Did you know that almost 50% of a parrot's diet should include fresh foods including vegetables, cooked whole grains, or raw fruit?
Chop is the easiest way to keep your parrot's diet well-balanced and healthy. If you are new to the world of bird-parenting and don't know what a chop is, don't you worry - we've got you covered! By the end of this article you’ll know exactly what chop is, how to make it, what ingredients to use and what tips to follow. Let's get started!
What Is Chop?
Chop is exactly what it sounds like - a mix of chopped fruits, vegetables, legumes, or grains either prepared fresh daily or (more commonly) made in bulk and frozen for hassle-free feeding. You can make chop with whatever plant-based foods your bird enjoys, or from bird-safe leftover food, you have lying around in your fridge. That's what a weekly mash for your parrots might include:
- Brussel sprouts
- Snap peas
- Red cabbage
- Hemp hearts
- Unsweetened unsalty shredded coconut
- Soaked tree nuts, etc.
It is always good to switch your ingredients up so your feathered friends have a variety of nutrients every week.
What Will I Need?
A selection of healthy bird-safe produces your bird will enjoy - the following are fruits and vegetables my birds prefer in their daily chop, but yours may vary depending on the specific requirements of your flock or what you have available.
Apple cider vinegar (for cleaning the ingredients)
A chopping board and a sharp knife
A large bowl for mixing
Containers for freezing (for bulk quantities)
Step by Step
Step 1. Get your fruit and vegetables and clean them carefully with warm water or apple cider vinegar to get rid of the dirt
Step 2. Chop your ingredients into small chunks. I prefer my chop cut into very small pieces to discourage my birds from throwing the "boring" bits out to get to their favourites.
Step 3. Once chopped, add the pieces to your mixing bowl. Give your chop a mix and that's it! Your chop can be served fresh to your flock or frozen to be defrosted and used later.
Grains and Nuts
For added variety and extra protein, you can add some of your birds' favorite nuts to your mix. A more healthy alternative is to cook or par-boil grains like quinoa or buckwheat before adding these to your mix. These grains will fill out your chop and make it and will give your birds an excellent variety of nutrients.
Spruce It Up, Mix It Up
The beauty of the chop is that it is 100% customisable to your birds' needs and tastes. My Indian Ringneck named Chika was on a diet of nearly exclusively corn and apple before her adoption into our flock. She has a very strong attachment to corn since being raised on it and eating it as a staple every day of her life.
For this reason, I’ve always used corn cut from the cob as the first ingredient in all of her chop recipes to make sure she associates it as her main source of food and only source of her beloved corn). She is a lot more likely to try the other vegetables in her bowl if her "comfort food" is in the bowl too - much like a child who only eats their greens if they’re hidden in mashed potatoes.
If you'd like to treat your flock with a new toy, check BeakBox, a smart and extra-durable musical toy that will keep your feathered friends happy and healthy.