I just made a fresh batch of food for the Greys. I’m sorry the photo isn’t better, but if I had dragged out my camera and then dragged out everything to upload it, I never would have shot it, so I just used the camera on the computer instead. But I think you have the idea.
I use a lot of different stuff in it including mixed bags of different combinations of frozen vegetables (plain vegetables, no sauce) I thaw overnight in the fridge and chop up in the food processor, but it also has fresh carrots, broccoli, sweet potato and Jalapeno Peppers. If I had other fresh stuff on hand, I would have used that. I throw in any healthy seed I have, flax, celery and hemp seed primarily, and cook up some Quinoa. That goes in along with some cranberries I get during the Holidays and keep in the freezer. I also put in some dry oatmeal, dried hot pepper and some unsweetened coconut. And to make things nice and green I put in some frozen chopped collard greens or kale. Whatever is healthy for them and cranks your anchor, just add to it.
I make a big batch of this stuff. I bag it up into one meal amounts for the birds, put all of the bags into a gallon zip-lock and it goes back into the freezer. Depending on the size of the batch, it’ll last a long time. The night before I’m going to use it, I pull out 2 bags and place them in the refrigerator for using the next day. This is a great system and it works like a charm. The batch I made today will last me about a week or so.
It’s kind of like a “Soup Starter” or “Meal Helper” in your freezer. From this concoction, you can add whatever your parrots like to add to their nutrition and provide variety. Add a bean mix that you made in a big batch and froze in individual bags, some sprouts and a nut or two and you have one hell of a healthy meal for your little dudes. Add dried fruit, brown rice, drizzle it with flax seed oil, or sprinkle a vitamin or calcium supplement on it and you are doing beautifully. You can use it to make “Bird Bread”, you can throw it into scrambled eggs, and you can mix it with other foods if you like. Aside from it’s ease of preparation and use, the versatility of this “Chop” is an enormous amount of its appeal. You’re only limited by your imagination.
It’s really easy to feed your birds well and with a wide variety of foods if you pre-plan. You don’t have to chop up vegetables every day to give your birds a balanced diet. If I had to do that I’d lose my mind. Who has time to do that at 5:30 in the morning? I sure don’t! The birds seem to like it and I’ve converted several birds from seed to “Chop” in very short order. With the way it is chopped in the food processor, they can’t just pick and choose as well as with huge chunks of vegetables. If they want a piece of carrot, it has a bit of broccoli or quinoa on it. Does your bird like flax seed? Well, it will invariably have some sweet potato shreds nearby and it gets scooped up along with the seed.
In time, even the most stubborn birds will usually go for this mix. But what I like about it is the fact that it takes so little time in the day-to-day to feed my birds a healthy meal. It took me about 10 minutes to put this together this morning. Once the quinoa was cooked, I just threw that into the container with the rest of it, shook the tar out of it and I’ll bag it up this afternoon. It’s easy to make, fast, convenient and it’s really good for your birds.
See? We’re all Happy Campers!
If anyone has any suggestions as to what to add to “Parker’s Pot Pourri”, please leave me a reply. And when you make it for your birds, let me know how it goes over and what you did to make it more appealing for your flock! I’ll make sure your suggestions are posted on “Parrot Nation”.
June 16, 2009 at 10:37 pm
I am from Houston, TX. I cannot wait to try your recipe – it looks so yummy and nutricious.
I have a couple questions about your recipe. Can I get all ingredient including the laver leaf from Whole Foods?
Approximatley how much of each ingredient are your adding? Do you use any red palm oil?
June 17, 2009 at 7:16 am
I emailed you to answer your questions. It’s really up to you what you add. But as long as you have a wide variety of ingredients that are good for your birds, it really doesn’t matter. Try to change it up from batch to batch using vegetables as a base so that they don’t get bored and you will have them eating healthy every day!
May 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm
You may have heard this before, or thought of it yourself. When I was preparing special food for my cockatiel, years ago, I used ice cube trays to freeze the preparation. That can work well for a smaller bird and a standard tray is 14 cubes, so it was perfect for a week. Keep up the great work and thanks for all you do!
May 18, 2011 at 11:15 am
The problem I’ve heard from people who have done it, is that it gets easily freezer burned. When I pack chop in the zip-locs, I squeeze all of the air out of it before sealing up the bag. Other than that, it’s a wonderful idea.
February 22, 2010 at 10:22 pm
I have a question about the Chop and what you feed your Greys.
Do you give them any extruded (pellets) food?
Or is the chop, the nuts, the vitamins, etc. and extra fruit all that you give them?
I give my children a daily combination of ZuPreem FruitBlend, one or two assorted nuts (brazil, peanut, almond, hazelnut and walnut) daily, a combination of assorted fruits (papaya, apples, banana, cranberries, raisins, etc.), and some brown rice, with either beans, frozen mixed veggies (30 seconds in microwave), and whatever fresh veggies I am having. I am a Vegan myself, so there is mostly nothing but veggies in my fridge. I use milled flax seed for myself, but did not know about sprinkling it on their food also. What about powdered kelp? I use that for myself also.
I found this Food Pyramid for Avian – http://www.birdchannel.com/images/articles/bird-health/food-pyramid.pdf
I love the chop recipe and the idea of preparing a batch and having it ready. I use a “Birdie Sitter” when I have to be away overnight, so this would be great, because the Birdie Sitter only gives pellets and fresh water on those days. It would be so easy to put the “thawing” Chop in the Birdie fridge (yes, they have their own fridge!) right next to the ZuPreem and the nuts.
Thanks for all the ideas you share with us, and thanks for BEING YOU!
February 22, 2010 at 10:50 pm
So good to hear from you again!
Let’ sort this out. While I respect your choice as a vegan, your birds are not. Think: grubs, insects and beetles. Worms. These are not fruit. They’re not vegetables. Technically, they’re meat.
A little meat goes a long way with birds. Cooked chicken legs are a good choice. If you email me, I’ll explain how to do this.
The “Chop” recipe is a wonderful way of making a great diet available to your birds no matter who feeds them because it’s all there in your freezer. Defrost and serve. That’s it! The last batch I made will last me three months. It’s fabulous! Look at this link which lists all of the posts on the “Chop” recipe:
This will give you a better idea of how to make it.
The flax seed is terrific. I’m not a big fan of colored pellets because I don’t think the dye is necessary. I feed it when I get a freebie here and there, but it’s not a normal part of their diet.
My guys aren’t thrilled with fruit. I don’t know why. Here and there is about it. But I have African Greys and they seem to be into the vegetable stuff more than the fruit area.
Nuts are huge! Very important. Loaded with stuff they need. Almonds, walnuts, etc. are terrific. Peanuts…well, we all love them but they aren’t nuts. They’re legumes. And they aren’t as nutritious as tree nuts. Feed peanut pieces as treats or training reinforcements.
My guys get a formulated pelleted diet available all the time. Their “chop”, nuts, and bean mix they get daily, and I sprout for them about once or twice a week and they get that three or four days a week.
Sprouts are a big deal.
Rethink going heavy on raisins…lots of sugar. They were grapes in a former life so: heavy sugar. The beans? Superb. Brown rice? Terrific! Look at feeding Quinoa. Great calcium and vitamin A. Lots of great stuff in quinoa.
I could go on and on, but overall, you are dead on. Terrific choices for your birds! Now we’re just adjusting for maximum overdrive! Great job feeding your birds, Tim. Really excellent. You are doing a terrific job with them, and I’m just trying to help you do the minor adjustments. I wish everyone did as well as you. Congratulations!
Let me know if you need any more help.
All the best,
March 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm
Thank you for this lovely recipe, I am going to get lots of ingredients at the weekend and have a go at making a batch of Chop. I already feed a similar type of food, but I think I need to add more veggies to it! Your mix looks great and hopefully my TAG will enjoy it too! Pictures of what I manage to concoct will follow 🙂
In no way I mean to criticise or anything like that, but I can see mentioning of meat in the comment above. I have heard about the dangers of feeding animal protein to parrots a lot as it is quite high in saturated fat, consumption of which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Parrot nutritionist, Debra MacDonald also writes about some dangers of feeding animal protein in her article which can be seen here: http://www.drmacs.com/ProteinRequirementsofBirds.pdf
I just thought you might find it interesting 🙂
March 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm
Welcome to “PN.” Please don’t forget to see the other posts about “Chop” which you can find here:
One of the wonderful things about making “Chop” for your birds is its flexibility. They are your birds and you can make it and include anything you think is good for your flock. After all, they are your flock. However, I have a tendency to want to get a certain amount of good protein into my birds as most of the food my birds get is very high in dark orange and dark green vegetables. For the most part, their protein source is a bean mix. I am currently working on a batch of bean mix and shooting photos throughout the process for a post here.
They are on an excellent well-balanced diet, and this gives me a certain amount of “wiggle room” in regards to what they can eat.
I suppose if I lived on “Chop” I’d be extremely healthy. But I’d be bored out of my mind! I never feed my Greys stuff like potato chips, and junk food. But they seem to relish certain protein sources such as scrambled eggs with the shell for calcium, and cooked chicken. Knowing that birds in the wild often eat grubs, worms, insects and other sources of protein, I have not shied away from these protein sources for them. Considering that they get very little in the line of fat at all, I’m guessing that some well cooked, drained, broiled chicken, or some scrambled eggs every now and again isn’t going to hurt them and it enriches their life, just as a guilty pleasure for us does the same in our lives. We like to indulge ourselves now and again just because it tastes so good!
The amount of seed they get isn’t even worth mentioning and as you probably already know, seeds do contain fat. But if you sprout the seeds, the fat is burned off. So they get sprouts quite often.
As I said, I love the flexibility of “Chop” and it is their main diet with other items offered daily. I don’t put meat sources in my “Chop.”
So please, “Chop” away and have fun with it. You’ll love the time saved and how you can make it different to suit your own flock.
Thanks so much for your comments and I hope to see you again here!
All the best,
March 11, 2010 at 6:47 pm
As you know we feed hard boiled egg crumble to a majority of our non raptor
collection (as do many zoos) and include a supplement called Quiko Goldy Special
which contains among other things insect eggs and proteins. Never had a problem
as far as I know. At home I have always treated my pet parrots to some sort of
meat, mostly chicken but not on a regular basis…just as a treat. I also have
given them an occasional bone to chew on which they have cracked open to delight
in the marrow. Never a problem there either. As usual, I advise people to use
common sense. Don’t let animal protein sit around long enough that spoiled meat
or eggs will be ingested and don’t offer raw meat or eggs…hey! just like I
would do for myself and family! You will always encounter the naysayers, but I
have been taking care of birds for over 30 years and go with my experience.
March 12, 2010 at 8:56 am
Thank you Patricia and Steve for the replies! I agree that a small bit of meat wont harm if given only rarely, but I would like to emphasise a few points which concern me.
First of all, zoo birds and wild birds too, are quite different in their needs to pet birds. As far as I am aware some parrots (not even all species, I have only heard of cockatoos) have been noted for eating insects mainly during the breeding season when their requirements for complete protein are higher. To be fair, insects are are quite different in their nutritional value to meat and no parrot ever eats raw/cooked meat in the wild.
The energy use of wild parrots is tremendous, so they need all the food they can find. The energy use of zoo parrots is quite high as I presume they have a lot of space to fly around and play. However the energy use of our pet parrots is very low in comparison to their wild counterparts, so do we really need to feed them high protein/energy foods remains a question. Though again, it shouldnt be a problem if it is a very rare treat.
Secondly, parrots in the wild breed. They need extra nutrients for breeding and raising their chicks, on top of their daily high energy activities, like foraging for food. I am not sure about parrots in zoos, I imagine some breed too, but even if they don’t most of them have pairs and are not meant to be handled by humans so their hormonal behavior shouldn’t be a problem. However, when it comes to pet parrots, extra protein in the diet will inevitably stimulate hormonal behavior and can lead to behavior problems (I have dealt with an african grey who was given two vitamin supplements containing amino acids at the same time and also was given some egg food once in a while, he was (and still is) quite a young parrot yet he started feather pick and left himself with almost no wings or tail. Once these supplements and egg food were removed from his diet his feather-plucking has gone down, his previously aggressive behaviour improved and he is now growing out his tail and wing feathers and being a happy bunny, i mean birdie!). But again, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem if animal protein is given as a treat. But this brings me to my third point.
I would never want to tell you, Patricia, how to feed your parrots, as being a responsible and very very knowledgeable parrot owner you know what is best for your flock, and so do you, Steve, of course!!!! I have no doubts about that. But I am a moderator on a parrot forum and I see so many people daily unaware of what is good for their birds and what isnt. Many people dont really understand what means “once in a while” or “as a treat”, as let’s be honest, we ourselves eat too many “treats” sometimes. This is what worries me the most. That is why whenever I talk about parrot diet, the only treats i mention is nutritious nuts (stating the exact quantities per day), bird bread, nutri-berries perhaps, a grape, pomegranates which many parrots love, some berries they can’t resist and any other foods which I know won’t harm them, even if given in large quantities than we imply when talking about “in moderation” or “once in a while”. Because after all, those tasty healthy treats mentioned above can be just as indulgent for them. In fact, my TAG always has dinner with us, sitting on his stand on our table. I give him peas, corn, bird bread, a tiny piece of toast, a piece of boiled unsalted potatoe we are eating or unsalted pasta. He loves the meal and the time he is having with his flock eating his dinner too.
And another thing, how many 60 year old PET african greys, amazons and cockatoos do we know when they ALL can live up to that good old ripe age?
I do apologize if I started an argument, but I just wanted to clear up my view, as I dont want to seem drastic in my views and I know that If I give a parrot a piece of an egg once in a few months it is not going to harm him, but I am just worried how some of other, less experienced parrot owners will interpret the advice about feeding naughty treats.
Again, I just want to say how much I enjoy this blog and recommend it to my friends too now and no way want to compromise your point of view, Patricia!! x
March 12, 2010 at 11:11 am
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. It is well-written and insightful. And no, you certainly didn’t begin an argument. I welcome all constructive comments. I’d also like to thank you for your praise of “PN.” I appreciate it so much!
As I said before, one is free to feed as they like. I have found that the demon in most companion bird diet seems to be seeds. More is written about that being the main issue in a bad diet than appropriate amounts of protein. What is appropriate? Well, it’s anyone’s guess including the Avian Vets. I am pretty stingy when it comes to the amounts of protein my Greys get other than what is found in their pellets. The pellets they get contain about 14 % crude protein. So if I gave you the impression they were tucking in to huge slabs of meat every night, I didn’t mean to because they don’t. Sorry about that! They really don’t eat that way and if I gave you that idea, I apologize.
However, that being said, I feel that the “Proof is in the Parrot.” My Greys all get an annual wellness checkup from Avian Vet, Dr. Sam Backos and they all get a blood panel run yearly. While I had some issues with Pepper when I first adopted her due to the hideous diet she was once on, she has bounced back. And now? All three blood panels come back well within healthy guidelines. So do we really know? Most Avian Vets I’ve talked to freely admit that they really don’t know “for sure.”
So far, all is well with them and apparently I’m on to a good thing with the “Chop” concept. I had Dr. Sam check out what I was feeding them and he simply said, “Keep doing what you are doing.” He suggested crumbled boiled egg shell as a nice source of calcium which I give them, and he also wanted them to have a bit of yogurt now and then for the flora in their digestive systems which I also give them.
I also hand-fly all three of my birds daily and they are out of their “Houses” almost all day when I am at home. So while they aren’t flying 26 miles a day, they aren’t overweight either.
You also must understand that you are on the highly sophisticated end of feeding parrots. With literally thousands and thousands of hits on this blog, I often get questions from readers that are of a very basic nature. They are either complete beginners or simply haven’t done their homework at all. If I can get these readers to simply get vegetables, sprouts and quinoa into their bird’s diet, I will have felt I’ve done my job.
I’ve had to choose my battles: “Easy on the Seed” and “Try the Chop Concept” are the ones that I have chosen.
You and your blog are on a completely different level and you have done a magnificent job with your research into Parrot Nutrition and I applaud you. And I hope my readers move further along in their education including devouring your blog. But “Job One” for me is to get Parrot Households to rethink an all-seed diet. Once they do that, they can move ahead and work on the more sophisticated diet options such as what you demonstrate so beautifully on your blog. Thank you again for your comments. I so appreciate your input.
March 12, 2010 at 11:29 am
Thank you for your kind reply, Patricia! I am 100% sure your parrots get the best they can, they look gorgeous and clearly happy and in no way I wanted to dispute your way of feeding, it was more about animal protein and Tim Wagoner, who commented above and him being vegan. If he doesn’t want to feed his parrots meat that shouldn’t be a problem at all for their health if the rest of the diet is well balanced.
I totally agree with “Easy on the seed” concept!! I am from the UK and people are very reluctant to try pellets at times. Almost any new member who joins our forum, when asked about their parrot diet (and I always find an excuse to sneak this question in :D) says their parrot is on a healthy diet of seeds with dry fruit and some fresh veg and fruit a few times a week. After this reply usually a long rant from me follows 😀 So now, all the regular members of the forum are feeding a high-quality pellet brand, a recipe similar to Chop or Mash with some other healthy additions and I do hope a parrot seed mix will soon be much less available and not recommended by not very knowledgeable pet shop owners as the main parrot food!. So I am totally on this one with you, Patricia! (I do like my exclamation marks)
I have just returned from a health food shop with a bag full of ingredients for my first “Chop”. I will post the concept and the link to this great blog on our forum with some photos with what I have managed to make! 🙂
I do have a question though – how much seaweed is alright to add? I have bought a nice mix of three types of seaweed: nori, dulce and sea lettuce, all three are fine for parrots as far as I know but I am not sure how much to add to my chop? Any ideas? Thank you
March 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Seaweed is so good for them! I tend to throw in about a half of a package for them in a big batch of Chop just as an additional item. It’s a great source of omega-three fatty acids, and minerals, but it also has a LOT of salt. So be sure to soak and rinse a few times to get some of that out. It’s one-to-one on the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio at 12% each. I prefer 2 to 1 or 1.5 to one, but I’ll take that calcium for them in any form I can get!
Be sure to drain the ingredients or the finished “Chop” very well before bagging it up. You kind of want it on the dry side as it keeps better in the freezer.
I’d love some photos of your finished “Chop” if you plan on taking pics for your blog. That way I can post them here and link to your posting on “Chop” if you get the opportunity. So get out your “Brownie” and happy shooting!
March 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm
Thank you for all the tips, and the seaweed info! I am almost done, just waiting for the wheat and amaranth (ran out of quinoa!) to cook! And will put the seaweed to soak. Oh dear, Digby (my tag) has just jumped right into the bowl with chop! ….. He is surely loving it already judging by his eagerness to get into that bowl!:). I am taking lots of photos along the way, will try and upload them to my blog too and send the link. It all looks really pretty too. What a great recipe!
March 12, 2010 at 7:56 pm
I have finally finished my blog post and also posted the recipe on our forum. I don’t want to advertise or anything like that (I didn’t even realise you could see I have a blog too!) so please feel free to remove the links from my comment or just keep it private:)
Here is the link to my blog entry
and I thought you might be interested in seeing the comments people posted about the recipe on the forum (though I submitted it quite late and not many people had a chance to comment yet!) http://www.african-grey-parrots.co.uk/parrot-forum/index.php?topic=6180.0
Thank you very much for the recipe and all the tips. Digby definitely approves and especially the hemp seeds in the recipe! I think I will put a bit less of those next time though they are a great way to lure him to tuck in other foods too 😀
Have a lovely day,
March 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm
I’m glad to have you are here and I am so flattered by the links. Thank you! It’s my pleasure and I’m thrilled your birds and even the bunny enjoyed the “Chop.” I hope to see you back! Your voice is always welcome here.
All the Best,
March 30, 2010 at 9:13 pm
Hi Patricia – I’ve read all your posts on Chop and finally decided to try it myself this weekend!
My mix contained 1/2 bag of 15 bean soup mix (without seasoning packet), brown rice, quinoa, bulgar, oatmeal, frozen cranberries, unsweetened coconut, frozen peas, frozen carrots and frozen corn, 1 chopped jalapeno pepper, fresh chopped kale, broccoli slaw mix, flax seed, celery seed, dried parsley, dried basil, dried oregano, dried rosemary and dried thyme, and crushed red pepper.
I’ve given it for dinner the last two nights to my cherry-head conure and severe macaw. After last night’s less-than-enthusiastic reaction to it, I added a little chicken to tonight’s dish! My severe was a little more interested, but my conure not so much – he is a picky eater in general.
I wondered if you had any tips to introducing this new dish to a parrot, or if you know of any ingredient combinations that may not be appetizing to parrots.
March 31, 2010 at 7:10 am
First of all, I do a separate bean mix from the vegetable mix. I’ve noticed that if you do two different types of dishes, it tends to hold up better in the freezer. I do beans in a different recipe. The “Chop” is essentially vegetables, rice and grains with some healthy seed added in.
The bean mix is much wetter and “gloppier.” Perhaps the problem is the consistency of the dish.
And did you drain it before bagging? It hold up better if it’s a little on the dry side. I’ve found that adding uncooked dry oatmeal is a good addition to soak up any extra moisture. Perhaps adding more than you did might help. All of the frozen stuff should be drained before being added. I’m considering doing a video on making it. Perhaps that might make things a bit more clear on how to do it. Do you think that’s a good idea?
I hope that helps out next time you make it.
May 11, 2010 at 10:21 am
I have been researching for Parrot Mash recipes on the internet, until I found this article. Thank you Patricia for sharing this great recipe. I just can’t wait to make a batch for my Black Capped Conure, Kacy.
August 31, 2013 at 9:33 pm
Are there differences in ingretients if i want to make a similar creation for my cockatiel? He is my first tiel and i havn’t had much luck getting him to eat non seed items.
August 31, 2013 at 10:24 pm
Just keep trying. Mix the seed in with the Chop and he will have to pick the seed out of the Chop. He will get some Chop down the hatch whether he likes it or not, And that’s a good thing. I am currently struggling with a Foster Grey with the some issue. Don’t give up!
November 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm
Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your
articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects?
Thank you so much!
November 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm
Do you have birds? I had no idea! Oh Girl, we have to talk! Yup, I have a lot of links and sources for you. We’ll discuss…