Birdie Bread Recipie
This high-protein meal is a favourite in my flock! I feed one square every third day year-round, and one square daily during breeding season when the birds benefit from extra vitamins to feed their families. Even really picky eaters tend to enjoy this dish. If your birds are uninterested the first time it is offered do not give up! Sometimes it takes a few offerings before birds will taste a foreign food, but once they do you’ll find the dish empty every time!
Photo supplied by Welcome Wings customer Leticia and her budgie flock!
2 cups cornmeal
½ cup pellets
½ cup seed mix
¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup diced fruit (optional)
¼ cup mixed vegetables (optional)
¼ mashed banana (optional)
4 oz jar of sweet potato (baby food)
pinch of Ceylon cinnamon (optional, adds flavour)
Mix together. Add a bit of cold water if required for a good dough consistency. Spread dough into a non-stick pan (NOT Teflon coated!), levelling the surface. You can use a bit of olive oil to grease the pan or line with parchment paper if you are concerned about the bread sticking.
Bake at 350° for 30 mins.
Cut into squares (approximately 1”) and store in fridge or freeze and defrost as needed. Serve to your bird in a small dish, and remove uneaten portions within three hours in order to prevent bacteria growth.
Our pet birds benefit from the nutritional value of fresh foods, but who has time for all of that prep work every morning? I don’t!!! So, every few weeks I prepare a big batch of “chop”, store it in freezer bags and thaw small portions as needed.
Here’s what I do:
Pick 1-2 grains. Cook them, portioning appropriately for the number of birds you have to feed. I recommend 1/2 cup of grains, in total, as a good starting point. Set aside to cool in a mixing bowl.
Pick 4-6 vegetable varieties, ensuring at least one of them is orange, and at least one of them is a leafy green. Dice them finely, or use a food processor to help you. Add them to the grains in the mixing bowl.
Pick 1 fruit variety, dice it, and add it to the mixing bowl. (Fruit is high in sugar. While it can help to tempt birds knew to eating “Chop”, too much of it isn’t a good idea. Feel free to exclude it altogether, or use fruit every 2nd batch of Chop, rather than every single time you make it).
Pick 3-4 lentils. Cook them, and allow them to cool. Add to mixture. Give a good stir.
Divide the mixture into smaller portions, planning each portion to be enough for your flock to have 2-3 small meals (a good average is to assume about 1tbs per bird per meal). Freeze each portion in a freezer-safe container or zipper bag.
Prior To Serving
The night before serving put a single frozen portion into the fridge to thaw.
The day of serving add any special treats (nuts, cereals ect. described below) if your bird requires an extra incentive to try out the chop mixture for the first few times. You can also add a bit of freshly cooked (scrambled or hard-boiled) egg. Any leftover egg can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, and added to tomorrow’s chop serving.
Remove uneaten portions of chop after three hours to prevent bacteria growth. Also remove any pieces that might have spilled onto the cage floor, or, better yet, change the cage tray lining. Clean the dish that was used and set it aside for tomorrow!
Help! My bird won’t try new foods!
When I introduce new food to my birds I always start with something I personally like, or at least will use, in order to avoid waste. For example, with a beet I would try just 1/4 of the beet diced for my bird, and use the remaining portion for cooking my own dinner. Offer the new food alongside food you know the bird already enjoys, to tempt him/her. Also try serving the food in more than one format (diced, one large piece, mashed, warmed, chilled, and so on). Give the same offering once per day for at least 7 days before taking a break and trying something else. Try placing the offering in different spots throughout the cage. Some birds don’t like eating on the cage floor and prefer a dish that is higher up. Some birds prefer to eat out of a foraging toy. Sometimes it just takes patience, but do not give up! Healthy eating is SO important for our feathered friends!
Bird-Safe Food Ideas to Include in Your Chop!
*** This list is not exhaustive, by any means. Before offering your bird anything other than the items listed below, consult a veterinarian or other credible source. Makes sure all food is washed thoroughly before giving it to your bird. Remove uneaten portions within three hours in order to avoid bacteria growth. ***
- broccoli (excellent source of Calcium and Vitamin A)
- yellow beans
- green beans
- brussel sprouts
- kale (excellent source of Calcium and Vitamin A)
- swiss chard
- romaine lettuce
- dandelion greens and flowers (unsprayed! No pesticides!)
- beets and beet greens
- hot peppers (birds love spice!)
- bell peppers (all colours, include the main vegetable and also the seeds and core)
- baby bok choy
- mustard greens
- sweet potato (skin removed, boiled)
- butternut squash (diced, raw, without seeds and stringy “guts”)
- acorn squash (diced, raw, without seeds and stringy “guts”)
- pie pumpkin (diced, raw, without seeds and stringy “guts”)
- apples (no seeds or pits)
- quinoa (cooked)
- cous-cous (cooked)
- whole grain pasta (cooked)
- barley (cooked)
- rolled quick oats (raw)
- brown rice (cooked)
- pasta (ideally whole grain, cooked and diced)
- navy beans (cooked or sprouted, never raw)
- kidney beans (cooked or sprouted, never raw)
- chick peas (cooked or sprouted, never raw)
- split peas (cooked or sprouted, never raw)
- black turtle beans (cooked or sprouted, never raw)
- romano beans (cooked or sprouted, never raw)
- brown, yellow, red or green split pea lentils
- hard-boiled egg (no shell)
- scrambled egg (no shell)
- flax seed (small quantity — just a few tbsp per batch of chop is plenty)
- chia seed (small quantity — just a few tbsp per batch of chop is plenty)
- hemp seed (small quantity — just a few tbsp per batch of chop is plenty)
- soaked seeds
- sprouted seeds
- mint leaf (just a bit, for flavour and as a calcium source)
Special Tempting Treats
These special treats can be included, in moderation, to help coax a bird who has never tried “chop” before. Once the bird is actively enjoying the chop you can skip these special foods next time, saving them as training treats.
- Nuts (almonds, walnut, pine nut, peanut ect.)
- Seed mix
- Non-sugary cereals (bran, original Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Special K)