Picky Bird Chop (and some tricks and tips)

Bandespresso

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Dec 22, 2014
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Tucson, AZ
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Congo African Grey+
Worked closely with many species, birds with behavioral problems, and now birds of prey and other wildlife
Getting Espresso on a healthy diet has been a year-long nightmare (see my other recent thread). During it, I have researched a whole lot and learned lots of ways to trick her into eating better things. One of my crowning achievements was perfecting my chop! A couple of you asked me to share so here you go...

An important thing to remember is to take into consideration your flock's dietary needs before shopping. The ingredients I use are for a bird who needed a lot of nutrition and has trouble gaining weight (because she is a picky little
String bean lol). If your picky bird is a perch potato, keep your ingredients low fat and low sugar. Grate, process, or very finely chop your birds' least favorite ingredients and make their favorites bigger pieces. Buy fresh, in season, organic, and a huge variety! The goal is to make everything mushy and well-mixed so your bird can't tell what they are eating just that it is delicious and has chunks of their favorite things.

Cooked ingredients:
2 cups barley
Veggie pasta
1 cup black lentils
2 sweet potatoes (big chunks for me they are her favorite)
1 acorn squash (big chunks for this one too)

Fresh:
2 grated zucchini
Finely-chopped parsley
3 finely-chopped brusel sprouts
2 cups grated carrots
2 finely-chopped yellow bell peppers
1 package of mushed up blackberries
1/2 mushed up papaya
1/2 cup red cabbage

1/3 package of any frozen veggie mix (mine is classic peas/corn/green beans

Other:
Pellets
Chia seed
Ground flax seed
1/4 cup liquified unrefined coconut oil
1 cup liquified almond butter (maybe more....depends on how much chop you made. Also you can use baby food or applesauce! Anything that is liquidy and that your bird loves. This is intended to mask the taste of everything else and encourage your bird to eat more)

Start preparing your ingredients that need to be cooked on the stovetop first (barley and pasta for this one...my lentils were pre-cooked and I typically just microwave squash and sweet potatoes)
Chop, grate, and mix all your fresh ingredients in an extra large bowl
Add your cooked ingredients while they are still warm and mix it all together
Then add all your extras! You know you have the right texture when it, for lack of a better description, looks like a big bowl of chunky vomit. If you can't distinguish what is what neither can your bird!
Refrigerate uncovered for 12 hours before freezing. The easiest way to store this chop because it freezes so hard is to put it in sandwich baggies and flatten as much as possible so you can easily break off chunks.

Everyone feeds birdie meals differently but the way that works best for us and gets her to eat more is by microwaving it until it is slightly warm and serving it as her only food option for 2 hours in the morning. For a while she just nibbled and now she chows down!! Slowly start adding fresh components and offer more and more fresh stuff the more your bird eats the chop. I really hope this helps others!! Let me know your results! The morning time is the best time to introduce new foods. Include your picky birds in food prep time and try to eat with them. Some birds will try anything you are eating (not mine lol) so that is a good way to get them to try new things. Be persistent and keep offering! Note when your bird eats the most and switch out their regular foods for healthy food during that time if you can. Reward them with a favorite treat and make a big deal if you notice them trying new things. All birds are different so work with their schedule and favorite things and keep trying!! It seriously took me a whole year to get Espresso eating good fruits and veggies but I never gave up! As a future A.V., I can't even begin to express how important a good diet is to your flock's wellbeing.
 

Aquila

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Philadelphia
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Sydney - Blue Front Amazon
Gonzo - Congo African Grey
Willow - Cockatiel
RIP:
Snowy, Ivy, Kiwi, Ghost - Parakeets
Berry - Cinnamon GCC
Sounds like you found a winning recipe! Glad to know Espresso is chowing down on the good stuff now. I'm very thankful and lucky to have a Grey that eats almost anything.

In place of the almond butter, I'm a big fan of using powdered peanut butter (be careful, some brands have added salt and sugar) which you can mix with any oil to make it creamy.
 

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Yep.

That's how i started to get kiwi to eat her veggies. I mixed it up in some plain pasta, a spoon full of applesauce, a little peanut butter on the brocolli... She ate it in spite of herself.

Gradually there were more veggies and less pasta... And as i figured out which ones she actually readily liked and ate, i kinda modified it to suit her taste.

Now she tears it up. Hers is consistently the most empty bowl. Not by throwing either.

It took a couple of months though... at first she would take one look at the bowl, and wouldn't go near it.
 
Last edited:

Allee

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Oct 27, 2013
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U2-Poppy(Poppy lives with her new mommy, Misty now) CAG-Jack, YNA, Bingo, Budgie-Piper, Cockatiel-Sweet Pea Quakers-Harry, Sammy, Wilson ***Zeke (quaker) Twinkle (budgie) forever in our hearts
Excellent recipe and great tips! Thank you so much for sharing your secrets.

I'm glad Espresso is cooperating. It's very rewarding when our birds decide healthy foods are irresistible.
 
OP
Bandespresso

Bandespresso

New member
Dec 22, 2014
389
0
Tucson, AZ
Parrots
Congo African Grey+
Worked closely with many species, birds with behavioral problems, and now birds of prey and other wildlife
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No problem! Like I said, hopefully this helps someone who has been struggling like I was for a long loooong time. And hopefully, in five billion years when I'm done with school, I'll be able use stuff like this to help my patients :p

Gradually there were more veggies and less pasta... And as i figured out which ones she actually readily liked and ate, i kinda modified it to suit her taste.

Now she tears it up. Hers is consistently the most empty bowl. Not by throwing either.

It took a couple of months though... at first she would take one look at the bowl, and wouldn't go near it.

That's the idea!! Less wasted food is just a bonus!
 

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