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!