Here at Psittacology, we talk a lot about what parrots should eat. After all, research has shown time and time again that many domestic parrots suffer from health issues related to dietary issues. Obesity and fatty liver disease are big parrot killers!
The article about parrot diet talks extensively about what you can feed your parrot. But did you know it doesn’t have to be all pellets and chopped veggies? There are loads of recipes you can make at home for your bird. And they’re not just nutritious, they also provide enrichment. After all, introducing your parrot to new things is a fantastic way to keep it busy and entertained.
Keep reading for 5 easy recipes for parrots! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a good cook: these are all super simple.
1. Yummy birdie bread
Can parrots eat bread? Well, it’s not the healthiest thing for them, but luckily there is a solution. Making special birdie bread just for your parrot! Easy and nutritious, this makes a great freezable parrot treat.
You can make your birdie bread as simple or complicated as you want, but let’s go for a basic recipe here that you can expand based on what you have available at the time. Remember, you don’t have to follow the recipe exactly, it’s just a guideline.
- 2 cups or about 150 grams of (a mix of) whole wheat flour, corn flour, oat flour, spelt flour, amaranth flour
- 1 apple
- 1 carrot
- ½ cup (one good handful or 75 grams) peas
- ½ cup water (135 ml)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp (15 grams) coconut oil
- Optional: 1 tsp (4 grams) salt- and aluminium free baking powder
- Optional: a sprinkle of powdered cayenne, ginger, cinnamon or paprika
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F/175 °C.
- Put together your desired mix of flour types. Include the baking powder and spices if you’re using those.
- Grate the apple and carrot. You can also mash the peas a bit.
- Melt the coconut oil and beat the eggs. Mix with the water.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir in the veggies. You’re looking for a cake batter-like consistency.
- If the mix looks too dry, add another egg, a mashed banana, some applesauce or simply some more water.
- If the mix looks too wet, add some more flour or a handful of oats.
- Pour the batter into a large, coconut oil-greased baking dish or into separate muffin cups.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let your birdie bread cool and serve some to your parrot(s). Freeze the rest!
And that’s your basic birdie bread right there. You can simplify it even more by just making it with baby food instead of whole fruit and veg, sub any of the fruit and veg for whatever you have at home or make a super elaborate bread full of fancy seeds and grains. Some even like to include the eggs shells after crushing them to a powdery consistency!
2. Sweet potato balls for parrots
Can parrot eat sweet potato? You betcha! This recipe is no-bake and super simple. And honestly, I’ll be the first to admit that a few spoonfuls actually tend to disappear into my own mouth during preparation.
Although these sweet potato balls are a bit too high in sugar to feed on a daily basis, they make a great snack for your birds. And they freeze well, so no more excuses of not being able to feed veggies and fruits because you forgot to go to the store!
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 banana
- 1 ½ cup (135 grams) rolled oats
- 1 cup (150 grams) frozen or fresh peas (or whichever veggie(s) you prefer)
- Optional: bird seed or millet
- Use a fork to poke holes into the skin of your sweet potato and pop it into the microwave until soft. This should take 5-10 minutes depending on your potato and the wattage of the microwave.
- Leave your potato to cool while you mash the banana and peas.
- Once the sweet potato has cooled, remove the skin and mash it into the mixture.
- Add the rolled oats and mix them well. Leave the mixture for a bit so the oats can soak up any excess liquid.
- You should now have a mixture that’s the perfect consistency for rolling the sweet potato balls. If it’s too wet, add some more oats; if it’s too dry, some water will help.
- Optional: Once you’ve finished rolling all of the mixture, you can spread some bird seed on a baking sheet and roll the balls over it to cover them. This should be helpful in motivating your bird to try them if it isn’t used to eating veggies and other new foods yet.
- Feed a sweet potato ball now and freeze the rest for later!
3. Popped grains for parrots
Can parrots eat popcorn? Yep, you can feed popped corn as a treat! The popcorn should be unsweetened and unsalted, though, which rules out most of the store-bought stuff. Luckily, it’s easy enough to pop corn kernels at home, give some to your bird and add butter to the rest for your own consumption!
However, did you know that there are a lot more poppable foods out there than just corn? You might even already be feeding some of these to your parrot in their unpopped state or after boiling them.
Try popping the following for your parrot:
- (Wild) rice
The best way to pop corn and other grains for your bird is to air pop without oil.
How? The easiest option is a popcorn machine, as these work without oil or anything else that’s bad for birds. Since you likely won’t have one of these lying around, though, you can also opt to make your own microwave popping bag. A brown paper lunch bag works fine when folded twice over the grains or corn.
Place the filled bag into the microwave on high power and let it go until the popping frequency slows down. Small grains burn more easily than corn, so it might take a bit to get it right.
You can also pop grains on the stove the old-fashioned way. Just go easy on the oil and don’t use non-stick cookware, as this is toxic to birds. Use just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan; be sure to use a type that doesn’t burn with higher temperatures, like canola or sunflower.
Set the burner to medium and wait until the oil is nice and hot. Then pour in one layer of corn or grains, put the cover on the pan and keep shaking it over the burner to prevent charring. Again, once the popping slows down you’re done! Let the result cool and offer it to your parrot.
4. Seed balls for parrots
These seed balls are reminiscent of Lafeber’s popular NutriBerries. NutriBerries make a great treat for your bird, but keeping a regular supply of them in the house can get pretty expensive. Additionally, they do contain some preservatives!
It’s pretty easy to make your own NutriBerry alternative, as long as you don’t mind sticky hands.
- 1 cup (about 200 grams) dried fruit with no added sugar
- 1 cup (about 90 grams) of rolled oats
- ½ cup (about 100 grams) of parrot seed mix
- ½ cup (about 85 grams) of parrot pellets
- ½ cup (about 90 grams) of quinoa
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of all natural peanut butter
- 1 or 2 tablespoons (21 grams each) of honey or agave syrup. We want to use as little as possible: just enough to make the mixture stick.
- Optional: a handful of the grains you popped with the help of the previous recipe!
- Pop the dried fruits, rolled oats and pellets into a food processor, blending well. A blender should also work, but might require you to pause it a few times to push the mixture down.
- Mix the result with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Yes, it’s going to be sticky and messy!
- Wet your hands with water or lightly grease them with a bird-safe oil so you don’t end up with sticky seed mix everywhere.
- Roll the mixture into balls between ½ and 1 inch (1.3-2.5 cm). The ideal size depends on the size of your parrot.
- Heat the oven to 325 °F (160 °C) and carefully place the seed balls on parchment paper.
- Bake the treats until they’re lightly golden. The exact baking time depends on the size of the balls you rolled, so just keep a close eye on them.
- Let the treats cool before popping the majority in an airtight container in the freezer. Offer one to the feathered test panel to see what they think!
5. Homemade seed sticks for parrots
If there’s one food out there that’s like parrot crack, it’s probably seed sticks. I don’t know about you guys’ birds, but mine go out of their mind when I hang one in their cage. The downside is that these are not exactly the healthiest treats.
You can actually make seed sticks yourself pretty easily. That way you know exactly what’s in there and can customize them to your bird’s preferences! The ones this recipe makes turn out quite hard, so they’ll keep smaller birds like budgies busy for a good while.
- 2 tsp (about 15 grams) honey
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup (about 100 grams) parrot seed mix
- ½ cup (about 100 grams) grams ground/crushed pellets*
- ½ cup (about 85 grams) grams whole parrot pellets
- Optional: shredded coconut, chopped dried fruit bits
- Craft sticks (not dyed)
*You can pour them into a ziploc baggie, close it up and go to town with a rolling pin to end up with a semi-powdery texture.
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F (160 °C)
- Optional: drill holes into your craft sticks so you can loop wire through them later. This way, you can hang them in your bird’s cage.
- Pour the seed mix, pellets and pellet powder into a bowl. Toss in a sprinkle of any desired additional ingredients.
- Add honey and egg whites. Mix everything up until all seed is coated, forming a sort of paste.
- This is the messy bit. Take the craft sticks and use your hands to cover them and form the seed sticks. They’ll be a bit crumbly and unstable at this point, so be careful.
- Carefully place your seed sticks on some parchment paper and pop them into the oven.
- Bake the sticks until they’re just lightly golden. The exact time depends on the size, but they really don’t need that long, so keep an eye on them.
- Let the seed sticks cool and offer one to the testing panel.
If you have any more questions about these recipes for parrots or want to share how to make your bird’s favorite homemade treat, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!