I believe in a wide variety of foods for my greys. One way to make things more interesting is to add a fresh item or an item that is not in their usual diet as a topping.
I use a homemade frozen vegetable mix (called "Chop”) that I make in large quantities and freeze. Not only is this convenient for me, it provides a wide variety of nutrition to my flock as I use what is fresh,healthy and in season.
I don't use fruit in my Chop because fruit doesn't freeze well in the mix. It gets too watery and turns the mixture to mush.
But my greys like the occasional fruit, so I will add fresh fruit to their Chop when I have it. A little mango, some apple, even pomegranate works well.
What this does is change up the taste and appearance of the basic Chop so that it's just a bit different that day. And that is what gets their heads in their bowls.
But what else can you add? Simply add a fresh or dried item that isn't already in the food that is in their bowl. Add something that intrigues them, something they enjoy. A sprinkle of chia seed or perhaps some flax or hemp seed would entice them.
I asked a few friends of mine who have birds in their family what they like to add, just to get some different ideas. Here's what they had to say:
Jackie Higgins has turtles and she does this for her two birds: "What ever the turtles are having. Lettuce, strawberries, fruit of all kinds."
You can top your bird's food with sesame seeds. (This is not a correct portion for a bird; this would be better for like six big birds!)
This chop was topped with kale and peppers, creating a yummy foraging food toy. (However, this is not a correct portion for a bird; this would be better for like six big birds!)
Karen Johnson Foster said, "Adding small bits of fruit finely chopped is a huge hit for the Foster flock."
Billie Faye King suggested a healthy seed: "I add each day FRESH ground flax seeds for the bird's Omega 3's."
Teresa Page has this to add: "Organically grown, bird-safe, edible flowers. Lilacs, dandelion, marigolds, etc. There are some great ideas for varieties to choose from at the BirdChannel."
David Hull, administrator at a large social media group about feeding birds a healthy diet, has just three words to add: "Unsweetened shredded coconut!"
Nut pieces are a good addition to their bowls. Parrots love them of course and they are incredibly healthy. Walnuts in particular are loaded with antioxidants. Chop them up and sprinkle on to their food as a great enticement to get those tails up.
Add dried red pepper flakes to rev up the flavor.
Jason Crean, a biology teacher in the Chicagoland area as well as a writer and speaker in the field of aviculture gave me a short educating moment about scrambled eggs as an addition. I was unsure about using the entire egg as opposed to just the whites when scrambling them for my flock. "I think egg yolks in small amounts are fine,” Jason said. "But as with anything, moderation is key. They aren't just fat but also protein and contain key vitamin and minerals. I always keep in mind that the purpose of the yolk is to nourish a growing chick so it must contain a healthy complement of nutrients to get the job done.”
There are a couple of products you can purchase that I use. One is a product by Hagen called Clay-Cal. Clay-Cal is a dry product that contains bentonite clay, specifically montmorillonite clay and is fortified with calcium. Have you ever had a clay masque facial? They are supposed to remove impurities from your skin. Well, Clay-Cal is kind of like an internal facial for your bird. I add a sprinkle on my small flock's food about twice week and they seem to enjoy it.
Another product I like to use is "Herb Salad" by Twin Beaks Aviary. According to their website, Herb Salad contain, "the leaves, roots, bark and flowers of the plants that animals in the wild seek as a means to obtain required nutrients, minerals, vitamins and healing capabilities."
There are many options to enhance their meals. You are only limited by your imagination.
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