December 11, 2018

Christmas Cookies for your Parrots [ Healthy Treats]

Christmas Cookies for your Parrots

[Healthy bird Treats]


Birdie Christmas cookie




Not only are these cookies healthy, a great source of vitamin A, but they smell, Oh so Divine! During the holiday seasons, it's a great idea to bake for your parrots and birds. I know they want to dig into the shortbread cookies and the gingerbread house, so why not bake a special cookie just for them. 

This cookie ensures they are getting something healthy, has nutrients, and will be flavorful for our parrots. Not only this but this will allow our feathery friends to join in with all the festivities. 

You can change the flavor by simply using pumpkin or another squash, add crushed berries or apples. If you are using mashed pumpkin, you will need two cans for this recipe. 

The first time I made these cookies, I guess I had too much sweet potato so my batter was moist and I couldn't shape them into fun Christmas shapes. 


However, I adjusted the recipe, for it to be handled better. This cookie dough should be great to create cut-out shapes. If you do find it to be too moist, just add more flour. 

It's such an easy, easy recipe, you can not try it. 

Ingredients: 

3 sweet potato cooked 
1 cup flour (any kind) 
1/4 tsp cinnamon (Ceylon)
1/4 tsp vanilla

Directions:


Preheat  oven to 350 

Cook your sweet potato, microwave, steam, or oven. 

Mash your sweet potato in a bowl, add flour, cinnamon, and vanilla. 

Use a scoop to measure out cookies on a cookie tray which is lightly sprayed with cooking oil. 

bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 

Birdie Christmas cookie recipe



More Recipes:





November 19, 2018

Calcium Deficiency in parrots [pet health]

Calcium Deficiency in parrots [bird health]

Calcium deficiency, or hypocalcemia, is very common in parrots. Calcium is a mineral and even though it is the most abundant mineral in animal bodies,  including parrots, its insufficient absorption rate causes the deficiency.

Parrots eating kale




Calcium is needed for skeleton strengthening, muscle contraction, blood clotting, and eggshell formation. Calcium is a co-factor for many enzymes to function and also hormones secretion and can affect the muscles, heart, and nerves.

So if calcium is so abundant, why do parrots become calcium deficient? 


Sunlight. One of the main issues is no sunlight. Parrots need sunlight for the absorption of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is a very important vitamin that helps the absorption of calcium by the body. Without sunlight, or vitamin D3, the calcium can't be absorbed and therefore calcium deficiency occurs.

The second is oxalates. Greens, nuts and other food which are high in calcium have oxalates compound. These compounds bind to calcium making them insoluble, in other words, unable for parrots to absorb by digestion.

Depending on the severity of this deficiency, it can become life-threatening and/or serious illness can emerge.

calcium issues in parrots



Prevention of Calcium Deficiency

No, not supplements. An adequate diet with plenty of sunlight or a full spectrum bulb.  Supplements can do more harm than good. The best way to ensure your parrot's well-being is by providing fresh food daily. There is many fresh food with high amounts of Calcium


Food with high calcium


Feeding your parrots with fresh food will natural help them keep their vitamin levels normal and no need for supplements. (Unless there's a medical issue)


Hypocalcemia

Never go crazy on Vitamin supplements, because too much calcium (or any vitamin) can also cause server damage. Hypercalcemia, or elevated calcium levels, can cause serious toxicity and be fatal. Symptoms include vomiting, pain, unable to lay eggs, kidney stones.

elevated calcium level symptoms



It is always important to follow direction and not overdose if your doctor does recommend supplements.


Reference: 


avianmedicine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/calcium.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9929897


August 02, 2018

Quick Understanding of Bird Chop [diy]


If you just got yourself into the parrot world, the chop is one word you will be hearing, a lot. If you are already in the parrot world, welcome to the new parrot chop recipe. 


Eclectus Parrot eating chop




What is a chop diet?

Why birdie chop? 

I'm here to answer all these questions and more. 

Parrot chop is basically, chopped-up veggies, greens, mixed with cooked grains. The object is to chop up ingredients small enough so your parrot won't be able to select its favorite food item; however, your parrot might not like it finely chopped, in that case, do as your parrot wish. Different chop recipes will do things differently but simply put, the chop is fresh food for parrots.
Parrot owners are making homemade chop to provide their parrots with complete nutrition - fresh food meals. I and most other parrot owners try to add a rainbow of ingredients into their bird chop recipe.

The great thing about birdie chop is you can just use anything you have in hand. If you only have one grain, a few veggies, and red chill flakes, that can easily be turned into the chop. 

Before you start making parrot chop, there are a few things you should consider. 

1) Your parrots favorite veggies
2) How big is your flock
3) Does your parrot like defrosted chop or fresh 
4) Does your parrot like finely chopped or not
5) How often can you cook Chop
6) Do you have enough room to freeze chop



Parrots eating chop



Just like everything else in life, one parrot chop recipe doesn't fit all. You will have to experiment, see what works for you. 

My advice will be to start with 1 or 2 grains, 3 veggies/greens, red chill flakes, and one herb. 

Make a small batch bird chop. There is no need to collect 20 different ingredients and then realize your parrots don't like broccoli and there goes your batch of chop. Start small, see when they like to eat it (because they might not like chop in the mornings, only dinner time), what they like or don't like. Do they like it finely chopped or does it have to be finely chopped in the food processor? 

Some recipes call for freezing chop, but if your parrot doesn't like mushy veggies, then freezing it isn't an option for you. 

Also remember if your parrots like your chop recipe today, tomorrow they won't.  

Now that you have more questions about your parrots than answers and are feeling overwhelmed. Let us go deeper into parrot chop. 

Parrot chop recipe




Flock size and numbers:
This is easy to understand. Larger parrots will eat more than smaller ones. If you have a larger flock, you will need to cook more chop. 

Second, larger parrots might favor knife chopped veggies more than food processed (finely chopped) others may not. Experiment to see what works best. 

You do not want chunks of veggies because then they can eat around it. The idea is the have it small enough, so your parrot can't pick and choose what to eat. Unless your parrot is actually a pig and will eat anything.

Bad eating habits:
If your parrot is used to a certain food, like sunflower seeds, changing diets can be tricky. One way you can help change diet change is by adding a few sunflower, or pellets to the chop. 

Your parrot will see or smell their favorite food and in the process might try out some of the veggies. 

If your parrot loves apples, add apples or apple sauce to your chop.

Remember Chop is a beautiful open concept to help you provide a complete nutrition meal to your parrots. Feel free to change any recipe, to fit your needs. 


Freezing Chop: 
You may or may not wish to freeze chop. I prefer not to freeze. One batch of chop lasts a maximum of three days in the fridge. 

If you wish to freeze chop, there are a few things to consider. 

1) Do you have room in your freezer?

2) It is best to air-tight when freezing veggies. So you might want to consider a vacuum seal or other airtight containers. Uncovered in the freeze, your chop will get freezer burn FAST.

3) Chop will last maximum of 3 months in the freezer. 

4) Will you parrots like defrosted chop?

When making chop to freeze, remember you want to chop to be as dry. Remember to dry all your veggies, greens. Your cooked grains should be as dry as possible. 

Fruit adds moisture. So you might want to consider not adding fruit to your freezer chop. 

Consider adding Flax seeds and Chia seeds. Even Flax meal. These will absorb any extra moisture. Adding leftover pellet powder is also another way to make your chop dryer. 

I know some recipes call for dry fruit or veggies, they do absorb the moisture, but it's extra sugar you are adding to chop and other chemicals like sulfate. I don't add any dry fruit or veggies.



Eclectus eating Chop





Now for the most famous list of all,  foods to avoid. If you haven't seen this list already, then the parrot community isn't doing its job. So let me show it to you.

Foods to avoid


AlcoholApple seedsAvocado
Caffeine
Chocolate
Junk Food
Salt
Stone fruit pits
Raw dairy (milk, fresh cheese, ice cream)
Raw onions
Raw mushrooms

Rhubarb


Bird eating chop





For parrot chop, you can use almost any ingredient, but there are a few suggestions: 

Grains: rice, quinoa, pasta, spelt, amaranth, farro, barley, buckwheat, millet, cooked beans, and lentils.

Veggies: carrots, sweet potatoes, any orange squash, green peppers, jalapeƱos, zucchini, broccoli, coconut, parsnips, snap peas, corn, green beans

Think orange: cook carrots, cooked sweet potato, and or cooked squash

Now for orange veggies, we need to cook them. We can add them to our boiling water at the beginning of our cook time. The reason is that cooking them increases the beta carotene which is what we are looking for as nutrition value. Beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A in animal bodies. For more information about cooking orange veggies, follow the link.

Sweet potatoes are not to be consumed raw because they are hard on digestion. Cooking them eliminates this effect. 

Greens: carrot tops, beet tops, celery leaves, cabbage, kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, cilantro, dandelion greens

Seeds/herbs/spices: flax Seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, rapeseeds, celery seeds, fennel seeds, rosemary, oregano, basil, coriander, cumin, turmeric, red chill flakes

Yes, you guessed it:

Special ingredient list: bee pollen, dried rosebuds, echinacea herb, milk thistle seed, elderberry & flower, lavender flower, barberry root.

Chop recipe





Recipe:

Now all is left is to try it out. Here is my favorite recipe, with additional notes so you can change it as you wish:


Ingredients

1/4 cup of grains   (can be a mix of grains, or just one)
5 cups of water 
2 cups of veggies chopped   (mix of veggies)
1 sweet potato, peeled, cubed
2 bunches of greens/fresh herbs   (can be a mix of few or just one)
1 Tbsp Flax seeds
1 Tbsp chai seeds
1 Tbsp red chill flakes 
A punch of bee pollen

Directions: 
  1. Boil your water 
  2. Add your grains and sweet potato to the water, let it boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the grain cook in the hot water. After 20 minutes, strain the grains/sweet potatoes.
  3. Mix your veggies, greens, and seeds/herb mix with your grains and sweet potatoes.
  4. Sprinkle with bee pollen

Prepare your greens/Fresh herbs: 
  1. Roughly chop your greens and then finely chop them in the food processor.  (if using nuts, you can add them with your greens and finely chop them) **

Prepare your Seed/Herbs/species.
  1. Mix all your seeds, and dried herbs together.

*If you have whole flax seeds, you can grind them in a spice or coffee grinder, to make a fresh flaxseed meal. 

** my parrots like their veggies knife chopped. You can also finely chop your veggies into the food processor with your greens


Flavors my Parrots love for their Birdie Chop: 

Indian: Coriander and cumin seeds powder (*you can grind yourself) with red chill flakes and fresh ginger. 

Mexican: Cumin and paprika with fresh or dry oregano.

Italian: Fennel seeds or fresh fennel, lavender flowers, with fresh or dry basil and oregano.



Here are a few bird chop recipes: 



How to make your own Birdie Chop made Easy and Simple.
Just follow the the simple steps and you will have your chop ready in no time. 

Chop Guide











July 15, 2018

Vitamin A deficiency information [parrot health]

Vitamin A deficiency Information [Parrot Health]


Vitamin A deficiency, hypovitaminosis A,  is the most common issue in birds which goes unrecognized and on top of that, is preventable and easily treatable. 


Vitamin A





Before we go into more details, first we need a better understanding of Vitamin A and why it's so important and causes so much damage if absent. 

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps grow and repair tissue. This antioxidant also helps to function eyes, skin, hearing, bone, and membranes.  


Vitamin A deficiency can cause tissue damage in the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive tracts. This deficiency causes cells to undergo changes that prevent the secretion of mucous, and therefore destroying barriers that prevent bacterial infections. 


Lack of Vitamin A causes bacteria, fungal, and virus infection because vitamin A is needed to produce mucous which is a layer of protection against the pathogen. So if your parrot has a vitamin A deficiency, it will not produce mucous, which will cause reoccurring infections. 


Vitamin A deficiency in birds is a direct cause of inadequate diet. Only seeds diet, no fresh food, causes vitamin A deficiency in parrots because seeds don't contain vitamin A.  Even when seeds are enriched with vitamins, the parrots eat the seed inside the shell, not the whole shell. Most vitamins add in seeds, only sit on top of the shell, and aren't consumed. 



Why is Vitamin A deficiency an issue with parrots?


Because parrots require as much Vitamin A as humans, daily. Humans daily allowance for vitamin A is 2400 to 5000 IE a day; for parrots 2000-4000 IE per kg body weight. Therefore, per kg of a parrot, a parrot requires as much vitamin A as a human.



Signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency:


Symptoms of vitamin a deficiency




Treatment of Vitamin A Deficiency

Treatment of Vitamin A deficiency relies on the severity of the infection caused by the vitamin A deficiency. 

Your vet will perform CBC and cultures to get a better understanding of the case. From the cultures, a specific antibiotic medicine can be given. The first step is to deal with the secondary infection because the infection causes death, and damage to internal organs. After an injection of vitamins can help boost vitamin A. 


In some cases nostrils must be physically unplugged, then nasal flush with antibodies. Surgical lancing of abscesses might also be needed. 



 Prevention of Vitamin A Deficiency


No, not supplements. An adequate diet. Supplements can do more harm than good. The best way to ensure your parrot's well-being is by providing fresh food daily. There are many fresh foods with high amounts of Vitamin A. 

Here is a list of parrot safe food which are high in Vitamin A.
Vitamin a Chart




Over Supplement of Vitamin A (Hypervitaminosis A)

It's not well documented, however over supplement of vitamin A could be toxic in birds. In animals, over-supplement could lead to bone abnormalities, liver damage, and or kidney damage, etc.  This is the main reason why supplements aren't the best idea. Overdosage can cause issues that vets and researchers are not familiar with until more research is done.


Reference: 


Roudybush, TE. Nutrition. In Altman, RB; Clubb, SL; Dorrestein, GM; Quesenberry, K (eds.). Avian Medicine and Surgery. W.B. Saunders. Philadelphia, PA; 1997.

Rose Essex, RAHT. 25 years of experience in exotic and avian medicine.



Vitamin A







June 13, 2018

Complete Guide to choosing Parrot toys [5 questions answered]

Complete Guide to Parrot Toys [5 questions answered]

pds parrot toyss


I received many questions about parrot toys since I sell them to run my sanctuary as well as for my flock. There are many different types of parrot toys, all having their own function.

The main purposes for parrot toys are mental stimulation, free of boredom, and exercise. Parrot toys encourage the natural behavior of the wild. Most parrot owners want to create the best habitat for their parrots, and toys help do that. We can provide them with a variety of parrot toys to help them forage, chew, destroy and solve puzzles. This creates a good balance environment for your parrot where they can be challenged, stimulated, and have fun. 


Foraging Toys:

Foraging toys are toys where you can hide food items, and make your parrot work to get the food. These types of toys come in all different varieties and the internet is full of them. Foraging toys allow your parrot to find food, which they do in the wild. 


pds parrot toys






Shreddable Toys:

Shreddable toys are to rip, destruct, and chew. Chewing is a major natural activity in the wild and enriches parrots' wellbeing. Parrots love the shred, tear and rip these types of toys. It's a natural behavior. Shreddable toys are made from all parrot-safe, shreddable items:  paper, egg carton, pinewood, balsa wood, vine items, cardboard, etc. Depending on your parrot's personal preference, they might like soft paper shreddable toys or need wood toys. This helps them maintain and challenge their natural instincts and activities.


pds parrot toys



Foot Toys:

Foot toys are essential for parrots. Different shapes and sizes help with motor development, coordination, and balance. They also love carrying around small toys and throwing their favorite foot toys.


pds parrot toys


Puzzle Toys:

Puzzle toys are amazing. They are made from durable plastic and come in different sizes and puzzles. The purpose of these toys is to make your parrot solve the puzzle. Puzzle toys stimulate the brain and help develop skills. It can be opening little drawers, turning, or pulling. Or they will surprise you and find a completely new way to solve the problem.


Noise Maker Toys:

Stainless-steel toys or talking, animated, pet toys are annoying, loud but parrots love the interaction. It is great to keep them engaged when you're not there. They love making loud noises, banging toys around, and stainless steel is perfect for this.

pds parrot toys


Exercising Toys: 

Exercising toys are toys that make your parrot move around in different ways making them work different muscle parrots. In nature, everything isn't straight, so having bungees, cargo nets, swings is a great way to make them exercise and gain muscles.

pds parrot toys


Preening Toys:

Preening toys help feather plucking parrots to relax. They are usually made of non-pill fleece, leather strips, or other materials, and the parrot can preen, chew on this toy. 


leather parrot toy
Leather preening toy

Leather Toys: 

Vegetable-dyed leather is a great material to use for parrots. It's great as a preening toy or just another texture. Thick veg-leather strips are great to chew on, make foot toys or add to any seagrass mats. 

Those are all the different types of parrot toys to help parrots be outside their natural environment. They are highly intelligent animals and with that, they need mental stimulation and lots of exercise. 

pds parrot toys


My 5 most asked questions about bird toys answered below:


1) Do parrot toys need to be colored? 


Will, my parrots chew pine wood, the purple, and red ones first. However, when I got this question, I decided to do more research. 

Parrots see more color than humans. Not only do parrots have three cones color receptors, same as humans, but they have a fourth, ultraviolet cone.

This extra UV cone in parrots is very important, and part of your parrot's life. For matting, females can see reflective patches on males' feathers which are unseen by humans. For foraging and food, the UV cones help them detect the bright waxy reflective food in the dense green forest. 


So yes, color is needed for mental stimulation.

However it is also true that many parrots will chew un-dyed woodblocks, and there might be other parrots who might only prefer certain colors.

With time you will find out what your parrots like and wants. 



pds parrot toys



2) What if my parrot doesn't play with toys?


You play with it first. The best way is to get a small toy and play with yourself and show your parrot how much fun it is. 

That is the best way to get your parrot to become interested. Sooner or later he/she will have to check out what was so exciting to you. 


3) What toys should I start with?



The small wood toys, larger acrylic toys.
Small wood toys, to see if your parrot will chew wood. Some don't. If they chew the small wood too fast, go to the medium wood toys.

Larger acrylic toys because smaller toys can be more dangerous to parrots because they might easily break the plastic parts. 


4) My parrot is afraid of toys, what should I do?



Introduce the toy. Your parrot is comfortable with you and trusts you,  then if you're able to hold the toy, it means it's safe too.  

Place the toy outside its cage and let your parrot go to the toy.  Once your parrot is comfortable with the toy, you can place it inside its cage.



5) What is the best type of parrot toy? 



There are a few different types of parrot toys. All are important and have functions to keep your parrots happy and stimulated.

Foot toys, shreddable, wood toys, puzzle toys 


It's best to have different types of toys for your parrot to enjoy. It does take time to figure out the best toy for your parrot, but when you do, your parrot will appreciate it so much.

Always remember, new toys should be supervised when first given. 



pds parrot toys


June 12, 2018

Birdie Chop with Lentils [healthy recipes]

Birdie Chop With Lentils 
[healthy recipes]



I change my chop recipe all the time depending on ingredients I have on hand or food I want to try out for my parrots.

Parrots diet should consist of greens, veggies, and fruits. Fresh food is always the best.

I try my best to provide a variety of fresh food for my parrots to ensure they are receiving all the vitamins and minerals.

For chop, packages visit Christine's chop shop


You can do the same, you don't need to follow my ingredients list exactly. You can add or eliminate things. 

A safe food list, in case you're experimenting with new food. 

I always try to add a rainbow of veggies or fruits into my chop. Different veggies of different colors have different nutrients and by varying them, I hope to give a completely nutrition-balanced meal. 

Chop recipe


Today chop recipe: 


(you can vary your measurements depend on is you have one parrot or many) 

1) Rice, lentils, dry peas with 1/2 tsp of turmeric, paprika, and cinnamon go into boiling water for 5 minutes


2) Add Farro, quinoa, barley, millet, and shredded sweet potatoes into your water with the rice mixture. I added a can of chickpeas too, washed (low sodium). Let the water come to a boil again. Turn off the heat. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.

3) Chopped veggies: cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots

4) Food processor: cilantro, kale, and dandelion 

5) Seeds: sesame, flax, chia, and bee pollen

6) Other: red raspberry leaf and rosehip powder

Mix everything together... serve.








I also sell an Organic chop mix. The grains and seasoning mix are already done. You just have to cook and do the veggies



For chop mix contact by email: pds.contactus@gmail.com 
USA only.

Chop Guide








June 11, 2018

DIY Parrot Wood Blocks [complete guide]

DIY Parrot Wood Blocks [complete guide]


DIY Parrot Wood Blocks



Have you ever wonder, how parrot wood blocks are made? 
or maybe you wish to learn to do them yourself. 

Here I will go step by step so one can appreciate the effort and love that goes into making and building wood toys.


Where to buy wood for your birdie blocks parts?

You need to buy untreated pine wood from your local lumber yard. Pine wood is a soft white wood which Home Depot, Lowes carry in different sizes. Most parrots love this wood because they can easily chew it into toothpicks. 

Before you head towards the lumber yard, bring gloves and a pocket knife. Gloves to prevent splinters. Knife to open new bundles of lumber.

There are a few different sizes. 
1 by 2
2 by 2
1 by 3 

If you need something larger, you can go for the 2 by 3 and 2 by 4. Those are usually Fir, which is still safe, but harder. Great for Macaws, Cockatoos. 

When purchasing lumber you want straight pieces with minimal knots. I know knots make it look cool, but for our purpose, no knots. 

You always want to look at the color of the wood. Make sure there's no discoloration, which can be a sign of mold. If you're unsure, leave it, and find another piece. 

Your lumber pieces shouldn't have any sap, stickiness. If it does, it's no good.

For perfect pieces of parrot wood blocks, make sure your lumber has all for corners, throughout the whole length. Yes I spend a good time at the lumber yard, inspecting every piece of lumber I buy.


DIY Parrot Wood Blocks



What do you do with all this lumber?

Now it's time to cut your lumber into Birdie wood blocks.

You can cut them into any thickness, any length, any width. 
Sometimes your cuts will depend on your toy designs but most times it will depend on your parrots. 

Most parrots like nothing thicker than 3/4 inch. 

Small parrots will like thinner pieces, up to 1/8th of an inch. 

You might want an 1 inch or greater thickness,  if you have a wood chopper.

DIY Parrot Wood Blocks



Next, drilling holes

Mostly 3/8th inch hole is good enough for wood pieces. For larger wood blocks, larger hole will be needed for the larger chain or thicker rope

DIY Parrot Wood Blocks

Coloring wood


Now the real fun begins when you start dyeing them different colors. We dye ours outside, with lots of room. 

Use food coloring: wilton, americolor, or any other human grade -food color.  You will also need 70% isopropyl alcohol.


DIY Parrot Wood Blocks



Side note: Alcohol will not be consumed by the parrot. During the drying stage, the alcohol will evaporate. I use alcohol because I find it easier to use, and it disinfects the blocks.

Mix 1:15 ratio of color: alcohol. With gels you might need to work it a bit more. The ratio can be changed on personal preference. But 1:15 is a good place to start.

Place your color in a bucket and then submerge your wood blocks, take them out and dry on wire or newspaper. I use the same dye for all my wood, vine items and paper cups. 

After you're done selecting, cutting, drilling and dying your wood parts, you can start making birdie wood toys. 


DIY Parrot Wood Blocks













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