Feeding Parrots Seasonally: Autumn

It’s fall again which means there are all sorts of great seasonal fruits and vegetables to feed our fids! Root vegetables, pomegranates, tree fruit, pumpkins, squash and huckleberries to name a few that are in season right now; meaning they are extra fresh, nutritious and flavorful in the fall. 

Why Squash and Pumpkin should be on Your Birds Beak!

Both squash and pumpkins (I might refer to one or the other as we go along but everything applies to both) are especially great foods to offer your parrots. They are rich in a host of vitamins and minerals that are important for normal body function and repair as well as preventing cellular damage and inflammation. The majority of the calories from these cucubite family crops are in the form of healthy complex carbohydrates that may also help regulate blood sugar levels.

There are hundreds of different varieties: little, big, warty, smooth, green, orange, yellow, white; they are all equally great to feed! The super tiny ones are great since they are closer to a birdie serving size.  Large pumpkins on the other hand, will give you lots of extra meat to freeze.  Minis are often coated with wax or other thick synthetic coatings that make them unsafe to consume so make sure not to buy those ones!  Look for uncoated minis in the produce section, at your farmers market and from your local farmers.  


How to Prepare?
You can offer squash raw or cooked. Baking, steaming and microwaving are all easy ways to prepare them for your birds. You can cut the squash up and remove the seeds or bake them whole with a few vent holes poked through the squash to the seed cavity.

The seeds are also a great treat. You can feed them raw, baked or dehydrated. If you dehydrate or bake you will have plenty to save for training treats, to add to foraging toys or sprinkle on their food. If you were wondering, yes, you can dehydrate squash too! 

To save the seeds remove as much of the stringy pumpkin guts as you can and them wash them under warm water in a mesh strainer or colander until they are free of pumpkin guts. You can bake them in a hot oven (400°F) for a crunchy snack that you will probably enjoy as much as your birds. Or, for a snack that has more of the benefits of the fats intact dry with your food dehydrator on the lowest setting. Line the dryer racks with parchment paper or fruit leather inserts so the seeds don’t fall through. 

            Raw or very lightly cooked squash is perfect to offer as a foraging opportunity. You can chunk or half a washed squash and stick it through cage bars or onto stainless steel foraging skewer or untreated bamboo skewers. If you have a foraging experienced bird you can even give them a whole washed pumpkin ( do try to find a size appropriate one so they don’t waste as much), it will make a huge mess but your birds will have a blast.

Cooking Ideas

Bake at around 375°F (either cut and guts/seeds removed or whole with vent holes) until the meat is tender enough that a butter knife can be easily inserted into the flesh. This is my preferred way to cook squash. I like to mix the meat in with chop and veggies and if it’s a tiny squash I put everything back in the shell before serving. It gives the birds a fun foraging meal.
* You can also stuff the seed cavity of a raw one with chop for an equally fun and entertaining meal.*
Steam
to your bird’s preference. You will want to experiment with all the cooking method to see what  texture your birds prefer, but especially with steaming since it can make squash slimy and mealy.

Microwave

also to your birds preference. For many folks this is their preferred way to cook squash especially the small ones. Just make sure to poke plenty of vent holes. I’ve been told a small pumpkin (the sort that fit in your hand) is tender in about 15 minutes but cooking time will vary depending on your microwave and squash *correction: I was recently warned that this cooking time is way too long. Someone who regularly microwave cooks for their birds told me five minutes is enough for the small pumpkins that fit in your hand. So try microwaving for five minutes and then go for longer if needed. Juice bubbling out of the vent holes is suppose to be a good indication of it being cooked enough.*

Ways to Feed

-Mix in with chop, dry food, greens or other bird-healthy foods

-Add to birdie bread, bon-bons, treat balls and birdie crackers

-Beat it into eggs before you cook them or in with boiled egg yolks.

Bird safe seasonings to add?

Adding bird safe seasoning is a great way to change up a meal and many spices actually have health benefits.  Salt and preservative free chili and pepper powders, ceylon cinnamon, cumin and ginger are all great lightly sprinkled on squash meat or seeds for your fids.

A Few Other Things to Remember…

If you bird has never seen a pumpkin before he might think it’s a birdie bomb or even worse a bird eating monster!!! Go slow and act like you think the new food is the coolest, tastiest thing ever. Cook yourself some and eat it while your bird eats theirs.  Birds are social creatures so when the rest of the flock (you) are eating they figure they should be eating, preferably the same thing, too.  Serving it mixed in with their usual food in their usual dish is another great way to introduce them to squash. Remember variety is the key to a healthy diet! Serve your flock a wide range of different foods prepared in every bird safe way you can think of! Pumpkin is great but don’t forget about all the other seasonal foods you can offer your birds. 

This post is participating in the Homestead Barn Hop, HomeAcre and Mostly Homemade Mondays blog Hops, check them out to find other great blogs like ours!
I hope you found information and inspiration, come back soon!
Kindest regards,
Emily

(Visited 305 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *