Saturday, April 10, 2010

What does Bean Eat?

For Bean's friend Miss Marie...
Bean eats a variety of foods. He always has a seed dish that is filled with either Volkman seed for parotlets, or a mixture of cockatiel seed that I add more safflower and hemp seed to. I also offer a mixture of seeds for smaller birds. I store all birdseed in the refrigerator to keep it from spoiling. In addition to seed, I give him a little square of home made birdie bread which I bake ahead of time and freeze small portions. My recipe for birdie bread is here. The ingredients vary depending on what vegetables are in season and what I might have on hand in the kitchen. I try to make sure that I have Harrison's pellets and hulled hempseed from the health food store. I try to make sure all ingredients are organic. Harrison's company makes a birdie bread mix that you can add your own ingredients to but I prefer to make everything from scratch. It seems like a lot of work but I bake it in a 9 x 12" baking dish. Once the bread is cooled, I cut it into little squares, spread them out on a cookie sheet, freeze them, then individually wrapped them and store in the freezer. These little squares can last over a month. Bean also gets a variety of foods and treat cups near his favorite perches. This might include fruits and vegetables, hard-boiled egg, brown rice, fresh cooked corn, acceptable table foods providing they are low in salt and sugar. He also gets an occasional bit of meat. We don't eat soup that often but when I make it, he gets his own cup. (low salt) He loves chicken but we don't give it to him everyday. I grow my own cilantro, lettuce, collard greens, spinach, strawberries and raspberries which he also enjoys. He just recently decided that he likes millet sprays and I usually place a piece of one on his playstands. He really loves kiwi and strawberries and the seeds of bell pepper. Another favorite treat is a slice of dried organic fig. Another fun thing to do is to take bunches of cilantro or parsley, tie them with a little string, get them all wet, and tie that to the side of his cage near perch. He will take a bath in it and then later might decide to eat or shred it. There was a time when I had too much parsley growing, so I took bunches, tied them together, hung them upside down to dry and then offered those as toys to shred. As long as nothing gets moldy it's okay for him to bathe in his greens and play with them later. I would say that most of his diet comes in the form of birdie bread and seeds, so I make sure that the birdie bread is chock full of nutrition. I am sure there are other things that he likes to eat and I'm just forgetting to write down. Most things that are safe for humans are okay for birds as long as they are not forgotten in the dish and allowed to spoil or get moldy. Be sure to check on lists of poisonous foods for birds as well as plants that can be unsafe or toxic. Some people like to bring in branches from their yard to make as perches. Just be sure that the branches are safe, clean and dried. Here is a link to poisonous foods and plants.