Does your bird refuse to eat pellets and prefers homecooked foods? Then, you may need to try cooking for your bird to lure him into eating nutritious and tasty foods.
But the question is how to make homemade bird food.
Well, don’t worry because we got your back!
In this article, we’ll uncover with you seven easy-to-follow bird food recipes made from healthy ingredients. Furthermore, we’ll share with you other healthy foods and treats that don’t require cooking.
And in case you’re in a dilemma of whether to offer raw or cooked foods due to nutrient loss issues, we’ll also share some insights into why you shouldn’t worry about it when cooking for your bird.
But before starting to cook any homemade parrot food recipes, let’s first dive into the differences between each bird’s nutritional needs.
Understanding Birds’ Basic Needs When Cooking For Your Bird
Although birds’ diets are similar and include seeds, pellets, fruits, and vegetables, each species has different needs and nutritional requirements.
So, before cooking for your bird, you must research as an avian parent to ensure your pets will meet their needs.
To give you better insight into birds’ nutritional requirements, here’s an overview of some of the popular bird species:
- 70% pellets
- 30% seed mix, nuts, fruits, veggies
- 30% pellets
- 20% whole dried foods such as seeds, nuts, fruits, and veggies
- 40% fresh vegetables and fruits
- 60% pellets
- 40% breed-specific seed mix and vegetables
- 25% pellet and seed mix
- 75% fresh foods such as grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables
- 70% pellets
- 20% vegetables
- 10% nuts, seeds, and treats
- Equal parts of pellets, veggies, and whole-grain mush or grain-based treats
7 Recipe Ideas When Cooking For Your Bird
Here are seven bird food recipes you can try cooking for your bird:
1. Sweet Potato Balls
This no-bake potato ball recipe is so simple to prepare and cook. But it’s high in sugar! So even though it makes an excellent and healthy snack, it should not be fed daily. But anyway, here it is:
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 cup frozen thawed mixed vegetables like peas
- 1 banana
- 1 cup diced apples
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 ½ cups (135 grams) of rolled oats, quick-cooking oatmeal, cornflakes, granola, or any cereal
- Bird seed or millet
1. First, poke holes into the potato using a fork. Then, put it into the microwave and cook it on high power for about 5 to 9 minutes until it’s cooked.
2. Get it out of the oven and let it cool down.
3. Peel the potato and put it into a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the vegetables of your choice, banana, apples, raisins, peas, and oatmeal, and mix it with an electric mixer until the veggies are cut into tiny pieces and thoroughly combined.
5. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water, but if it has too much liquid, add the oats and mix them well.
6. Then, once you get the right consistency, roll it and form it into tiny balls.
7. This is optional, but to make it more inviting for birds, you can roll the balls into bird seeds.
8. Now you can feed it to your bird and place the remaining balls into a freezer but make sure to put a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.
9. Transfer the potato balls to a resealable plastic bag once frozen and defrost them before serving them to your birds in a microwave for about 10 seconds.
2. Bird Bread
Human bread is unsafe for birds, so why don’t you create a customized one for your bird? Here’s how to do it:
- 1 cup each of barley, oat, rice, or buckwheat flour
- 1 cup superfine pellets
- 1 cup of pureed strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries
- 3 bananas
- 1 32-ounces can of organic sweet potato or pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons of almond butter
- 2 whole eggs and their crushed eggshells
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
1. Preheat your microwave oven to 350 °F(175 °C).
2. Grind the pellet, which will be part of the base.
3. Then, puree all the fruits and vegetables together.
4. Beat the eggs and add them to the puree.
5. Then, add the flour of your choice and mix them all until you achieve a cake batter-like consistency.
6. Grease your bakeware with coconut oil and pour the batter or separate muffin cups if you like.
7. Bake it for 30 minutes. Try piercing the bread with a toothpick if you think it’s not fully cooked. If it comes out clean, then it’s good to go!
8. Let it cool down, and it’s ready to serve!
3. Seed Balls
This seed ball recipe looks similar to Lafeber Nutriberries. But if you want to save a lot more by cooking for your bird, here’s a simple guide.
- 1 cup (about 200 grams) of dried fruit with no added sugar
- 1 cup (90 grams) rolled oats
- ½ cup (100 grams) birdseed mix
- ½ cup (90 grams) quinoa
- ½ cup (85 grams) of bird pellets
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of all-natural peanut butter
- 1 or 2 tablespoons (21 grams each) of honey or agave syrup.
1. Place all the dried fruits, rolled oats, and bird pellets into a food processor or blender.
2. Mix the mixture with other ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Then, grease your hands with a bird-safe oil to avoid spreading the mess and make it easier to create balls.
4. Make seed balls out of the mixture with a size of about ½ and 1 inch or depending on your parrot’s size.
5. Place the seed balls on parchment paper and carefully preheat the oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
6. Then, bake the balls until they turn light brown. Simply keep an eye on them as they bake; the exact baking time will vary depending on the size of the balls you roll.
7. Before placing the remaining goodies in an airtight container in the freezer, let the sweets cool down.
4. Seed Sticks
Cooking your bird’s favorite seed sticks can save you some bucks and allow you to customize them according to your feathery friend’s preferences. So here’s a recipe idea for you:
- 2 tsp (about 15 grams) of honey
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup (app. 100 grams) birdseed mix
- ½ cup (app. 100 grams) of ground/crushed pellets
- ½ cup (85 grams) of whole parrot pellets
- Shredded coconut
- Chopped dried fruit bits
- Craft sticks with no dye
1. Preheat your oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
2. To thread wire through your craft sticks afterward, drill holes in them. It will make it easy for you to hang them in your bird’s cage.
3. Fill a bowl with the seed mixture, pellets, and pellet powder. Add any required extra ingredients with a sprinkle.
4. Then, add the egg whites and honey. Everything should be well combined to create a paste-like coating on the seed.
5. Use your hands to cover the craft sticks to create the seed sticks. Be cautious because they will be unstable and crumbly at this point.
6. Put your seed sticks on parchment paper and bake them until they’re golden brown.
7. Finally, get the seed sticks out of the oven and let them cool down before offering them to your flock.
5. Popped Grains
You can feed popped corn to your bird as long as it’s unsalted and unsweetened. But aside from corn, there are other poppable food options you can choose from, and we’ll show them to you!
Ingredients can be any of the following poppable foods:
- Wild rice
The safest way to popcorn and other grains is by using a popcorn machine that doesn’t need oil.
If you currently don’t have one, you can use a microwave-popping bag as an alternative or a brown paper bag, then fold it twice over the grains.
Then, put the bag filled with grains into your microwave and wait until the popping show slows down.
The conventional method of popping grains on the stove is also an option. Simply use less oil and avoid using non-stick cookware because it produces a poisonous fume for birds.
A small amount of oil should be enough to cover the bottom of the pan; make sure to use canola or sunflower oil, which won’t burn at higher temperatures.
Set the burner to medium heat, then wait until the oil is good and heated.
Then, add a single layer of corn or grains, cover the pan, and continue tossing it over the heat to avoid charring.
Once the popping stops, you’re done. Just let it cool down then it’s ready to serve!
6. Green Smoothie
This smoothie is one of the best baby parrot food recipes and the perfect refreshment for summer, and the preparation is a no-brainer!
You can make a simple smoothie using only pellets and juice. But if you want to spice things up, here’s an upgraded smoothie recipe idea for you!
- 2 peeled bananas
- 1/2 cup of Roudybush pellet crumbles
- 1/2 a mango, peeled and pitted
- Kale with spines removed
- Chopped Brussels sprouts
- Bright Lights Swiss chard
- Apple Cranberry fruit juice with no artificial coloring and added sweeteners
- Clean water
1. Soak the pellets in water until you get the same consistency as the oatmeal.
2. Place the mush into the blender and all the other ingredients, including bananas, mango, kale, Brussels sprouts, and Bright Lights Swiss chard. Then, pour the juice and a little water.
3. And just like that, it’s ready to serve! You can also opt to freeze others on an ice cube tray and serve it as a popsicle snack.
7. Pellet Paste
This recipe is ideal if your bird is still transitioning from a seed-based diet to pellets. It’s the easiest one on this list and will only take a few minutes.
- Seed mix
1. Crush the pellets with a coffee blender or food processor until they become powder-like.
2. Add a seed mix with the same amount as the pellets and a little water to create a thick paste.
3. You can feed the pellet as it is or make pellet/seed balls or cakes.
Other Healthy Treats and Ideas That Don’t Require Cooking
Cooking for your bird is fun, but if you don’t have the luxury of time to do it, chopping and mixing foods and treats can be a good alternative.
Chopping and Mixing
There is a gazillion of choices for chopped bird recipes. But to ensure your homemade parrot food recipes are nutritionally-balanced and bird-specific, refer to the needs of each bird species above. Introducing chop mix will not be easy for birds with seed-based diets in the past.
But you can make the transitions easier by adding three parts seed and 1 part chop. Then, gradually reduce the seed and increase the veggie and fruit chop as your avian pet gets used to it.
You’ll undoubtedly notice that they don’t eat everything at first, but over time they start to be more experimental. Before feeding, you can add fresh sprouts, a favorite of many birds, to the chopped mixture.
Don’t give your bird too much because they’ll only choose their favorites and won’t be interested in the other fruits and veggies.
Birds love fruits just like us. In fact, their diet in the wild consists of fruits and vegetables. So, if you don’t have time to do the cooking for your bird, why not offer them the following goodies?
Just avoid feeding them apple and plum pits because they contain traces of cyanide that causes digestive issues.
It’s also worth noting that each bird species has special fruit preferences.
If you love eating sprouts of any kind, try offering them to your bird. Just wash it thoroughly before serving because some contain pesticides that are bad for birds’ health.
There’s a reason why farmers always complain about wild birds. These avian creatures love to feast on grain crops and can strip a grain field in one go.
Grains are healthy for birds as they provide protein and carbohydrates. So, try feeding your avian pets with oats, grain blake, or quinoa and watch them go crazy with it.
Nuts make excellent treats for your birds, especially walnuts, because they’re tasty and highly nutritious. Your avian companion may also enjoy exercising its beaks and jaw muscles by breaking nuts’ shells and opening them.
However, you need to ensure that the nuts you serve and clean and unsalted because fungi can grow on nuts’ shells like peanuts.
Sample Chopped Recipes
Here’s a chopped recipe idea you can try for your bird. Creating it is a piece of cake but if you want to add more ingredients, then you’re free to explore!
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 carrots
- 1 broccoli
- 1 medium beetroot
- 6 chilies
- ¼ cup flaked almonds
- ½ cup rolled oats
- Simply cook the quinoa, chop all other ingredients and mix them all and they’re ready!
Cooked vs. Raw— What Happens When You Cook Bird Food
Some foods lose their nutrition when cooked, while others can retain it because each food has a different reaction to heat.
For instance, cooked carrots are more nutritious than raw ones simply because their content is more readily available when cooked.
Also, cooked eggs’ protein is 180% more digestible than raw eggs.
But cooking can make the vegetables, grains, and protein expand due to water absorption. So, these foods may have lower nutrient density per serving compared to their raw counterparts.
Nutrients That Are Reduced When Cooked
The frequently reduced nutrients, when cooked, can be divided into three groups:
- Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins C and B vitamins, including:
- thiamine (B1)
- riboflavin (B2)
- niacin (B3)
- pantothenic acid (B5)
- pyridoxine (B6)
- folic acid (B9)
- cobalamin (B12)
- Fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K.
- Minerals like magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium.
Does this imply that cooking food for birds loses its nutrients?
According to different studies, nutrient leaching rarely exceeds 60%+. In some circumstances, 100% of the minerals and 70–90% of the B vitamins are preserved when the drink containing these juices is eaten.
Foods That Retain Nutrients When Cooked
Some of the foods that don’t lose their nutrients even when cooked are:
- Grains such as millet, spelt, barley, Kamut, and triticale
So, whether or not it’s best to serve bird food raw or cooked is on a case-to-case basis. There is no uniform answer to that question as it depends on the type of food and vitamins it contains and your avian pet’s preference.
Common Questions When Cooking For Parrots
What can I cook for my parrot?
You can try many bird food recipes, but the easiest ones are birdie bread, sweet potato balls, seed balls, homemade seed stick, and popped grains.
You can also make a smoothie for your bird which is perfect for hot summer days.
Should I cook vegetables for my bird?
Cooking can deplete the food’s nutritive value, so offering fresh fruits and vegetables is better.
And even if frozen, tawed, or canned veggies and fruits are acceptable, remember that they may contain large amounts of salt and sugar, which is bad for your avian pets.
What should I give my parrot for breakfast?
You can give your birds either fresh fruits, vegetables, and pellets or seed mixes in the morning.
However, if your birds aren’t used to eating pellets because they’re used to eating seeds, giving them pellets in the morning when they’re hungry is a good trick.
Can I cook around my bird?
If you’re using non-stick cookware, never put your bird in the kitchen while cooking because these pots and pans produce cooking fumes that can quickly damage birds’ lungs.
What should you never feed birds?
The most common foods that are highly toxic to birds and must never be fed to them are avocado, caffeine, chocolate, salt, fatty foods, fruit pits, onion, and garlic.
They contain toxins that cause adverse effects on birds’ health.
What human food can you feed a bird?
Your avian pets can eat stale bread, crusts, cake, and biscuits if you’d break them into pieces to avoid choking.
But since they have low nutritional value, it’d be better to feed them healthy fresh fruits and vegetables.
What do parrots love to eat?
Parrots need nutritionally-balanced pellets or crumbles supplemented with fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
They’ll also happily gorge on kale, zucchini, and shredded parrots, although they prefer papaya, banana, and melons more.
What is a parrot’s favorite snack?
It varies depending on the species, but many parrots enjoy feasting on papaya, banana, and rockmelon. You can also offer apple slices, seedless grapes, carrots, and other snacks.
When Cooking For Your Bird: Final Tips
It’s a good idea to cook in bulk and freeze the remaining food since you can save time in the long run.
But make sure that all ingredients are fresh and not spoilt when cooking for your bird to avoid digestive problems.
We also want to reiterate that you must keep your birds away from the kitchen when cooking because birds’ respiratory system is very sensitive.
You should also avoid cooking with non-stick pans and pots because their fumes are highly toxic to birds.
So, this wraps our list of homemade parrot food recipes.
Which recipe would you like to try first? Share with us your thoughts and own recipes in the comment section below!