Sunday, December 9, 2012

Higgins Inca Bean Salad Review: Update

This morning, I mixed the cooked Higgins Inca Bean Salad in with my veggie mix.

For the babies in the nursery this morning, I mixed it approximately 50/50 with my veggie mix:

The babies seemed to eat it okay:

For my pet and aviary birds, who are used to a chopped veggie mix and not so much cooked foods, I went heavier on the veggies. I like the way this mix turned out:

The pet and aviary birds ate this mix very well. Since my birds are used to a chopped mix, adding the Higgins did not change the appearance of it very much. All in all, just as I mentioned in my last post, this mix makes a nice healthy addition to my regular chopped veggie mix. I feel it makes a nutritious, base for a "mash" recipe or could be served alone if you have a bird that enjoys cooked foods.  The nice thing about it is it all the ingredients are pre-mixed and it is quick to prepare. This mix can also be frozen in portions to thaw out for future meals.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Higgins Wordly Cuisine Review: Inca Bean Salad

My poor neglected blog LOL! Time passes quickly here at the aviary! Our facebook page is active, with new people joining every day! We welcome you to be part of it as well. Just to go our site at and click on the Facebook link. See you there!

Higgins Worldly Cuisine Inca Bean Salad Review:

I'm always looking for nutritious foods that our birds will enjoy and that are easy for our customers to prepare once they bring their new babies home. I saw the new Higgins Worldy Cuisine cook and serve mixes and thought I'd give them a try. I purchased three flavors: Inca Bean Salad, Passage to India and Mundo Brazil. This review is for the Inca Bean Salad.

Here is the ingredient list: Quinoa, Pearled Barley, Carrot Granules, Pre-Cooked Black Beans, Pre-Cooked Sweet Corn, Pre-Cooked Lentils, Dried Celery, Pre-Cooked Garbanzo Beans, Pre-Cooked Navy Beans, Dried Parsley, Pre-Cooked Pinto Beans, Potato Dices, Pre-Cooked Red Kidney Beans, Dehydrated Sweet Pepper, Rosemary, Tomato Flakes, Dried Kelp, and Vegetable Broth.

Here's a picture of the dry mix:

Higgins Inca Bean Salad Dry

It was easy to prepare. I just followed the package directions. The veggies and beans are freeze dried so it cooked quickly. No need to soak beans overnight! It was ready in about 10 minutes.

Here's what it looked like after it was cooked:

Higgins Inca Bean Salad Cooked

My taste testers were Cricket (meyers parrot) and some babies in the nursery: 2 jardines and a black headed caique.

I fed this mix in the afternoon, which is not their normal time for soft foods (I feed my veggie mix in the morning), but what the heck, I wanted to see if they liked it.

Cricket ate a little bit, but overall did not act too impressed. The caique nibbled on some as well. The jardines (the youngest birds in this group) ate the most and seemed to enjoy it.

For my birds, I think rather than serving it as is, it would make a nice bean/grain base to which other items could be added (for example defrosted frozen and freshly chopped vegetables, etc.) It is a "wet" mix so it should not be left in the cage for more than a few hours.

I'm going  to add this to my veggie mix tomorrow morning. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Overall, I would give this product a thumbs up.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cool Playstand!

One of my customers, who recently purchased a blue quaker parrot from me sent me photos of a great playstand he made for his new feathered family member. Anyone who has purchased a bird from me knows I emphasize using rope perches and wrapping slippery perches/play areas with vetwrap and/or sissel to give young birds good grip. Young birds on slippery perches will slip and fall, destroying their confidence. This lack of confidence causes a young bird to not move around the cage like it should and can even cause stress related behaviors such as screaming and feather plucking.
I was so impressed with this stand, I wanted to share it with others. :-)

Jerry told me the following about the stand he made: "It was made from 1/2" PVC pipe. It is 41" tall by 20" wide. Wrapped in natural sisal rope and vet wrap. This includes swing, perch, sisal rope ladder, and a treat dish. The whole project excluding the toys cost approx. $35. Savings based on internet price is about $100!!!!!"

If anyone is interested, it was constructed with about 15ft of the 1/2" PVC pipe. 4 - 45 degree elbows, 8 - 1/2" PVC caps, 6 - T PVC fittings, 5 - 90 degree elbows, 1 cross fitting, 1 1/4" PVC cap, pack of sisal rope, 2 rolls of vet wrap."

This was a family project. Jerry and his 9 year old son built the stand, and his wife helped wrap it in sisal and vetwrap. That's a lot of wrapping LOL!

Quaker parrot "Fisher" enjoying his new playstand. His owner, Jerry did a tremendous job! Note how Jerry wrapped all the surfaces with both vetwrap and sissel rope so his baby could climb and play without slipping.
A food cup allows Fisher to grab a snack when he gets hungry.

With the surfaces wrapped, Fisher can climb and play anywhere on his stand. Look at how he is playing with this toy while perching at an angle. This baby has plenty of confidence due to the grippable surfaces.

A sissel rope ladder adds a fun dimension to this already great play area!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TWRC Help for Wildlife (

It's that time of year again! The sun is out, the weather has warmed up and the wild animals and birds are very active getting ready for breeding season.

Today, I was driving and saw a green slider turtle in the road. I have a soft spot for turtles. I think they are so cute! I just hate when I see them trying to cross busy streets. Most get injured or killed. I think it must be terrifying for these peaceful slow creatures to have to cross hot pavement with cars whizzing by and over them. If at all possible, I will stop and help them across the street or will pick them up and relocate them to a safe area where there are other turtles.

The turtle I was helping today unfortunately had been injured. There was blood. I saw a laceration on his front foot, and he had a serious eye injury. Otherwise, the shell and the rest of his body looked okay. I thought with some medical attention he could probably be fixed up and released. This was a job for a wildlife rehabber. Time to make a drive to the TWRC.

TWRC stands for Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coahilition. These hardworking state certified volunteers (you must be certified to take in wildlife - owning a native animal/bird is illegal) nurse injured wildlife back to health with the optimum goal of re-releasing them. Most people although well intentioned, do not have the expertise to this properly. Please, for the animal's sake, if you find injured wildlife bring it to the experts!

I had not been to their new location. It is really nice! Much bigger than the old location. They have a really neat reception area where a few of their permanent wildlife residents are kept. I got to see a wild squirrel up close as well as several reptiles and even owls! The staff is friendly and helpful.

Since it is run by volunteers they have limited operating hours. I suggest if you find an injured animal or bird, give them a call before driving over. Their phone message gives you instructions in what to do with the animal until you can get it some help.

Their new location is at 10801 Hammerly. It is right off I-10/Beltway 8 North. I am in Richmond (West of Houston past Katy) and I was there and back in an hour. I think most people in the Houston area could get there in about 30 minutes or less.

The TWRC is funded solely by donations, which are tax deductible. If you bring an animal/bird there for help, please give them a donation to help with the cost of it's care if you are able. Any amount you can spare will be graciously accepted. You can also donate online through their website! Again, any amount will help to keep this fine organization running. You never know when you might need them!

They also have youth and educational outreach programs available. See their website for more information:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An easy way to prepare sweet potato for your bird

Everyone knows that cooked sweet potato is very nutritious for parrots. I found it to be kind of pain to prepare though. I would steam them in the microwave and one part would get too mushy while another section would hardly be cooked. And peeling the skin from the cooked flesh was messy.

I found a way to cook sweet potatoes in the microwave and they come out great! Super easy too.

1. Wash the sweet potatoes well (I scrub them with soap and water and rinse well). Then peel.

2. Dice the potatoes to the size your birds prefer. I dice mine to about 1/4 of an inch or so. Similar in size to the diced carrots in the frozen veggie mixes, maybe just slightly larger.

3. Place the diced potatoes in a microwave safe dish and spread them evenly. Do not add any water. Cover loosely with a lid to allow the build-up of steam while cooking. Do not "snap on" the lid. You don't want the dish to explode! Again no need to add water. The water content naturally contained in the sweet potato will provide just enough steam for cooking.

4. Cook in the microwave on high heat for about 2-3 minutes per potato. I suggest you check it after two minutes and then cook more as needed. You want the dices cooked "al dente"  not overdone.

5. Once cooked allow them to cool and serve. Place leftovers in the fridge. I add these dices to my veggie recipes for added nutrition. Weaning babies especially love the soft texture and mild sweetness.

I think this would probably work with pumpkins too. I'll have to try this when the fall pumpkins arrive!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Product Review: Oven Fresh Bites

I was given a sample of Caitec's Oven Fresh Bites while shopping the vendors at Parrot Festival. I got the medium size which is a nice foot holding, nugget size for small to medium birds (conures, caiques, senegals up to amazons and african greys). When I opened the package, it smelled really nice. Sort of like oatmeal cookies. The ingredient list is impressive with lots of natural ingredients balanced with vitamins and minerals. There are no artificial colors or flavors. I gave some nuggets to my following birds for testing: Jewel (just weaned hahns mini-macaw), Tutti (yellow naped amazon), Baby Blue (blue quaker), Cricket (meyers parrot) and a few green cheeks that were in the process of weaning.

Every single bird loved the pellets. I was quite surprised Tutti liked them as she does not care for pellets and it is a struggle to get her to eat her share of them. And I wasn't sure my young hahns macaw would have the dexterity to hold and eat the nuggets, but she managed just fine. The texture of the nuggets are crunchy, but not as hard/compressed as other popular pellet brands. I was able to break them in pieces fairly easily.

They are a little more expensive than some of the other popular brands, but given the high quality ingredients, I can understand why. Even so, I feel they would be well within the budget of most pet bird owners. They are nutritionally complete so they can be fed as a base diet or as a nutritious treat.

I definitely plan on ordering another bag to have on hand here. My birds eat these pellets as treats and enjoy munching on them in the evening when we all have our "snack" together. My meyers parrot gives me the "flashing" eyes when she sees me coming with the bag!

All in all, I would give a thumbs up to these pellets. Give them a try!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Classic is Back! Parrots Treasure Bird Toys

For those of you that have been into parrots for a few years (smile), you may remember Parrots Treasure. One of the original bird toy manufacturers and certainly one of the first (if not THE first) to introduce the concept of foraging; they use natural wood, vegetable tanned leather and pine nuts in their unique toys. These toys are a hit with all parrots. Birds just can't resist working to get at that little pine nut! These toys are also loved by greys or shy birds that may be intimidated by brightly colored toys and/or with rescue birds that are learning about toys.

They have a wide assortment of adorable designs - hanging and foot toys. All with a generous allotment of pine nuts embedded in the wood. Each toy is handmade to the highest quality standards. What I also like about them is that they are just the right texture. The wood is soft enough to make your bird feel like he is making some progress - but not so soft that the toy will be on the floor of the cage in an hour. These toys are very safe and can be used inside the cage as well as on any play areas. There are no dangerous components that your bird will get hung up on and no zinc parts to worry about.

I have a friend with a yellow collared macaw that just loves the fun pops. Fun pops are a foot toy with a "rattle" on the handle. Whenever she starts to get loud, my friend gives her one of these and that keeps her busy for a while! I also like the "all leather toy". Birds love to sink their beaks into all those leather knots and/or work to get them untied.

They are very knowledgeable. If you are not sure what to order, just let them know what type of bird you have, and they will be happy to recommend appropriate toys.

Check out their website at and tell them Christine from Almost Angels Aviary sent you!