Converting Birds to Pellets

A diet consisting mostly of pelleted food supplemented with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and a good
seed mix that does not include sunflower seeds, is your parrot’s best choice.

It’s not easy for some birds to make the conversion, but quite often that’s because their owner is too
easily swayed by their demands and fear that the bird isn’t going to eat at all if they don’t get their junk
food.

When I take in rescues, one of the most common problems is nutrition.  The birds are either terribly
underweight or obese.  Changing their diet is often a matter of life or death and I haven’t lost anyone to
date.

I’ll try every type of pellet out there, whether fruity or plain, spicy or a combination – just be sure to
get the size & type appropriate for your individual bird.  

Offer a pellet from your fingers as a treat (if your bird is used to taking treats from your fingers that is)
and go ahead and try one yourself so the bird can see.  I’m serious – try it yourself.  Your bird shouldn’
t be expected to eat anything that you wouldn’t eat yourself.  

I’ve mixed pellets in with cereal too, especially a good, healthy, low sugar type.   Try crushing them
into an all natural yogurt or baby food of mixed vegetables, sweet potatoes, squash or the like.   One of
our macaws started to love them when she found them in with her blueberries and other cut up fruit.
I’ve found it’s not a good idea to mix the pellets in with the seeds, but be creative otherwise.

One warning is that if you mix the pellets in with anything wet or even make a ‘mush’ out of the pellets
using plain water, a natural, low sugar fruit juice – you must remove the dish (must!) after an hour or
two, tops.  There’s too much chance for bacterial growth in wet foods and this only makes a problem
worse.

While making the conversion you need to monitor your bird very carefully.  I strongly suggest getting
regular weights.  

A gram scale is one of the best investments a bird owner can make since many illnesses are not noticed
until pretty far along.  With a regular weight monitoring, you’ll know when a weight loss (or gain) trend
occurs and may be able to stave off serious problems by catching them early.

I weigh everyone every Saturday morning, right after a dropping.  They’ve come to expect it and
happily step up on the scale when it’s their turn.  

For more ideas and options at conversion, take a look at these links.  There are as many ‘right ways’ as
there are individuals.  

www.avi-sci.com/converting.htm

www.cockatiels.org/articles/nutrition/convert.html

http://birdsnways.com/wisdom/ww44eiii.htm

www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/birdinformation/convertingdiet.php

         
                                                      
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Better Breakfast
Serves two macaws and a human

½ cup natural oats (regular, not instant)

Approx. 1 tablespoon each:  Raisins + dried
pineapple + mango and whatever else you
can find, preferably without sulfites

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½  to 1 teaspoon natural brown sugar


Toss everything together in a bowl and add 1
cup of water (doesn’t have to be hot).  Mix it
up and let it sit about 10 minutes or so until
the water is absorbed.

In order to get some birds interested in this
at first I’ll top with a sprinkling of chopped
nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.
(not peanuts).

Sometimes I’ll add chopped apple, banana
or a little applesauce instead of the brown
sugar.  I prefer not to put both in because the
sugar content is already a little high with the
dried fruit.

For the human serving you can add a little
cream, milk, soy milk, whatever you might
like.  I’ve learned to like it just the way I serve
it to the birds.

The best part is that it’s fat free and whole
grain, plus fruits.  It’s one of the best
breakfasts there is for birdy and buddies.
Better Breakfast
Serves two macaws and a human

½ cup natural oats (regular, not instant)

Approx. 1 tablespoon each:  Raisins + dried
pineapple + mango and whatever else you
can find, preferably without sulfites

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½  to 1 teaspoon natural brown sugar


Toss everything together in a bowl and add 1
cup of water (doesn’t have to be hot).  Mix it
up and let it sit about 10 minutes or so until
the water is absorbed.

In order to get some birds interested in this
at first I’ll top with a sprinkling of chopped
nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.
(not peanuts).

Sometimes I’ll add chopped apple, banana
or a little applesauce instead of the brown
sugar.  I prefer not to put both in because the
sugar content is already a little high with the
dried fruit.

For the human serving you can add a little
cream, milk, soy milk, whatever you might
like.  I’ve learned to like it just the way I serve
it to the birds.

The best part is that it’s fat free and whole
grain, plus fruits.  It’s one of the best
breakfasts there is for birdy and buddies.
Better Breakfast
Serves two macaws and a human

½ cup natural oats (regular, not instant)

Approx. 1 tablespoon each:  Raisins + dried
pineapple + mango and whatever else you
can find, preferably without sulfites

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½  to 1 teaspoon natural brown sugar


Toss everything together in a bowl and add 1
cup of water (doesn’t have to be hot).  Mix it
up and let it sit about 10 minutes or so until
the water is absorbed.

In order to get some birds interested in this
at first I’ll top with a sprinkling of chopped
nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.
(not peanuts).

Sometimes I’ll add chopped apple, banana
or a little applesauce instead of the brown
sugar.  I prefer not to put both in because the
sugar content is already a little high with the
dried fruit.

For the human serving you can add a little
cream, milk, soy milk, whatever you might
like.  I’ve learned to like it just the way I serve
it to the birds.

The best part is that it’s fat free and whole
grain, plus fruits.  It’s one of the best
breakfasts there is for birdy and buddies.
Better Breakfast
Serves two macaws and a human

½ cup natural oats (regular, not instant)

Approx. 1 tablespoon each:  Raisins + dried
pineapple + mango and whatever else you
can find, preferably without sulfites

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½  to 1 teaspoon natural brown sugar


Toss everything together in a bowl and add 1
cup of water (doesn’t have to be hot).  Mix it
up and let it sit about 10 minutes or so until
the water is absorbed.

In order to get some birds interested in this
at first I’ll top with a sprinkling of chopped
nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.
(not peanuts).

Sometimes I’ll add chopped apple, banana
or a little applesauce instead of the brown
sugar.  I prefer not to put both in because the
sugar content is already a little high with the
dried fruit.

For the human serving you can add a little
cream, milk, soy milk, whatever you might
like.  I’ve learned to like it just the way I serve
it to the birds.

The best part is that it’s fat free and whole
grain, plus fruits.  It’s one of the best
breakfasts there is for birdy and buddies.
Better Breakfast
Serves two macaws and a human

½ cup natural oats (regular, not instant)

Approx. 1 tablespoon each:  Raisins + dried pineapple +
mango and whatever else you can find, preferably without
sulfites

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½  to 1 teaspoon natural brown sugar


Toss everything together in a bowl and add 1 cup of water
(doesn’t have to be hot).  Mix it up and let it sit about 10
minutes or so until the water is absorbed.

In order to get some birds interested in this at first I’ll top with a
sprinkling of chopped nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.
(not peanuts).

Sometimes I’ll add chopped apple, banana or a little
applesauce instead of the brown sugar.  I prefer not to put both
in because the sugar content is already a little high with the
dried fruit.

For the human serving you can add a little cream, milk, soy
milk, whatever you might like.  I’ve learned to like it just the way
I serve it to the birds.

The best part is that it’s fat free and whole grain, plus fruits.  It’s
one of the best breakfasts there is for birdy and buddies.
Cookie Soup
Chicken soup for the winged and wingless

6 cups water in large saucepan on medium high heat

1 rounded tablespoon natural chicken paste (or one can broth)
preferably low sodium/no sodium

1 rounded teaspoon fresh crushed ginger (not powder).  Most
grocery stores carry jars of crushed ginger these days and it
lasts several months in the refrigerator

½ package each of frozen peas + corn + chopped spinach (or
collard greens)

1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh or reconstituted)

1 cup pasta shells

Bring water with the chicken paste/broth and ginger to a boil
and add the pasta.  
Reduce heat slightly so it doesn’t boil again and stir
occasionally for 10 minutes.

Add the vegetables, lemon and simmer another 10 minutes or
until pasta is done

I’ll toss in some cubed (boneless, skinless) chicken or turkey
that I might have on hand in the freezer

My in house birds can’t get enough of this soup and even
though I’m a huge fan of garlic and spice, this is a very good
and healthy meal.  

By the way, it’s called ‘Cookie soup’ because my Severe
Macaw, Cookie, will almost throw herself into it in order to get
more.
Hoppin’ Sadie
A variation of an old southern dish called Hoppin’ John

1 package frozen, chopped spinach or collard greens, thaw
and squeeze dry

1 can black eyed peas,  about ½ drained (retain some of that
liquid)

½ cup whole wheat couscous

¼ cup lemon juice (fresh or reconstituted)

olive oil

Put the couscous in a casserole dish and cover with 1 cup plain
hot water for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed
and couscous is soft.
I’ve used low or no sodium chicken broth on occasion instead
of the water, so you can consider this for a variation.

Add the spinach, black eyed peas, lemon juice and a couple
tablespoons of olive oil  - toss well until mixed.

Cover lightly. I use an inverted plate over the top rather than
plastic wrap; a paper plate will work (not Styrofoam).

Microwave about 3 minutes, stir and microwave another 2
minutes.

I let this stand a good 20 minutes before giving it to my birds
and am sure to test it myself to be certain there are no hot
spots.  
Homemade Recipes further down
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