Delicious cornbread is a dinnertime staple in many southern homes, and over the years many bird owners have found out that their feathered friends are just as fond of cornbread as they are! With a few simple changes to my grandmother's old recipe, I've been able to create a nutritious cornbread bird treat that my parrots gobble up every chance they get.
Once you get the hang of making this recipe, you can use variations on the ingredients for a custom treat. Try this recipe on your own birds and see if they don't appreciate the effort you put into making them a homemade treat. I'll bet that they will!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg (with crushed shells)
4 tablespoons butter (softened and preferably unsalted)
1 1/4 cups milk or buttermilk
1/2 cup mixed vegetables
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup loose millet
Non-stick cooking spray
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and use the non-stick cooking spray to grease a baking dish or muffin pan, whichever you prefer.
In a large bowl, place the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and loose millet. Using a spoon, combine these dry ingredients until they are well mixed.
In a separate bowl, blend together the egg, milk or buttermilk, and softened butter. Once blended thoroughly, add the mixed vegetables and corn.
Once the cornbread is done, remove it from the oven and place it in a safe place to cool. NEVER serve fresh bread to your bird unless it has been properly cooled to room temperature throughout. To do so could cause crop burn, a serious and often fatal condition.
When the cornbread has cooled, cut it into portions sized appropriately for your pet bird. Any leftover cornbread can be frozen and then thawed and used as needed.
Once you are comfortable making this cornbread recipe, you can try using variations on some of the ingredients to create a custom treat for your pet bird that is especially suited to his or her tastes. Here are some ideas for healthy and delicious ingredient substitutions:
Instead of mixed vegetables, try using 1/2 cup of mixed chopped fruit.
Instead of loose millet, try using 1/4 cup of dry oats or barley, or simply 1/4 cup of your bird's normal seed mix or pellets.
Instead of corn, try using 1/4 cup of chopped jalapeno peppers. Many parrots appreciate a little spice in their diet!
HIS recipe for homemade Cranberry and Popcorn bird treats is a quick, simple, and fun project for the holidays or any time of year. Try your hand at whipping up a batch of these nutritious treats for your own pet bird and see how easy it can be to make your own bird treats at home!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
8 oz. dried cranberries (minced, unsweetened)
2 cups popped popcorn (unsalted and unbuttered)
4 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp loose millet
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend with clean hands, crushing the popcorn into pieces. Place the peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until it is smooth and easy to pour. Pour the warm peanut butter over the cranberry/popcorn mixture and stir. Using a spoon and your hands, form bits of the mixture into small balls sized appropriately for your bird. Place the balls on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and refrigerate until firm. Store leftovers in a sandwich bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Oliver's Peanut Butter Raisin Pockets
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a timeless classic enjoyed by people of all ages -- shouldn't your pet bird get a taste, as well? If you'd like to treat your bird to a healthy and delicious snack that is easy to prepare, try this recipe for a bird-friendly PB&J that will leave your feathered friend squawking for more!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Sliced Whole Wheat Bread : 4 slices
Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy) : 2 tsp. or less
Raisins or other sugar-free dried fruit : 2 tsp.
Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut a shape from the center of each slice of bread. Spread a very thin layer of peanut butter on one side of each shape. Peanut butter is high in fat, so be sure to use this ingredient sparingly! On two of the shapes, sprinkle a few raisins or chunks of your bird's favorite dried fruit, such as banana chips, apples, or peaches. Top them with the two remaining shapes, and then press around the sides of the sandwiches using your thumb and forefinger, to seal them. Serve to your bird and watch the look of delight on his face! Happy snacking
Feeding your pet bird well is necessary for several reasons. First and foremost, proper nutrition will allow your feathered friend to grow properly and maintain a healthy and strong physical condition. Secondly, a fresh and varied diet has been proven to benefit the mental and emotional needs of captive pet birds, whose intelligence levels make proper mental stimulation imperative for their good health. One of the best ways to provide for all these aspects of your birds needs is to supplement a high quality commercial bird diet with fresh foods prepared at home. To learn how to incorporate these nutritious treats into your bird's daily eating habits, check out the information and tips below!
One of the easiest and most economical ways to both add variety and boost the nutritional value of your bird's diet is to start feeding your pet sprouts. Read on before you rush out to the produce section to buy alfalfa sprouts for your pet -- the truth is that your bird will receive the most nutritional benefits from sprouts that you grow yourself at home. Choose a few seeds from your bird's seed mix or try seeds from a bird-safe vegetable that you have at home. Place the seeds inside the fold of a wet paper towel and leave it in a warm windowsill overnight. If the seeds were viable, you should be rewarded with fresh green sprouts that are packed with protein and other vitamins that will boost your bird's immune system and overall health.
Sharing a meal with your bird can be a wonderful bonding experience, but did you know that it can also benefit your pet's health?
Many bird diets lack certain vitamins and minerals that birds need, which can lead to a host of serious health conditions.
Feeding your bird a healthy diet does not have to be costly or time consuming. When you feel like your bird deserves a special treat, try serving up one of these cheap and easy options that are packed with taste as well as beneficial nutrients.
Grapes, oranges, bananas, melons -- just about any kind of fruit imaginable is good for your bird. Full of taste and various vitamins, fruit is a wonderful source of nutrients and is a favorite among the vast majority of pet birds. As with any fresh food you offer your bird, remove and discard any leftovers a couple of hours after serving. This prevents bacteria growth inside of your pet's cage!
Beans, beans, the magical fruit... They're good for you and good for your bird, too! Beans are an outstanding source of protein for your feathered friend. Try boiling a 15 bean soup mix without any seasoning. Allow the beans to cool, and then offer a scoop to your bird. Chances are that this will become a fast favorite with your little friend. Remember to never serve raw beans to your pet, as some varieties can be poisonous unless cooked.
Do you like alfalfa sprouts on your salad? Your bird will like them too! Be sure to thoroughly wash any sprouts that you offer your bird. Some may have come into contact with pesticides in their journey from the garden to your local supermarket, and you don't want to pass these toxins on to your pet.
Wild birds feast on an amazing variety of vegetables in their natural habitats, so it only makes sense that fresh veggies are good for captive birds as well. Try offering your pet some thoroughly cleansed broccoli, cauliflower, or greens next time you serve these veggies in your home. Other avian favorites include carrots, asparagus, and peas.
No matter whether it's cooked or uncooked, birds love pasta. The good thing is, it's full of energy enhancing carbohydrates! Try boiling some bowtie pasta with vegetables and serving it to your bird when cool. If your pet prefers his pasta crunchy, fill a few raw macaroni noodles with peanut butter for a fun and tasty snack.
Whole grain breads taste great, and are a wonderful source of fiber. Try offering your pet small bites of bread as a treat for good behavior. Your pet will think he's in hog heaven!
Believe it or not, many pet birds enjoy snacking on popcorn! You can serve your bird either popped or unpopped kernels. If you choose to serve the popcorn unpopped, boil the kernels for a bit in plain water to soften the tough hulls. If you desire, you can pop the kernels for your bird using a very light amount of pure vegetable oil. Be sure to never give your bird microwave popcorn. These varieties are extremely high in fat and salt, which can be harmful to your pet's health.
8. Cereal / Grains
Grain farmers often complain when flocks of wild birds descend on their crops to feast. A hungry group of birds can strip a field of grain in no time -- because grains are nutritious, and very good for them! Whole grains are another good source of vital protein, not to mention beneficial carbohydrates. Try serving your bird oats or shredded wheat, and watch the feeding frenzy begin!
Nuts are extremely high in fat, and should be used sparingly to prevent obesity in your pet. They are, however, very tasty, and many birds appreciate them as special treats. Nuts can be used as exercise toys as well as treats, many birds will spend hours exercising their beak and jaw muscles on the shells of some varieties. Always make sure that any nuts that you serve your bird are clean and unsalted.
Although many humans have trouble eating spicy peppers, birds can definitely take the heat. It seems that our avian friends lack the taste receptors that pick up on a pepper's stinging bite, which makes them a favorite of birds around the world. Try giving your pet a nice fresh chili or banana pepper and watch him chomp through it to get to the meat and seeds inside. You may find out that you have quite a hot little tamale on your hands!
Every fall, many families celebrate the season with tricks, treats, and of course, Jack-O-Lanterns.
While it may be hard to include your pet bird on many popular halloween festivities, there is one way to give your bird some delicious treats of his or her own that are nutritious and easy to make, as well! Toasted Pumpkin Seeds are a great source of protein and other vital nutrients. Just remember -- don't toss out those pumpkin "guts" when carving time comes around!
Fresh Pumpkin Seeds
1 tsp. Vegetable Oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin and remove all of the seeds and strings. It may help to use a large metal spoon to scrape the inner walls of the pumpkin.
Separate the seeds from the stringy bits and pumpkin pulp and place them in a clean bowl.
Wash the seeds in warm water to remove any pulp that may cling to their shells.
Grease an aluminum baking sheet with a minimal amount of pure vegetable oil. Please make sure that you do not use a non-stick baking sheet. Place the seeds on the sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, turning them about every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
Once the seeds are dry and toasty, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Then serve them to your bird and see if he will perform some tricks for you in return for the tasty treats. You may be in for a big surprise!
*If you would like to enjoy this snack with your bird, set a handful of the raw seeds aside and toss them with salt and your favorite seasonings before baking. NEVER share these seasoned treats with your pet. A bird's tender digestive system cannot handle salty snacks like ours can.
Cooking at home for your pet bird can not only be a lot of fun -- it can help you provide your bird with a nutritionally varied diet! Try this fun and easy recipe for Birdie Manicotti in your own kitchen. It's a vitamin packed treat that your bird will go wild for!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
4 Manicotti Pasta Shells
1/4 cup Small Curd Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup cooked Broccoli pieces
1/4 cup Shredded Carrots
2 Large Eggs with Shells
3 Medium Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil the manicotti shells until they are tender. Drain and allow them to cool.
Scramble the eggs with their crushed up shells. Set aside.
Combine cottage cheese, broccoli, and carrots in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and shell mixture and mix until blended.
Using a small spoon, fill each manicotti shell with the cheese, egg, and vegetable mixture.
Very lightly, grease a small glass casserole dish with pure vegetable oil. Do not use non-stick or Teflon coated cookware! Place the filled manicotti shells in a row inside the dish.
Place the dish in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
Take the two tomatoes and wash them thoroughly to remove any preservatives. Cut out the stem and remove any leaves as they can be toxic to birds. Slice the tomatoes and place them in a bowl.
Using a fork, crush the tomato pieces into a fine pulp. Once the manicotti has baked for 15 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and spoon the tomato pulp and juice over the noodles.
Return the dish to the oven and allow it to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
When the dish is done cooking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool. Serve the treat to your pet when it is slightly warm or at room temperature. Please be very careful not to serve your pet food that is too hot!
This fun variation on Italian cuisine was originally created for larger birds such as macaws or amazons, but smaller birds can also enjoy this tasty nutritious treat!
If you feel like your bird can't handle a whole manicotti shell, try slicing it into rings and offering the bird a few pieces. Any leftovers can be refrigerated and stored for 3 to 5 days. Enjoy!
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