Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Post: Feeding a Large Flock Without Going Insane

I have had seven birds or more in my house at any given time, between flock members and foster birds. All this, and a busy life taking care of other people’s birds too! Feeding a healthy diet to my birds is important to me, but I just don’t have all day (who does?). As many of us know, feeding a fresh diet requires thinking first thing in the morning before we leave for work, and this is something I am not very good at. I also don’t have tons of money. So buying lots of the “instant” bird mixes and cooking them up isn’t always an option. So how do I balance the time and money issue?

I got organized! I created a feeding schedule/calendar that helps me ensure that I am feeding a balanced diet to my flock. This way, I buy all the right groceries when I’m at the market, and my plan gives me a weekly and daily task list of what I need to do, and when. (Since much of the prep for a fresh bird diet happens in the wee hours of the
morning before work, I needed to tell myself what needs to get done in advance. I’m just not adept at thinking on my feet early in the morning.) I found that bird care for a larger flock can get overwhelming unless you plan in advance.

Below are sample make-ahead recipes of a bird balanced diet. You can set aside 30-60 minutes a week to make bird food and freeze and store your work for fresh food-on-the-run! I tend to do my weekly prep on Sundays, when I have the time.

Making bird recipes is often easier than people ones, and
kids love to help in the kitchen!
I often set one day aside a week to offer seed and nuts and treats above and beyond the ordinary daily nutrition. This gives me a prepping break, as pleasing to the birds, and makes time when you just want to hang out and not do work (or you have chores to do and want little distraction!) doable. We call this day “Seed-ter-day” in my house. “Seed-ter-day” allows the birds to have a treat while we are out during the day, having fun together, or doing chores. The rest of the mornings, we eat as a flock, but it’s all easy food that doesn’t need prep (or is prepped on Sunday and pulled out of the fridge).

I feed 100% organic, and animal products (like eggs) are also free range. I am lucky since in the Bay Area, I can get an organic “box” delivery: produce, cereals, nuts, and juices delivered every Wednesday! I also love Trader Joe’s supermarket- they carry tons of organic stuff- from pine nuts to eggs!

As far as processed bird products, I use a variety of pellets (all human grade, preferably organic).

Every week, set aside 30 minutes or so on one day (usually Sunday) to do bird food prep. Here are things you might want to make in advance that would make your week easier:

Hard boil eggs in advance. Serve these chopped, with the shell included.

Sweet Potato Balls (recipe has appeared on this blog)

Rice Mix with veggies (Steam veggies of choice while rice is cooking; mix together until blended. I have a rice cooker with a steamer basket and highly recommend one- and it’s great for making human food, too. It is self contained, has automatic shutoff, and takes up very little space while you are working.)

Birdie Bread Mini Muffins

Veggie ravioli with healthy veggie-laden marinara (humans eat this too!)

Make 7 layer salad  (recipe has appeared on this blog)

Make Spicy Ricey Glop  (recipe has appeared on this blog)

Prep a sprout mix

When you do your bird feeding chores once a week, it really saves time and energy- leaving your spare time to socialize and spend quality time with your flock-not your food processor!

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