Chop Mix For Your Birds

 March 4th, 2011
Posted By:
Patty

Finished chop mix

I have mentioned in past posts that a simple solution to a tight schedule is a freezer full of prepared meals for our parrots. Life can be chaotic sometimes and I have, on occasion, woken up to find the refrigerator empty. I hate having to run out to the supermarket first thing in the morning to buy the produce that I had forgotten to get the day before. My hungry birds aren’t wild about that either.

During a trip to Whole Foods this week, I found the produce to be a peak condition, something which it is usually not. I stocked up on veggies, pasta and grains with the intention of preparing a gazillion meals to freeze for future use. When I got home, I dragged out several pots, the food processor and the vacuum sealer and got to work making a chop mix filled with a variety of ingredients that covered a bird’s every nutritional need in one convenient meal.

VEGGIES:

  • Calabaza squash
  • Carrots (with tops)
  • Kale
  • Turnips
  • Beets
  • Cilantro
  • Broccoli
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Red chili peppers
  • Zucchini

Quinoa

GRAINS:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Barley

Barley

BEANS:

  • 16 bean soup mix (beans only)

PASTA:

  • Spiral veggie pasta

I had already planned to cook beans for the birds that day, so I’d had them soaking over night. I rinsed them covered them with water and set them on the stove to cook. I separately cooked the quinoa, rice and barley and boiled the pasta and set it all aside to cool while I chopped the veggies for the food processor. I hand grated the squash and zucchini to provide a bit of texture and set them aside in a strainer while they released their liquid.

Draining veggies

There are two things that make these meals last a long time in the freezer. One is letting the veggies  drain thoroughly before mixing them with the other ingredients before packaging them for freezing. It keeps ice crystals from forming and prevents freezer burning. The other trick is to vacuum seal the bags. A decent vacuum sealer can be purchased for under $50 and will become a valuable staple in your kitchen with a variety of uses.

16 bean soup

There are absolutely no rules or boundaries to this recipe.  You may choose to add more grains, beans and pasta, and can utilize just about every veggie (or fruit) under the sun.  You may choose to chop your mix more coarsely.

I generally select a finer chop because it can be served to all sizes of birds, but sometimes I will add larger chunks of food to the bowls of the bigger birds.  Another advantage to the finer chop is that it sticks to other foods and often unknowingly gets eaten.  To get my umbrella cockatoo started, I dampened a wheel of corn and rolled it in the chop mix.  He had no choice but to eat the mix to get to the corn.

Grated squash

A varied diet is the best way to ensure that your bird’s dietary needs are being met. There really isn’t a more healthy and well rounded meal you can serve to your birds than this mix or one like it.  With this last batch, my bird’s needs should be covered until mid-year 2017.

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58 Comments on “Chop Mix For Your Birds”

Ish  03/04/2011 9:39 pm

love this idea!
are there certain veggies that are bad for parrots?


Terri  03/08/2011 4:19 pm

I have been doing this for years my birds call it yum yum!


rob  03/08/2011 4:27 pm

I freeze mine in muffin tins that have been sprayed with a bit of PAM.


Nancy Smith  03/08/2011 4:54 pm

I freeze a portion of my bird’s food in ice cube trays so it’s more convenient to heat up


Jean  03/08/2011 5:00 pm

I buy freezer containers of a very similar vegetable chop mix from my local bird shop and serve it every day with a regular seed mix. Strangely enough, the birds love it frozen, or semi-frozen, which is what they were used to at the bird shop before I adopted them, and it certainly is very convenient and I know they are getting the best nutrition.


Mary Anne  03/08/2011 5:19 pm

I package it in snack bags, then place it in a small heavy bowl and run Hot water into it, then strain it. I add fresh fruit that has been chopped. I have a instant hot water dispenser in my kitchen that makes it very easy to thaw his portion of food for the day. I only have one parrot, so the snack bags are a great size for me. I keep them in the door of my freezer and it is really handy.


Kelly  03/08/2011 5:28 pm

Are your squash, carrots, turnips, beets, and zuchini cooked or raw?


Debbi Brown  03/08/2011 5:35 pm

I notice you have a mushroom in that photo= I heard somewhere that mushrooms are not good for parrots- can anyone confirm that?


Dennis  03/08/2011 5:39 pm

Greetings,

What size would you suggest cutting/chopping this mix up for Macaws? I have 2: Skyy is a Blue & Gold and almost 1yr old. Cosmo my Camelot Macaw is almost 2 yrs old. They are both about the same size. Thanks in advance


Kathi  03/08/2011 5:41 pm

Drs Foster & Smith have a good bean/grain mix you can order online. Do you plan to sell your mix made up already??


Carola  03/08/2011 7:08 pm

I like this idea, but for some reason I could not print it.
what a bummer………….


MARION COFFMAN  03/08/2011 7:15 pm

WOW YOU CAN BET OTHIS ,I WILL TAKE A DAY TO PREPARE ALL THIS AND I EVEN LEARNED ABOUT MORE VEGGIES THAT I CAN GIVE MY INDIAN RINGNECK PARROT THANKS SOO MUCH


linda bowen  03/08/2011 7:21 pm

This is a great recipe, seems some people only feed their birds seed,went to my friends the other day and she was only feeding her pink and grey galah sunflower seeds, cause he likes em best, I had to tell her how bad feeding a big bird only one thing and how too many sunflower seeds can cause feather loss, thankgod she is feeding him a cocky mix now, but still no fresh stuff, poor bird.I have a variety of birds and they get fresh fruit & veg and flowers daily.OOHH can i just say to the op above pamela grant, DONT feed the bird from your mouth, its not good for the bird or you, we have germs that can make our birds sick and they can also make us sick, true they love to stick their heads in our mouth, but only to play, dont feed them this way.


Laura Martinez  03/08/2011 7:48 pm

And top it off with some bee pollen granules and you’re in business! It’s hands down the healthiest food/supplement you can give your birds!


Patty  03/08/2011 8:12 pm

Hi Debbie,
That’s turnip you’re looking at. It does kind of look like a mushroom, though. Mushrooms are not exactly “bad” for parrots, but they are a fungus and have absolutely no nutritional worth whatsoever. So why bother?
Patty


Patty  03/08/2011 8:19 pm

Hi Dennis,
I chop mine very finely for a few reasons: 1) my birds are of all different sizes and a fine chop serves them all. 2) I can sprinkle the mix over or mash it into the more favored foods with my picky eaters. 3) It can be added to birdy bread or pancakes or waffles without detection by the birds who are likely to eat around the good stuff that is cut in chunks. Sometimes we have to be sly! I often add coarsely chopped veggies and fruit to the mix with my larger birds.
Patty


Patty  03/08/2011 8:21 pm

Hi Kelly,
Everything is raw except for the beans, grains and pasta. Foods lose some nutrients in the cooking process and I want this to be as fresh and healthful as possible!
Patty


Val  03/08/2011 10:25 pm

Thanks for sharing Patty, I love the tips Chet shares on BirdTricks. I always home cook Aggies food. My CAG loves it. This goes right along with the Soybean, barley, brown rice, lentil, noodle etc etc meals she eats….I make large quantites and freeze sandwich baggie amounts. and feed Aggies from that. Otherwise I am cooking beans all the time grrr. soaking cooking soaking cooking…I do add people food from my plate…, fresh veggies, fruit, some store bought preen, nutri berries and nature’s cafe, just cause she loves it papaya is her fav…but her main diet is home cooked..


darlene  03/08/2011 10:50 pm

love this mixture. my 3 big birds are very picky. i have trouble with veg. even beans..do u let it sit to thaw r can u thaw in micro for a few sec.


Nicola  03/08/2011 11:59 pm

Thanks Patti
I struggle to get fresh food to the birds daily and had never conisdered freezing it, though I do buy mixed frozen vegetables.

I also stuff the mixtures into the gaps in a pine cone and this makes them have to work for it especially if you hang it up.
thankyou
NIcola


jessie  03/09/2011 2:40 am

hi patty,

I was wondering if canned corn kernels can be added in?
The label says corn, water, sugar, salt.
So the above mix can be fed everyday?
My birds rejects pellets but I need to change their seed diet.
They however love apples, mangoes, papayas and pears.
But i only feed them twice/thrice a week as I worrry sugar content too high.


Di Droomer  03/09/2011 4:21 am

I think I shall live on that mix too! I have a VERY fussy green Indian ring neck who will not touch anything green so am going to try the trick with corn hub to see if it works. He is 10 years old and I ‘inherited’ him from a friend who no longer wanted him. I think I am about his fourth owner and he is terrified of physical touch no matter what tricks I try. I would love to have a closer relationship with him but he has obviously been traumatised by human touch at some time in the past. Any advice?


chris lewis  03/09/2011 5:03 am

i have an orange winged amazon[molly] she;s 7 yrs old and she has a whole boiled chickens egg every sunday, shell as well and demolishes the lot.she has a varied diet of seed,and fruit and a spoonful pf porridge every morning ,and she is perfectly healthy.


Debbie  03/09/2011 10:11 am

I’ve been doing this for my 2 Eclectus parrots since I first got them last summer. I freeze the vegi’s in little packets and the rice, pasta, and beans together in seperate packets because they like their pasta warm and the vegi’s cold. So I open one each per day, heat up the pasta mixture and combine it with the vegi’s. I also add some fresh bits of chicken or fish if I have left overs and a few sunflower seeds. Varying the size and texture of the mix by chopping some vegi’s, leaving some in little sticks so they can hold on to it, and shredding or grating others makes for a more interesting bounty and keeps my birds happy.

Dennis, I would say that there is no set rule on what size to make your vegi’s. Go by your birds. If they enjoy just being able to stuff their face in the bowl and eat then make it small. If they enjoy holding onto their food and picking at it try some bigger pieces or cut it in long sticks. Whatever makes your birds happy and gets them eating a wide variety is always your best bet.


Sue  03/09/2011 10:39 am

Fantastic. Are the veggies cooked or left raw?
Faith I have been advised on a number of occasions that avocado is deadly to parrots / birds.


jumana adham  03/09/2011 4:32 pm

thank you very much, my 2 parrots like t the sun flower seeds mainly, they dont eat pasta ,tomatoes, chips strawbary .but my main problem is in their the screaming plz help me how to treat their screaming.thank you


Kelly  03/09/2011 5:26 pm

Just another one or two questions and I promise I won’t bug anymore Patty! There are yellow turnips (also known as rutabegas) and purple topped turnips. Does it matter which? Also, do the beets make the droppings turn red. (just preparing myself for a scare if they do) and what is the nutritional value of the beets?

Thanks Patty! Went shopping today to pick up these ingredients because not only does it sound delicious but it looks fabulous!


Cyndi McCrite  03/09/2011 6:59 pm

Quick question: Is there somewhere that give the portions of each of the items to give a good balanced mix and also to know how much to expect it will make?


katy  03/09/2011 7:29 pm

wow never new there was so many things i could feed my birdys , something i will sure try it…….:)


Patty  03/09/2011 8:53 pm

Hi Jessie,
You can add canned corn to the mixture – just drain it well. And yes, this can be an everyday meal because there is so much variety and it is SO healthy. However, I would switch things up now and then just to keep it interesting for the bird. The fruits that they love can be chopped and added to the mix. Since fruit is wet, the chop mix will adhere to it and they will have to eat the mix to get to the fruit. I would love to see you be able to get them away from the seeded diet. The fruits you mentioned are very healthy ones, though. And if they were eating pellets reliably, I wouldn’t be as concerned. Also try a birdy bread recipe. Fruits, veggies and pellets can be added to it and it is often the first step toward getting your bird onto a healthy diet. Go to the blog and search “diet and nutrition” and a bunch of posts will come up that will offer you assistance in this area.
Patty


Ish  03/09/2011 9:19 pm

Hi Patty,

how long can this be kept in the freezer?


Patty  03/10/2011 1:31 pm

Hi Ish,
I’d say 6 – 9 months. Longer if vacuum sealed.
Patty


Pam A  03/12/2011 1:32 am

are any of the veggies precooked, or are they all raw (especially beets and squash, etc)


Sally  03/12/2011 5:49 pm

Is it enough to soak the beans overnight? Or should I cook them too?


Mandy  03/19/2011 12:14 am

Thanks for that Idea. My Cockatoo Charlee free ranges at my home. Quite blessed, I don’t need to clip her wings and sits up in my guava, mango, mandarin trees merrily munching but to give her something healthy when she comes in for the night is great. Thanks again.


Vernon  03/19/2011 6:19 pm

My Bird Hates store bought bird food we Give her what ever we eat mixed with store bought bird food Im going to try this it sounds great and im pretty sure she will love it


Brenda Piper  03/31/2011 8:34 pm

What is the muffin mix recipe?


Chop, chop! | iscribblings  08/19/2011 9:50 pm

[...] Chop Mix by Patty [...]


Mufaddal Tambawala  08/24/2011 2:53 am

This is a lovely mix gives them a complete diet for all the nourishment required . But you could also do one thing is add boiled eggs to it and some cottage cheese as this would be some good protein for the birds .


Dusti  07/07/2012 10:28 am

HI Patty,

Thanks for this great post! I am making it for our Amazon as we speak! Quick question, could you talk more about the ratio’s of grains, veggies, and beans? Thank you again for sharing your wisdom.


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Joan Yu  10/26/2013 7:09 am

Hello, many grams of food has problems, such as calcium and phosphorus ratio.
A variety of fruits and vegetables mix, there will be doubts in this regard do?


Natalie Garza  11/24/2013 11:50 am

Do you leave the seeds with the bell peppers and such?