I have a tendency to procrastinate until I have no reason left to do so, and this extends to projects for the birds. Birdie bread (aka a grain bake) has been on my to-do list for awhile now, but I am notoriously bad at cooking. Seriously, I once blew up a bag of microwave popcorn, and it got caught between the bars of the rack. Yeah. But I finally got around to attempting this.
Part of the problem was, I was intimidated by the lack of how-to’s. It’s a concept. It’s meant to be flexible, easily customisable. You can make it with your bird’s favourite foods, with new and exotic ingredients, or you can simply use up whatever’s in your pantry. Because it has no set recipe, you can play with the nutrition. Butternut squash and pumpkin for vitamin A; kale for calcium; blueberries for antioxidants, and so on. Beans, spices, grains, vegetables, fruit, you name it and it can pretty much go in. All of this, however, means that the first time you try it, you’ll have no clue what you’re doing.
(Note that avacado, chocolate, alcohol, and fatty/sugary/salty foods should never be fed to a parrot.)
Once you realise that a parrot grain bake pretty much involves chucking ingredients into a greased pan, well, this will become a staple of your household. It’s basically a birdie casserole! It’s fast, simple, and birds tends to love it on the first try. You can even freeze it in ziplock baggies for later use.
For Christmas this year, I made a whole load of grain bakes, bagged them up, and gave them with little ‘how to’ note cards to all my friends with pet parrots.
Here’s how I did my most recent bake, based on instructions from the Parrot’s Pantry, on Facebook, and Parrot Nation. This just happens to be my masterpiece creation. 😉
Savoury Grain Bake for Parrots with Cilantro Leaves and Red Pepper Seasoning:
1.5 cups Quinoa 1/2 cup Mung Beans
1/2 cup Lentils 1/2 cup Black Beans
1/4 cup Wild Rice 1/2 cup Old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup Whole-grain couscous 1 cup Butternut Squash, cubed
1/2 cup Whole-grain pasta Sprinkling of walnuts, chopped
Dash of Cilantro leaves Dash of red pepper flakes
- Grease any pan lightly with olive oil.
- Combine ingredients in pan.
- Mix it all up.
- Cover with water. (The pan should be no more than 3/4 full, as this will swell!)
- Bake at 350F for one hour.
- If more time is needed, add more water and bake an additional 20 minutes.
TIP: Small beans should go into the bake uncooked, but large beans should soak for 6-8 hours, and then be boiled 15 minutes or so before going in. Everything else… toss it in uncooked. It will do all it needs to do in the oven.
Bag it up, mark down the date and what it is, and freeze. To thaw, leave out over night, and try microwaving 15-30 seconds to warm before serving. (Just check to make sure it won’t burn your bird!)
So go, now that you no longer have my excuse of having no starting place! Go and bake delicious things and drop a comment letting us know how your birds like it, and what you used.