In Europe we cook with fresh ingredients of the highest quality, we can find or afford. So, I was clueless what this woman was talking about, when she told me that she makes her parrot food from scratch. Curious as I am, I looked up the meaning of the word SCRATCH. And I found “score, gash, scrape, rasp, wound, lacerate, deface, erase, withdraw, reject, scribble, scrawl, irritate, and sputter”. Or “made from scratch derives from a line or mark drawn or scratched into the ground to indicate a boundary or starting-point in sports”.
Why do Americans mean scratch are fresh ingredients? Not one of these words sound like something to eat to me. What am I missing?
I always read labels, but since I found out I have a soy allergy, I am becoming a master in labels reading. Most products which are already prepared, I would not even consider food anymore. They are a conglomeration of artificial colors, flavor, sugars, etc. In short a chemical cocktail. There are two ingredients which are almost not avoidable: SOY and CORN. Both easy to grow, cheap in production and therefore a wonderful cash machine. If we don’t find them as fillers in products, we find them in form of lecithin, starch, emulsifier, etc. I bought some “ancient grain quinoa pasta”, where the first ingredients was corn flour. But that was nowhere on the package, but only on the ingredients list.
When we now look at our parrot food, we will find lots of soy, corn and peanuts, next to artificial vitamins, color, fake flavor and sugar on the ingredients list. But where is the real food? And does it make any difference if I feed organic fillers with a chemical mix?
Soy and corn allergies are on the rise. And not only with humans. Many parrots have issues (plucking, screaming, etc.) which might be allergic reactions to their daily soy or corn. It becomes more important all the time to feed as much fresh food to our parrots as possible. And if we feed premade food, to look at the ingredients and make sure it contains real food.
A nutritional balanced diet for a parrot would be a diet consisting of different vegetables, fruits, seeds, pellets and nuts, in short “variety in moderation”.
So what happens when we offer our birds a nice dish with different vegetables or fruits or seeds? Right, the parrots eat what they like most and the rest ends up on the floor. Meaning we offer a variety of food, but the bird is not eating a variety.
If they would live in nature they would not eat a variety at one meal. They would eat the one food they find. If they are full or have wiped out whatever they found or the flock flys on they leave whatever they ate. Sometimes they find different foods on one day, sometimes it mean they eat the same for a day, a week or longer.
I like to imitate these one parrot food at the time scheme, because it gives me control in what they eat. If I offer a mix, I don’t know what they really eat or not. Yes, from what’s on the floor I can guess. But they pick out the same kind most of the time. So, when I give them one vegetable per day, one kind of seed (dry, soaked or sprouted) one kind of nuts a day, I can cover the birds’ nutritional need over a certain time. Like it would be in nature.
The food schedule for my birds looks like this:
Lunch: some nuts
In between they have a bowl with pellets in their cage, way away from the water bowl, so the pellets stay dry and I don’t have to change them every day.
Some years ago Consumer Reports brought to the light that rice was contaminated with inorganic (not natural) arsenic. Brown rice and rice grown in the South Central Region of the US and Texas is higher in arsenic, than rice grown in California.
This report started to bring to light more and more details about
arsenic in our daily food. Where did it come from? It’s in the soil. Arsenic-based pesticides were widely used in this country in the 20th century. So the soil and our ground water are inundated with it. Though the use of these pesticides is not allowed anymore in the US, the irrigation with the ground water containing arsenic from the soil still continues.
Arsenic-contaminated groundwater is to this day still used for irrigation purposes in crop fields and elevates the arsenic concentration in topsoil and the crops.
It looks like we can’t get away from inorganic arsenic, but in eating a variety of foods and keep an eye where it comes from, might help to keep it at a lower level.
I think it is important to feed your parrot (and eat) “a variety in moderation” and not foods which are mainly arsenic contaminated fillers with a few supplements added.
I am liking my suppliers and farmers here, who grow since many generations without chemicals, more and more.
Until about 70 years ago all our food was grown organically. Though, it was not called organic, but just normal food.
Then farmers started to use more and more fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides. So, more and more people started to buy ‘organically’ grown food and it became a moneymaker. Big business got interested and took over “organic”. If I look at organic “food” in our days I find mostly some cheap and easy to grow organic soy and corn with all kinds of chemicals. Even apples, pears and some other fruits are covered with a wax containing soy lecithin. Our food is by now inundated in chemicals.
So more and more farmers don’t care about organic anymore. They grow sustainable, rotated crops, use natural means like insects, etc. to create “real” food again, which nourishes the body and enhances the environment.
It takes a little research to find farmers and companies which operate sustainable and use principles that are based on the desire to maintain harmonious relationships between food production and the environment. But it is worth it, because of our and the planets health.
TOP’s Parrot Food is not allowed to use the word organic anywhere on the website anymore, without being certified with the USDA. We are not even allowed to say that TOP’s parrot Food started 2003 as Totally Organics. According to the USDA that would be a claim we can only make if we certify with them. But we can tell our customers which of the ingredients of our Parrot Food are organic.
We had to choose between applying for a certification or erase the word organic from our website and name, Totally Organics. If you are like me and read labels, you see that certified organic does not necessarily mean quality or real food. Many of the certified organic foods contain mainly fillers like soy, corn, etc. Some pet foods even contain chemicals, which are not allowed for human consumption. In my opinion organic is becoming a big money maker, which means there are more and more large companies in for the money and don’t really care about health and quality.
Totally Organics has never been certified for the above reasons. Our ingredients are just real foods, not fillers since 10 years. So, we changed our name to TOP’s Parrot Food and also changed two suppliers who grow ecological and sustainable. We are looking for more of them, because we think sustainable is the new organics. These growers are genuine about the health of the planet and its people.
As an advocate for whole food, instead supplements, alfalfa is one of my favorites. that is why our TOP’s pellets for parrots contain a good amount of it.
The Alfalfa leafs are loaded with health building properties. Their contents are not only balanced for complete absorption, but they help assimilate protein, calcium and other nutrients, break down poisonous carbon dioxide, clean the body, fight infections, balance hormones, eases inflammation and work as a natural deodorizer.
Alfalfa leafs which are the richest land source of trace minerals, eliminate retained water from the body and relieve urinary problems.
The high contents in Vitamin A, K, and D, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and eight essential enzymes make it one of the most wholesome plants we have on this earth. It also contains B-complex , chlorophyll, amino acids, copper, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, alpha- and beta –carotene,
The slightly toxic amino acid present in the seeds can be eliminated by sprouting them.
It’s the time of the year when nature slows down or good part of it sleeps. Just humans seem to get extra busy. Running all over to find presents, which often are not even wanted. How about to settle down and think about how we can enjoy a peaceful Holliday Season and buy in way that support good causes? For example order some nice calendars from your favorite non for profit organization as a present or donate in the name of the person as a present?
Maybe you know someone who has birds and is not so well off. Buy some toys or some good parrot food for them. Or give them a voucher for a farm basket or a delicacies store. Or a voucher for a trip to a special place near you. Sitting together with your family and brainstorm about such gifts for family and friends can be so much fun.
Happy Holiday Season
Though, corn is a good source of fiber, folate, vitamins B and C and potassium, it is also the second most prevalent ingredient in foods processed in the US today.
We find it in almost every processed food in form of Cornstarch, Corn syrup (including high-fructose corn syrup), Corn flour, Corn oil, Corn lecithin. Or corn derived ingredients like Citric Acid , Xanthan Gum and most “natural flavors”.
This is not only the case for human food, but also for parrot food.
Like with everything our a body is inundated with, it eventually develops allergies. So corn allergies seem to become more common; in humans and in parrots. It looks like corn is one of the foods which, when eaten daily, can trigger allergies. I like to feed fresh corn, when it is in season, but avoid it otherwise.
I know many people, who are convinced that only raw is the best organic parrot food. They reason in Nature there is no cooked food. Then there are parrot owners who cook and bake for their birds. Who is right?
None of them is right or wrong. It often depends on the parrot.
It is correct that there is no cooked food in nature. But what about parrots, that don’t eat raw vegetables? My Grey, for example, eats vegetables only when they are at least slightly cooked. I know people who bake birdie bread to hide fresh vegetables, to get their bird to eat them. I cook millet and quinoa to hide and get my parrots
to eat vegetables.
Warm food, for many living beings is comfort food. It reminds them of the times, when they were babies and nurtured from their parents. At that time the food baby parrots were fed was processed in the crop and had the body temperature of their parents. Also the nutrition in some veggies are easier absorbed by the body when cooked. It often is enough to cook them for a short time in steam.
I often have been challenged to get some healthy food into a parrot. With some birds we have to be quite tricky to get them to eat fresh foods. And we have to find a way to get our parrots to eat their veggies.