also often ad it to my parrot food.
Though, it does not only taste wonderful, but has many healthy components. One of them reduces inflammation and helps prevent the occurrence of cancer. The high amount of vitamin C found in fennel bulbs is antimicrobial and helps the immune system to function proper. There are many more nutritional advances of fennel, which you can read at the following site:
And here one of the parrot food recipes I use it in:
Cook a ¼ cup of quinoa in ½ cup of water, until all water is absorbed.
Cut 2 carrots, ½ fennel and ½ yellow pepper in cubes and mix in the still hot quinoa. Done. Buon appetito.
As experienced parrot owners know, taking good care of a feathered friend takes serious commitment. Parrots resent being cooped up in tiny cages; they prefer to climb around and fly if possible. It’s therefore best to provide them with a home that’s suitably tall for their particular species. Bigger birds such as macaws, Amazons and cockatoos will require particularly large spaces to explore. But space isn’t the only essential element you’ll need to provide for your bird.
Parrots thrive on a diverse and sophisticated diet. Seeds, nuts, fruit and other plant material all factor into their dietary habits. For this reason, a parrot seed mix is ideally suited to the bird’s liking. An effective seed mix should include a number of wholesome grains such as rice, barley and buckwheat in addition to sunflower seeds and other typical bird fare.