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.


Stuffed Cabbage

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.

AFA 36

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.”

AFA 18.

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? 

Maggie's Manicotti

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.