Chop is more than just feeding vegetables to your birds. If that’s all it was, what would be the point of all of this? Why bother? I mean, doesn’t everyone do that?
In a word, “No.”
I heard a story a few years back about why people think birds eat seeds almost exclusively. I don’t know if it’s true, but it has that ring of truth to it because it makes sense. I’m not sure if this is fact. It may be just an urban legend that runs deep, right along the lines of alligators in New York City sewers and that Walt Disney’s body is cryogenically frozen. But it does seem to make sense and I have yet to come up with another fact anywhere that explains the origin of the all-seed diet.
If anyone does know the history of why parrots imported into this country decades and decades ago were told to feed seed, please let me know and I’ll post about it or you can guest blog here.
Again, I wish I had a source for this story but I do not. But the story seems to make sense and I tend to believe it.
Long before airplanes, wild caught parrots came to this country by boat. This of course, was a more lengthy trip than traveling be plane. Although if you’ve ever been on an overnight flight to Rio De Janeiro, you will think you were born, lived and passed on during the trip. It’s rather long and boring.
Anyway, I once read that the parrots were loaded onto the boats with seeds to eat during the trip. Seeds are dried, high in fat, yet they don’t spoil. I guess it was sort of an avian trail mix for parrots. They were able to subsist on this diet during the long arduous trip from Africa, South America or wherever.
Once they got off the boat, the food they had been eating was unloaded with them. And of course, when asked “what parrots eat,” the seed is what was explained that they ate.
Now is this true? You know, I don’t know and I’ve tried researching it and came up with what an old boyfriend from New York referred to as “Ugotz.” This means roughly, “nothing.” I’ve also heard it phrased as, “I went to the company Christmas party. Know what they gave me for a bonus? I got ‘Gotz!'” I even emailed Liz Wilson to ask if she knew anything about this. Liz has heard the same story and believes it to be the truth as well. Well, at least I’m not alone in my hunch.
Okay, back to the Chop thing. Go take a look around in the pet bird aisle the next time you go to a big box pet store. What do you see? Seed. Lots and lots of seed. I don’t mind seed. I like certain seed. But just as Chop is not a stand-alone diet, neither is seed. I have been told that more and more people are making Chop. I’m glad. But it simply isn’t enough. Not yet. There still so many parrots that haven’t seen anything but seed their entire lives and that’s simply not right.
I don’t mind some seed. Healthy seed. Good seed. Virtuous seed. But to be honest, my Greys wouldn’t know what to do with a sunflower seed if you held it under their beaks.
I’ve actually seen Parker spit one out. He doesn’t know what they are. Parker has taste! But as I said, it’s more than just cutting up vegetables. It’s an entire way of feeding your bird that enriches their diet and changes the family’s life. It just makes things easier.
The point to all of this is that it’s amazing how one random thing, like loading a bunch of wild caught parrots on to a boat centuries ago with some temporary traveling food would impact and change how parrots are fed in this country for so long. That’s a lot of damage. And I’m trying to undo that damage by making feeding fresh easier, more convenient and healthier.
A very special photo: The first photo of my Chop ever taken about 4 years ago It stirred things up.
We’ve made a slight dent. But we simply have to work at it some more and reach the seed-only parrots who’s families simply don’t know any better.
I think I’m going to go polish up my big-ass Chop pot and get ready for this.