Recipes on this page
Cat’s finch diet
Ruth’s dehydrated patties
Susan’s daily potpourri
Shauna’s organic choices
gloria’s bird bread
Susan Carter’s avi cakes
Sunny rye essene
Margie’s handfeeding formula
Liz’s sugar free bird bread
Pat’s quinoa recipe
Gudrun’s quinoa recipe
Pamela Clark’s quinoa recipe
Sandy’s roasted pumpkins
Pam’s layered salad
Cat’s Finch Diet
I feed a small amount of ZuPreem maintenance to my finches. But it is not readily consumed unless there are no other options. I add it to my egg food recipe. It is one of the dry ingredients that helps to soak up the moisture from the egg, shredded carrot, and broccoli. My main reason for feed- ing pellets at all is in case a future owner decides to feed them converting will not be as difficult. But I do not recommend them as the whole diet. Cat
Ruth’s Dehydrated Patties (Pellet Substitute)
I have gotten frustrated trying to find a pellet with quality and ingredients I felt I could trust 100%, that was also not (IMO) ridiculously overpriced. So now, I make my own pellets. I just sprout a whole bunch of different grains, red peas, etc then whirl them in a food processor until they are pasty. I put that in a bowl, then run a bunch of fresh veggies and fruits in season through the processor until they are in smallish bits but not too fine (I know, real precise, aren’t I?)
I mix them with the sprouted grain mash, then form them into little patties and dry them in my dehydrator.
If needed to help the mix keep it’s shape, I find banana works well. I use only certified organic ingredients. Sometimes I add different supplements as well, but since these are only a small part of my birds’ mainly fresh, raw, whole foods diet I don’t worry about trying to get everything into the “pellets”.
The good thing about dehydrating is that it is at a lower temperature so I figure fewer of the nutrients are being destroyed (I set the dryer to 95 degrees), and also the lack of water in the finished product means I don’t have to worry about adding preservatives of any kind. Therefore I can make a big batch once, and it will last for a while. Comes in handy for those occasional days when I’m really rushed; convenient for me and the birds love ’em!
Making my own also allows me to customize flavors for individual birds, if I’m so inclined that day. 🙂 Ruth –
Susan’s Daily Potpourri
From: Susan Carter Here is what I feed my babies….. I keep both seed and sprouts available all the time….. they are never without either one barring some sort of emergency…….. Every morning they get one of the following… just depends on which one I have made the day before.. Birdie Bread with Chicken Birdie Whole Wheat Cakes Bean and Rice Cooked Mix Pasta and Veggie Mix Every afternoon I put out fresh veggies or home made Avicakes…. Then in the evening just before everyone starts to settle in I take them a treat of fruit just so I get a really good look at everyone that evening to know that they are al right….
When it is a holiday or some sort of special occasion where you would cook a cake for the family I cook a Birdie Birthday cake that I always fix so that the babies can take part in the celebration too… I know that alot of people do not have the time to do all that I do but this is the diet that I use and it really works good for me… not to say that it is written in stone and someone else’s might be better but all of my birds of all species from Parakeet to Cockatoo are thriving and doing great……. I don’t remember if I sent you any of the recipes for any of this but I will check the site and if not I will forward them on to you…… Susan –
Regina’s Regimen From Regina Jolley
This has been a hard one for me. Seems that everyday I am learning something new about the birds diet. I do hope their comes a day when I can tell people that I found a good diet and I have been feeding for X amount of years. But so far that is not happening. I tried the mash diet and the birds hated it, not a single bird would eat it not even my best eaters. This is what I am doing now… In the morning about 7:45 am they get a bean mix that has everything in it but the kitchen sink. Some of the things that are in it are…. about every bean that I think exists, popcorn, sun flower seeds (out of shell), split peas, brown rice, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, corn, green beans, tomatoes, bananas, garlic and more.
Then I take that out at Noon. At that time I give them a mix of 75% pellets and 25% seeds. Adding that 25% seeds about killed me. I had a really hard time putting seeds back into their diet since I had been ridiculed so bad for feeding them in the past. At this time I am using roudybush pellets until I run out. But I am considering switching to Lakes since they don’t have Ethoxquin <sp> in it. I am using a seed mix called Rainforest exotics.
Then in the evening they all get a chunk of birdie bread. My birdie bread also has everything but the kitchen sink it it. It has corn bread mix, the bean mix that I make for the morning, peanut butter, egg shell and all, more banana, apple, petamine (not sure if I am going to continue this, just wanted to use up what I had here), 2 small jars of Turkey and rice baby food, I was putting in veggie flakes but I ran out, I think there is more in it just can’t remember off hand. Oh and then after I get the birdie bread in the pan before I bake it I put a light coat of grated cheese on it. The birds go nuts for it. I am going to be adding raisins to the bread and the bean mix, but every time I go to the store I forget to pick them up. I also mix cinnamon in everything. So that is what I feed my birds (today).
I have noticed that most of the birds eat their fresh foods real well, barely pick at their dry foods in the afternoon and then snarf on their birdie bread at night. I have a mealy amazon that the only thing he would eat was pellets and seeds. I have had him since Janurary and he would not touch any fresh foods. Now that I have started giving the fresh foods in the AM he eats his fresh foods! (I use to give the fresh foods in the PM around dinner time.) This was a huge break through for us. I couldn’t believe it when I went out and his dish was almost empty. Even our little lovebird that has not eaten fresh foods in the 3 years that we have had him eats this bean mix as well as the birdie bread. So now everyone of my birds is eating fresh foods : ) Regina –
Shauna’s organic choices
Organic Foods I’ve always felt that birds would prefer organic foods…..although I read over 5 yrs. ago that birds, if given free choice would choose organic food over conventional foods and I have always believed it. My birds like Noah’s Kingdom, although I remove the peanuts and I’m not sure about some of the fruits, if they’re organic or not, human grade yes, but the fruits look like sulfured fruits to me. I make my own organic seed mix and cheat some by adding some Noah’s to it.
Speaking of organic foods and birds acceptance of it…..I’ve been feeding Alicia’s Mash for over 3 yrs. and my birds have always gobbled it up, even the new birds, rescues, fostered etc. I’ve talked to a friend several times that has tried the mash on various birds , also her friends have tried it without success and we’re trying to get to the bottom of why their birds aren’t eating it better. I”ve found out that they are not using the organic beans and grains like I do, and not all organic produce added as I do…. I suspect that might be the reason why my mash has been eaten so readily and they’ve had trouble with theirs…mine is all organic, theirs isn’t.
During the conversation a breeder came up who has LOTS of birds, different species, and he has noticed that his birds LOVE kiwi but they’ll only eat kiwi fruits when its in season. When the kiwi’s aren’t in season, the birds ignore it, throw it out etc. Somehow they know. So maybe another benefit of feeding organic foods, besides the more obvious ones, are that birds might eat them better. I’ve taken in junk-food only birds that dive into the organic mash. Shauna
gloria’s bird bread
There are two mixtures that will be combined: The dry mix and the wet mix. Prepare the dry mix in a large mixing bowl. Prepare the wet mix in a two quart blender or vita-mixer.
Dry Mix: Don’t bother sifting or measuring real carefully. Just scoop and dump the ingredients into the bowl.
ground flax seed – 1/2 cup. ( tip: grind while processor is still dry before making wet mix. Do not get flax seed wet until you are ready to add the wet mix to the dry mix because it is high in muco-polysaccharides, which form a sticky gel when moistened.)
ground nuts – 1/2 cup (walnuts, pecans, brazils, almonds)
whole wheat flour –
two cups oatmeal –
one cup wheat germ –
one cup corn meal –
one cup whey protein or soy milk powder –
one cup soy flour –
one cup unprocessed millers bran –
one cup soy lecithin –
1/3 cup oil – 1/2 cup (do NOT use fragile oils that are easily damaged by heat, like flax, borage, evening primrose. Best oils to use would be coconut or olive oil. Safflower, sunflower, and corn are high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which birds already obtain from their diets and have been implicated in exacerbating some inflammatory diseases.)
Don’t worry if you don’t have all the flour ingredients. Just increase any of the others to substitute.
Base eggs- 6 including shells
carrots – two cups cut into inch pieces
one peeled apple – one large cut into inch pieces
To the wet base, process-in one of the following mixture variations:
Italian tomato – 1 medium spinach – 1 1/2 cups fresh leaves bell pepper – 1/2 cup zucchini – 1 cup spaghetti squash – 1 cup garlic – 3 cloves green beans – 1 cup 1/4 cup fresh basil or 1 tsp dry basil or italian seasoning parmesan cheese – 1/2 cup
Zesty Garden celery – 1 stalk corn – 1 cup bell pepper – 1/2 cup broccoli – 1 cup leafy greens – 1 1/2 cup (kale, turnip, beet, mustard) chives – 1/4 cup green peas – 1 cup 1/4 cup dill weed 1 tsp garden seasoning (rosemary, basil, etc)
Mexican tomato – 1 medium corn – 1 cup bell pepper – 1/2 cup jalapeno pepper – 1 garlic – 3 cloves jicama – 1 cup (omit ?) winter squash – 1 cup (acorn, butternut, etc) cooked pinto beans – 1 cup 1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp oregano powder
Golden Harvest apple – 1 more winter squash – 1 cup (acorn, butternut, pumpkin) yellow fruit – 1 cup (peach, apricot, nectarine, cantaloupe) If using canned, be sure to drain and rinse off sugar. nutmeg -1 tsp ginger – 1 tsp cinnamon – 1 tsp
Merry Berry apple – 1 more strawberries – 1 cup kiwi – 1 cup or either blueberries or cherries 1 cup and raspberry or blackberries 1 cup or cranberries and orange 1 cup each spinach – 1 1/2 cup tofu – 1 lb nutmeg 1- tsp
Citrus Delight apple – 1 more orange – 1 (include peel, wash well) grapefruit – 1/2 (no peel or bitter section) lemon – zest of 1 and juice lime – zest of 1 and juice kale – 1 1/2 cup lemon grass 1/2 cup or 1 tsp powder tofu – 1 lb allspice – 1 tsp
Sweet Heat apple – 1 more -pineapple – one can in its own juice. If in syrup, then you must drain and rinse all the syrup out of the fruit before processing. jalapeno peppers -whole fresh – about 5 large or 8 small. Just remove stems and wash.
Turn on blender or vita mixer and process until you achieve a thick puree that has some visible small pieces of the contents. If too thick, add a bit of milk or water. Directions: Add wet mix to the dry mix in the mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. You should have a cookie dough consistency. If too wet, add a bit of flour…doesn’t matter which kind. Spread onto a lipped cookie sheet that has been well sprayed with cooking oil. Bake in 300 or 350 degree oven until knife or toothpick comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. The wetter the mix, the longer it will take to bake. This batch might make two sheets depending on the size of the sheet. This will provide approximately 80 one-inch cubes of bird-bread.
Susan Carter’s Home Made Avi-Cakes
I mix even amounts like
2 cups crushed cereal….. (Cheerios or Shredded Wheat..)
2 cups crushed pellets if you use them I use instant oatmeal or the two types of cereal (I don’t like pellets but lots of people feed them)
2 cups assorted seeds…..
add honey….. about 1 and a quarter cups of Honey…. stir till mixture is wet but not dripping. You may need to adjust the honey. you can also use corn syrup if you don’t like the honey….
then pour it onto a cookie sheet, spread it out and bake at very low…. like 200 – 225 for about 45 minutes… about half way through cooking I usually score them it makes it easier to cut them when done… you can also shape these around craft sticks with a hole drilled at one end for a hanging treat in the cage….these make terrific stocking stuffers or birthday gifts for the birds…. My birds go crazy for these….
From Linda Essene Bread Recipes
1. Such a Sunny Rye Bread
by Elysa Markowitz:
ingredients: 4* cups rye berries (soaked 8-12 hours, rinsed; sprouted 12-24 hours) [I sprout closer to 12 hours than to 24.] 2* cups sunflower seeds (soaked 8-12 hours, rinsed) 2-1/2 teaspoons ground caraway seeds 2-1/2 teaspoons ground dill seed 2 teaspoons vege-sal or Spike
*measurements of sprouted rye berries & soaked sunflower seeds are after they’ve been soaked and sprouted (rye berries) or soaked (sunflower seeds). If you’re a regular sprouter you’ll easily be able to coordinate the sunflower seeds and the rye berries – I soak the rye berries for 8-12 hours, then rinse them, then leave them to sprout and at that point soak the sunflower seeds so that the sunflower seeds are soaking 8-12 hours while the rye berries are sprouting approx. 12 hours.
preparation: 1.Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir to distribute spices. 2.Put the mixture through the Green Power machine using the blank screen and without the outlet adjusting knob (homogenizing). For the Champion you would also use the blank screen (homogenizing). 3.Form into loaves (not more than 1-1/2 inches thick) and dehydrate 6-16 hours. We usually form it into 2 medium-size loaves or 4-6 little loaves.
The resulting bread is crunchy on outside, moist on inside and nice and fermenty tasting – a little like rye-sourdough.
2. Wheat Essene Bread with Raisins and Dates
(I think this is from Light Eating from Survival except in LEFS she doesn’t give any measurements.)
2 cups sprouted wheat berries (with little tails – less than 1/4 inch long) 1/2 cup chopped dates 1/2 cup soaked raisins
Preparation: 1.Stir all ingredients together. 2.Put the mixture through the Green Power machine using the blank screen and without the outlet adjusting knob (homogenizing). For the Champion you would also use the blank screen (homogenizing). 3.Form into loaves (not more than 1-1/2 inches thick) and dehydrate 6-16 hours. We usually form it into 2 small loaves.
The resulting bread is crunchy on outside, moist on inside and sweet. We use a Harvest Savor dehydrator from Vita-Mix – results have been great – it doesn’t have a temp control and I don’t remember what the max temp is – less than 108though – it feels barely warm to the touch even after it’s been on or 2 days. Nice thing about these recipes is that I’ve also dehydrated them in the sun with great results. Happy essene-ing. Any questions, please ask.
The Recipe 2-1/2 cups wheat (hardturkey red) 1-1/2 cups rye (whole grain) 1/2 cup barley (whole and hulled) 1/4 cup millet (whole and hulled) 1/4 cup lentils (green preferred) 2 tbsp. great northern beans 2 tbsp. red kidney beans 2 tbsp. pinto beans
Stir the above ingredients very well.
Grind in flour mill. (The flour should be the consistency of regular flour. Course flour may cause digestion problems.)
Measure into mixing bowl: 2 cups lukewarm water (110 degrees- 115 degrees)
Add, stirring to dissolve: 2 tsp. honey 2 T. Red Star yeast or 4 T. other brand of dry, active yeast.
Set aside and let yeast grow 3 to 5 minutes.
Into a large bowl combine: Flour 2 tsp sea salt (coarse–not highly processed)
Stir and add: 1/2 cup oil 1 cup honey 2 cups water
Add yeast to above mixture. stir until well mixed.
Add more water if necessary (1/2 to 1 cup) to make moist drop cookie-type dough. (Too much water requires longer baking time–too little water results in a dryer bread.)
Spread out evenly on an oiled 9″x 13″ x 2″ pan. Let rise in warm place for 1 hour.
Bake: 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.
When cool cut, freeze, and use as needed. Possible additions:
Blueberry/ Banana 17 oz. can blueberries (use juice instead of water in recipe 2 ripe bananas, mashed
Banana/Nut 3 ripe bananas, mashed 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans
Raisin/Pecan 3/4 cup raisins 3/4 cup pecans
Apple/Raisin 1 large apple, grated 3/4 cup raisins
Pineapple/Walnut 20 oz. pineapple ( use juice instead of water in recipe) 3/4 cup walnuts
Date/Nut 1 cup chopped dates 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans
Molasses decrease honey by 1/4 cup add 1/4 cup Blackstrap Molasses (note: this can be high in iron)*
Please visit Raw Foods Website for more ideas.
The mash is: sprouted pigeon seed, sprouted sunflower seeds, cooked rice, cooked whole corn, and cooked pigeon seed. To this I add a few frozen, then thawed peas and raw cut up carrots.
One of the things that I use in my mash mix is my Parrot Deli which consists of, carrot powder, alfalfa powder, granulated garlic, beet juice all into 1/2 cup of Aloe Detox. I use this about 2 times a week instead of their regular vitamin/mineral supplement. It has a lot of good things in it.
Margie Adams Pompano Beach, Florida
Margie’s Handfeeding Formula
I use an old formula that I got from a friend when I bought my first pair of Suns and they were still handfeeding. Hubby and I went down for lessons in how to handfeed our babies. The formula is as follows: The only thing I do different is I do use baby creamed corn, but for the yellow veggie, I use human veggies, like beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. and the same with the green veggies, like peas, green beans. I take a can of the veggie put it in the blender with the water that comes in the can and make a puree. I put this in baby food jars or small plastic jars and freeze until I need to use.
54 Zupreem parrot biscuits (you can also half the recipe, I do a lot) 6 cups of HOT or boiling water 2 heaping tbsp of creamy peanut butter
This I put in a pot on the stove and cook at boiling for 6 minutes then:
Add: 3 tbsps. of Nutri-Start 1 jar each of yellow baby veggie, one jar of green baby veggie, 1 jar of creamed corn, 1 jar of applesauce (I use a natural applesauce for humans). 1 tbsp of Ornabac.
Put all in a blender and blend. I put in either small plastic boxes for freezing or in airtight canning jars. Once unfrozen use within 24 hours. The longest I use is 3 days.
When ready to use, just pour in your feeding container, add a bit of water if needed to make the right consistency, and feed. My guys love it, and they are all healthy and big, with no slow crop problems.
Tip: I use my drinking water that I use for all my birds when I add water to thicken the formula so the babies are getting a bit of ACV and garlic.
Margie Adams Pompano Beach, Florida
Sugar Free Bird Bread
From: “The Ulmers”
1 cup corn meal 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 T baking powder shaved cuttlebone (optional)
1 egg 3/4 cup unsweetened apple or orange juice 1 jar baby food vegies or fruit 1 cup thawed frozen mixed veggies
Blend wet ingredients in blender, add to dry. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
I vary the goodies I add – fruits, mashed banana, wheat germ, peanut butter, etc. Liz
Pat’s Quinoa Recipe
Quinoa is available in lots of different forms. this morning the fids had the pasta form along with their morning veggies. Sometimes I use it in making birdie bread (it comes as a flour.) And, here is a recipe that I got from a health practitioner a number of years ago. I love it and so do the birds. If I’m making it just for the birds, I sometimes alter it – maybe add some brazil nuts for selenium or some sesame seeds.
Razzle Dazzle Grain Pudding
3 c. apple juice 1/4 c. oat groats 1/2 c quinoa 1/2 c. millet 1/4 c Raisins (optional) 1/4 c. almonds, chopped 1/4 teas. cinnamon 1/8 teas. sea salt
Place all the ingredients in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the cereal is creamy. Toward the end of the cooking time, stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
The makes up enough for several days, depending on your appetite and the fids, so you can make it ahead and then just heat it up on work days. This is the original recipe, as I got it. However, I find it a little sweet for me, so instead of all apple juice, I usually make it half juice and half water. You can vary the proportion according to your taste buds. I also don’t think the small amount of salt in it is harmful, but you can always leave it out if you’re worried. Bon appetite!
Pat Aurora (dusky pi)
RecipeI usually cook it for about 15 min, then I put some vegetables in the food blender and get them very fine, add that and some peanut butter, orange juice or other juice and dry it up with some flakes. This way I got over 200 birds from being a seed junky to eating veggies. The nice thing is that after a while they start eating the veggies by themselves. It seemed that this is a way to develop their taste for veggies or whatever you want them to eat. It is also a good way to hide supplements, like kelp, fax seed oil, etc. My budgies get the quinoa seed dry and like them a lot.
Pamela Clark’s Quinoa Recipe
½ cup quinoa 1 cup water 1 cup grated yams, sweet potatoes or carrots fresh corn kernels cut from one cob corn or ½ cup frozen corn ½ cup grated broccoli or other finely chopped dark green leafy vegetable ¼ cup grated Brazil nuts ¼ cup unhulled sesame seed ¼ cup canary seed mix ¼ cup Abba Green 92 nestling food (optional) 1 teaspoon Udo’s Oil Blend or other oil blend high in EFAs (optional)
Bring water to a boil and add quinoa. Bring back to boil, cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add yams on top of cooking quinoa, cover again and cook for 10 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed. Turn into a bowl, add other ingredients and mix gently. Serve warm (no hotter than 110 degrees) or at room temperature.
Sandy’s Roasted Pumpkins
Oven @ 400′ 30 to 40 mins, or until tender cut top off 1 pumpkin,sweet dumpling, jack be little or golden nugget. Scrape out seeds, lightly brush pumpkin inside & out with melted butter,sprinkle with salt and pepper, thyme, or other herbs.
fry 1 lb of hamburger cut up 1 green pepper, 1 onion, 3 or 4 carrots, cut thin, mix with hamburger, put all in to pumpkin top with thin sliced potaotes. put pumkpin top on top of this. for about 20 mins,,
Pam’s Layered Salad
Using this method, I can feed fresh foods to over 40 birds on a daily basis, while only chopping fruits and vegetables once a week. I’ll try to explain this in a step by step manner for clarity.
Once a week, I layer in plastic storage containers ( I use seven 2-gallon containers since I’m feeding so many birds) the following:
Layer 1 (bottom layer) – chopped greens, which are varied each week. One week, I’ll use collard greens and parsley and mustard greens, and the next I might use Swiss chard, kale and dandelion greens.
Layer 2 – chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes) green vegetables, including any of the following: Brussels sprouts, zucchini and other summer squash, jicama, red or green peppers, fresh hot peppers, chayote squash, green beans, fresh peas, cucumber, celery, anise root, etc.
Layer 3 – chopped broccoli and shredded carrots
Layer 4 – dry, uncooked pasta. This will absorb some of the moisture from the mix and soften nicely.
Layer 5 – cooked beans. I usually buy one of the 13 or 17 bean soup mixes, which I soak overnight, rinse, and then bring to a boil and cook for about 25 minutes, then drain.
Layer 6 – a mixture of chopped apples, oranges and whole grapes
Layer 7 – frozen mixed vegetables.
The containers are then placed in the refrigerator (don’t freeze).
Issues of freshness: this mix stays fresh in these tubs for up to seven days for three reasons. First, layered salads stay fresher longer. Second, the orange juice filters down and slightly acidifies that mix. The frozen mixed vegetables placed on top super cool the mix immediately (cold air sinks/warm air rises). I do also wash all the fruits, vegetables and greens with Oxyfresh Cleansing Gele, which not only gets them clean but has some anti-bacterial action.
Use: each morning, I empty out one container into a large mixing bowl. At that point, I usually add other foods that might not either hold up, or stay fresh in the layered mix, such as: soft fruits (blueberries, peaches, plums, kiwi fruits, melon, etc), sprouts, or cooked grains (amaranth, quinoa, brown rice, barley, etc). Sometimes, in order to generate a little excitement, I’ll sneak in a package of pine nuts or walnut pieces. Usually, I feed nuts separately, but I like to use this mix to surprise the parrots as well.
Once everything is completely mixed together, I put into another large bowl – eight scoops of this fruit and veggie mix, one scoop of a very clean, high quality seed mix and one scoop of pellets (either Foundation Formula or Harrison’s High Potency). This is then mixed together and fed to the birds.
This recipe can be adapted for any number of birds with a little creativity, by reducing either the number or size of the containers used or both. For just one bird, you can create two small containers. One container will keep for about three days, even after being opened and mixed up.
1. There’s no need to chop fresh foods every day.
2. Parrots are very visual creatures. If you stick a bird feeder outside, it will take the wild birds at least two weeks to start to feed from it. When fruits and vegetables are fed singly, or in large pieces, or in small combinations, and you add something new, it is likely to be rejected solely on the basis of the fact that it is visually unfamiliar. When you feed a mix like this, you can put anything into it and it will be accepted because the appearance of the mix hasn’t changed overall.
3. This mix is exciting for the birds, and allows them a foraging experience. They never know what they’re going to find in their food dishes and show considerable interest when I feed them. A huge amount of variety can be achieved. Greens and the types of vegetables used vary from week to week. The pasta shapes are varied (alphabet, whole wheat, elbow, etc.). You can use other types of citrus instead of oranges, including grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, etc. Instead of grapes, you can substitute fresh blueberries and pitted ripe cherries, or fresh cranberries. Instead of the 17-bean mix, you can use a soak and cook mix. Instead of grated carrots, you can use cooked and chopped sweet potato or winter squash. The possible variety is endless. I also vary the type of seed I use. I buy the Volkman’s brand, since it is so clean, but will use Hookbill Super one day, and Parrot Super the next, or sometimes canary seed, or a combination of seeds from the health food store (sesame, pumpkin, etc).
4. Parrots that won’t eat pellets, often will when they are combined into this mix as directed above because (1) they are part of an exciting mix, and (2) they will be slightly softened by absorbing some of the moisture from the mix.
5. I leave this in the cages from 7:00 am until 4:00 pm, which you can’t do with mixes that have been frozen or cooked. Since the majority of the foods are neither cooked nor frozen, they stay fresher longer. Bacterial growth is increased by temperature, moisture, and the break down of cell walls.
This mix tends to be relatively dry, because the pasta and pellets absorb the vast majority of the moisture. Further the cell walls in the fruits and vegetables are largely intact because they have not been broken down by either freezing or cooking. In hot weather, it tends to desiccate rather than spoil.
And lastly, 6. Seed junkies can easily by converted to a fresh food diet using this mix and a methodical approach, which I will outline below.
Converting a hard-core seed junkie to a fresh food diet:
1. Begin with four dishes in the cage – pellets of choice (no dyes or preservatives hopefully), a high quality seed mix, water and the fresh food mix. The latter will not be eaten for several weeks. Get over it. Serve this twice a day, in the am and in the late afternoon or evening, for the sole purpose of creating a pattern of feeding and allowing the bird to get used to looking at it. Note: the fresh food mix should have a ratio of 50% seed and 50% fresh foods (pellets optional).
2. The day you see the bird exploring the fresh food mix in order to eat the seed out of it, you make the following change: In the morning, you remove the seed dish and have only three dishes in the cage – pellets, water and the fresh mix. In the evening, you again feed the fresh food mix, but give the seed dish back. We don’t want a bird undergoing diet conversion to be hungry. A hungry, anxious bird does not make behavioral changes gracefully.
3. The day you see the bird with a piece of fresh food in his mouth, or observe that he has eaten some of it, then you eliminate the seed dish completely. From that point onward, you provide only three dishes – water, pellets, and the fresh mix that is 50% seed and 50% fresh foods.
4. A month later, and on each succeeding month, you decrease the amount of seed in the mix until it is down to between 10 – 20% of the mix. So, for instance, if you remove the seed dish on February 1, then on March 1, you will begin to feed a mix that is 40% seed and 60% fresh mix. On April 1, you will begin to feed 30% seed and 70% fresh foods. And so on.
I’ve converted many parrots who previously ate only seed very successfully using this method, including a 20-year-old Moluccan Cockatoo.