"I will lend to you, a bird", God said, and teach you all you have to do...
...and when I call him back to heaven, you will know he loved you too…..(author unknown)
Avian Avenue’s website has some sage advice for the caged bird enthusiast. “A healthy parrot starts with a healthy diet.” There are almost as many parrot and cage bird websites as there are pet birds. One common factor all agree on is a diet enthused with :essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals.”
According to Avian Avenue, a ‘healthy diet can help aid a bird’s immune system in keeping illnesses away’ and fresh foods added to a cage bird’s diet will not only ‘increase their health, but may also prolong their lifespan.’
The site provides a list of suggestions for the novice:
Just like the raw food craze sweeping the nation for people, birds enjoy and thrive from a sprouted diet.
The Kitchen Physician website hosts an excellent article on sprouting by Carolyn Swicegood. According to Swicegood, “Sprouts are the only food on the planet that meets these seemingly impossible requirements. The germinating seed is in the maximum growth phase of the immature plant. It has been described as "a chemical vitamin factory in high gear, cranking out antioxidants and chlorophyll, and repackaging minerals and trace elements in a more bio-available form."
All of the stored food and enzymes needed for the growth of an entire new plant are mobilized as the seed sprouts. Protein, carbohydrates and fats are broken down (predigested) to free up amino acids, simple sugars and soluble compounds. Essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium are supplied by sprouts in chelated form for better assimilation.”
She offers easy step by step instructions for bird lovers who want the very best for their feathered companions.
SELECT seeds that have been grown organically or that are free of harmful chemicals.
MEASURE one half cup each of shelled sunflower seeds, mung beans, lentils and wheat berries. Measuring will become unnecessary once you become accustomed to sprouting.
INSPECT and remove broken and damaged seeds which will not sprout and can cause spoilage.
RINSE well until the water runs clear.
SOAK overnight in pure water (and antibacterial solution if desired). Water level should be well above the top of the seeds to allow for swelling. Houseplants can benefit from the nutrients in the soak water.
RINSE well in the morning.
SPREAD seeds in colanders, glass jars, or pans and place in a dark, well-ventilated area.
RINSE well several times a day.
HARVEST when small tails appear, usually in one or two days.
DRAIN UNTIL DRY before serving to your birds. Dry sprouts will continue to grow in your birds' dishes during the day instead of spoiling as wet or cooked foods often do.
If the old hippy-style version is too complicated for the birdy’s household, easy sprouting set-ups and ingredients can be ordered online from sites like Sprout People or China Prairie.
For the wise owl who wishes to insure his companion of both a diet as close to the wild as can be mimicked, the productHerb Salad for Birds is the ticket. These herbs contain the ingredients birds seek out to repair damaged organs, fight off infection and improve the skin, beak, feather conditions and aid in digestion.
Made up of organic harvested astragalus, barberry, chickweed, dandilion, echinacea, elderberry, garlic, kelp, lavender, licorice, marshmallow, milk thistle, oatstraw, olive leaf, pau d’ arco, plaintain, red clover, spirulina, thyme, valerian, wormwood and yarrow, these herbs have been known to heal sick birds when other pharmaceutical medications have failed.
Just for fun and on the off chance that the pet bird is still hungry, try making birdy bread. There are many sites which provide great recipes, but for the healthy conscious, Holistic Bird offers some organic ideas that rival some people bakeries.
Feeding a bird a good homemade natural diet is very rewarding and nothing is sweeter than the song of a healthy bird.
*Please consult a holistic avian veterinarian before transitioning your bird to a homemade diet.