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  • Patricia Galiano

2 Tips on Making Birdie Salad AKA "Chop"

One of my top FAQs are "what do you feed your birds?" and "how do I make chop?", so I thought I would make a post to help promote avian nutrition. Asking yourself these two questions will take you a long way.

  1. Ask yourself, would you eat it?

  2. Presentation is important. One of the primary reasons for feeding your parrot chop is to add enrichment and cater to their foraging instincts. Foods of different shapes, sizes, and colors are important to achieve these goals. Leafy greens are important, but when chop turns into a mash that is overtaken by greens you are defeating the purpose.

  3. Quality is even more important. This doesn't mean that you have to buy the most expensive produce in the store or only shop organic. Leafy greens should be crisp, ingredients should smell fresh, and of course there should be no hint of mold or built up bacteria. Keeping ingredients grouped by expected expiration date and/or cooking method will help to prolong the overall life of your mix. Sprouted seeds are usually the first to go bad and these should be kept separately, in a glass jar, and rinsed each time they are offered.

  4. Ask yourself, should you eat it?

  5. An added benefit of bringing a feathered friend home is motivation to eat healthier yourself. While you're filling up your cart with produce don't forget to save some for yourself to make some healthy "people" salads and side dishes.

  6. Anything that is bad for you - some examples are salty French fries, ice cream, pizza, alcohol - is bad for them. Avocados are an exception. They are great for us but toxic to parrots, and other pets.

  7. Focus on "eating the rainbow". Different vegetables provide different nutrients and a wide assortment should be available. This also aids in the enrichment and foraging noted above. The most important color to include is orange, an indicator of foods high in Beta-carotene. Vitamin A deficiencies are common in parrots and as a precursor to this vitamin, beta-carotene is essential. Think carrots, sweet potatoes/yams, mango, butternut squash, etc.

  8. Pellets are the parrot multivitamin and should make up at least 70% of the overall diet, with the exception of those with specialized digestive tracts such as lorikeets and Eclectus parrots. It is virtually impossible to replicate the specific nutritional needs of a parrot through providing chop alone. Some brands are better than others which is typically indicative of the price tag. My personal preference is the Mazuri brand for all but my Eclectus which are provided with TOPs organic, cold pressed, pellets which contain no added manmade vitamins.

I hope these guidelines are helpful as you browse your local grocery store!

Violet Indian Ringneck
Lilo, my Violet Indian Ringneck, inspecting my selection.

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