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Why You Should Rethink Bird Bread

Don’t make it a "Jiffy.” Make Birdie Biscotti.

Patricia Sund

We all need to rethink this bird bread thing. I think it's gotten out of hand with all of this "Make it in a Jiffy" stuff. Might as well be eating a mattress. It's not stuff I want to put in me, let alone my birds. The odd part of this is, I used to make these quick mixes all of the time before I had my African greys. Amazing what they have taught me. 

Here is what is in a Jiffy corn bread mix:

INGREDIENTS: WHEAT FLOUR, DEGERMINATED YELLOW CORN MEAL, SUGAR, ANIMAL SHORTENING (CONTAINS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: LARD, HYDROGENATED LARD, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED LARD), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT, WHEAT STARCH, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, BHT PRESERVATIVE, TOCOPHEROL PRESERVATIVE, CITRIC ACID PRESERVATIVE, BHA PRESERVATIVE, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID, SILICON DIOXIDE.

Now do you really want to feed that to your birds? To yourself?

If I can't pronounce it, I don't want to eat it. Making a good quality bread isn't difficult. And making something that is extraordinarily good for you and your flock isn't hard either. Once you whip out a few of these you'll realize how easy it really is.

My first loaf of experimental Birdie Biscotti before baking.

Bird Bread
Bird bread batter.
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk thistle seeds
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • ½ cup slivered and toasted almonds
  • A handful of walnut pieces
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
  • 3 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 ½ cups water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Put batter into a loaf pan greased with coconut oil. Smooth the top and ensure it’s evenly distributed in the loaf pan. Let it sit around for at least 2 hours, preferably longer or overnight. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove loaf from the pan and place it either on a cookie sheet upside down or directly onto the rack and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes. Remove your biscotti loaf from the oven and let it cool thoroughly before slicing Bake the slices again to make it crisp or serve as is. Slice before freezing. You can always toast it as well.

Bird Bread
Bird bread ready to be baked!

Here is the finished loaf after baking:

Bird Bread
A fresh batch of homemade bird bread.

It’s just the basic recipe and it’s really bland. Feel free to add flavorings like cinnamon, orange extract, dried fruit or other stuff to jazz it up. You can also add slivered almonds, walnut pieces or other nuts.If you make it just as is, it’s not particularly exciting. So you have to play with it a bit to customize it to your flock’s preferences. But this recipe will indeed get you started.

There’s no Jiffy Mix BS with this recipe and it’s loaded with fiber. Give it a try and play around with it. It's an extremely flexible recipe and the possibilities are endless.

Previous: Want Your Bird To Eat Healthier? Make A Grain Bake 

Psittacine Cuisine


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Posted: December 4, 2014, 11:45 a.m. PDT

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Reader Comments
As discussed on Facebook, these are Dr Scott Echols' comments on this birdie bread (and I will trust Dr Echols above some unknown poster):

The problem I have with most birdie breads is the flour component making it essentially a high glycemic food. The recipe you present does not have the flour but it does have a lot of fat. So I will take a little time to break down the fat concerns.

The first and most obvious is the excess calories. At least 50% of the birds I see in practice are overweight (high percentage on seed based diets and lower percentage on 'good' diets). As you mentioned we have turned a wild athlete into a couch potato. In fact, that describes most pets (fish, cats, dogs, reptiles, rabbits.....)

We have great data that shows that obesity significantly decreases life span in dogs, humans, rats and mice. We actually have some data that relates simple obesity to atherosclerosis (although not directly to lifespan). However years of clinical practice supports that obesity in birds increases risks of a number of diseases which can shorten life.

The other issue is omega:3 to omega:6 ratio with most high fat diets. Your mixture does have a fair amount omega:3's from the flax, chia and possibly walnut. The pure coconut oil is a good source of omega-6 and 9 fatty acids and arachidonic acid. This is another reason I am not a fan of pure coconut oil (although no real problem with coconut water or meat).

This recipe is better (health wise) than most birdie breads I have reviewed. However, my main concern is the calories. If one were to feed this to birds I would do so sparingly.
Ellen, Denver, CO
Posted: 12/9/2014 11:05:01 AM
And with all due respect, it's "With all due respect," not "With all 'do" respect." It's a treat. It's not a basic food source. And I would highly recommend that you do the work and use your abilities to create, design, build, be of service and innovate. So far I have seen none of these characteristics. You have simply torn down and criticized other people's work. It's not very positive. I stand by the recipe. People are going to make bird bread. And this is better than Jiffy. Use your talents and abilities and build something.
Patricia, Hollywood, FL
Posted: 12/8/2014 5:59:48 PM
With all do respect Patricia - it is little of relevance whether it is standalone diet or not. Because of huge calorie content of this "birdie bread" every single time when it is used it will compromise bird nutrition.

People said they use birdie bread 1-2 a week so you got 30% of weekly nutrition compromised if used twice - either malnutrition on that day or huge calorie surplus.

Average sized bird like ringneck require around 35kcal a day. So 7 gram of birdie bread will satisfy it (ME is around 5kcal/gram)

400gram African Grey need around 58.8kcal/day which you can satisfy by feeding him around 11gram of your birdie bread.
Just take your birdie bread on scales and weight 10gram of it.

Maybe this will explain why this product is so unhealthy to use in any way.

So please if you say it is not stand-alone diet can you please give me example what should I give throughout that day to satisfy nutritional needs and bring down the overall fat content during that day to recommended value of around 5%.

Or do we agree this is fattening food and just like people like indulge in some junk food from time to time you made a "healthy" junk food for parrots and we agree that this birdie bread is full of fat, high calorie healthy junk food alternative to artificial Jiffy Mix??
Artur, International
Posted: 12/7/2014 8:29:30 AM
Where does anyone see "lard" in this? I just don't get it?
Kelsie, Clakrsburg, MD
Posted: 12/7/2014 5:55:38 AM
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