I really like food. I think most of us like to tuck into a tasty meal. And we like variety. Italian food might be just the thing on a chilly Wednesday. And maybe some Chinese food is what you’ll order for lunch because it’s relatively quick and you are in a hurry. Maybe you've got a yen for some fried rice. Whatever kind of food you like, as much as you like it, you don’t want to eat the same thing every day.
Well, your birds probably don’t want to eat the same thing every day either. I can’t imagine having to face the same thing in a bowl day-in and day-out. This would get boring and it probably does for our parrots.
But vegetables are what birds should be eating and we are often faced with the challenge of changing up their food to make it more interesting for them.
But how do you go about enriching their food and making it something they really want to dive into despite the fact that it’s “good for them?”
Some people refer to this approach of changing up a basic bird meal as adding a topping. Ann Brooks, Founder of Phoenix Landing, an adoption and educational non-profit organization refers to this idea as adding condiments. And me? Well, I just call it “changing it up.”
Well, if you think about it. many cultures serve very similar basic food items. Italian food offers pasta which is really noodles. But you can get noodles in Chinese cuisine as well as Vietnamese and Thai cuisines. And what makes them different?
You can change up a basic bowl of chopped vegetables by changing up the flavor and the toppings.
Certain herbs and spices just go together like peas and carrots. Basil and oregano have been basic twin spices Italian cuisine for eons. You can use both on their vegetables to brighten up the flavor for a change of pace. Just shake a bit on to their vegetables and the delicious combination might just make life more interesting and fun for them. Mangia!
Cilantro is used in many cuisines, but in Mexican food, it is paired up with cumin to create a distinctive taste. Use this spice combo on their food or in homemade grain bake to change up their diet. Buen apetito!
Want a fresh taste for your birds? Thai cuisine often offers cilantro and ginger as a flavor combination that gives it that fresh and snappy taste. Add a little fresh ginger and chop up some fresh cilantro and stir it in.
My African Greys happen to love this combination and I use it often. And the ginger has many healthy properties that might benefit them. Add some fresh peppers and you have the nutritional bump from the peppers as well as that hot and spicy flavor most birds seem to love.
A little sprinkle of milk thistle seed and mixed with their vegetables will go a long way into making things interesting in the morning for the feathered set. Do you have some leftover steamed vegetables from your dinner leftovers? Toss them in and see what happens. Are those tails up yet? They probably are.
This idea of pairing up spices and herbs that go together can be applied to really anything your are preparing for your birds: This works for preparing a Grain Bake to put in the freezer or making Birdie bread. Do you prepare a big batch of “Chop” and bag it up for the freezer? Change up the vegetables to make it more interesting for them, switch up the toppings and the flavor families and you have an endless number of ways of making your flock's twice daily meals that much more appealing.
These flavor families have found their way into these cuisines for a reason: They work. They are delicious. Why not work these tried and true flavor families into your bird’s diet? I think if you do, your flock will find the food you give them far more interesting and inviting. And getting them interested in a nutritious meal is one way to keep them on that healthy road.