Did you know that most bird species require a diet high in fruits and vegetables to remain happy and healthy? If you have a pet bird then I’m guessing the term ‘chop’ is familiar to you - but if you’re like I was and are new to the world of bird-parenting then you might be a little less knowledgeable on the subject. Don’t worry, by the end of this article you’ll know exactly what chop is, how to make it and tips for a healthy, balanced diet for your parrot!
What is Chop?
Chop is exactly what it sounds like - a mix of chopped fruits and veggies, either prepared fresh daily or (more commonly) made in bulk and frozen for hassle-free feeding. Chop can can be made with whatever plant-based foods your bird enjoys, or from bird-safe leftover produce you have lying around in your fridge.
Ingredients and Equipment
In order to prepare Chop you will need the following:
- A selection of healthy bird-safe produce your bird will enjoy - the following are fruits and veggies my birds prefer in their daily Chop, but yours may vary depending on the specific requirements of your flock or what you have available.
- A chopping board and sharp knife.
- A large bowl for mixing.
- Containers for freezing (for bulk quantities).
Instructions (In a Nutshell)
- To start, gather your ingredients.
- Chop each produce item into small chunks. I prefer my chop cut into very small pieces to deter my birds from throwing the ‘boring’ bits out to get to their favourites.
- Once chopped, add the pieces to your mixing bowl.
- Give your chop a mix.
- 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 go further and give your bird increased variety within their food source.
Mix It Up
The beauty of the chop is that it is 100% customizable 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 present with them - much like a child who only eats their greens if they’re hidden in mashed potatoes.
Thanks for reading, BeakBox flock!