Hector D. Byrd is definitely fond of swearing. She doesn’t do it often, but when she does, it is clear that she knows what she is doing, and she is stating her opinion. For example, she was yelling at my husband one day “Wanna Come UP! Wanna Come UP!”Over and over again, getting louder each time. My husband nicely told her that he was doing something. She kept is up. Next he tried to tell her he would pick her up later. Her response “A**hole.”
That brings me to this article that Hector thought I should share. Have you ever encountered a foul-mouthed bird?
The Dragon came out of her cave a few days ago, she ate, she basked under her heat lamp, today she went back in the cave. She’s still awake and keeping an eye on me, so I’ll be curious to see if she stays up or brumates again.
This morning, I watched my bearded dragon try to get into her cave. She’s had this cave for over two years, as long as I’ve had her, and she has NEVER tried to go inside it. She likes to perch on top of it, and often uses it to climb up to her hammock, but I’ve never seen her show any interest in going into it. Honestly, it’s a little small for her. It was a left over from a pet snake we used to have, and I put it in her tank more for climbing and perching than for going inside.
Until today. She ate her breakfast, a lovely mix of arugula, pea shoots, and black soldier fly larvae. Then she basked in her hot spot for a bit. Next I hear her scratching around which usually means she wants out.
I finish what I’m doing so I can go take her out, and I see her trying to get into her cave. She went in, backed out, and then stayed in the position you see above for a good 20+ minutes. I left the room for a bit, and when I came back, I got nervous for a minute. Where was Wena? I didn’t see her anywhere! Hammocks were empty.
Then I realized…
she actually made it inside the cave! She’s been in there all day now. I’m wondering if it is time for her to brumate. It’s a little early in the season for it, but I do have an almost new container of 1000 black soldier fly larvae, and she usually likes to snooze just as I’m well stocked on bugs for her. I’m going to keep an eye on her, as I’m slightly worried she will get herself stuck in that little cave, but she seems pretty content for now. Sleep well sweet lizard!
Got a bird? If you do, you know they aren’t easy pets. They require a lot of attention, cleaning, play time, more cleaning, and feeding. I’ve owned birds off and on for as long as I can remember. I posted about my history with birds in the “Before Hector D. Byrd” post if you want to read more.
Every bird I’ve owned has taught me something. With Maverick, my amazon, I started to learn a lot about feeding parrots. I also came to the conclusion that I wasn’t happy with any commercially made parrot foods. I feed commercial parrot pellets, but mostly as a supplement. My birds have always had homemade food. It took Hector some time to get used to my food, but now she devours it. She anxiously waits by her bowl for her breakfast every morning. If breakfast doesn’t come fast enough, she whistles and bangs her bowl.
My feeding routine for Hector is that she always has a fresh bowl of pellets in her cage. I’m currently feeding her Zupreem Fruit Blend. Not only does she eat these pellets, and not just throw them, but she also likes to sort them. They pellets are different shapes and colors. Sometimes I’ll check her bowl and find there are only orange pellets left. Other times, she sorts out a different color. Food and entertainment, all in one bowl!
Just recently, I discovered Bird Street Bistro, and it seems to be the first food that can replace my homemade mix. I’m so excited! No more special shopping trip to get all the ingredients, and no more setting aside a couple of hours each month to mix up a batch.
Bird Street Bistro mixes are all natural, no added fillers or preservatives. They have about half a dozen different recipes to add variety to your birds diet. Prices are reasonable. When I first checked out their page, I was thinking their mixes were a bit pricey, but when I started to price out my own grocery list when I buy products to make my own recipe, I realized how reasonable their prices are.
I started with the Parrot Food Sample Pack. Knowing Hector isn’t a big fan of beans, I asked if I could swap out the Cajun Bean Feast flavor, and received their AppleBerry flavor instead. Different formulas need to cook for different amounts of time, but it seems that all can be done in about 20 minutes, and some take much less time.
Knowing that Hector LOVES cinnamon, CinnaSpice Delight was the first flavor I tried. Making this food could not have been any easier. I simply added water and some of the dry mix to a pot, brought it to a bowl, covered it, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. The whole house smelled so good while it was cooking! `The ingredients are wonderful, rice, millet, split peas, barley, couscous, currants, carrots, oats, barley, apples, etc. I love the different grains included in this mix.
After cooking, I let it cool to room temperature, then watched Hector devour it. Since Hector is already eating a similar, homemade version of this food, she had no trouble converting to it all all. I had some of my homemade food available, so I could mix the two foods if needed, but Hector was happy with the new food right away.
For birds that are converting from a different diet, they may need a little encouragement to eat a food like this. It took me MONTHS to get Hector to eat my homemade mash when I first started out with it. Patience is key with parrots. Don’t give up, be persistent, eventually they will give it a try. Don’t stress over wasted food. I always used to remind myself that the cost of vet bills for bad diet in the future would be WAY more than the cost of the food Hector was wasting. There are tips on the back of the bags to help get you started.
The next flavor I tried was the Southern Feast. My favorite part of this one is that it cooks in 3 minutes! Just add the mix to boiling water, stir for 30 seconds and remove from the heat and let sit. Hector also approves of this flavor. This one has couscous, wheat, millet, oats, carrots, peppers, quinoa, almonds parsley, cayenne pepper, basil, cumin, and kelp.
Mixing up one batch of Bird Street Bistro according to their directions gives me about a mason jar full of food, plus another meal. It works out well for me to make it, feed Hector, then store the mason jar of food in the fridge and I have fresh food for 4-5 days.
Instead of Hector having to eat the same batch of food for a month plus, now I can switch up flavors for her every time I make a batch, so she is getting a new flavor every few days. Bird Street Bistro comes in resealable bags, so I can make a batch, then I just put the rest of the dry mix into the freezer for storage. It’s so convenient! I also like that I have less stuff in my freezer since I don’t have a month’s worth of mason jars, I just have a bag of Bird Street Bistro, and the fresh mix in the fridge.
I will be trying the other flavors soon, and I expect that I will definitely be ordering more. With a product like this on the market, I see no reason to go through the time and hassle of making my own food.
The only negative I have about this product, is the veggie content. I feel that my homemade blends contain more veggies than Bird Street Bistro blends that I have tried so far, but it is hard to tell by looking. My homemade blends had bigger pieces of veggies for sure, but I’m wondering if Hector will actually eat more veggies with the new blend because she can’t pick them out. I’ve always supplemented Hector with fresh veggies on top of her homemade mix, so I will continue to do that while using Bird Street Bistro. I also need to check out their Viva La Veggies flavor and the Hearty Veggies. I have Viva La Veggies, but haven’t made it yet. I’ll also check out the Hearty Veggies next time I need to place an order. Based on the pictures on their website, it looks like both of these flavors have more veggies than the flavors I’ve made so far.
Another thought I had on the veggies was to add another product I use which is a chop from a company called Texas Natural Freeze Dried Products. They make a variety of freeze dried foods for parrots and humans. I like to keep some of their Freeze Dried Chop on hand for a quick breakfast for Hector if I forget to make or defrost her normal food. Their chop is a great product that contains a ton of veggies: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet peppers, yellow squash, red cabbage, apples, and strawberries. I can easily add a bit of this freeze dried mix to the Bird Street Bistro if I want to add some extra veggies to the mix.
I’m really excited about Bird Street Bistro foods. In the long run, it will save me time and money. I’m impressed with the high quality ingredients and the ease of use. I like the convenience of making up a batch that lasts a few days. I like the variety of grains in the product which not only help balance the birds diet, but also give it different shapes and textures to pick out of the food. Something I know Hector enjoys.
I know a lot of people think of birds and think they eat seeds. In the research I’ve done, I’ve grown to believe that seeds are not a healthy diet for captive birds. They are too high in fat and can cause liver disease and other problems later in life. Hector doesn’t eat seeds. She does get sunflower seeds as a very rare treat, but never as part of her regular diet. Mostly for treats she gets almonds(in the shell), cucumber slices, sometimes a whole grain, unsalted cracker with a little bit of almond butter, carrots, peppers, etc.
I tweak this every time I make it, depending on what I have around, and what’s in season. For example, in the Fall, I tend to use more squash, apples, etc. in summer I may add some berries and fresh carrots.
This recipe makes about a month and a half of food for Hector. I make the one big batch, then freeze in 16 ounce mason jars. One jar gives me about 4-5 days of food, so I just defrost a new jar as needed.
Here’s the basic recipe. Feel free to substitute and change it up to meet your needs.
1 cup of fresh fruit – apples are my go-to, but sometimes it is berries, melon, etc.
1 box of whole grain veggie pasta – I try to buy different shapes for variety
1 can of beans – Hector isn’t a huge fan of beans, so I usually mash these pretty well and mix them in. I change the type of beans, red beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, etc.
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds, raw and unsalted
1 lb of organic greens – this can be kale, collard greens, mustard greens, etc. sometimes I replace the greens with chopped broccoli
1 lb of frozen organic mixed veggies, usually a standard peas, corn, carrots kind of thing
2 fresh sweet potatoes – sweet potatoes are Hector’s favorite! I leave skin on, but scrub them clean and cut into small pieces
1 cup of other veggies – depends what is in season, cauliflower, squash, I try to add a variety of colors
3 cups of grains – I usually use Farro and/or Quinoa, but Kamut, whole grain oats, etc can all be used to change it up.
1 heaping teaspoon on Tumeric
1 tablespoon of organic cinnamon
I start with a about 1.5 times the amount of water required to cook the grains I’m using, bring it to a boil and cook the grains. They should be a little more watery than usual. I add the sweet potato chunks when the grains are about half cooked. If the mix seems, dry, just add more water. Once that mix has softened up, I add the pasta and mix it in. I don’t really cook the pasta. It softens up enough in the mix and adds a little consistency.
Next I add the fruit, spices, mashed beans, greens, veggies, and mix well. Last, I fold in the pumpkin seeds.
I let the mix cool a bit, then divide it up into Mason jars, not quite filling them to leave room for expansion when they freeze.
When I finish a jar of food, I take a new one out of the freezer and leave it on the counter to defrost for a couple of hours then put it into the fridge. Next morning I just scoop it out and feed. Sometimes as a treat, I’ll add a little scrambled egg to her regular mix, or other fresh fruits and veggies.
Experimenting is key. What does your bird like? What consistency do they prefer? Do they like minced food or big chunks? Is there a veggie that they always pick out and don’t eat?
This is Hector’s main food, but not her only food. She also always has free-choice pellets, and she gets more fresh veggies when I’m making dinner, nothing fancy, just bites of whatever things are appropriate for her like cucumbers, carrots, peppers, etc.
Who knew? Apparently tomorrow is International Bacon Day! Cali and I are both pretty excited.
As a big fan of bacon and Stella and Chewy’s products, I have to thank them for the reminder that tomorrow is International Bacon Day! If you follow @stellaandshewys on Instagram and tag a friend, you will be entered to win their Bacon Prize pack! Go follow them, and tag @petmomma.co and/or @puckthestar Maybe you’ll win yourself a Tee Shirt and some bacon treats!