5 Super Simple “Sandwich” Recipes For Your Birds

5 Super Simple “Sandwich” Recipes For Your Birds

 January 6th, 2011
Posted By:

Blue fronted amazon

As a human being, I know how quickly I can tire of the same old foods, even ones that I love or know are good for me. There is typically a lot of variety in the wild parrot’s diet, so I try to change things up for my bird as much as possible while still maintaining a healthy diet. Here are some recipes for nutritious “sandwiches” for your feathered family that are soooo easy to make and fun to eat!

1 ) Almond Butter and Banana On Whole Wheat or Multi Grain Bread:
Smear almond peanut butter (very thinly or sparingly) on one side of two pieces of toasted bread. Push coarsely chopped pieces of banana into the almond butter and put the two slices of toast together. Cut the sandwich into 1 1/2″ square pieces for the larger birds and serve singularly or on a skewer. For the smaller birds, cut the larger pieces in half again and serve in a bowl.
Just FYI, it is very easy to make your own nut butters, which can be made from virtually any type of nut.

**This recipe previously called for peanut butter but based on updated information we have changed it to almond butter as it’s better for birds.

2) Tortilla Roll Ups:
Puree fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries and/or raspberries in the food processor.  Smear one side of a flour or corn tortilla with the pureed mixture. Add a layer of cottage cheese over the top. Roll up the tortilla and cut into pieces appropriate for your bird’s size.
You can also mix finely chopped fruit with the cottage cheese and omit, or leave in, the pureed fruit.

Camelot macaw

3) Stuffed Pita Pockets Foragers:
In a food processor (or by hand) finely chop fresh or frozen spinach, carrots, raw zucchini or yellow squash, and walnuts. Add cooked brown rice and whole kernals of corn to the mixture.
In a bowl, stir in only enough plain yogurt to the chopped veggies/rice mixture so that it remains thick. Spoon mixture into a pita pocket and serve whole or cut in half.
Birds of all size can burrow into the bread to get to the yummy stuff, you just have to let them know what awaits inside the bread to get them started. Just a taste from my finger or a spoon achieves that.

4) Breakfast Sandwich:
Stuff a pita pocket with scrambled eggs, cooked mashed sweet potato, and grated cheddar (or other) cheese. If your bird has been especially good, you might occasionally crumble in bits of bacon. Serve warm.
To complete the breakfast scenario, serve with a side of sliced orange.

Congo african grey

5) Lasagna Roll Ups:
Cook lasagna noodles until they are soft, but still firm. Let cool and cut in half.
In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese with several healthy shakes of parmesan cheese and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder or ground nutmeg for a little extra flavoring (optional).
Smear the cheese mixture on a halved lasagna noodle and drizzle with tomato sauce or a low sodium spaghetti sauce.
Roll up the lasagna noodle and secure with a toothpick. Warm in microwave being sure not to serve until safe from hot spots.
…Of course, there are any number of ways these recipes can be modified to suit your bird’s personal tastes. Do try to incorporate new foods into these recipes. It is a good way to get them to explore new possibilities and expand their diet.


There were so many comments about the inclusion of cheese in these recipes that I decided to put my response into the body of this post:

Hi to everyone,
When I wrote this post, I was aware that these questions would arise. I LOVE that so many are concerned enough about their bird’s diet to take the time to ask them. A few short years ago, most people weren’t as aware of diet issues, so this is a HUGE step forward in the care of our birds.
I have always said that a consistently healthy diet is the MOST important aspect of our care-giving with birds. Fresh foods should be the biggest part of their diet. Dr. Cook is correct in advising that birds are lactose intolerant which should preclude large amounts of dairy in their diet, and peanuts/peanut butter can present problems in some birds. However, I also have found that most birds tolerate these foods without problems at all, if given in moderation. But do be watchful for problems, as you should be with every aspect of your bird’s life.

My take on it is this: Apart from following the rules and making sure that you are giving the very best of everything to your birds, life is also supposed to be fun. An excruciatingly bland diet is as hard on parrots as it is on humans. Food is part of what makes life good. Unfortunately, the best tasting foods are not generally the most beneficial to us. Just as you would with your own diet, a bird needs limitations set, with the accent placed on good health.

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118 Comments on “5 Super Simple “Sandwich” Recipes For Your Birds”

joan villegas  01/06/2011 7:44 pm

great suggestions!!

Michelle  01/07/2011 12:10 am

What fabulous ideas! I am printing it out and going to begin preparing some of them tomorrow for my flock. Thanks!

Joann murnane  01/07/2011 12:45 am

great recepies Thanks Again for your help. Thehow to peanut spreads really are great for me here in Israel were is`t really costly and with all kinds of add sugers that I hate. For my birds and I

Danielle  01/07/2011 10:07 am

If this is safe for my birds to eat, I will try giving it to them. So it is ok to feed it to Green-cheeked conures, princess parrots and cockatiels right?

Stacy Miller  01/07/2011 12:54 pm

Great post thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your blog very much. Excellent content!

Joe  01/08/2011 9:50 am

This is safe and good for your bird. Parrots are not fragile beings. Generally, what’s good for us is good for them. Just remember that we eat a lot of things that we consider “good” for us. Out cockatiel, Jack, loves just about anything we eat.

candace Dryden  01/08/2011 9:53 am

Did you know that birds are lactose intolerant? They don’t have the enzyme lactase to break down lactose. They are not mammals and do not have mammory glands. They do not find dairy products in the wild to eat because dairy comes from mammals. I would not suggest to feed parrots or birds dairy products. They can congeal in the crop and in the gut and cause problems. Also peanut butter contains aflotoxins which causes aspergillosis a very serious toxin that can make your parrot sick. I would stick to other nuts. Hope this helps. And do your research before you feed anything to your parrot.

Yvonne (Star) Rasul  01/08/2011 9:59 am

I noticed that alot of the receipes had dairy products in them. I was told that birds are lactose intollerent and should not have any dairy. Is this true?

bette Jo  01/08/2011 10:00 am

Thanks! appreciate new recipes to vary their diet!

Kim Strong  01/08/2011 10:04 am

These are some great ideas, Chet, but Two things I would like to clarify for your readers: first, make sure to use only natural peanut butter. The stuff they sell like Jif, Skippy, etc, is full of hydrogenated fats and sugar. Birds don’t need that! One might also try almond butter, tahini (sesame), or cashew butter, as long as they don’t have any additives.
Second, I have completely stopped using my microwave after finding out about how it changes the molecular structure of the foods we put in them. I would use a toaster oven, griddle, or regular oven to warm foods. Likewise, I have stopped cooking the birds’ sweet potatoes in the microwave, just have to think ahead and put them in the oven.
I do hate feeding my two macaws the same things over and over, but when I try to incorporate new foods, they invariably end up on the floor or just left in their bowls. I will try these great ideas and see what happens! Thanks for them!

Sylvie Giard  01/08/2011 10:08 am

Excellent ideas. Good for us too, as I am “His Highness’ Official Taster” – won’t eat anything unless we try it out first….

Dale  01/08/2011 10:09 am

Yes Yes, its all very good to inspire your bird, and giving them a good healthy diet of variety is great, but and I hate to be negative after this has been kindly posted, but salt, not good at all, cheese is full of salt, and it has no benefit for your feathered friend, milk, cheese etc can not be digested by birds, lactose intolerant would be the term, my own birds love to pinch my cornflakes out of my cereal bowl, but they only get one or two and choose nothing else, even if I have a mixed bowl.
Sweet potato, only last week, the vet advised that this is a bad food and to class it with avocado, as foods not to feed.
Peanuts and peanut butter, can have cancerous causing agents, I keep fresh peanuts in the fridge in their shells, and give about 2 per month, the cancer causing agent is a fungus that many foods harbor.
Same old story, keep it simple, keep it fresh and stay away from all processed food, its not good for you, and its certainly life shortening for your little bird, who only weighs grams!
Yours Dale.

Rachel  01/08/2011 10:16 am

A neighbor with a Yellow-Naped Amazon (like my own) told me how his bird LOVES cooked oatmeal! Now when I make oatmeal for myself, I make extra for Tess, and keep a little extra in the refrigerator to warm up for snacks. She gobbles it like no other food. (Served warm, of course, with whatever fruit and nut additions I am enjoying with my own oatmeal.)

Annette Cartwright  01/08/2011 10:31 am

I love the ideas as well, what I would like to know is, first of all I thought and read somewhere that they are not allowed to eat bacon/pork.. ….is this true And cheeses, I take it in moderation, i have no idea about ricotta cheese and how its processed . I love the ideas. I always used to give the crusts of my toast to the birds in the morning or just give them a slice of toast and cut it into fingers. Does bread get sour in their crops?????????

Jolanda  01/08/2011 10:37 am

It’s a pity these recepes are only suitable for the larger birds,but not for my two budgies.I really would like to get some tips for them two.

Ryan  01/08/2011 10:44 am

Just gave my two greys a peanut butter sandwich. Didnt have banana so added thin slices of apple. The practically ate every crumb.

A list oa other foods that we can safely feed out birds would be excellent and then we can make our own receipies!

Francis M. farris  01/08/2011 10:45 am

I thought cheese was not good for parrots???

Dr. Cook  01/08/2011 10:47 am

As an avian veterinarian, I would caution against using peanut butter, as there is always a level of fungal toxins present, which have the potential to cause serious disease in our parrots. Natural peanut butter is worse, as the level of these toxins are much higher.
Birds are lactose intolerant, so I do not recommend feeding dairy products to our birds. Coronary artery disease is also prevalent in our companion parrots, so avoid animal products (eggs, meats, dairy, etc.)
These are great recipes, my advice is stick to just veggies for the fillings. Much healthier for our parrots!

Sam Moore  01/08/2011 10:49 am

Chet great ideas thanks. I have two green cheeked conures. One is 13, the other 4.
They have been on a strict harrisons diet for 3 years as previous to that my 9 year old conure died unexpectedly. The avian specialist here in London said it was due to their diet: eating sunflower seed/ pet shop seed, peanut butter snacks, pasta, bread. So he put them on harrisons. Since then I have been terrified of giving them anything processed/ man made. They are in beautiful condition now very shiny feathers, the vet said their weight is good.
What is your take on this?
Ps when I got the 4 year old, Sharky I emailed you about her behaviour issues. You advised she may have ADDHD. You sent me a DVD which helped a lot and now she is very obedient and well mannered and always keen to try new tricks. So thank you for that.

robert  01/08/2011 10:57 am

I love reading all the info that is put up so i had to adds this when it comes to diet my birds eat the occaisonal seed but the eat what we eat they love eating fish and rice but a real treat for them is crab and fresh baby coconut meat even a drop of red wine that is for my larger parrots
but my cockateil loves something that is not so good salted peanuts and red wine it is 16 years old now and it still acts as a young bird.
lol my wife says i treat them better than her as they also live in my house have showers with me
but she does get mad when the cockateil comes walking in our bed room at 2am then gets on our bed while we are sleeping is dark but still finds it way in

Colleen Pittman  01/08/2011 10:58 am

These recipes are wonderful! I’ve tried them all and my congo african grey and my senegal just love every one of them! I also feed these to my 2 cockatiels, budgie and love bird. Thanks!..HAPPY NEW YEAR!

julie cunliffe  01/08/2011 11:13 am

excellent idea, i would never have thought to give casper and nelson sandwiches, can’t wait to try them out

Anne  01/08/2011 11:19 am

I thought that we should not give ANY dairy products to birds?? Surprised to see yogourt and cottage cheese on your list of ingredients.

Verona Barr  01/08/2011 11:42 am

Just a quick warning tip – my yellow fronted Amazon, Max, is not allowed to have cheese of any kind because it constipates him terribly. Be careful with cheese! I wish I could give it to him because he loves it, but there’s nothing sadder (and funnier, in truth) than a constipated parrot. Another quick tip – if your parrot IS constipated, be sure to keep those individual servings of natural apple sauce in the pantry. One tablespoon for Max and he’s back to normal and it is one thing he’ll always eat.

WOLF  01/08/2011 11:45 am

I have a Quaker Parrot which was a young baby being harassed by bluejays as i was standing under the tree which this happened at my dr.s office, it landed on my head and held on for dear life, i have had Merlin for 7 yrs now and he has an extraordinary vocabulary and he helps me teach my other God sent birds talk and stay busy. the Treats are a fantastic way of Rewarding your birds, which i do often, my parakeets talk and a Nanday Conure was attacked by an osprey which slit the nandays throat i rescued her and she is very healthy also and fun! My dr, and staff are not supprised any more when i come to the office with a bird on my head or holding in my shirt, the birds find me, for i am disabled and they keep my spirits up. thanks Chet.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,WOLF

Trish  01/08/2011 11:56 am

Our Ringneck joins us for every meal so he gets lots of variety every day, but these ideas are so much fun! Question: I read (from you) that birds do not have what it takes to digest cheese, so we have been giving cheese to him in teeny tiny amounts – it is one of his favorite foods. How much is safe?

jole  01/08/2011 11:57 am

soulnds good, but I have another Idea that I tryed out on my cockatiel….and it work!! what I did was, took his favorite toy, and kept stuffing seeds in it four about 2-3 weeks,then when he is used to eat out of it, I put in some healthy/new foods in and he eats them right up!!

SNA  01/08/2011 12:02 pm

Hi great suggestion are these suggestions safe for umbrella cockatoo?

Pamela  01/08/2011 12:09 pm

These sound great but I had thought that Lovebirds should not have much dairy–is this true?
Thank you!

Patsy Seo  01/08/2011 12:13 pm

My bird gets a head of celery in his water. I cut off the bottom so the celery gets water to stay fresh for a day or two. It looks pretty in his cage like growing tree. It doesn’t look pretty long as he will completely demolish it in half a day. Keeps him busy and quiet that long
Sometimes I just buy the small loose leaf lettuce heads or even radishes. I put in a bunch tops and all and he likes them as well. Collard greens and Kale are Ok but not his favorites My daughter complains it hides his water but I think it is not a problem for him.
Since he likes to sit on his water dish and can’t when there are a bunch of greens coming out It keeps his water clean longer.
He is afraid of water and won’t take baths except in his water dish.
Has anyone else ever heard of an amazon parrot that was afraid of water?
For Christmas I found a big stalk with Brussels sprouts on it and put it in has cage. Told everyone it was his Christmas tree. One year, not this one I strung and hung pop corn in his cage like some people used to do on the Christmas tree.

Patsy Seo  01/08/2011 12:19 pm

I especially like the Pita bread idea I have been cutting slits in an empty paper roll and sticking nuts in them It takes him about as long to dissemble as it does me to assemble so it is a lot of work I think the Pita bread idea is a lot better. All the suggestions are great and I plan to try them out one at a time.

Mike  01/08/2011 12:21 pm

These ideas are very creative and thoughtful. There are just a couple things though:

1. Fat content in a bird’s diet should be kept to an EXTREMELY low minimum for most species. Variety is the key, and I just want to make sure every one reading this knows that if you feed these, do so ONLY as treats making up no more than 25 percent of your bird’s diet. Don’t feed these in the morning when they’re starving because they will almost certainly stop eating their pellets which contain the vitamins and minerals they need. Also know that feeding only an organic food such as Harrison’s or the one Chet sells here is recommended. Zupreem naturals (the one with no coloring, etc) is my second favorite.

2. Cheese might be well substituted with something else like the plain yogurt in EXTREME moderation. There is a lot of fat in either. Don’t substitute things that are non-fat, low-fat or ‘diet’ as they contain more artificial ingredients than a can of soda pop and will kill your birds slowly. Use only all natural ingredients… nothing canned or preserved.

3. Also, do not use flour tortillas. They are full of preservatives. If you are going to use tortillas, do not use any packaged ones, make your own. There are recipes all over the internet and they are not hard to make. You will probably not go back to eating the store bought ‘junk’ if you do this.

4. Don’t use any bread which utilizes high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour of any kind or any other preservatives or emulsifiers or any of the things you cannot pronounce. A great alternative, though pricey is Ezekial brand bread which is available in Whole Foods and most other healthy stores. It is a flourless gluten-free bread made from sprouted grain and is absolutely delicious and comes in a large array of flavors.

Enjoy your birds, but be careful with them! They are very delicate and while they do need variety and enjoy it tremendously, what you feed them has a way of catching up. I have learned this the hard way, and trust me, you don’t want birds with gout and other food-related diseases. Keep them on the pellets and keep them healthy… They want your love and attention more than a food treat!

All the best!

Marina Songer  01/08/2011 12:27 pm

Great ideas! I’m definitely going to try on my Grey. I was wondering about the garlic powder and the cottage cheese though. I had read that birds shouldn’t get dairy products and that they can’t digest them properly. I give my grey a bite of cheese or a sip of milk here and there but was wondering about larger amounts. Garlic and onion are toxic to birds, cats, dogs and other species as well.
Thanks Chet!

Marty  01/08/2011 12:30 pm

Always looking for new things for our girls. 7 & 14 yr old B& G’s

Plukie  01/08/2011 12:35 pm

Brilliant and simple! Thanks.

Hazel  01/08/2011 12:40 pm

Never mind the birds… going to make these for me too… lol!

Marge  01/08/2011 12:48 pm

Thank you,

As always I love your suggestions and will try them. Maybe my cockatiel won’t forage from my plate.

Patty  01/08/2011 1:02 pm

Hi to everyone,
When I wrote this post, I was aware that these questions would arise. I LOVE that so many are concerned enough about their bird’s diet to take the time to ask them. A few short years ago, most people weren’t as aware of diet issues, so this is a HUGE step forward in the care of our birds.
I have always said that a consistently healthy diet is the MOST important aspect of our care-giving with birds. Fresh foods should be the biggest part of their diet. Dr. Cook is correct in advising that birds are lactose intolerant which should preclude large amounts of dairy in their diet, and peanuts/peanut butter can present problems. However, I also have found that most birds tolerate these foods without problems at all, if given in moderation. But do be watchful for problems, as you should be with every aspect of your bird’s life.

My take on it is this: Apart from following the rules and making sure that you are giving the very best of everything to your birds, life is also supposed to be fun. An excruciatingly bland diet is as hard on parrots as it is on humans. Food is part of what makes life good. Unfortunately, the best tasting foods are not generally the most beneficial to us. Just as you would with your own diet, a bird needs limitations set, with the accent placed on good health.

Rob  01/08/2011 1:04 pm

I too have heard that birds can not digest dairy products. So is this OK with the cheese and yogurt?

Peter O’Donoghue  01/08/2011 1:08 pm

My parrots all love passion fruit we grow our own and you shoul be able to grow in southern states

Hernan  01/08/2011 1:11 pm

Why do you use cheese as a feed if birds doesn t have the enzimes to degrade it.? They are not mammals

Susa  01/08/2011 1:20 pm

My Umbrella cockatoo LOVES OATMEAL! Whenever I make oatmeal for breakfast, I keep a big spoonful out for her. I cool it enough to make a marble-sized glob. Then I ask her if she’s a good bird. She enthusiastically bobs her head up and down (YES) before she gets her treat.

Destiny Alvarez  01/08/2011 1:22 pm

These are nice suggestion, my Conure is a picky eater. I’m going to try these recipes to see if he like them.

Deidre  01/08/2011 1:23 pm

Someone told me that dairy prducts were too hard for a bird to digest. I have avoided themup until now but plan on trying out yoghurt and cottage cheese in my bird’s diet.

CaiqueConnoisseur  01/08/2011 1:49 pm

This is mostly all common sense and I’ve been doing this with my greys and caiques twice a week. I find that if I do it more often, they start to rely on it and leave their rowdy bush.

meagan  01/08/2011 2:05 pm

hey patsy seo, my amazon is afraid of water too, I was wondering what I was doing wrong, I had to get him a big water bowl so he could bath in it he usually loves to bath in it when i am vacuuming, weird huh?. my babies love the crusts off my multigrain toast so I can’t wait to try the tahini butter so I will try that, and he loves noodles and I can my own tomatoes and sauce so I will try that great ideas thanxs!

Irina  01/08/2011 2:13 pm

Bits of bacon! Well that is a good way to make your bird to have a heart attack or a stroke!

Zapped Sparky  01/08/2011 2:33 pm

Great recipes, I’ll have to make one for me and one for the parrot.

George  01/08/2011 2:37 pm

My umbrella cockatoo prefers Brie cheese at room temperature. He started insisting I fill his water dish with a decent chablis so he can get the full effect.

Now he’s putting on airs and wearing a berret.

My advice is stick to plain old processed cheese slices. Cockatoos with fake French accents are extremely annoying.


Good tips on the snacks. Thanks.

George from Cyprus  01/08/2011 2:44 pm

Hi All , very nice and simple recipes . It is indeed i believe very important to keep our loved feathered friends always happy and of course healthy. I always try to vary my African grey diet trying to do little variations every day or so with his food. various colors and shapes, little pieces so he has time to play and various textures if possible. Bon apettite little feathered friends :)

George  01/08/2011 2:47 pm

[Typo edit]

That’s “beret.” BTW- My umbrella (of 23 years) thinks he looks like Jean Claude van Damme. I think he looks more like Gerrard Depardieu.

Maybe skipping cheese entirely is a good idea.

The peanut butter snack would avoid any side “affects.”

Lee McNamara  01/08/2011 3:39 pm

The recepies sound great hears one I feed my Joy every onther day and she love it, I scramble an egg with no salt cheese and low sodium havm. we do all this in the microwave, so there is no added fat, and we put this on a sessame bagel, so not only does she get her eggs and cheese, she also get the seeds off the bagel. I will try these recipies for her, Joy is a cockatoo and quite fussy about her food, She loves pastachio nuts.
Thanks for the ideas, I hope she will eat it.

Julie B  01/08/2011 3:56 pm

I have a 5yr old White-Fronted Amazon. Whenever I eat, I share the good healthy stuff with him. He loves small pieces of chicken, hamburger (just plain but well cooked), eggs & a variety of fruits, veggies & nuts. In response to Patsy’s post about Amazon’s being afraid of water: I have found my little guy loves to be misted. I have tried showers, baths & small containers of water to encourage him to bathe but he wants no part of anything other than being misted from a spray bottle. I find he enjoys it the most & loves to get good & soaking wet as long as the water is only tepid. Too cool or too warm & he wants no part of it. Tarzan’s very favorite treat is toast with a little peanut butter on it. He goes nuts whenever he knows the toaster is on. All the best in 2011 to everyone.

Jess  01/08/2011 3:58 pm

Non of these “nutrishious” sandwiches are good for a bird!:( bacon!?!?!?!? Holy asking for liver issues!!! If you are giving your bird a good pellet diet there is no need for suplementation add toys for stimulation instead of slowly killing your birds with unhealthy, fatty foods. In the wild their diet is full of variety because it needs to be to get all the nutrience they need in a day pellet diets do that work for them.

George  01/08/2011 4:08 pm

Lest anyone thinks I was actually serious about feeding my bird wine…

When I got my Umbrella, he was a screaming seed junkie. All that was missing were track marks from the sunflower seeds. Bad stuff. I could almost hear his little bird liver begging for mercy.

I (eventually) got him off seeds and on real food – kind of. He developed a fondness for canned sweet potatoes and orange muffins that I would roll into little balls. (Like cookie dough.) Again, bad idea. A glucose-hyper Umbrella will not win you a merit badge from the ASPCA.

With some effort, he started to “pick” at R–dy B-sh pellets but (by this time) he was used to those “rolled up” sweet potatoes and muffins. So…

I dumped about two cups of pellets into the blender, added a little water and made high nutrient pellet “bird balls” about the size of a quarter. (Again, like cookie dough.)

Viola! He ate the entire “bird ball” faster than a hungry cowboy. He thought it was a treat. Ha! The human wins!!

This simple concoction will keep for about five days in the fridge. The “bird balls” also freeze nicely, so you can make a month in advance.

For post bird ball dessert, he’ll also eat:

•Romaine Lettuce
•Corn on the cob
•Any pasta noodle
•Occasional apple
•Scrambled eggs (A little creepy)
•Almost anything chewed (Also a little creepy)

All in all, I should eat as well as he does.

The only draw back is he will not eat the bird ball cold. I’m serious. I have to “warm” it for seven seconds in the microwave. He actually checks the temperature with his pretentious little tongue before he will take the food. If it’s cold, he’ll throw it down and look at me like I never finished grade school. In a way I’ve created a gourmet birdzilla. At least he’s a very healthy birdzilla.

My point is you have to keep working at healthy choices like Patty is recommending. With me, the “bird ball” was the key.

Bart  01/08/2011 4:09 pm

Bart had blueberry pancakes this morning!

mmm mmm good!

Bart  01/08/2011 4:17 pm

One of my favorite books, recommended by Chet, is The Healthy Bird Cookbook by Robin Deutsch. What I love most about it is the quick reference on safe and not safe foods. It alows me to be creative and responsible. You can get it for a decent price on Amazon.

George  01/08/2011 4:18 pm


The “bird ball” technique (once accepted) is a good place to hide other healthy bits of food – although the pellets alone have given him an A+ on health for several years. He ages better than I do.

George  01/08/2011 4:51 pm


For anyone interested regarding the fussy eater bird balls..

1. You need to grind the pellets into a relatively smooth mixture. Put a workable amount of the ground pellets into a mixing dish (mix by hand) and add water until you get it to about “cookie dough” consistency. Have an extra bowl of water to wet your fingers and for adding to the mixing bowl. (It will dry a little so cover the bowl after you go to step 2.)

2. Remove an amount (about the size of a tennis ball) from the mixing bowl and roll it on a cutting board to about 10 inches in length or until you can cut it in sections that will roll up to nickle to quarter size balls.

My bird will eat two to three “bird balls” a day. I know this because when he is hungry he starts to caw with all the charm of an air horn a football game.

NOTE: If your bird is not a fussy eater and is already eating pellets, just ignore all I’ve written on bird balls. Becoming a male Martha Stewart was not my idea. It was his….

Chris richter  01/08/2011 5:18 pm

My vet said peanutbutter and dairy are not good for the cockatoos and parrots. I see you are even using cheese and I was understanding bird are. Very lactose intolerant. Have I been miss informed?

Lin Fryman  01/08/2011 5:20 pm

Wow, what great ideas. However, I did read the other posts which I don’t usually take the time to do, but so glad I did—-about the microwave, lactose intolerance, natural peanut butter. who knew? not me. What a great blog. Happy New Year to one and all, especially our feather friends. I have a 28 yr. old Grey.

Claude Lockhart  01/08/2011 5:41 pm

Our Jenday Conure seems to really want a bite of roasted chicken or turkey. Is this any good for her and if so how much?? She will climb down our shoulder and actually try getting it before it goes to our mouth. She will eat veggies but doesn’t go after it as much as the chicken.

Julie Jordan  01/08/2011 6:00 pm

I have been told that peanut butter can choke parrots. Is it just because of the stickiness? Is it okay when mixed in with fruit or other things? I just want to know it’s going to be safe when used properly (whatever that may be).

Dennis  01/08/2011 6:20 pm


Question: aren’t dairy products bad for birds? i.e. cottage cheese and yogurt?


Melissa  01/08/2011 7:05 pm

I thought that African greys aren’t supposed to have any garlic?

Trish  01/08/2011 7:06 pm

We have 4 parrots- All of different sizes from tiny to cockatoo. Since they get a lot of exercise out of their cages i don’t worry so much about fat in their diet. these sound like wonderful ideas for foraging items that are wet that you can’t put in a paper bag or foraging toy! Tonight I am going to mix their dinner meal- consisting of cooked grains, sweet potato, peas and corn with some yogurt and make them a sandwich. :) I’m sure they will like it because they love tearing apart toast. Thank you!

selene forkes  01/08/2011 7:42 pm

Great suggestions, I am going to try the recipes . Thanks for all your free great information. I have one question, I though garlic is toxic to birds? In the lasagna recipe it calls for garlic power.

Victor  01/08/2011 8:06 pm

I also use Jiffy corn bread muffin mix, add any or all ingredients, peanut butter, yams, parsley, garlic, blue green algea, zupreme, vegetables (fresh or frozen), oats (oatmeal), palm oil, chopped hard boiled eggs. I place them into cup cake tins and bake. Then freeze- take one out to thaw and crumble daily into food dish. They love it and it’s amazing what the palm oil and blue green algea does for their feathers and over-all health.

ray levine  01/08/2011 8:10 pm

1.be careful to limit SALT intake- parrots have limited ability to excrete sodium…
2.parrots benefit from walnuts and almonds — there are peanut butters that use these nuts SALT-FREE…
3.my parrot loves baked salmon each day for breakfast with figs and walnuts… takes the food to sit on his”’potty-stool”
and while watching ”sponge-bob”does his morning functions very appropriately..
4.avacado and iceberg lettuce are NO NO NO…

Vicki Turner  01/08/2011 9:20 pm

I know my three parrots like potatoes, corn, and any kind of pasta. I love these recipies you’ve shared here. I’ve already forwarded them to my Facebook where I have alot of friends who also have parrots. Thank’s, I can’t wait to see them enjoying these recipies..

Avian Vet Tech  01/08/2011 9:53 pm

Thanks for the great recipe ideas. However, birds don’t digest cheese very well and they don’t need it in their diet to be healthy. In fact, cheese can lead to disease and obesity. If you’re insistent on giving your birds cheese, please keep it down to a minimum and serve only low fat. Only serve pure organic peanut butter that does not have any added hydrogenated oil, such as palm oil or other added oils. Most peanut butter has this added fat. There are only a few companies that don’t add fat to their peanut butter. (This tip is important for people too.)

It’s important that your bird not fill up on too much “people food”. Our companion birds need a well rounded diet that consists of all the necessary vitamins, calcium, and minerals. Most people are unable to provide these nutrients in a birds daily diet with people food, which is why a pelleted diet is preferred.

Thanks Chet for sharing. I love the pita pocket idea.

Joan  01/08/2011 11:52 pm

Don’t tell my brown headed parrot that garlic is toxic because he loves it and eats it whenever I have the occasion to crack open a head for cooking. He’s 10 years old now and, when I got him from the bird shop, the only foods I was told to avoid were avocado and chocolate.

Kerrie  01/09/2011 12:11 am

These ideas are great! Thanks!

Snoglydox  01/09/2011 12:20 am

I have read nutmeg is toxic to cockatiels.


Anna  01/09/2011 1:09 am

ooh. i really want to try out some of these recipes now although feeding my cockatiel will take a ridiculous amount of time since ‘foraging” to him equals “lets see how much ends up on the floor outside the cage so the dog can eat it.” here goes breaking it into teeny tiny bits and hand feeding them to him!!

Laurie  01/09/2011 1:38 am

My bird LOVES yougurt, cheese, smoothies, pasta, and of course fruits and veggies. Yep, even cereal! She trys to get into mine in the morning (granola type, with berries, which she loves, too). I have to give her her own little bowl. She pretty much eats what I eat, outside of her Nutriberries. She loves all varieties of nuts, (unsalted, of course), corn, peas, carrots, and especially cooked beans, Pintos are her faves. I give her a little bacon and meat once in a while, she loves it, as well as fish and chicken (little cannibal!). Just NO AVOCADOS! I have to wait until she goes to bed, before I indulge in my guac and chips. We hopefully all know that avacados are fatal to birds.

Super great ideas, Chet, thanks! Thanks also to the other posts, you all have some yummy ideas!

Denise  01/09/2011 2:09 am

I thought birds shouldn’t have dairy products, like cottage cheese?

LYLA PLATOW  01/09/2011 2:40 am

My Quaker parrot loves all the food I eat.. He will eat bird seed, but loves everything I’m eating. Be it chicken, bread, potatoes, cake, everything.

Rhona  01/09/2011 4:13 am

Muffet will enjoy this, he loves variety in his food.

janice  01/09/2011 9:23 am

I have given Jack, my bluegold macaw, the peanut butter and banana sandwiches before and he loves them…..but he too will not take a shower…….and I have no idea why he would be afraid of water…I have raised him since he was 4 weeks old and he does not like to bathe!!!! He freaks out if he even sees a wet paper towel!!!!!

Name (required)  01/09/2011 9:25 am

My African Greys doctor at TUFFS Vet Hospital advises a severe “NO” to anything other than pellets,bottled water ,fresh nuts ,organic fruit and vegetables…and CHEESE for Greys(they love and tollerate lots of calcium).

Julia C, Illinois  01/09/2011 10:03 am

These are great ideas!!! Thank you for sharing. I cook for my birds everyday. Cream of Wheat for my Triton Cockatoo, pasta for my boyfriends Congo Grey, and my Hahn’s Macaw Samson absolutely ADORES cooked carrots!!! Now this is not all that I cook for them as they all love scrambled eggs or baked chicken or homemade bread, etc.

Eva  01/09/2011 2:18 pm

hi patty! can birds have bannana bread? we are having it for lunch and im like myabe skeeter would like some?

Leah  01/09/2011 3:07 pm

Great ideas

Leigh Claus  01/09/2011 6:24 pm

My Yellow Naped Amazon “Wheezer” is almost 9 y/o now. Four years ago she was diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the Liver. She was so sick, the vet told me to bring her home to die. I changed her diet completely. She eats pellets and I know they have fat in them, but the rest of her diet is fat free. This is what is keeping her healthy. I even buy her fat free crackers. I don’t know why this is working, but I’m so glad it is. I raised her from an 8 wk. old baby and we couldn’t stand to lose her. I pay extra attention to her, making sure she looks healthy all the time. If she gets sick, I hand feed her parrot baby food mixed with apple sauce with a syringe. I wish I could give her nuts and seeds, but I can’t, so I give her all different kinds of veggies. She seems happy with that.

R. Petree  01/09/2011 8:27 pm

This is great! I gave myself a Vitamix Blender & there is a receipe in there for homemade nutbutters. I am going to make my own & start bird cooking in the morning. My vet suggested no white flour or white rice, so I am going to use wholewheat bread, wholewheat lasgn. noodles, & wholehweat pita pockets. Thanks for the suggestions. I have 2 african greys. Both male & the youngest just discovered a couple of years ago what fun it was to pluck feathers. Maybe the variety in his diet will help him. Will let you know. R. Petree, Midland,TX

Jim  01/09/2011 10:26 pm

These recipes are all great tasting and nutritious.
I make these for my cockatoo.
I don’t know who enjoys them more, my bird or me.
I add a dash of spirulina powder to the recipe and we’re good to go.
Scientists say spirulina dramatically strengthens the avian immune system.

diana  01/09/2011 10:52 pm

I have a blue front amazon that loves ice cream, cereal with milk and yogurt. When I give him one of these for a snack (in moderation always) I sprinkle some pro-biotic on it to help with the digestion problem. He rarely has problems with lactose because of this.

Karen  01/10/2011 12:56 am

Hi and thanks for the great ideas. I have given my birds several of these things from time to time in small amounts. I have two cockitiels and one parotlet. I do not fed scrampled eggs unless I make them without butter in the pan. Also have hesitated to feed cheese and chips due to the salt content. I have heard that salt is like poison to birds. Thank you for new ideas that are meant to educate and encourage. I always look at new e-mails as soon as I receive them… I don’t want to miss anything.
Another question that is un related to this topic….. How much natural daylight should my birds be getting? all the cages are in front of windows but the glass is u. v. treated and they are not getting any direct sunlight. The cages are heavy and cumbersome to lift and take outside. Part of the year the wheather is fine but the Arizona summers are rediculously hot and I am fearful of taking the birds outside even for a little while. I was thinking of getting a smaller cage to put one at a time in just to make it easier to take it outside. Any comments or suggestions?

Nicole Link  01/10/2011 1:25 am

Always looking for new ideas! These are very creative but so simple thanks heaps love your work!

linda bowen  01/10/2011 7:43 am

I like the recipees but my sun conure is wary of big unusual things in his cage, so i will try to modify the food to skewer sizes, my rainbow lorrikeet loves this type of stuff, but yeah advocado is poison to all birds i found that out the hard way by loosing a few chickens..the garlic scares me my rainbow almost died one night form sharing pizza crust and garlic bread, he couldnt walk and appeared drunk, ..good work patty and chet..

Susan Dixon  01/10/2011 9:29 am

These sound like great ideas. I have four parrots, and they also eat much of what we eat. I just would like to add (especially to Laurie) that while our birds do enjoy a little meat, chicken and fish, I believe that BACON is terrible for them, even in very small amounts. NEVER feed them bacon! It is loaded with salt (sodium), nitrates and all kinds of very bad chemicals. It’s not even good for us, even though it tastes delicious, and I do eat it myself, but very rarely. Also, my birds LOVE cheese and get tiny bits of it for a treat occassionally. I liked and agree with Mike’s comments. I’m going to look for the Ezekial bread at Whole Foods. (Thanks, Mike!) My birds love bread. Since it’s expensive and they aren’t going to eat a whole loaf at once, perhaps I could freeze some of it for future use. I think common sense, which is quite uncommon these days, goes a long way, as long as everyone is aware of what NOT to feed their birds.

theresa  01/10/2011 10:16 am

Wow,great !!
My African Grey loves cheese and yoghurt.
Just one question : Tomatoes not allowed in their dieet, but you mention tomatoe sauce?
And may they eat fresh banana, and lettuce, as I was told it was a no-no for parrots

Janet Latini  01/10/2011 10:42 am

Are these good for cockatiels as well?

Parrot Slave  01/10/2011 11:41 am

There are so many misconceptions about cooking with your microwave. Any heating/cooking of foods, whether by microwave, oven, stovetop, changes the molecular composition of the food and nutritional avilablility of vitamins in foods… but not in a bad way like anti-microwave sites allude to! Microwaves use a low energy electromagnetic wave that is NON-ionizing. They simply heat. Microwave radiation does not have the cancer risks associated with ionizing radiation such as x-rays. Any cooking of food causes changes in the food. Why do you think you get steam when you heat water and any moist foods?? That is a change in the water molecules.

People hear “radiation” and freak out before knowing the facts. Microwave ovens use a frequency somewhere between a common radio and infrared. Molecules that are electric dipoles (like water or fat) try to align themselves with the alternating electric field of microwaves. That movement results in heat.

Consider this – spinach retains nearly all of it’s folate when microwaved as opposed to when you boil it. Also, bacon cooked in the microwave has significantly lower levels of carcinogenic nitrosamines than when traditionally cooked.

Sources? The Journal of Nutrition & Food Science, Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry, ARPANSA, FDA, to name a few.

A note on peanut butter – be careful buying “natural” because from what I understand, they’re not as regulated as “regular” peanut butters and could potentially be unsafe.

Happy cooking, everyone and as in all things – moderation is important. A bit of cheese or peanut butter or tortilla is not gonna kill anybody. Personally, Diet Coke makes me happy. :-)

Iris  01/10/2011 12:24 pm

My conure likes to play and eat ice cubes. Is there a problem with that?

Pamela Reidy  01/10/2011 12:41 pm

Patty …. a question: my jenday conure LOVES people food … to the degree that she will fly from her cage and plop hersle on our dinner plate and help herself (we DO watch we she eats, however). My question is: she LOVES the soy / fruit blends that are in Naked Brand and Odwalla!. I haven’t been able to find any information on whether soy is okay for birds … any thoughts on this????

thanks — pamela reidy

Jamieleigh  01/10/2011 1:15 pm

Hi Theresa,

Fresh banana and lettuce is perfectly fine for parrots. Every food just needs to be given in moderation, too much anything can be a problem. Too much fruit can give your bird diarrhea and who likes having that?! So just watch and vary the diet as much as possible. Limit the dairy (yogurt and cheese) these recipes are just for fun to add variety to your bird’s diet, they shouldn’t be given every day and should be treated more-so as “treat” foods. Really limit the cheese and yogurt given to your bird as it’s hard for them to digest. Lettuce doesn’t do much so I’d recommend trying to get your grey to eat kale and spinach instead.


Jamieleigh  01/10/2011 1:20 pm

Hi Julie,

It’s best to substitute a different nut mix that you can find as peanuts in general aren’t really great for our birds. Other nuts would be better like almond or walnut mixes. It won’t choke your bird, just just be wary of the amount and keep the moderation in consideration. These recipes should be treated more as treat-foods and not daily meals. You can mix it as you like, even into birdie bread with organic pellets to get your bird to like the taste of new pellets, etc.


Francie  01/10/2011 1:23 pm

What wonderful ideas! Just in time to save me! I’ve done stuffed shells, smashed sweet potato with mixed veggie inside, rolled in cooked brown rice, various salads…my African Grey is getting BORED and doesn’t like the same foods my Senegal does — he’ll eat anything come to think of it! I’m trying the pita sandwich tonight!!

Julie  01/10/2011 5:12 pm

I have heard that garlic is a no-no for birds. Is that true. I have been feeding my grey cheese for years!

Nomra H.  01/10/2011 5:15 pm

i was told by my vetenerian that I am not suppose to give by blue front amazon anything but a pelleted diet, because they are picking out what they likde best to eat. SO if they are constantly eating wide varities of all the good food we give them such as vegetables, fruits, nuts., she said over time it will shorten their life span. So now I have him on just as organic pelleted diet only. Nothing else, I feel so bad about it but im considering his health. So I have just beeen feeding what she said she is an excellent veternerian.

Nomra H.  01/10/2011 5:35 pm

Yes, I think these are all great ideas but my avian vetenarian told me to stop feeding my blue front amazon and all other birds nothing but a pelleted diet. He is on Harrison’s organic pettlet food. He miisses his corn on the cob, fruit, nuts, and everything healthly he use to enjoy, but I was told if i continued giving him regular food healthy or not , it would cut his lifespan in half. Becuase they don’t get their proper amount of nutrition from all these healthy fooods that we eat. But in a pelleted diet, all there vitamins and nutrion are equally packed into one. That way they get their balanced diet. They can’t pick at this or that because they like it best. I fell bad about it but his feathers are getting brighter, and if it will increase his lifespan, I guess I have to do what is right.

Vivian Fink  01/10/2011 8:03 pm

At breakfast my sun conure loves to share my cereal. We eat Kashi Crisp or Go Lean with fruit and soy milk. S/he laps up the milk like a dog! It sure does make breakfast interesting!

Betsy  01/11/2011 12:43 pm

My Amazon Moxie will eat anything with cheese on it especially macaroni and cheese. I give him organic macaroni and cheese made with cheddar soy cheese which is lactose free and he LOVES it! I even make him little pizzas with soy cheese.

Barbara DelGiudice  01/11/2011 4:36 pm

Wow Patty thank you for the recipes. These sound yummy to me! Good enough for people too. :)


Patty  01/11/2011 11:06 pm

Hi Parrot slave,
I agree completely! An example: beta carotene, a substance which converts to vitamin A in the body and is SO important to our birds, is water soluble. When we boil sweet potato or squash, for instance, all the good stuff is being thrown away with the cooking water. Steaming is preferable to boiling, but still nutrients are lost. I love the microwave for cooking these foods.
You are correct about natural peanut butters being more likely to contain harmful fungi. We should stay away from raw honey as well.

Christine  01/13/2011 1:23 am

What a great idea. My conure is going to love these. Thanks.

Yvonne (Star) Rasul  01/13/2011 12:01 pm

I have a cockatiel that just turn 1 yr old and I got him when he was 6 months, he was hand fed and used to people not other birds. So I am like his mama,I have tried to feed him good foods like your bird food ground up and Iv’e tried veggies and fruits but all he likes to eat is that millet seed on a stick or sprang but his favorite is peanuts. He will do any thing for them. I know they are not good for him so I limit the amount I feed him . Lately I have noticed, If I eat with him he will
want me to feed him like a mother bird mouth to beaks. So now when I want him to try something
I do it this way. Its strange but it works.

Wendy  01/18/2011 8:42 pm

I’ve never tried pb for my cockatoo. I immediately grabbed a spoon ad gave her a little nibble. She absolutely LOVED it and she is such a fussy eater she won’t eat anything.

Rita K.  01/20/2011 10:22 pm

I am still learning about all of this – silly me to think they would like the same food every day!! I found out that peanuts grow in the ground and get a bacteria that is not good for our friends – I got very lucky to have a Trader Joes close to me & I treat my Sun Conure “Sunny” (2) with roasted unsalted pistachios!! Our African Grey “Tomby” (8) though is another story – fed a horrible diet of McD’s kid meals before we got her! Here, they are both on a diet of organic pasta, fruit, veggies, bean mixes & pellet with the occasional seed or table food just for a treat. I will now be looking for the cookboof for birds!! Thanks for all the great info!!

Jack  01/21/2011 12:20 am

Is this for all birds because my rainbow lorikeet eats fruit and nectar and i dont know if almond is good or suitable for him.

Dee  01/21/2011 2:12 am

think i’m a little confused… i’ve read where milk and milk products are not good to feed birds.. but yet in your recipes you offer your flock cottage and ricotta cheeses? my moluccan loves string cheese and her previous owner gave it to her regularly…but due to many post saying “no to milk/products” i haven’t given this to her, although with the refrigerator door open she knows what it is and trys to sneak some out..lol

SO… milk products or NO??

Dee  01/21/2011 2:25 am

ps.. my moluccan’s fav diet if left up to her (she’s 7 so this used to be her diet)… her fav besides the string cheese.. is chicken! her former owners gave her a mix of noodles, mac n cheese, chicken.. and string cheese for a treat!… i’ve seen post against chicken as well….
hhmmm… are all of her favs totally off limits?? as she doesnt really care for her pellets that i have her on. . (Harrisons).. thanks

brad lepage  01/23/2011 12:55 pm

my scarlett macaw loves cherry tomatoes, mandarin oranges and peanuts(in shell) ,and chicken bones, try it with yours today!

Mo  01/30/2011 1:52 pm

What great recepies will try them all on my African Gray this week. Thank you for all your help and support with our loved pets.

Ahmed Khalid  08/27/2011 1:26 pm

this is awsom

Sandy Branam  10/17/2012 11:28 am

Can’t wait to get the three books I ordered over a week ago. Meanwhile I’m trying these sanwhiches and our blue & gold macaw, Bishop is fond of granola with dried fruit & nuts. She is a much happier bird thanks to your ideas. She lives in our dining room & gets a lot of tidbits three times a day. Variety does make her happy.