Still feeding an all-seed diet? That blows. That sucks. And forgive me, but you need to have your head examined.
If I hear, “But he LIIKKKKESSSS it!” or, “He won’t eat anything else!” one more time, I’m going to pull out my DVD of “The Terror of Tiny Town” and make the “Seed Feeders” watch it. Repeatedly. (The Terror of Tiny Town is an all “little people” musical western. It is absolutely one of the most horrid things I’ve ever seen, and yes, all of the actors ride ponies.) You laugh, but unfortunately not in the right way.
Found this photo here: Ain’t it Cool!
Seed is the devil’s spawn. You keep feeding it to the exclusion of anything else and you are headed for major trouble. Liver problems, goiters, vitamin deficiencies, gout, low calcium levels, obesity, brittle feathers…you get the idea.
Stop it. Just stop it. We know so much more now than we did even ten years ago. There is simply no excuse anymore to feed your birds in this manner. Chop is by far the easiest and most convenient way to feed your flock healthy food day in and day out. More and more people are heading in this direction and they are to be congratulated.
The Chop Concept is all over the place and it seems to be making a difference in the overall health of birds in captivity.
There is just no excuse anymore. And I don’t care if you’re busy. I don’t care that seed is “easy.” So is burying a bird. If you can’t get your act together every couple of months to make a pot of decent food for your birds and then bag it up and throw it in the freezer, you’re irresponsible. You have a condition called, “Asshat.” You’re a fool. And you should find new homes for your birds, pronto.
We’ve made it about as easy as it’s going to get. The Parrot Nation as an entity, as a living breathing group of people who have birds and love them have caught on to this method and have seen the difference it’s made in their lives. The Chop Concept is for the birds. But it’s about making things easier for their human caregivers.
Face it. If people don’t have an easy and convenient way to feed their birds, they are simply not going to do it. And where the hell does that leave the birds? Oh yeah. Back to the seed bag. And I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that that sucks.
Now how do we straighten this out? If you see someone buying seed, ask them what else they feed. Find out if this is what their birds get to the exclusion of everything else. The “seed buyer” is probably going to get as mad as hell at you. Good!
So challenge them. Tell them to do a search on the internet and if they can find contrary evidence, then you will buy them their next bag of Devil’s spawn. The Asshat will probably do the search just to get that bag of free seed. And just maybe they’ll end up here…where I repeatedly call them an “Asshat,” for feeding nothing but seed.
Maybe then, they’ll get the idea.
September 11, 2012 at 8:38 am
Made my 1st batch of Chop last weekend my Amazon liked it but my Conure wouldn’t touch it. Heard I can only leave it in their bowls for a couple hours, is this true!
September 11, 2012 at 8:42 am
Yes. You wouldn’t leave cut up fresh vegetables out on the counter because they would begin to go bad. This is the same principle. It is a fresh vegetable mix. And it will begin going sour and spoiling if you leave it out without refrigeration any longer than this.
September 11, 2012 at 8:54 am
April: it can take a few attempts before a bird will eat anything new. Think of it like feeding broccoli to a kid. You have to offer, beg, and sometimes bribe them to take that first bite. But eventually, it becomes familiar and the “norm” and they will eat it. Of all the birds here at the sanctuary….many, many that came in on a seed only diet….I can only think of one or two that are still chop hold-outs. And they still get their bowl. Eventually, the peer pressure of the rest of the birds will wear them down, and they will try it, just to see what all the fuss is about. Because most of our birds get down right giddy when they see the chop bowls headed their war!
September 11, 2012 at 8:50 am
EXCELLENT article and how many times must this be reiterated? Well, I guess until people “get” it; may I share this on my biz. page?
September 11, 2012 at 8:56 am
September 11, 2012 at 9:05 am
As always, a good read!!! 🙂
September 11, 2012 at 9:14 am
i dont believe that pellets are the “cure all” that some people make them out to be or that seeds are totally bad, its all about variety and moderation, either as a total diet is not good. the attached link shows a blood sample of a parrot fed on an all seed diet, compared to what it should look like.
September 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm
Thank you for providing the link to the blood samples Bruce, it’s so important for people to see stuff like this to really understand the problem.
September 11, 2012 at 9:16 am
Patricia, this is my new favorite phrase:
You have a condition called, “Asshat.”
I just might have to introduce it into my everyday vocabulary! 🙂
September 11, 2012 at 9:47 am
You are so right, Patricia……..people won’t listen until they lose a bird to fatty tumors or just plain fat……..
September 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm
I would love more information on Chop for my budgie. I want him to have a long and healthy life. I’m having a hard time finding a recipe or information on how to make Chop for smaller birds…everything seems geared toward making huge batches for larger birds. Also, how do you recommend feeding when both “parents” are at work during the day, and not available to swap out Chop dishes throughout the day? Any information you could send, or websites you could direct me to, would be greatly appreciated!
September 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm
You can do a smaller version of Chop simply by cutting down the amounts. But remember, this is a frozen food that will last for months. So it should be just fine even with your little guys. Instead of using a bag of carrots, use one. Cut the amounts down and you’ve got it. I have lots of videos about it on the right of the blog under “Videos: Instructional, Recipes and General.” I hope that helps.
September 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm
It does…thank you! I can’t wait to go to the produce market and get out my chopper!
September 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm
Diane, I put a dish of fresh food in when I wake up in the morning, and then remove it before I leave for work. I do the dinner feeding the same way and remove it quickly. Feed small amounts with a good variety in it.You may have to take their other food out during these feeding times till they get used to the new food. Mine will rush over when they see fresh food and will eat it immediately. It just takes time, persistence and patience. Remember they can’t eat fresh healthy foods if they aren’t offered to them, just keep trying.
September 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm
Thank you. It’s hard to find information for working ‘birdmoms’. I appreciate the advice!
September 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm
how ironic you post this today! i made my first batch of chop today. now let me start by saying, i have been feeding my parrots fresh food since i got them. i just dont believe a pellet diet can be 100%. it doesnt make good sense. its like me surviving on only slimfast shakes. yup it has all the nutrients i need but eventually not only will i get SICK AND TIRED of slimfast but i will end up malnutritioned. like us, parrots NEED variety.
so back to my batch of chop. its my first so it was simple: only a few grains, that’s all i could find here in ‘dinky town, fl’ it has a wide variety of veggies, tho. now i have 5 parrots, 3 of whom wouldnt touch a pellet if i covered it in chocolate sauce! but i compensate with fresh foods. i chop a fresh fruit and veggie mix EVERY morning. no exceptions, and i have for 3 1/2 years. but when i offered the chop to each of my five, four outta the five dug RIGHT in! (huge happy grin) my macaw is a bit of a spoiled brat, he looked at it and told me “mmmmm goooood!” and moved his beak as he pretended to taste it but i wasnt fooled since he was ‘tasting’ it from 4 feet away! i’ve always believed in fresh, and i’m a firm believer in easier is better, so now i am….
HOOKED ON CHOP!
September 11, 2012 at 9:55 pm
I made a very small batch last week with about 8 ingredients, as a test for my first time. I think I overprocessed some of the foods. It was ok when I fed it fresh or out of the fridge, but the portions I froze were ruined by the red cabbage. It turned everything purple, and mushy (mushiness would be due to lack of some other ingredients, I know). So i had to throw that batch away. Lesson learned for next time….
September 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm
Nice sentiment, but I don\’t think it\’s going to have the desired effect on those you are aiming it toward. I mean, calling someone a name is not a good way to endear them to your cause and get them to actually try Chop. It\’s just going to make you look like a person who calls others names for not using a method of feeding that you developed. Not that I think Chop is bad. It\’s a great idea. Just that what you say is going to lose to how you say it when it comes to people who might be sitting the fence, or who would be inclined to try it if it were introduced to them without the name-calling and unfriendly attitude.
September 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm
I called nobody in particular a name. And I am not insisting people feed Chop. I stated that an “all-seed diet” blows. And it does.
I simply find that the amount of information available on the internet regarding an all-seed diet being unhealthy and destructive is overwhelming.
If people still fed this way excluding any other form of nutrition, then this is about as close to animal neglect as you can get. I don’t care for people who neglect animals. And neglect is a criminal offense. If people choose to feed fresh vegetables that’s fine. I have no problem with that. if you have the time to do that, I applaud you.
I simply stated that an all-seed diet is unhealthy. And it is. And if that is what you are doing, then you are being neglectful. I called no one in particular a name. And I did not say Chop was the only way to go.
Chop is a healthy alternative for people who do not have to time to provide a fresh diet two times a day, 365 days a year. It is an easy alternative. It is not the only one. It is also not a stand-alone diet.
But I have said it before and I will say it again: If you feed an all-seed diet, you are headed for trouble.
My statement was about an “all-seed” diet. The evidence is overwhelming. It’s dangerous and it it is indeed neglectful. If my pointing out my general opinion of people who insist on feeding this diet to birds offends, I apologize to you. But I called no particular person out on this.
I was merely making a point. And I stand by it. The all-seed diet needs to stop.
September 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm
Say someone receives a bird as a gift, or inherits a bird, or takes in a bird when a relative is ill or deploys, and the person is learning. Yes, yes, ideally, everyone does research and knows what to feed a bird before actually getting one. But life is not ideal.
Then the person finds your page when Googling “what to feed a bird” or something. Do you think calling that person an “asshat” is going to be productive? You may not be calling anyone in particular that, but you are potentially calling people who find your page while they are looking for help asshats.
I just don’t see where it’s going to pull people in. It may feel good to vent, and you may get kudos from the choir you’re preaching to, but it’s going to turn off the people whose birds you could help most if your message was more welcoming.
Not for nothing, but I’ve referred people to your site to get ideas for feeding their birds, just around and about through email, Facebook, etc. I thought it would be a good, and entertaining, way to open their eyes up a bit. Their intentions are good and they genuinely love their birds, but some of them are truly ignorant and need some good resources. Now I’m hoping they aren’t feeling castigated. 😦
September 14, 2012 at 6:48 am
actually, if you read the post its aimed at informed individuals who, in the face of overwhelming information, still insist on feeding seed only to their birds. there must be dozens and dozens of positive posts gently informing about the nutritional needs of parrots here. the chances of this ONE CRY OF FRUSTRATION actually turning off a potential convert are slim, to say the least. and lets be honest, what rock would someone live under to not have at least a clue that fresh foods are necessary in a parrot’s diet? its even listed on those little check lists they give you at pet stores when you buy a parakeet.
September 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm
“Tell them to do a search on the internet and if they can find contrary evidence, then you will buy them their next bag of Devil’s spawn. The Asshat will probably do the search just to get that bag of free seed. And just maybe they’ll end up here…where I repeatedly call them an “Asshat,” for feeding nothing but seed.Maybe then, they’ll get the idea.”
Sounds more like an interest in chastising than educating to me. And you’d be surprised at how many people are “living under a rock.” That’s why there are so many birds being fed all-seed diets in the first place. Go to YouTube and watch a few cute bird videos at random. Then read the comments. Lots of people falling in love with birds, and going out and buying them (right there a problem, instead of adoption), just because they’re cute. Then other comments will be to the effect of, “We’re bringing ours home tomorrow. What do we feed it?” It’s an exercise in head-smacking.
September 15, 2012 at 8:25 am
its all about interpretation. i interpret that question as “i know they can eat different things, what are those things?” you interpret that question as “what kind of seed do i buy?” there’s no point in debating this point. its based on speculation of the actions of an unknown (and maybe nonexistent) third party. let us agree to disagree and enjoy the blog.
where we CAN agree is too many people are seeing these ‘cute’ parrots and running out and buying one. only to find they arent pretty little toys to be taken out at parties to do tricks and stuffed back in their cage when the conversation turns.
September 16, 2012 at 12:20 am
Actually, I don’t interpret the question as asking about seed. I am just saying that there are a lot of people out there who don’t know where to start. Point them here and they’ll see an angry blog-writer calling people names. It doesn’t matter who the writer’s intended audience is, or if random passers-by are “innocent.” It’s just bad PR. There’s no point in flogging a dead horse, though. The blog owner can write what she wants. I am only pointing out how it can come off to passers-by. You get more with honey than you do with vinegar. Onward to other topics!
September 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm
Seed shouldn’t be only viewed as negative. In my professional opinion it is villified far too often when the truth is ANY one food item fed to the exclusion of others is bad. Look at pellets, not only is it the least stimulating and enriching thing you can find to feed your companion psittacines – but we have veterinarians telling pople that they ONLY need to feed pellets. And we wonder why there are so many pluckers and other birds displaying FDB’s (feather destructive behaviors)? One vet even told me not to supplement a pellet diet with vegetables because since it was “formulated” to be a “complete” diet you run the risk of giving the bird hypervitaminosis (an overdose of vitamins)!!! This causes countless ailments in our birds ranging from overgrown beaks to acute liver failure.
I believe that saying all seeds are bad is a generalization with no basis in facts. Again, feeding to the exclusion of anything else is bad – but Doctors tell us humans to drink Safflower oil for our own heart health, doesn’t it stand to reason that it could be beneficial for our our birds as well? Even though seeds have a bad reputation these days they are high in vitamins A, B, D, & E, Calcium, Phosphorus, and they contain Unsaturated Fatty Acids which are an essential component to having healthy feathers, beaks and skin. There just is no substitute for sprouted seeds, grains and legumes in my opinion.
Again I do not advocate an all-seed diet, the best things you can supplement with is:
Sweet Potatoes (these are very high in Fiber and Complex Carbohydrates and low in calories. They also contain Vitamins C, B-6 and Potassium. One half cup contains 23,000 IU’s of Beta Carotene which is a powerful antioxidant known to prevent Cancer and Heart Disease.)
Aloe (Out of over 150,000 botanical specimens this has the highest content of nutrients essential to our existence. It contains substantial amounts of over 39 essential minerals and vitamins and all of the Amino Acids. A lack of Amino Acids in our birds can cause allergies and if you know of any birds suffering from skin or plumage ailments like feather plucking be sure to give them access to this. Aloe is also great for birds suffering from digestive or intestinal disorders. It also greatly boosts the Immune System, guarding our birds from infectious disease, allergies etc. This is also something I recommend feeding to birds who have been diagnosed with or are suspected of having Fatty Liver Disease. You can offer it to them as fresh stalks, cut into thin slices or you can add the drinking gel found at most health stores directly to their water.
Quinoa (It’s nutritional benefits exceed many other grains, especially the protein content which is nearly double that of most others. It contains Calcium, Phosphorous, Vitamins E & B and Potassium. You can sprout it or mix 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa and cook it for 10 minutes and your birds will love it! I add vegetables, berries or anything else I have lying around or sometimes I just feed it plain.)
Eggs (At 93.7%, eggs score higher than any other food when it comes to Protein content. They contain all 9 essential Amino Acids and are a great way to sneak some extra Calcium into the diet if you include some of the shell.)
Wheatgrass (This amazing grass contains Chlorophyll which protects from carcinogens and helps to remove pollutants from the bloodstream. It detoxifies the bloodstream by increasing the amount of oxygen and it also repairs and helps to cleans the liver. Wheat grass also contains Choline, Potassium & Magnesium which is also very beneficial to the liver. There is as much Vitamin A as carrots. In addition to these, Liquid Oxygen is also present in wheat grass which improves circulation due to expansion of the blood vessels. Folic Acid, Calcium, Vitamins C, E, B12, and Iron are also included in every blade of wheat grass. Wheat grass has also been shown to improve and/or restore fertility and UC San Diego did a study using different types of grasses and found that it is possible to repair damaged DNA with compounds naturally occurring in wheat grass.)
September 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm
My post was about an “all-seed diet.” I have no problem with healthy seed. But I do have an issue with nothing but seed being fed to the exclusion of any other food. I feed seed. I feed wheat grass. But I do not feed an all-seed diet. And as I have stated, the evidence is overwhelming. Thank you for your informative post.
September 13, 2012 at 7:34 am
Well I wish Lucy would eat pellets but she will not. She does eat vegetables, rice, some fruit and whole wheat bread (only the crust.) I have tryed everything but she will not eat it. At one point I decided to force her to eat pellets. But after a while she started losing weight and all she did was sit on her cage and cry. I took her to her vet and he said there are some cockatiels that will not eat pellets and Lucy seems to be one of them. I have posted on this site before and all I got was posts like ” well I coverted my bird to pellets with no problems at all.” We have a bird food store called Parrot Island here in Mn. I was able to find a combination of small percentage of seed and ground up vegetables for finches. She likes this Lucy is 12 years and 8 months old and she seems to health.
I really miss you stories from Bird Talk. I am at the point that I am rereading old issues. Miss you and miss Bird Talk.
September 13, 2012 at 9:34 am
i have three parrots that i have tried to convert to pellets repeatedly and been unsuccessful. i have tried every pellet on the market over the last 3 years. i’ve tried every trick suggested to me. they are just not interested. my other two parrots love pellets. why wont they touch pellets? i couldnt tell you. so i sneak pellets into their diets with other foods. like birdie bread. i soak about half a cup of harrison’s super fine hi-potency pellets in some form of juice, lately its called ‘fruitables’ a fruit and veggie juice aimed at small children. i mix this into the bread mixture and they get at least SOME of the nutrients in pellets. i supplement with LOTS of fresh foods. whole grain pastas, veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, etc. i try to focus on what’s in season at the produce market to at least somewhat mimic how they would eat in the wild. of course i know its impossible to truly give them a ‘wild’ diet, but variety variety variety. they also get a little of whatever i’m eating for my meals… as long as its safe for them. if its not, i keep standby meals in the freezer to defrost and put in their dinner bowls. and yes, they do get a bit of seed twice a week. but the bulk of their diets are fresh ‘real’ foods.
by the way, i still havent given up on them. i offer pellets in their dry food bowls daily. not alot, that gets expensive. but its there if they ever feel adventurous.