I may live in Florida, but we have our own version of Autumn. I see root vegetables in the markets and grocery stores along with pumpkins and squashes galore. Instead of “frost on the pumpkin” it’s more like, “No more sweat on the brow.” The heat calms down and the Holidays arrive. Along with that is the next version of “Chop.” Do I make it the same every time? Heavens no! When I can get fresh pumpkin, squash, and all kinds of fall vegetables, I put them to work in my “Chop” concept. This is why there is no recipe. You use what is available to you at the peak of freshness, in season and at the best price. This always changes with the season and so must your Chop. This is how parrots eat in the wild; they eat what is in season, what is available and what is fresh. You can mimic this natural behavior by changing up your ingredient list and utilizing what is seasonally ready. In the Fall, it’s root vegetables. Here is a video of a variation of “Chop” using what you can typically find in the Fall. This is what I love about ‘Chop.” No set recipe, no rules, just what is freshest, in season, available and good for your birds. Tailor it to your Flock’s preferences and make enough to freeze that will free up your time in the morning and at night. So instead of slaving away at a chopping board every day, twice a day, I simply take out two bags of “Chop” from the freezer the night before they are to be used and thaw them in the fridge. (Each bag is good for one meal for all of my flock.)
In the morning, simply serve and smile knowing you couldn’t possibly get all of those ingredients in their bowl any other way. I love fresh food for them and I offer it often, but this is a nice way of adding so much more to their diet.
Here are some of the ingredients I used along with a description of some of their nutritional value. You just might be surprised:
Watercress is one of the most nutritious vegetables available. A member of the cabbage family, watercress belongs to the same family as other greens such as mustard greens, kale, collards, kohlrabi and turnip greens. It’s loaded with Vitamins K, A and C. It’s very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is a good source of Protein, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Copper, and an excellent source for Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese. Love this stuff for my flock!
Sweet Potato or Yams:
Bursting with Vitamin A, something parrots seem to need a ton of, these are a “superfood” for parrots. Sweet potatoes have orange-hued carotenoid pigments. In Africa, India and in the Caribbean, sweet potatoes have been shown to be a very effective vehicle for providing children with the necessary amounts of their daily Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes have been shown in some studies to be a better source of bioavailable beta-carotene than green leafy vegetables. Sweet potatoes are available in many countries on a year-round basis. They can also provide parrots with a key antioxidant like beta-carotene. This makes them a stellar antioxidant food. They are some of the most nutritious vegetables around. These guys are also a very good source of vitamin C and manganese as well as a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron.
Turnips are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, manganese, Vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium and copper. Root vegetables in general are excellent sources of minerals.
A mainstay of traditional Japanese cuisines, as Daikon radishes grows in the earth, they absorb its minerals and nutrients. It has 180% of our nutritional needs of Vitamin A, it’s stuffed with Vitamin K and packs a pretty good smack of calcium. It contains a nice array of minerals and well, it just tastes really good. Snappy and flavorful, it has a nice crunchy texture.
Broccoli Rabe is low in saturated fat and it’s also a good source of Pantothenic Acid. A great source of dietary fiber, protein, Vitamin A, C, E (Alpha Tocopherol), K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and manganese.
November 26, 2010 at 6:03 pm
How do the greens freeze? Does the mixture turn watery? When I try to freeze collard greens they get very watery when defrosted.
November 26, 2010 at 7:19 pm
Not at all. I try to keep the mixture as dry as possible and add all of those dry ingredients on the bottom to help absorb any extra moisture. It always seems to work out pretty well. You put the oatmeal and all of the other stuff in without cooking it. Just cook the grains and drain them well. I’ve never really had a problem with it when I was conscious of keeping it really clean and drained.
June 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm
Thanks for your brilliant videos, they’ve given me lots of new ideas! I just wanted to ask, do you feed the sweet potato raw or did you cook it? I’ve always cooked it but it spoils easily so if it’s ok to feed raw that would make life a lot easier!
June 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm
Relax and put up your feet, Pheobe. It goes in raw!
November 4, 2011 at 11:32 am
Hi Patricia. Love the autumn chop. I’m wondering, how much is in each baggie – a tablespoon for each parrot?
November 4, 2011 at 11:49 am
It depends on the species. Give them about 2 tablespoons at first and see how much they actually eat. My Greys are bigger eaters every other day. So sometimes they’ll eat as much as a tablespoon and a half. Other days, not as much. But I offer other stuff as well along with the Chop: Bean Mix, sometimes sprouts, or some fresh baked birdie bites. So, although Chop and bean mix is the cornerstone of their diet, they always have access to a formulated pelleted diet in their cages. And they get other table food occasionally.
November 5, 2011 at 4:53 am
I love how you are all sitting together there, birdies included, bagging chop. So funny. I bet P&P would love to take a dive into that “chop” bath too!
November 28, 2011 at 10:24 am
OMG! Please ignore my previous questions. I discovered this video and had a blast watching it. This is amazing. You are effectively eliminating many hormonal issues by feeding only seasonal stuff Nov – Apr. If I keep away from sugary fruits and stick to those autumn harvest crops, keep a cover on the cage for at least 12 hrs of dark, I can trick a Roxy into thinking it’s autumn most of the year (even in south Florida) so we have much less naughty sexual behavior, biting of the hand that chops, and less amorous advances towards my husband. I learned this from my wonderful avian vet, Dr. Gwen Flinchum at All Bird Clinic in Lake Worth. She and her staff are amazing! All have provided forever homes for rescued parrots, all are so good with my birdies, and I adore them. Thanks for the video! I’m going to goodwill to find a chopper, and then to the market for some goodies to chop. My birdies will be wanting your autograph soon!!!
January 28, 2012 at 9:17 am
Do you heat it at all as you are serving the thawed chop? I very slightly “steamed” (nuked with a cover) for just a couple minutes my greens (before freezing)…good or bad idea? Also, had an idea for a “chop” party! Each attendee brings a few veggies/ingredients…and a people appetizer…all work chopping and cooking, etc…all get to take home some chop! Wine (for people) optional! Thanks for some great ideas! I work full time…so having this ready to go each evening and changing it up some is WONDERFUL! Thanks again for the idea!
January 28, 2012 at 9:25 am
In the morning I take the baggie of thawed Chop out of the fridge and put it on the coffee maker water tank lid to warm a bit as the coffee is brewing. While the coffee is brewing and Chop is warming, I take a shower. When I’m ready to serve my Greys their breakfast, it’s ‘warmish.” They seem to prefer it that way.
I simply use the raw greens in making the chop. I think it remains crisper that way in the freezing process. However it is your Chop. If you want to steam it first, please do so.
And I think you have a wonderful idea for the Chop Party. Please take photos and send so I can do a post on your party!
January 29, 2012 at 8:22 am
Thanks for the prompt reply…are all squashes to be cooked as you showed the pumpkin? And, one more thing…all root veggies can be served raw?
January 29, 2012 at 8:42 am
Shelley, the only time I cook root vegetables is when it would take a hacksaw to cut them up. I only cooked it because it would have been just hideous to try and cut it up to use it raw in the chop. Regarding raw root vegetables: carrots are root vegetables and we eat them raw. So are radishes,and jicama. So I pretty much leave all of the vegetables in their natural state unless it’s impractical or a pain in the keester to leave it that way. The items I cook are beans, lentils, pasta, grains and various rices. I was once questioned about using sweet potato raw. Someone had read “somewhere” that you shouldn’t. I simply asked to see the data on it and got no response so I don’t think it’s a problem because I’ve been using it raw for years. And I know a bird shop owner that’s been feeding it raw for decades with no issue. So not unlike years ago when there was this fairy tale going around that parsley was bad for birds, I think the raw sweet potato myth has hit a dead end.
March 31, 2012 at 12:02 am
Is there any information on whether garlic (or onion family plants) cause hemolytic anemia in birds? I know it’s the case with cats, which of course, are not birds.
April 20, 2012 at 7:39 pm
Patricia just thought you should know. I always steam mine for about 7 minutes just have to get the temp up to 195. to Kill this so they are still firm love the site. Keep up all the great work. You sure have made my life easier with the chop.
Sweet potato shows trypsin inhibitor activity. That means it contains an enzyme inhibitor that blocks the action of trypsin, an enzyme that digests proteins. The trypsin inhibitor prevents the digestion of protein. Sweet potatoes with higher protein levels have more of the trypsin inhibitor. This makes raw sweet potato difficult to digest. The trypsin inhibitor is deactivated by cooking.
One way the raw food diet helps people is by supplying food enzymes. Food enzymes do part of the work of digesting the raw food. Enzyme inhibitors increase the amount of work that your body needs to do to digest foods. Enzyme inhibitors force your body to produce more digestive enzymes. This uses up resources that could be used to produce detoxifying enzymes. When animals are regularly fed enzyme inhibitors in research, they become sick. Sweet potato should not be eaten raw.
Toxic substances and antinutritional factors: Sweet Potato FAO.org
April 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm
You’re probably right wyoben. And on the same strain I have this information:
Alfalfa Seeds & Sprouts Contain canavanine, an amino acid that can worsen lupus. Buckwheat greens contain fagopyrin, which can create photosensitivity (meaning increased sensitivity to sunburn and skin cancer). Large enough amounts could, in theory, create problems with immune function.
So there goes sprouts. Can’t have that.
There is also arsenic activity in kelp. So that’s out.
Celery, celery root, parsley, & parsnips contain toxins called psoralens, aka furocoumarin. Psoralens can cause phytophotodermatitis. Can’t serve that either.
So where do we stop? How controlled do we have to get? Where do we draw the line?
I believe in the “shotgun approach.” My birds aren’t living on sweet potatoes. There are other ingredients that offer other nutritional values that more than adjust for any shortfall you site.
If you want to steam your sweet potato, I’m all for it. It’s your Chop, your Flock and if that is important to you, I fully support you. I completely hear your concerns and with your Flock, you do what you feel is best. You did some research and I applaud you. Thank you for your input!
September 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm
I’m hard of hearing so it was harder for me to understand most of the talking but towards the end you were talking about adding different herbs such as Basil? What spices and herbs do you offer in each batch of chop? I’m going to try a batch of Chop tomorrow for my very picky parrots! Thank you Patricia for sharing so much, I always enjoy your creativity and passion.
September 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm
I put in fresh ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and fresh cilantro. I also sometimes add fresh basil and celery seed. That’s what I was talking about. I also mentioned that it’s best served with fresh sprouts and a formulated pelleted diet and that it is primarily a vegetable mix. And as always, “Good luck with your Chop!”
October 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm
I’ve been bouncing around different facebook pages, bird blogs, sites, etc and I keep coming across new things that I want to learn and try to not only make my birds’ lives better, but mine easier and put my mind at ease. I have two rescues, a pionus and a budgie. I’ve been wanting to make sure they are eating the best without having spoiled veggies in the fridge or being too lazy to gather up something on busy mornings. Right now, Max the pionus has been through a lot of changes with entering my home, figuring out a food for him, getting a bigger cage, and now the season change is making him a bit grumpy. Rhys the budgie is on a long road to being socialized because I believe he’s been in the same cage doing nothing for who knows how long, the poor guy. Do you have any suggestions on making an easy transition from what they’re eating now to a combination of pellets and Chop (with the varied extras as well)? According to the pionus’s previous owner, he simply will not eat “those things that look like trix cereal”. I accepted this at first, but it kills me to see him pick out sunflower seeds knowing that they’re like feeding him candy. I now see him pick up and nibble on all types of pellets, so I hope a better, brighter diet is on the horizon.
Thank you so much
October 23, 2012 at 10:48 am
Do a search on “Converting your parrot from a seed diet.” The trick is to mix the seed in and among healthy stuff so he gets used to other foods and can’t avoid tasting the other items. That’s one way. Also him seeing you eat healthy food and you sharing it is another way to convert him. This is a start. And along with other information you find on the web, you’ll be on your way.