Foods for Birds

–    AN EASILY ACCESSIBLE GLOSSARY OF FOODS FOR YOUR FEATHERED FRIEND

THIS PAGE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION: READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

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Listed in alphabetical order below are foods and their descriptions that I plan on working on so that they include useful information for each individual type. The foods’ names will be done in this color code: GREEN for Fresh/Raw Food, BLUE for Dry Food, PURPLE for Pellet, RED for Cooked Food (As in, should be cooked or can be cooked) and ORANGE for Other Food (Example: Wheat Germ). Some may fall into more than one category, so the name will be in both colors.

Each food will also be rated on how healthy they are with one heart being very unhealthy, to five hearts being very healthy. This rating will be displayed beside its name, and a more detailed statement may also be included. Here is a better explanation for each rating:

♥ = Very Unhealthy

♥♥ = Unhealthy

♥♥♥ = Neutral in Health

♥♥♥♥ = Healthy

♥♥♥♥♥ = Very Healthy

I would also like to mention that there will be a few new sections added to this page later on that will be a surprise until then. Also, right now I am not completely sure that all the foods on this list are safe for birds, but as I go through the list and confirm that they are, I will put a little √ mark beside the name to let you know that I checked. Of course, some are obviously safe for birds but I will leave that up to you to decide until I check them.

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CURRENT FOOD DESCRIPTION IN PROGRESS: Goji Berries – Due on Jan. 28th

REQUESTS:

1. Broccoli

2. Goji Berries

3. Beets (Anita) – Due on the 4th of February.

4. Brussel Sprouts (Shawna)

5. Blueberries (Mine, but doesn’t really count as a request.)

To make a request, just leave a comment on this page.

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Aloe Vera – ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  – Has very useful healing properties.

This plant, also known as the medicinal aloe or burn plant, can be found growing in arid climates (climates lacking sufficient water or rainfall). It can be used for a large variety of animal and human ailments, from skin to even digestive problems. Just the gel alone from the inner leaf of an aloe plant can greatly enhance the healing process of a wound. It can also help prevent infection and scars. The gel is able to soothe and relieve the pain from burns, cuts, bruises, insect bites, blisters and even blemishes. This is due to the painkilling properties of the magnesium, lupeol, and salicylic acid found in Aloe Vera plants.

In parrots, this natural healing agent is used to treat their skin problems. While some ointments may have toxic side effects after being used on our parrots, aloe is safe, natural and even hypoallergenic. Some evidence shows that it can even be effective if sprayed on some feather plucking parrots. This can be due to the soothing property in aloe gel that helps itchy skin, which may help prevent some parrots from plucking. Aloe Vera is also known to be used for digestive problems, and even to soothe the pains of arthritis.

Visit this website to read more about Aloe Vera: Parrot Pharmacy in a Leaf

You can also find more information on how Aloe Vera can help feather plucking parrots here: Feather Destruction

Properties:

Amino Acids – contains 20 of the 22 amino acids that human bodies require, and it has 8 of the essential ones that the human body cannot create on its own. These 8 essential amino acids are Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Methionine, Leucine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Lysine, and Valine.

Nutrients/Vitamins – A, B, C, E and Folic Acid. Aloe Vera is one of the very few plants that contain most of the B vitamins like B1, B2, B4, B6, and Vitamin B12.

Minerals – Magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorous copper, chromium, calcium, sodium, potassium and iron.

Read more about the properties of Aloe Vera here: Aloe Vera Properties

Preparation Methods and Ways to Serve:

Aloe Vera works best when used fresh and from the plant. It needs to be used straight after harvesting as it can break down within 20 minutes. Aloe Vera Gel comes in convenient forms these days however, and can be bought in stores all over the world. If you don’t have your own Aloe Vera plant at home, you may want to buy a bottle of some to keep handy just in case. Make sure the gel is pure, with nothing added to it.

You can also make a solution of Aloe to put in a spray bottle for spraying on your birds. To do this, you just need to mix Aloe Vera juice and distilled water in a spray bottle. Four parts water to one part Aloe is a pretty good solution. Remember to find the purest possible juice when you go looking for it. This spray is also good for feather plucking birds because the taste of the Aloe and the dampness from being sprayed discourages them from plucking.

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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 fibre 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:
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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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

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Guest post by Elaine Radford (host of the Peachfront Conure blog.)

Turnip Greens (or Tops) — ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ — Key Source of Vitamin K

Turnip greens, also known as turnip tops, are one of those dark leafy greens that are highly recommended because they pack a lot of vitamins and minerals into a high fiber, low fat, low calorie package. Turnip greens actually contain more cancer-fighting phytonutrients than their more popular cousin, broccoli. Turnip greens are an exceptional source of natural vitamin K, the blood clotting vitamin. They also contain several other vitamins, including vitamin A, C, and several B vitamins, in addition to being an excellent source of calcium. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, vitamin K appears to be more important in maintaining healthy bones than we once realized, so turnip tops, as a rich source of both K and calcium, appear to be a great food for strong bones.

Probably any bird would benefit from having some chopped turnip tops in the food mix, but this green is particularly important for Conures and Mini Macaws, who may be at risk for a disease caused Conure Bleeding Syndrome, which can be fatal. In a bleeding emergency, an avian vet must treat the bird immediately with injectable vitamin K, but we Conure and Mini Macaw owners should try to prevent the illness altogether, by feeding a diet with plenty of natural vitamin K.

For more about USDA research into vitamin K, visit this page at the U.S. Department of Agriculture site.

Learn more about Conure Bleeding Syndrome by visiting this page on the Avian Web.

Properties:

Amino Acids: Rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid thought to be linked to healthy sleep.

Vitamins: K, A, C, folate, E, B6, B2, B1, B5

Minerals: Manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus.

For more about the properties of this super-food, you can visit the turnip tops page at the nonprofit The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Preparation Methods and Ways to Serve:

In general, it is much easier to grow turnip tops than to grow spinach. I like a non-hybrid variety, called Seven Tops Turnip Tops, that isn’t as bitter as the greens from turnip varieties grown more for people looking to eat the roots. When you can’t grow or buy fresh turnip tops, try the frozen food department. If they are quick frozen, they will be just as nutritious and maybe a little easier for you to prepare. You can use them in any recipe where you would use spinach, but I like to choose recipes with strong flavor elements, to overwhelm any lingering hint of bitterness. For instance, if I am stir-frying turnip greens in olive oil to make a cooked salad, I’ll dash on plenty of balsamic vinegar and maybe some chopped fresh rosemary to bring out the flavor.

It only takes a minute or two to chop up and steam some plain turnip tops for your bird’s food mix. However, my Conures don’t have as many taste buds as I do. That’s why I cook the greens first in unsalted water, drain them well, and remove the portion that I’ll be serving to my parrots. They can eat it plain, but for the human members of this family, I will next want to stir-fry in olive oil or bacon fat, or I will want to cream the greens in milk and cheddar cheese. Parrots don’t need bacon, fancy creamed turnip tops, or even seasoned salt, but in my experience, the human animal is far more likely to eat up all the turnip tops if there’s bacon or cheese involved. So the bird version of the meal is extremely low sodium, low fat, and low calorie, while the human version does contain all those great vitamins and minerals, but now we’ve added some fat and salt to the equation. If you’re on a low fat or low calorie diet, you can try it the parrot’s way and see how you like it: Steam the greens until they’re limp and then sprinkle with a dash of balsamic vinegar. I’d add a touch of a good seasoned salt like Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, but if you have to go low salt as well, maybe you could try Mrs. Dash.

By the way, although I’m in the camp that believes that the nutrients in greens are more digestible if they’re cooked at least a little, you don’t have to cook the turnip tops if you don’t want to. Snip them up in tiny pieces with chef’s scissors and stir them into your bird’s food mix. You can place some larger pieces in their flight, such as a bundle of leaves in a dog dish. They might “play” with these large leaves as much as they eat, but they’re having a good time — and that’s heart-healthy too.

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Requests:

Beets, Brussel Sprouts, Blueberries.

To Be Done:

Acorn Squash, Adzuki Beans, Amaranth, Apples, Apple Cider Vinegar,  Apricots, Asparagus, Baby Carrots, Baby Spinach, Bananas, Beans, Bee Pollen, Beet Greens, Beetroot, Berries, Blueberries, Bok Choy, Broccoli Rabe, Brown Rice, Brussel Sprouts, Buckwheat, Butternut Squash,  Cantaloupe, Carrot Tops, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery Root, Celery, Chamomile, Chard, Cherries, Collard Greens, Corn, Cornmeal, Couscous,  Cranberries, Cucumber, Dandelion Greens, Eggs, Endives, F – none yet,, Garbonzo, Grapefruit, Grapefruit Seed Extract,  Grapes, Green Beans, Green Leaf Lettuce, Green Peppers, Honeydew Melons, I – none yet, J – none yet, Kale, Kamut, Kiwi, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Lima Beans Mangoes, Marigold, Millet, Mung Beans, Mustard Greens, N – none yet, Oat Groats, Oranges, Palm Nuts, Papaya, Parsley, Pasta, Peaches, Pears, Peas, Pellets Peppers, Pineapples, Plums, Pomegranate, Pumpkins, Quinoa, Radicchio, Radishes, Rambutans, Raspberries, Red Beets, Red Leaf Lettuce, Red Peppers, Red Potatoes, Romaine Lettuce, Rye Berries, Silver Beet, Snow Peas, Spelt, Spinach, Sprouts, Squash, Star Fruit, Strawberries, String Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Sweet Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Tangerines, Tomatoes, Turnips, U – none yet, V – none yet, Walnuts, Watercress, Watermelon, Wheat Germ, Whole Wheat Pasta, X – none yet, Yellow Pepper, Zucchini.

11 Responses to “Foods for Birds”

  1. May I add a request for beets? 🙂

  2. I see you have Brussels sprouts on your to do list – I will be excited to see that! 🙂 I will definitely be watching this page!

  3. Amaranth
    Spelt
    Kamut
    Rye Berries

    Mung Beans
    Adzuki Beans
    Garbonzo
    Pumpkin
    Acorn Squash

  4. Hi! I simply love how you have a list of items you intend to post about. It’s brilliant! And when you complete the task, you cross it off the list. Great strategy! It’s just so smart. It’s a wonderful approach!

    • Thanks so much Patricia! 😀 I’m glad you like my strategy so much.

      Would you like to make any requests?

      On a side note, I was wondering if you would give me permission to use a few photos from your blog to do a post on the Chop Concept. I always love spreading great ideas like these, and I know you have some pretty good chop photos tucked away somewhere. I would give you credit of course. 🙂

      • Not a problem. I really enjoyed your post about Chop. Thanks for spreading the word and I hope you make Chop soon. As I’ve been known to say, “Once you make Chop. you never stop.”

        • Thank you, and no problem. 🙂 I would make Chop, but I don’t have much of a reason right now because I don’t own any birds at the moment. By the way, that’s a perfect saying!

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