Colcannon Style Sweet Potatoes For Your Flock

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes Are So Nutritious. Laurence Mouton/Getty Images

Texture is an important part of what birds like in their food. Some like mushy foods and others prefer their food crunchy. It’s all about what that particular bird prefers. 

One thing is certain: combining preferred foods with the less desirable but extremely healthy selections is a wonderful way of introducing those highly nutritious sections that occasionally end up on the floor. 

Colcannon potatoes are a traditional Irish dish that is primarily made from mashed potatoes with the addition of kale.


The word “colcannon” comes from the Irish word: “cál ceannann” which means “white headed cabbage.” 

Although there are many regional versions with additions of various ingredients, the two basic ingredients of potatoes and kale or cabbage remains the same. 

The original version has some ingredients that aren’t very good for birds. You simply wouldn’t want to add ingredients such as milk or cream, butter, or cheddar cheese to food you intend to feed your pet bird. So certain adjustments to the basic recipe are necessary. But the concept remains the same.

Instead of using white potatoes, a staple in Irish cooking, substitute sweet potatoes which are far healthier and more nutritious for birds. Sweet potatoes are a wonderful addition to your birds diet for many reasons. First of all, the color is key to its nutrition. The deeper dark and more vivd the color of the potato the more nutritious it is.

The secret in this lies in what causes this vivid color: The natural pigments in these potatoes have been thought to have cancer fighting effects. It is the beta carotene which is what makes carrots and sweet potatoes that bright orange color that can support bone and eye health as well as boosting the immune system.

This color key is true of all different colored foods. The color of the food indicates what nutrients they contain. The orange color of sweet potatoes is one indication that this is a very healthy food for birds. 

Sweet potatoes actually become more bioavailable when you cook them. This simply means that the nutrition in the food becomes more easily obtainable and absorbable by the organism that ingests it. If it simply passes though your bird’s system, it isn’t doing her any good. So bioavailability is an important aspect in considering how you want to serve food to your birds. Some food is simply healthier when it is cooked or processed a certain way.  

The key to this wonderful Irish recipe is the texture as well as the ingredients of kale or cabbage. All of these foods are very healthy for your bird. And while your flock might not go for a bowl of kale, they might go for it when it is introduced to them in this traditional Irish dish. Sometimes combining a food they wouldn't ordinarily try into another dish can get them to try the new food. There is no harm in getting sneaky!

Kale is incredibly healthy for your birds as well as your family. Recently tagged as being a “Superfood,” it has become commonly available in grocery stores and farmers market thought the country.


And the reason it has become so popular? Kale contains compounds called indoles and isothiocyanates. These have been researched and they have been found that they may help prevent cancer. They do this by increasing the production of enzymes that flush dangerous toxins from the body. It is considered to be a nutrient-dense green vegetable which is important to birds due to their size. When feeding pet birds, you’ll want to try to make every mouthful count. 

Again that dark green color is an indicator of the nutrition it contains. So when shopping for kale, try to get the darkest and richest colored kale you can find. Kale comes in a variety of colors that range from several shades of green and even purple. It is loaded with Vitamin A as well as Vitamin K so it is definitely something worth adding to your flock’s diet.


Colcannon Potatoes For Pet Birds


5 large sweet potatoes

1 large bunch of kale leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons bird friendly oil such as coconut or flax seed oil. 

1 cup almond milk

Preferred seasoning such as thyme, basil or oregano

Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water until soft. Remove from the heat, drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes in a bowl and add the chopped kale leaves, the almond milk, oil and mix together thoroughly. Season to taste and serve. 

You can always top this dish to entice your bird to try it. Simply sprinkle with chopped almonds, some red pepper flakes or some chopped jalapeño peppers to add a bit of heat. Topping this dish with some hemp or chia seed would be a welcome addition to this dish as well as adding some texture. 

This dish can be refrigerated and even frozen for later use.