*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*
*INTRODUCING* the Chop
The key to successfully introducing Chop to a bird’s diet is repetition. Although he may not try it the first, or the fifth, time you serve it, he will try it – eventually. Patience is a virtue and your birds will surely test you!
For birds who believe the Chop is out to chop their heads off, you may have to take some acting lessons. Since Chop is mostly fresh produce, it is completely edible for humans – and what treat is better to your parrot than the one you are eating? Try sampling the Chop and exaggerating how tasty it is, and offer a bit directly off a spoon to your parrot. This method works out more often than you might think!
Even if you are excited to switch one of your bird’s meals to Chop, it is important to NEVER starve your birds! Due to their quick metabolism, they need to have food (that they’re willing to eat) available for the majority of the day. Offer chop first thing in the morning for 2 to 3 hours, as they tend to be hungriest in the morning. If they don’t try it, toss it, and replace it with their usual ration.
Since Chop is only preserved by being frozen or refrigerated, it shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for more than a few hours or it may spoil. If your bird seems particularly ravenous for more Chop, just serve more directly from the fridge. It is better to serve it up a few times, rather than put out a large serving that may spoil because it is too large a portion to eat in a short period of time.
*STORING* the Chop
Speaking of preservation, freezing extra Chop is a great way to keep it fresher, longer. There are many creative ways that people do this, ranging from ice cube trays, Tupperware storage, or plastic sandwich or freezer bags. To prevent the Chop from being soggy after defrosting, add oats or ground pellets (my birds really like this, for some reason) to the Chop before freezing!
Using ice cube trays is a convenient way to make single servings of Chop. This may be preferable for owners of small parrots, or single medium sized parrots; one ice cube sized chunk of Chop is sufficient for a conure, while two to four cubes may be necessary for larger parrots.
If you have a flock of birds of varying sizes, it may be easier to freeze your Chop in gallon baggies. While you’ll have to measure out the Chop on your own, it is easier to break out one baggie for the flock than several ice cube trays! There are no exact serving sizes or feeding guidelines for Chop, but a good guesstimate would be 2 to 3 tablespoons for Green Cheek conure-sized birds, 3 to 4 tablespoons for Senegal-sized birds, 6 to 8 tablespoons for African Grey-sized birds, and more as necessary for macaws and cockatoos.
This wraps up our mini-series on Chop – the easiest way to get fresh vegetables and fruit into your picky parrot! Do you think you’re ready to try your hand at a fresh batch of Chop? We’d love to hear about your experiences, trials and tribulations, and funny stories! Leave us a comment below or send us a picture on Facebook to share a laugh with the rest of the flock.
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