Archive for ‘Informative Post’

January 30, 2012

The Chop Concept *

If you’ve never heard of the Chop Concept, it is an idea that was created for bird owners who like giving their birds a healthy diet with variety by using an easy or convenient method. It’s a concept because the idea isn’t specific; the name applies to whatever you end up making. Making Chop is basically a 4 step process…

  1. Buy the food.
  2. Prepare your food in whatever way you like. (Chop, mash, soak, cook, sprout, etc.)
  3. Mix everything that you made together in a big container.
  4. Package up and store in freezer.

It’s pretty much that simple.

I originally read about it on Parrot Nation; the blog written by Patricia Sund. She posted about this concept, in hopes of sharing this great idea and letting it spread through the avian community. It did. Bird owners from all over the world are now making their very own versions of Chop, with so many variations in contents and amounts. She recently put together a video called “Chop from the Parrot Nation” and it is a good example of how many people have adopted the idea of Chop.

Personally, I haven’t tried the Chop Concept. It wasn’t ever something I got to do, but I still think it is a brilliant idea. It gives bird owners the opportunity to save time, and money! It may seem expensive at first when you add up your total on groceries bought and what-not, but in the long run it is cheaper, or equal to, the cost of a normal all-seed diet. If you haven’t tried this concept yet, you should definitely try it out sometime soon. It may end up making your life just a little less hectic and worry-free knowing that you’ve got meals already made for your birds to last another few months or so.

January 28, 2012

Foods for Birds #3: Goji Berries *

I finished HungryHuman‘s request for the Goji Berry entry just in time for today. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to find information on these, but the only problem was that it wasn’t as reliable as most because of the lack of research done on them. Any moderations to this entry will be updated on the main page of Foods for Birds. The next food entry will be Beets as requested by Anita, and should be posted before February 4th.

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Goji (or Wolf) Berry – ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Claimed to have health improving properties.

Goji Berries, also known as Wolf Berries, are produced by plants in the family Solanaceae. These include two closely related species; Lycium barbarum and L. chinense. These plants can be found and harvested in the Himalayans. Goji berries are reddish-orange berries that usually come dried for snacks, or pressed for their juice. They have been used as medicinal plants in East Asia for thousands of years because of their benefits in health, and only have been recognized in Western marketplaces in recent times. There have been many health claims for these berries, unfortunately with a lack of resources and scientific research to back them up. There have been however, results in labs that are encouraging for these claims.

Many advertisements say that these berries have the ability to improve a variety of health problems including vision and memory, kidney and liver function, promote weight loss, control blood sugar and pressure, increase immunity, help reduce PMS or morning sickness, and even minimize headaches or dizziness. Researchers have also questioned their ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells or lower cholesterol. Some, though, have cautioned eating goji berries while on medication as they may interfere with some types of treatments.

Visit this website to read more about Goji Berries and their benefits: Medical Benefits of the Goji Berry

Properties:

Amino Acids: contains almost a full spectrum of amino acids including 19 different types. There have been claims that these berries contain all 8 essential amino acids: Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Methionine, Leucine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Lysine, and Valine.

Nutrients/Vitamins: contains many B vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Also contain vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E.

Minerals: these berries contain many minerals that include zinc, copper, calcium, selenium, phosphorus. They are said to have 22 different types of trace minerals. There have also been reports that they contain more iron than spinach or meat, and more beta-carotene than carrots.

Read more about the properties of Goji Berries here: Goji Berry Nutritional Facts

Preparation Methods and Ways to Serve:

Goji Berries usually come ready to serve, either in dried form or juiced. You can however offer them to your birds in most ways possible. They can be put in a trail mix; in a stew or soup or even given alone. Unless you are in China during harvesting season, it isn’t likely that you can find them fresh. Try to buy organic berries for your birds, and only from suppliers you trust. Another option would be to grow your own, and you can find out more about doing so here. Goji Berries can usually be found at a local health food store, but aren’t as easy to find as you would think.

Read more about how to eat Goji Berries here: How To Eat Goji Berries

January 17, 2012

Natural Wood Perches – Part II *

This is the second part to my Natural Wood Perches series. First I will explain how you can make your very own homemade natural wood perch out of natural branches that you can find and then link to some stores that I’ve heard have some nice quality perches for sale.

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BEFORE MAKING: Make sure all wood used is safe and all metal should be stainless steel to prevent metal poisoning. Branches chosen should also be the correct size for your birds feet, and only range in sizes/diameters slightly different from each other.

Materials Needed:

  • Safe, non-toxic Branch(es)
  • Washers (2 per branch)
  • Hanger Bolts
  • Wing or Hexagonal Nuts (Wing Nuts are more convenient)

Most of these should be found at your local hardware store.

Be sure to match diameter of the washer hole with the hanger bolt diameter. Also check to see that the nut threads on the hanger bolt before you leave the hardware store. – Taken from “Making natural wood parrot and bird perches”

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Tools:

  • Saw/Cutting Tool
  • Drill
  • Pliers (Just in case)
  • Wrench (If using hexagonal nuts) or Hand Held Nut Driver
  • Screwdriver (Cordless if you have/can get one)
  • Nut (For threading in the Hanger Bolt, make sure it has one closed end and it fits on the end of the Hanger Bolt)

Other Requirements:

  • Oven
  • Normal Bolts (Optional)

Here are the four easy steps to making a natural perch all by yourself!

1. Find the Tree

First off, you need to find and identify a safe, non-toxic tree to get your branch(es) from. Use the link below to find an extensive list on which kind of tree is safe, or you can just use the list below of trees that are local to me. I only kept this for my sake but feel free to just read through it.

Hardwood Trees:

  • Birch
  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Aspen
  • Poplar
  • Elm
  • Maple
  • Ironwood

Softwood Trees:

  • Spruce
  • Pine
  • Larch
  • Fir

Make sure that the tree you picked out is not near a road where fumes from passing cars can get on it and make sure there aren’t any chemicals on it. (Insecticides, pesticides, etc.)

If you are having trouble trying to find out what trees are safe for your bird, try this link: Safe and Harmful Perch Wood

If you are having trouble trying to identify a tree, try this link: Tree Identification Using a Tree Leaf Key

2. Pick a Branch, Then Clean It

After you find a safe tree to get your branch from, you must find a good branch to use.

First, make sure it is the size and shape you want. Take into consideration of how many branches are growing out of the main one, the curves of the branch, etc. You need to pick the type of branch that suits what you think your bird needs, and one that is in the correct size. You don’t want to get one with a 2″ diameter when it is only for your budgie! Even though different sizes help exercise your bird’s feet, it isn’t healthy to have one that is too small or too big at all times. Keep most perches at the recommended size for your bird.

When you find the branch you want to take, use your saw or other cutting tool to cut it off of the main tree. (You can just brake it off if you want) Try not to mutilate the tree you pick, and only take what you need.

Now, we need to clean it. Many people like to bake it to make sure that any insects that were on the branches will be killed, others use a water and vinegar solution to disinfect them. I think you should do both to make sure they are completely safe to use. Here’s a helpful paragraph I found to explain how to do both:

If you cut your own bird perches, please make sure that they have never been sprayed with insecticide or pesticide. Don’t poison your parrot. Clean the branches with a 1:10 bleach to water solution. Soak the bird perch in the bleach solution for 10 minutes then, rinse well. Seasoned branches are best but they may harbor insects. It is good to kill insects before placing the branch in your birds cage. Bake small branch style bird perches in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Seal large branches in an air tight plastic bag for 30 days to kill bugs. – Taken from “Bird Perches: Choosing a Good Bird Perch for Your Parrot”

3. Add the Hardware Pieces

Instead of me repeating everything, just visit this site to figure out how to add the hardware to the perches:

“Making natural wood parrot and bird perches”

It is a great reference to use when you make any type of natural perch for your birds.

4. Hang in Your Desired Area

You can place them in your bird’s cage, on the outside of their cage, on their play-gym or anywhere else you like that they can attach to. It’s all up to you!

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If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to make your own natural wood perch, you can always decide to order one from an online store. Always be sure that you pick the right size and one that you think is meant for your bird. Many stores can give you advice on what is the best size for your bird, so don’t feel shy to ask. Here are some of the many stores that have natural perches available for your bird:

There are so many different stores to pick from, choose wisely!

January 16, 2012

Natural Wood Perches – Part I *

Natural wood perches are some of the best kinds of perches that a bird owner could get for their bird. More like the #1 best. Whether you own a cockatiel, caique, African grey, budgie, canary, macaw or conure; it is a necessity to have one of these. Tons of bird owners already have at least one or many natural wood perches to select from at their household, but for those who lack a natural perch I suggest you keep on reading. This post will be a brief summary of why it is a must to have a natural perch in your bird’s cage and why there are so many different reasons and benefits to having one. This is part one of the two posts I will be making on the subject; part two will include a guide to making your very own homemade natural wood perches.

First, the main reason why so many bird owners like these perches is that they are almost identical to what they would have in the wild. Natural perches means just that; they are natural. They have the same properties; different lengths and widths, notches and curves, and even bark in some cases. Except the fact that they are no longer alive and don’t have bugs in them. There is such a wide variety of perches in the wild, it would only make sense that you should create the same environment in your bird’s cage. Because they are so close to the real thing, natural perches usually don’t cause any harm or problems for your birds like the regular dowel perches may do. (Or other concrete, plastic or sandpaper perches that can cause bumblefoot)  It is important that you offer a wide variety of perches for your bird for the best outcome. Include natural wood, rope, flagstone, etc. for a good combination. Too much of one type may cause problems for your bird’s feet. Natural perches along with other perches will be as close to the way they are in the wild as you can get.

Here are some examples of the variety of natural wood perches that you can choose from.

 Credit goes to the author of HungryBird for providing this

picture of her natural perch collection. 

Credit goes to Natacha, the author of Just Poifect!, for

providing this picture of her natural perch collection.  

A second major reason for having natural perches is their ability to be used for multiple things. They are great for what they are originally meant for of course: giving your birds a comfortable place to perch and sleep for the day. Natural perches are also good for keeping your birds busy. If you get a perch with the bark still on, it can provide a safe and fun activity for your bird if they like shredding or ripping things apart. I’ve also read about people attaching their birds’ toys to the perches themselves and sliding them onto the branches.  Some people have even used the smaller branches attached to the perches for food kabobs. There are probably dozens of other ways you can use a natural perch, and there is not limit as long as you have a good imagination.

The last important point I would like to make is how natural perches provide so many benefits for you and your bird. As I’ve said before, natural perches have a variety of different lengths, widths, and textures that help exercise the muscles in your bird’s feet as well as keep them healthy. The bark that is kept on some of these perches assist in keeping the nails and beak of your bird trimmed if they enjoy stripping or shredding it off. This can save many bird owners the trouble of spending their time or money on trimming them their selves. There is also the added benefit of keeping your bird busy when enjoying chewing on the wood. The last reason why natural perches are great isn’t just because they are so comfortable for your bird; it’s because they can even give you some peace and quiet to yourself. Only some though…

To sum it all up; natural branches are great to use for your bird’s perches because they are almost identical to the ones in the wild, have many benefits for you and your bird, and also have the ability to be used for multiple things.  If your bird isn’t used to these kinds of perches at first, give them time to get accustomed to it; like they would for any type of new change. The gratefulness that comes from your bird when given this kind of perch to rest on should be enough a reason to get one for any bird owner.

If you would like to know more about how you can obtain a clean, safe and natural wood perch: check out Part II tomorrow.

January 14, 2012

Foods for Birds #2: Broccoli

I finally finished my rough draft of the Broccoli entry in Foods for Birds. It is #2 coming after Aloe Vera if you’re wondering about the title. Any moderations to this entry will be updated on the main page of Foods for Birds. The next food entry will be Goji Berries as requested by the author of HungryBird. I’m hoping it isn’t too much of a challenge to find information on goji berries as it sounds.

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Broccoli♥♥♥♥ – Has many great health benefits that exceed other vegetables.

Broccoli is an ancient plant that is part of the cabbage family and is known as one of the most popular vegetables. Its flowery head is used as a vegetable and it is jam-packed with many nutritional values. It is the perfect vegetable to eat if you want to stay fit and healthy for many reasons. It has anti-aging properties, aids in digestion, has anti-cancer properties, can detoxify the body, can lower cholesterol and can even maintain healthy eyesight.

In its entirety, broccoli has more calcium than a glass of milk and it can also be better absorbed. It also has more vitamin C than any citrus fruit and is richer in fiber than whole grain bread. This is the reason why many people favor broccoli as part of their diet when trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

For birds, the flowery heads are favored for the sprouts they are made of. When offered to birds, this vegetable is easy to eat and gives them lots of vitamins and minerals that boost their health.

Visit this website to read more about Broccoli: WHFoods: Broccoli

Properties:

Nutrients/Vitamins – contains high amounts of vitamins K, C and A. Also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B9.

Minerals Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Broccoli also contains a high amount of dietary fiber which aids in digestion as long as a sufficient amount of fluid is consumed along with it. It also contains nutrients that have potent anti-cancer properties like small traces of selenium and 3,3′-Diindolylmethane.

Read more about the properties of Broccoli here: Broccoli and here Nutritional Value of Broccoli

Preparation Methods and Ways to Serve:
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Broccoli can be boiled, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried and even put into the microwave. Boiling broccoli over ten minutes however can greatly reduce its benefits. The best way to serve to our birds would be to steam it before serving or giving it raw. Steaming helps the best in preserving nutrients than other cooking methods. Don’t throw away the stems because you can save them to be sliced for other meals and they can be mixed into salads or stir-fry. Some ways to serve could be just serving fresh, cut into slices and stuck through cage bars, mixed with other vegetables or any other way that you can come up with. It is best to cook broccoli soon after purchasing because the nutritional value may gradually decrease even if refrigerated.
Due to its anti-cancer property that is known to work well with humans, broccoli might be good for birds for preventing cancerous tumors as well. There is no guarantee, but it may help prevent any cancer from developing.
Look for organic broccoli that doesn’t contain any yellow blossoms as this is a sign of being too mature. Choose the ones with dark green, bluish-green or purplish-green buds with strong and upright leaves that are dark green. The more intense the color, the healthier it is. Get the broccoli with only bright green, sturdy and crisp stalks; not the ones that are limp and yellowish.
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