Can't Get Your Bird To Eat His Vegetables? Resort To Stealth Health

  • 01 of 07

    Sometimes You Just Have To Get Sneaky

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    It’s sometimes a fact of life. It seems that the world over that children don’t want to eat the very things that make them physically thrive. All of this wonderful, nutritious and healthy food and you catch them slipping it into their napkin or you find some Brussels sprouts in their pockets when you do the laundry. 

    Companion birds can sometimes be this way as well. 

    I've seen birds do this time and time again. If it is green, it’s a goner and goes right over the side and onto the floor. If...MORE it comes from a green plant, they want nothing to do with it. It’s a shame really. 

    I wasn’t this way. The only things I abhorred as a child was beef liver and eggs over easy. I was a pretty good eater and because I was so active I was hungry all of the time. Occasionally I would even eat a whole raw green pepper like one would eat an apple. I liked the taste of green peppers and I thought the crunch was wonderful. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t terribly picky. 

    But I saw a lot of pickiness in my classmates at school and I either see it or hear about it in parrots just about every day. Many companion parrot families face this issue and I thought it was high time for a few Stealth Health ideas.

    Yes, sometimes you have to get sneaky about it. It's not easy to sneak some arugula past an African Grey that knows where you store the almonds and the walnuts as well as being able to read your mood like a book. These are some smart birds and it takes a little ingenuity to get anything past a parrot. They are keen observers and fooling them isn’t easy. But we’re gong to try.

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  • 02 of 07

    The Basics Of Stealth Health

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    If you can incorporate a healthy food into something they like, it’s a win. Making scrambled eggs? Get some of that Chop you made out of the freezer and defrost it and then mix it with the whipped eggs prior to scrambling them. Most birds will go for some lukewarm or tepid scrambled eggs every once in a while. The eggs are good for them every couple of weeks and the advantage is that while they are going after those eggs, they come to realize “the green stuff” mixed in with the eggs isn’t going...MORE to poison them and they get used to the idea that green tastes good. It’s a fairly obvious way to get their heads wrapped around the fact that “The Green Stuff” is here to stay and they usually tend to adapt to it. 

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  • 03 of 07

    Mix In Chopped Treats Into Their Food

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    If you’re serving up a bowl of raw vegetables, try and dampen the vegetables with either water, or lightly coat the vegetables with a good-for-your-parrot oil such as coconut or flax seed oil. This allows the treat such as chopped almond, walnut pieces or even hemp or chia seed to stick to the vegetables. It’s not unlike covering a dish of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce or adding some sort of delicious sauce onto the top. Your hope is that they will eventually get to the vegetables...MORE because with a bowl of Chop, there is only so much picking they can do. It's is inevitable that the bird is going to get a bit of something green in their system because the finer bits of vegetables and healthy grains adhere to the larger pieces of food and it all gets eaten. 

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  • 04 of 07

    Mix Healthy Vegetables Into A Smoothie

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    Smoothies are only as good as what you put into them. There has been trend recently of putting all kinds of vegetables into smoothies as people have found this to be a healthy alternative to actually sitting down to a serving of Brussels sprouts and consuming them. People found that they actually got more vegetables into their system through this method when they added them to a smoothie containing banana, apple juice, strawberries or other fruits and juices. It hid the taste of the vegetables...MORE and they were able to get more vegetables into their daily diet by using this stealth method of eating despite the fact that they knew they were in the smoothie. 

    They also found that they could add other healthy ingredients such as wheat grass powder and wheat germ into the smoothie to double-down and enhance the nutrition contained in their daily smoothie. So if this works on humans, I’m pretty sure a parrot isn’t going to notice a little arugula mixed into their banana-berry smoothie. Just ensure the vegetables are well blended into the smoothie before serving. You can gradually increase the size of the vegetables so they begin recognizing those vegetables and come to the realization that they vegetables are not evil and actually taste pretty good!

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  • 05 of 07

    Stuff Hollow Pastas Or Spring Roll Wrappers With Vegetables

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    I have yet to hear of a parrot that doesn’t like pasta or any stuffed food item. Some people don’t think pasta is a very healthy dietary option for them. But the food manufacturers have taken a step back and rethought their lines of pastas and come up with some pretty amazing offerings now found on groceries shelves all over the country. 

    You can get vegetable pastas, bean pastas as well as ancient grain pastas like quinoa pastaas well as other pastas that are wheat free.. Spring roll wrappers are...MORE pretty common as well in most grocery stores. Gone is the fact that the only type of pasta available is bleached white flour pasta. That concept has gone the way of the reel-to-reel tape recorder and the dial telephone mounted on the wall. These companies want to sell some food and they will attempt to please what is now a growing population of conscientious consumers that are trying to eat cleaner and healthier with more organic food than ever before. It is indeed a trend that the manufacturers are paying attention to and our birds are benefiting from it. 

    Find some healthy pasta your birds might like, cook it up to where it is still al dente and stuff manicotti tubes or other hollow pasta with those raw greens they love to hate. Of course you can always use Chop. And spring rolls are pretty easy to make once you learn how to roll them. Let cool and serve as is, or you can always stuff them chill to firm them up and served sliced portions to the smaller birds. If you paint some coconut or flax seed oil on the pasta or simply add some healthy oil and toss the pasta with the oil after draining the cooking water, you can dress up the pasta tubes with chia, flax or hemp seed or sprinkle the pasta with chopped nuts or any other healthy dry treat. The oil allows the fine seeds or nut pieces to adhere to the pasta which makes it even more appealing. 

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  • 06 of 07

    "Stew Their Fruit"

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    If your birds like fruit, take advantage of this by mixing organic berries, pomegranate seeds, banana, mango or any fruit in season and mushing it up into a sort of stew. Mix in some chopped vegetables and stir well, blending the vegetables with the fruit and allowing the flavors of the fruit to meld into the vegetables. Once again, the flavor of the fruit will cover the taste of the vegetables. They will still absorb the nutrition and fiber of the vegetables, but they won’t really notice that...MORE what they are eating is actually good for them. And of course the fruit is good for them as well. . (Well, we can all hope, can’t we?)

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  • 07 of 07

    Use “Stealth Health” In Administering Medication

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    One of my Greys must take a very small amount of a liquid medication three times a day. She is pretty good about my squirting it into her mouth because she either gets a piece of almond as a treat or she gets to snuggle next to my neck for a few minutes which she just adores. But on the days when I have to be away from home, my parrot caregiving friends must care for my birds and she absolutely will not allow them to handle her and give her that medicine to her. So my friend Bill devised a plan...MORE where he puts the medicine on a small piece of cracker which absorbs the medicine. He then asks her to do a trick which she willingly does. Down goes the cracker along with the medicine. I tried doing this and was a complete failure. She threw the cracker on the floor. Bill asked, “Did you have her do a trick?” Obviously I hadn’t.  And it seems that the cracker is far more appealing to her if she earns it. So when I am not here, Pepper “earns her medicine” from Bill. 

    I thought it was a wonderful idea and a great way to get your birds to more willingly accept any medications they might need. So “Stealth Health” has more applications than simply getting them on a more nutritious diet. Give this concept a try and see what other applications and concepts you can come up with. You might surprise yourself.