DIET

Here is what I would feed my birds on a normal day:

1.      Either a Birdie Bread (Products) or the Bean & Rice mix below.

Birdie Bread Recipe

2 cups meal/flour (See products to order)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg with shell
1 Tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups milk with 1 T apple cider vinegar added to curd (needed to raise the bread with soda)
1-1 1/2 cups of chopped fine veggies such as: kale greens, carrots, swiss chard, etc.

Nuts (optional - almonds or the like for the crunch - I try to keep the fat as low as possible because of the propensity of our pets being overweight.  A few nuts in the mix are good for the bird without causing too many problems.)

Makes a 9x9 pan.  Bread can be frozen or placed in the fridge and fed for the week.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

2.      Carrots are fed almost daily.

These vegetables are one of the highest forms of Beta-Carotene available (a precursor to Vitamin A) and a definite need in the Eclectus' diet.

3.      Sprouts. 

These are one of the most nutritious foods for your bird and just take a little work on your part to prepare them.

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Purchase the seed from Products section.

Sprouting Basics

1.      Take seeds and put in a solution of water and lemon juice (GSE or citricidal can be used as well – this too can be found at the China Prairie.  (measurements:  1/2 tsp. lemon juice to 1 cup water).
2.  Soak 2 hours.
3.  Drain. 
4.  Let sit for 24 hours (in summer 24 is the most you can do sometimes you can't even do that.  For those in humid areas you may need to store your sprouts in the refrigerator for the 24-48 hours or rinse several times daily.)
5.  Feed. 
 

 

4.    Pellets. 

I do not feed pellets to my birds - Eclectus DO NOT do well on pellets. 

5.    Seeds. 

I have a special Eclectus Mix (would be fine for any parrot on a limited basis) that I have put together for Eclectus lovers that is not fortified in any way.  Excellent stuff!  A bird gets about 1 T three times a week of this mix.

6.  A Healthy Hookbill Diet

by Katy McElroy, Hornbeam Aviary           

                Bean, rice and corn diets are widely considered to be one of the best means of supplying good natural nutrition to parrots. They are excellent for pets, breeder birds or weaning chicks, and wonderful for converting seed junkies. They work well for a few birds when the cooked mixture is frozen in serving-sized bags, but many breeders find it difficult to cope with the amounts necessary to feed a whole aviary. I have been feeding this mix for many years with good results, and after much trial and error have developed an easy, nearly painless cooking method. I make 12 quarts of this mix two or three times a week. It takes about 1½ hours from start to finish with very little fuss, uses just one pot and doesn’t need pre-soaking or draining. I use a 16-quart stainless steel stockpot for both cooking and storing the mix. It will keep at least 4 days in the fridge. I buy the ingredients in bulk from Gordon’s (restaurant) Food Service and my local feed store.

            If one part is equal to a level ½ cup measure (4 ounces), you’ll end up with about 5 quarts of food.

INGREDIENTS:

4 parts whole shelled field corn (from your feed store)
4 parts dried beans

            (I use a mixture of
black-eyed peas, great northern beans and green split peas because they cook in about the same length of time.
            Pintos and other dark beans tend to stain the whole mix brown, which may make
            it less inviting to some birds.
4 parts chopped carrots (or yams, sweet potatoes, winter squash or pumpkin – all unpeeled)
Crushed egg shells, dried hot peppers, cinnamon stick, garlic cloves (all optional)
5 parts water
2 parts plain long grain white rice (not quick-cooking)
3 parts thin egg noodles or any thin pasta
2 parts rolled oats (the long-cooking Quaker type)
1 part raisins
4 parts frozen green peas

  COOKING METHOD:

            Measure the field corn into the stockpot, rinse with water and drain. Add the beans, carrots, optional items and the measured water. At this point your pot should be no more than 1/3 full or you won’t have enough mixing room.

Put on the lid and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the rice (and sweet potatoes, winter squash or pumpkin if you are using them instead of carrots) and reduce heat to very low for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the rice is almost done. Don’t lift the lid for the first 25 minutes that the rice is steaming and don’t add more water.

            When the rice is almost tender, turn off the heat and stir in the pasta, rolled oats and raisins. Leave the lid on and stir a couple of times while the pasta and oats steam and absorb the remaining moisture. In 10 or 15 minutes the noodles will be softened (they’ll still be a bit leathery) and you can stir in the frozen peas.

            The mix should be dry and fluffy – not wet or sticky, and very little should be stuck to the bottom of the pot after it cools. The beans and corn will range from crisp-tender to crunchy, depending on the type used. Nothing should be over-cooked or mushy.  Cool the pot quickly–in a sink full of cold water if necessary- and refrigerate. Lay a couple of paper towels on top of the mix under the lid to absorb dripping condensation.

Feed warm, with avian maintenance pellets, fresh dark leafy greens and fresh fruit.  A wonderful way to feed the leafy greens or fresh fruit is to purchase a carousel feeder.  The best price I have found for these WONDERFUL feeders is at Pet Solutions.  Buy a couple and rotate one as you clean another.  They will be well worth your money!

 
NOTE:  If you are going to freeze this mix, wait to add the frozen peas as you bag it so they don’t thaw and lose quality. You can experiment by substituting one part each of the beans and corn for another whole grain such as buckwheat, flax seed, hulled millet, barley or lentils. Just be sure that the ratio of water to beans and grain remains the same. 

7.  Veggies & Fruit that are given on a seasonal basis:

Kale, Swiss chard, beets/beet greens, carrot tops, radishes, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, green peppers/red/yellow/orange, spinach (in small amounts), potato, parsley etc.

Orange, apple, grapes, pomegranate (oh this one is straight from Jesus for my birds!  They love it!), peaches, plums, etc.

The rule of thumb here is that the darker more dense the color the more loaded the fruit/veggie is and the better it is for the birds.

This is a lot of information so here is a typical meal in the morning (remember that cooked foods spoil so plan accordingly - if no one is home during the day give only enough dry foods that they will eat within an hour.  Typically people OVERFEED rather than underfeed.

8.    Please don't feed your parrot grit.  It isn't needed for your parrot to process their foods.

Morning:

1/4 cup bean mix or birdie bread & 3-5 leaves of kale or the above vegetables in the Carousel Feeder or chopped into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pcs (the stems - I puree my leaves and put them in the birdie bread). 

Evening:

1/4 cup sprout mix and more vegetables chopped up.  Mixed frozen veggies are great a couple of times a week (these are especially wonderful for the first couple of weeks after you get your baby.)  Just rinse with hot water and feed.  No need to cook them up.  Remember variety is the key.  Please don't overfeed your bird it isn't good for their health anymore than it is for ours.

cloversheba_eating_on_table.jpg (68556 bytes)As you can see they get under a cup of food in the AM and a cup in the PM and this if for a pair of birds.  All the four food groups are in each feeding.  For babies it is essential that they get enough food for their developing bodies.  Here they get fed between 3 and 4 times a day the soft food mix.  When you take your baby home you may need to feed a little more often than a bird that is well established etc.  By 8 months the above listed foods and amounts should be plenty.

I highly encourage you to buy a feeding perch that can either be on your table when you eat together as a family or a t-stand that can sit next to you as you eat.  Parrots are by nature social eaters and to eat all by itself is hard, to eat with the family is GREAT FUN!  Here is a picture of Clover & Sheba as they ate with us at the dinner table.

 

A Treat Jar

 

Commercial treat mixes made up of dried fruit and nuts contain too much sugar and fat for most parrots.  You can make your own colorful crunchy treat mix with a mixture of natural ingredients readily available at the grocer or health food store.  The quantities and ingredients can vary, which is what makes them fun.  Start with a large decorative glass jar with a tightly fitting lid. Fill with equal parts of:

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dried banana chips

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uncooked, dried non-fortified/enriched vegetable pasta

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small dried hot red peppers

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popcorn-popped without butter or salt

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almonds - either whole in the shell or chopped or slivered

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millet seed or a budgie or cockatiel seed mix

You may discover other dry, unsweetened, unsalted foods that will appeal to your parrot.  Soft, dried fruits like raisins are unsuitable for the treat jar because their moisture content is too high.