I did this for birds? Why? Read on…
I spent some time about two weeks ago making some pretty fancy stuff for parrots using a basic “Beans and Greens” Chop mix and experimenting with different applications to feed parrots. The above is a very nice presentation using whole wheat lasagna noodles.
I tried all kinds of different things: Manicotti, ice cream cones, walnut shells; I just let my imagination run away with me and did some wild and different stuff. It was fun to make and very pretty food. I wrote about it and that was that. Or so I thought.
I then pondered something I remember from a book I read eons ago about Brian Piccolo. If you recall, Brian Piccolo was the Chicago Bear that ended up with cancer and he died back in the 60’s. This of course prompted a wildly successful made-for-TV movie called Brian’s song that was THE tear-jerker from hell.
I did what other volunteers usually don’t do at Best Friends: I cleaned.
It was nowhere near as detailed as the book, Brian’s Song. As it is primarily a human interest story, it wasn’t too bad. But there was something that stuck with me in that book. A little tiny detail that had nothing to do with cancer or football, or Brian Piccolo or Gayle Sayers.
What got it for me was: The Law of 50%.
When Piccolo was getting tested for lung capacity, a therapist was demonstrating how to put on this respirator mask thing while simultaneously working out on an exercise bike so they could figure out how well his lungs worked. She got on the bike, put on the mask and went full throttle. I mean she really wailed on the exercise bike. Brian apparently asked her why she worked so hard when it was just a demonstration. Her answer? She said that she noticed that people will work with about 50% of the effort she put in when she demonstrated, so she had to really wail away in order to get the best performance out of her patients and get a better gauge on their capacity.
This begs the question: Does this apply to everything? Does this mean when you go into Noah’s Bird Nest in Port Charlotte and see the pristine cages, that people will be keeping their cages about half as nice at home? Probably.
Does this mean when people come here to learn about Chop or other healthy ways to feed their birds that they will end up putting in about half the effort?
I suppose in some cases. But not all. I do know this: The Chop Revolution has prompted some people to go absolutely hog wild with making Chop for their birds. Case in point, the relatively new group at Facebook called, “The Parrot’s Pantry.”
Elle Michelle started the group and with help from other administrators, they have built the group up and have been spreading the word about healthy food for parrots with phenomenal success. The photography and food for their birds are amazing and I’m thrilled with their results. With almost 20,000 members now, they are growing fast and producing beautiful meals for their birds which is inspiring others to do the same.
They exchange ideas, inspire others and make suggestions on nutrition, sprouting, organic flowers for their birds and other food related subjects.
The way I look at it, when you are working with the Law of 50%, the examples you put out better be damned gorgeous. So when I spend three days painstakingly pouring healthy sweet potato pie batter into perfectly halved walnut shells, you know there is a reason for it. Are people really going to do this? I have no idea. But that’s not the point.
When designers show those totally outrageous originals at the Paris and Milan shows and Vogue hires Patrick Demarchelier to shoot them, Anna Wintour and everyone else at the magazine knows that only one or two of these 30 to 40 thousand dollar items will be sold, if any.
What Gucci, and Chanel and Alexander McQueen will be selling is the thousand dollar outfit. They know that. The point is to get the attention of the public. Vogue does not deal with reality. They deal with dreams. They present possibilities. They peddle imagination and ideas. They portray, What if?
And that can be inspiring. So when you see absolutely jaw-dropping things on the internet, at Pinterest, or Vogue or even the Parrot’s Pantry, please understand that these are possibilities. Whether it’s a beautiful bathroom, a whimsical tree house, a stunning, yet impractical evening gown, or even Maggie’s Manicotti, please understand they are meant to inspire you to research, to experiment and to reach past that law of 50%. If that 50% law is true and the ones coming up with possibilities only give you mediocre, what is actually going to happen in reality? The way I see it, my work here is to inspire, to pass along ideas and to inform. The rest is up to you.
December 11, 2012 at 10:00 am
Love this post!!
December 11, 2012 at 10:09 am
Thank you. I really had to address the question of “Why does one bother making this for a parrot when he may or may not give a damn?” Well, it’s because it really isn’t about the parrot, is it? It’s about inspiring people to do a better job feeding their flock.
December 11, 2012 at 10:14 am
Yep….I’m bout 75% I think. My wee birdie gets good stuff. My freezer is full of chop, sweet potato blocks, pasta, sprouts, corn cob circles and a myriad of other things I think he will enjoy. My friends think I’m bonkers. I am. And yes, this site inspires me more than any other. Thanks.
Charlotte and Capt’n Jack
December 11, 2012 at 10:18 am
We don’t all eat “gourmet” food every day. But I am a huge believer in “A bit of the Sublime” now and then, That is why people will go to a nice place to eat now and then. Life is not always about “just surviving,” or “It’s good enough.” It’s about enjoying the process of living. And that includes eating. I think the same applies to our birds. At least it should.
December 11, 2012 at 10:24 am
I love love love your posts. The only downside is that I can’t wait to get home to my flock!
December 11, 2012 at 10:30 am
Looking forward to my vacation days. Going to spend them trying to make chop! I figure if we’re going to fall off the fiscal cliff in a few weeks, I’d better start stockpiling food for the critters before the food prices skyrocket! We may all be on the chop diet!!
I’m 3 months away from a pretty significant birthday and have set a health and weight goal for myself. My kids need to gain a bit of weight, so I figure it’s time for a change for all of us. Certainly can’t hurt!
Will you be in Houston in January?
December 11, 2012 at 10:45 am
Nope. Not going to make it this year…
December 11, 2012 at 10:45 am
How do you prepare the walnut shells prior to use? Specifically, how do you clean them? Reason I ask is that ground walnut shell is known to harbor aspergillosis…and is therefore not recommended for the bottoms of bird cages.
December 11, 2012 at 10:53 am
The shell comes from a whole walnut that I halve before using for a container. Because it has those leaf-like segments separating the parts of the shell, I wash them out with hot water and dish soap after yanking out the segments. Then I rinse and dry thoroughly. Those shells contained a sweet potato pie filling made especially for them. They went into their food bowls on stands. Once they were done eating the pie, I rinsed them out and put them into the utensil section of the dishwasher to wash and to be reused. I don’t ever feed my birds in their cages with the exception of their pellets which is fed in an elevated bowl. I don’t believe in feeding their fresh food in their cages where they roost.
December 11, 2012 at 10:59 am
What a fantastic post and such inspiring, mouth watering examples? Thank you.
December 11, 2012 at 11:01 am
Thanks so much! I’m glad you came away with something from it. I love your blog!
December 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm
Can’t wait for the Sund Chop receipts…
December 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm
hell of a thought isn’t it….50%
I like to think I reach about 85% to 90% at least. Having a bunch of tiny birds makes it a little challenging…Maggies mannicoti for a couple of budgies and cockatiels won’t quite work 🙂 but maybe Ziti or even small shells? the possibilities are endless. Thanks for the inspiration!
PS I LOVE THE SNOW FLAKES on YOUR WEB PAGE!!!
December 12, 2012 at 7:50 am
As always, a truly inspiring post. I firmly believe that we are what we eat, so our parrots.
Thanks for promoting a healthy and varied diet for our pets.
Greetings from Spain!
BTW: Do u mind if I link your blog in mine (I have already done it, so if u have any problem with that, please let me know).
December 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm
Not at all. Please, by all means, have at a link on your blog. It’s my pleasure.
December 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm
Well said! Quality of life is what’s important for ourselves as well as our pets.
December 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Hi there!! I am new here & like all the others, love your posts! And yes, U have inspired me as well….off to the market I go!!
May 5, 2013 at 10:52 am
Love it! Fun, enriching parrot food.
October 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm
If someone question why to go thru all that trouble…think of it this way….have you ever noticed with all the toys you buy your Fid, they always go nuts over the newest one you just brought home??? Parrots are inquisitive by nature…and get bored sitting in their cages hours on end….They need new and inspiring things to keep them interested. As labor intensive as some of these ideas might be, they are a way to present food in a fresh and innovative way so that you trick your bird into thinking it’s not the same CHOP you have been giving them for weeks on end. I love it and I am going to stuff my chop in my PEOPLE seashells that I normally put ricotta in for my own dinner. My guess they will be fascinated enough to eat their food and not just throw it over the side with a look that says…’THIS AGAIN??????’!!!!!!!!