*Content for this post was provided by Daisy Song for BirdCages4Less. Daisy is the resident Chop expert in my bird group and is proudly owned by three adopted parrots - who all love their daily servings of Chop! Thank you, Daisy*
If you landed here without reading the first installment, back-track now by clicking here! We’ll see you in a couple minutes.
*HOW* to Chop
Since most people buy their fresh produce from supermarkets, it’s important to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before feeding them to your flock or family – you never know who or what has touched the food before it landed in your shopping cart! Start every chop off by filling the sink 1/3 of the way with cold water, then add 1 cup of white vinegar and soak all the produce for 10 to 15 minutes. Afterwards, drain the sink and rinse all produce again under running water.
Because each bird is different, even within a single flock, there will be some trial and error in your beginner Chop days. Some parrots like their Chop in large, hand-held chunks that they can tear into, while others prefer smaller bits so they don’t have to get their “hands” dirty. During this discovery period, you may lose much of the Chop you’ve created as your bird flings the pieces around, or ignores the dish completely, but be patient! Eating a small amount of fresh food is better than eating no fresh food at all.
I started my chop career off with a cutting board and a knife, “chopping” daily servings every morning for a single parrotlet. From there, I graduated to a Slap Chop (or a hand held food dicer) for a flock of three small birds, then invested in a a food processor to accommodate my busy work schedule and my growing flock’s appetites.
Do you remember the wacky commercial from the early 2000’s selling a product called a Slap Chop? It, and similar products, are are hand-held food dicers that you place a small amount of fruit, veg, or nuts beneath and manually “slap” the mechanism to chop! These give you less of a say in the size and shape of the chopped food; However, it is much more convenient and efficient than chopping each piece of produce by hand with knife and cutting board. For a flock larger than a single, small parrot, this will save you hours of time and hand pain in the long run. You can find the Slap Chop here, or a similar product at most major retailers.
If you love to watching cooking shows, or are a seasoned home cook, you may be familiar with, or own, a food processor already. Food processors are a great piece of equipment to have in your arsenal if you plan on being a serious Chop master! These machines finely chop fruits, vegetables, nuts, pellets, and just about anything you can imagine into tiny bite-sized pieces. For particularly picky parrots, this a great way to combine all ingredients into a homogeneous sea of Chop that sticks icky bits of green vegetables to yummy bits of fruit! It also cuts down a 3-hour-by-hand chopping process down to under 60 minutes for set up, chop up, and clean up. Absolutely phenomenal! Chopping different types of vegetables and fruits at the same time ensures that the ingredients will mix together evenly.
Keep chopped food in a large mixing bowl and fold all ingredients with a spoon or spatula as you go; this is also a great place to add dry ingredients such as quinoa, oats, pulverized pellets, and nuts. Mixing periodically throughout the chopping process will ensure a well-mixed Chop.
How do you feel about trying Chop for the first time with your flock? Now that you know HOW and WHAT to Chop, it’s important to know how to entice your birds to give it a try, and how to store it all so it won’t spoil. Soar on over to our next installment of the Chop series for more information!
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