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First, borrow a kitchen

This is a messy job. I recommend using your boyfriend’s kitchen, especially if he has a Cuisinart and a tendency to clean up after you.

You start with this:

About halfway through, the kitchen will look like this:

And the great big pot will look like this:

When your great big pot overflows, your boyfriend will go to the store and come back with a tub:

Dump everything in the tub and keep chopping and adding and mixing. When you are done, weigh it.

Sit on the floor with a box of baggies and a good friend, and spend an hour bagging it.

If it weighed 30 pounds, you will end up with 169 baggies of bird food.  Each bag of bird food will provide dinner for three birds for three days. Place 20 baggies in each large freezer bag.

This is not necessarily the best time to start thinking about your freezer capacity. But, if necessary, eat all the ice cream, throw out the rest of the human food,  and stack your bird food neatly in the freezer.

For the record, there’s no actual recipe, and Chop is never the same twice. Here’s what went into this batch.

  • kale
  • watercress
  • dandelion greens
  • turnips
  • sweet potatoes
  • red peppers
  • green peppers
  • jalapeno peppers
  • other hot peppers
  • ginger root
  • zucchini
  • okra
  • broccoli
  • broccoli rabe
  • beets
  • squash
  • carrots
  • red cabbage
  • radishes
  • pasta
  • coriander
  • oatmeal
  • flax seed
  • hemp seed
  • coconut
  • sesame seed
  • quinoa
  • brown rice
  • black rice
  • wheat berries

Next week I will make a batch of Bean Mix, which will be served along with the Chop for dinner each day. For breakfast they eat fresh veggies, fruit, seeds, nuts, homemade birdie bread and high quality commercial pellets. (Although Simon doesn’t actually eat his high quality commercial pellets. He throws them at Rosie the Dog, who eats them.)


26 comments to First, borrow a kitchen

  • If necessary, coyotes will help you guys eat that ice cream, ma’am.

    Just sayin’…

  • Julia

    First, I loved the photo of Rosie looking into the giant tub o’ food.
    Second, I laughed out loud when I read that Simon tosses his pellets at Rosie who eats them.
    Thanks for both!

    • Rosie likes to help in the kitchen. She’s always there, looking for ways to make herself useful. She excels at quality control and clean-up.

  • Peter

    Good dog. Good boyfriend. Good grief, what a lot of work! Wow. Impressive. I think your birds eat better than I do. :)

    • I KNOW they eat better than I do! Simon and Oboe will eat anything (except expensive, high-quality, organic pellets), and they always finish everything in their bowl. Kazoo doesn’t have as adventurous a palate, but she’s getting better – and she *does* eat her pellets.

      And yeah, it’s a lot of work for that one day, but then it’s hardly any work on a day-to-day basis.

      Would you like to try some?

  • Mo

    At first, I thought you purchased a VitaMix blender and were adding veggie juice drinks to your daily menu.

    Its great the birdies are fed so well. I’m sure Rosie and Duncan also get the royal treatment too.

    You could probably make a fortune selling your birdie pkts to birds and people too!

    Lucky Birds!

    • Funny you should mention the idea of selling it, Mo. GC calculated I could make $10 an hour doing this, assuming I could find enough local customers to buy it. But I don’t enjoy doing it enough to do it all the time for $10 an hour. It’s an enjoyable labour of love once in awhile.

  • Deb

    If I do my math right…this is enough food for them for 507 days???? And you are making more?

    • Um, well, when you put it like THAT…

      Yeah, I guess I went a little overboard. I knew I was in trouble when I exceeded the big fat pot’s capacity and still had tons of veggies left over.

      But I have no choice about making a batch of bean mixture. The Chop is great for vitamins, but there’s not much protein in there. The bean mixture will round out the nutritional value. (But I’m only going to make a SMALL batch of bean mixture, just enough for a couple of months. There’s no room in my freezer for more than that.)

      I’m going to try to give away some of the Chop. I’ll take a big bag to the next Parrot Club meeting.

  • That is seriously a beautiful mess of food! I honestly don’t know what my birds eat in the summer time – although I know they appreciated my peas and spinach a lot – and basil, the basil was a hit. I think mine carboload more than your birds in winter, but then, they have to generate their own heat too.

    • Do they just forage all summer, or do you put out feed for them as well? Simon loves the hot peppers that I grow in the back yard. I’ll have to give him some of my basil; he’ll probably love it.

      • mudmama

        All summer they just forage, well, they do come running when we dump stuff into the compost, and we have one rooster who thinks he’s a dog and begs from the kids (he likes ice cream cones) but in general they don’t need our help until mid autumn, then we put out daily feed and in winter we give them feed pellets, the compost veggies, whole squash, and lots of extra scratch corn. They ate all my nasturtiums too this year. I need to get better at fencing them out of our food!

  • lucy

    So what do YOU eat then after all this, considering that your freezer is now full and you probably don’t have much time or money left after processing all this food?!

    • We eat high quality pellets. :)

      Actually, tonight we’re having chicken, sweet potato salad and green salad.

      • Deb

        how do you make a sweet potato salad?

        • Okay, here you go. You take four sweet potatoes and a red pepper, and cut them up. Toss them with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, salt & pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them at 425 for maybe 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar, 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 TBSP maple syrup and 1 tsp minced garlic. Add the cooled sweet potato mixture along with 4 thinly sliced green onions, and toss. Done!

          • lucy

            Yes, baking is the best way to prepare sweet potato. I bake them as well, but just with olive oil and salt and we eat them hot straight from the oven and with no dressing, so not as a salad, but as as an alternative to baked potato or fries.

  • Florence

    I also, would like to know how you make a sweet potato salad!

  • Kathleen

    Your birds are so lucky that you take the time and effort to make them such healthy food. You are a great Mom to your little guys Zoom!!!

    The sweet potato salad sounds great. I will make it tonight.

  • Murt

    They eat hot peppers?

    • Oh yeah, parrots love hot peppers. Simon will hold a jalapeno in his hand and eat the whole thing without batting an eye. Apparently they don’t experience the heat the way we do, and there’s stuff in hot peppers that is very good for them.

  • Marion

    I’ve been reading through your blog, and I love it!!!

    Your kitchen looks just like mine does on a monthly basis! Loads of fun eh?

    I do the same for two parrots, a cat and a dog! It seems my kitchen is never clean, the freezer is never empty, but there’s never anything for me to eat!