Are your parrots as thrilled as mine are? Pomegranates are back! My walls, floor, and ceiling are sure to suffer, but it’s well worth it to see those beaks gleefully buried in the fleshy red seeds.
We all know our feathered friends need a varied, nutritious diet, and there’s no easier way to accomplish this than by offering whole foods in season. Pomegranates are a perfect example. They’re extremely rich in antioxidants, and parrots seem to relish them whole or simply halved. I think the unusual texture and slightly pungent taste pique parrots’ curiosity.
We’re also lucky to have an abundance of pumpkins and squashes available this time of year. The seeds of both are rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids, and the flesh is an excellent source of beta carotene. Mini pumpkins make wonderful enrichment food items. Just place a whole one on the cage floor, and watch your parrots go wild! Or, take out a small slice to encourage parrots to chew and explore with their beaks. Skewer the whole thing, and garnish with some leafy greens. Grate raw pumpkin and combine it with fruit to make a special crispy autumn ambrosia. Roast the seeds separately for a delicious, nutritious treat.
Both pumpkin and squashes can be steamed or baked, but they’re often readily accepted in their most natural state: raw and whole. Like pomegranates, they’re only around for a limited time, so stock up now. Your parrots will surely thank you!
What a great article, Leigh Ann! Thank you for sharing.
It’s a great time to freeze some of these birds favorite treats. My Spunky likes his veggies better than fruits, although he goes for a variety of almost any kind of juice with his dry pellets a.m. and p.m. And he likes his veggies cooked over raw I’ve found, unless the veggie is very “delicate,” such as a chinese pea pod. Right now we have some frozen edame (soy I think) pods and he gets one or tow each evening after cooking for just 5-15 minutes. As you can imagine, his lower beak zips opens the pod and then he squeezes out the bean and shells that as well. Last night I had tea while he had pellets in the living room on his play stand. About 20 minutes later he started pacing back and forth, saying “hot?” “hot?” meaning where’s my squash and pods. We packed back in the kitchen and in 10 minutes had a plate of hot squash, pods and broccoli stems. Stems are a big fav in our house–he holds the broccoli flower and eats the stem – the very middle of it. Also mustard green stems are a big winner in our house, forget the leaves. About 5pm nightly it’s all about squash, stems and pods, either before or after pellets. Fine with me, I like them too.
As Phoebe Linden has talked about, I do a mixed fruit/vegetable ‘chop’ every few days, making a bucket of raw produce to scoop out of each morning along…they get their veggie/sprout bowl and their dry food bowl first thing. I subscribe to a local CSA farm…community supported agriculture. These farms sell shares that you pick up weekly, usually seasonal, local, organically grown produce. By purchasing a share for several months, I am supporting this local farm with my ‘produce subscription’. AND it’s great stuff! They often grow heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables you rarely see in stores…this week there was a football-shaped yellow melon, a pale green skinned Armenian cucumber, 6 Anaheim peppers, a small basket of fresh okra (which my little lorikeet LOVES, as well as my other birds…my Goldie’s is a big fan of raw yams as well), amaranth greens, swiss chard, a bag of mixed salad greens, and a big heirloom winter squash. What you get usually varies a bit week to week. For my subscription, though I pay for it all at once every three months, weekly it would be about $20. Plus when I go to pick up the produce, often other farmers are offering CSA members things like grassfed meats, homemade sauerkrauts, homemade Mexican carmels, free range eggs and goat milk products. Being a CSA subscriber and visiting local farmers markets for organic produce keeps my birds and myself well stocked in lots of unusual and healthy fresh foods, plus it supports local sustainable agriculture. To find CSA’s in your area, one website is http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
I take the seeds out of pomegranates and fast freeze them in ice cube trays – buying bunches so my eclectus and timneh can enjoy them year-round. Thanks for the many other tips.
Pepper is so lucky to have a great Mommy like you!!!!!!