If you have pet birds, you may already be feeding them a homemade mixture of food known as “chop”. Chop is a mixture of vegetables, cooked grains and legumes, and dry ingredients such as seed or dried fruit. Birds like the variety and they like to pick through, trying new foods and finding old favorites.
Here are list of ingredients you can freeze dry individually or mixed in a chop recipe:
- Grains and legumes (cooked)
Oats, rye, barley, quinoa, spelt, chickpeas, beans, lentil
Millet, chia seed, oats, barley flake, sesame seed, flax seed, nuts
- Raw vegetables
Broccoli, kale, parsley, sprouts, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, snap peas, , beans, corn, tomato, and
The chop ratio should be about 50% vegetables, 40% cooked grains/legumes and 10% dry ingredients. Ingredients are cut into coarse pieces in a food processor so they are small but not mashed.
For small birds, feed 1 – 2 teaspoons a day, medium birds such as cockatiels can have up to 2 tablespoons per day, and large birds such as cockatoos can have 2 – 4 tablespoons per day.
Freeze Drying Chop
Chop should be given when it’s freshly made – so within 24 hours. Cooking grains and chopping vegetables in such small amounts is a pain. If you have a home freeze dryer, you can make a big batch of chop and just add water to reconstitute a daily portion. If you’re adding nuts, you can add them after you re-hydrate the other ingredients.
To re-hydrate chop, sprinkle a small amount of freeze dried mixture in a small bowl and add a very small amount of water. Wait for a few minutes for it to re-hydrate before testing to see if you need to add more.
Are you freeze drying chop for your pet birds? Share your photos and tips with our other bird fanciers on Facebook.