A recipe for parrot treats.
A while back, I surfed the ‘Net and found a bunch of recipes for bird treats. I wanted healthy, homemade treats for my parrot, Alex the Bird.
I followed one of the recipes, called “Bird Biscotti,” to make cookies for Alex. I had to substitute a bit, using Avian Essentials in place of wheat grass and egg shells. And the batter turned out too thin, so I added more cornmeal and flour to get the right consistency. The resulting creation was very green. Alex, however, liked them quite a bit.
That one batch of cookies lasted about two months. I stored them in the freezer to keep them fresh. When it was time to make another batch, I decided to experiment, adding ingredients that another recipe suggested. Here’s my concoction:
1 cup granola cereal
1/4 cup 7-grain hot cereal, uncooked
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon Avian Essentials
4 eggshells, washed and ground
2 large carrots, cooked and finely chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
A few notes about all this.
The 7-grain cereal is a hot cereal mix I bought at Safeway supermarket. It’s something I happened to have in the house and figured I’d throw in. If you can’t find that, skip it or use oatmeal.
Avian Essentials is an off-the-shelf bird supplement you should be able to buy in a good bird or pet store. It contains spirulina (which is why it’s green), cuttlebone powder, and wheat grass.
These provide beta carotene (vitamin A), essential amino acids, and calcium.
Ground eggshells also provide calcium. Frankly, I could have skipped this, since I used Avian Essentials — I actually did skip it in the first recipe. But I wanted to see how hard it was to prepare the eggshells. So I washed them, let them air dry, and used my mortar and pestle to grind them up. It took about 10 minutes total. The resulting powder didn’t look anything like eggshells.
The carrots were easy to prepare. I cooked them up in the microwave, drained off the water, and ran the carrots through my food processor. If I’d added other ingredients with them (or had used the smaller food processor bowl), I could have turned them into a paste. But that didn’t really matter. The original recipe called for carrot baby food, but I didn’t feel like running to the store to buy it.
I’d bought the sesame and flax seeds at my local health food store. (Yes, there is one in Wickenburg: Ginny’s Vitamin Village.) According to another bird treat recipe I’d found online, these two ingredients provide nutrients that help prevent feather plucking. So why not throw them in, too?
If you mix this all up, it should result in a green, dough-like mass with orange flecks. (Sounds good, huh?) If it’s too runny to work with your hands, add more whole wheat flour to thicken it up. If it’s too thick (unlikely but possible), add unsweetened fruit juice or water.
I split the dough into about 5 pieces and used my hands to make long cylinders. I put these on a lightly greased cookie sheet and baked them for 30 minutes at 325°F. Then I pulled them out, cut them into 1/4 to 1/3 inch pieces, and laid the pieces flat on the cookie tray for another 10 minutes of baking. Alex likes his cookies crunchy.
When the cookies cooled, I gave one to Alex to sample. He loved it!