I May Be a Chop Convert !

I have always believed in feeding a mix of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and sprouted grains to my parrots along with Harrison’s pellets.  Seeds are a treat food for my flock and not a staple in their diet.  When I was working I followed Pamela Clark’s layered fresh food mix recipe.  Every Sunday I spent about 3 hours washing, chopping and dishing up 7 containers of layered salad mix to feed the birds for the coming week.  After I retired, I had time to chop vegetables for morning meals every couple of days.  To the vegetables I add fresh sprouted grains and cooked beans.  Trying to get a good healthy variety of vegetables in a mix to feed only 6 parrots was a challenge.  No matter how I worked it, I found I was tossing alot of vegetables at the end of each day and the end of the week.

Chop has been on my mind lately.  Thanks to Patricia Sund and her determination to educate us all on the benefits of Chop, I took the plunge and made chop yesterday.  I watched Patricia’s video http://parrotnation.com/2010/08/08/chop-shot-by-shot/ and learned exactly how to go about making, storing and serving “Chop”.

My first batch of "Chop". Not bad, if I do say so myself.

In her many blog posts about the “Chop Concept” Patricia explains, “This is what I love about “Chop”.  No set recipe, no rules, just what is freshest, in season, available and good for your birds.  Tailor it to your flock’s preferences and make enough to freeze that will free up your time in the morning and at night.  So instead of slaving away at a chopping board every day, twice a day, I simply take out two bags of “Chop” from the freezer the night before they are to be used and thaw them in the fridge. (Each bag is good for one meal for all of my flock).  In the morning, simply serve and smile knowing you couldn’t possibly get all of those ingredients in their bowl any other way.  I love fresh food for them and I offer it often, but this is a nice way of adding so much more to their diet.”

I spent a good deal of time at ParrotNation.com reading all of Patricia Sund’s blog posts about “Chop”.  What attracted me to the concept was interest in finding “a low-cost, low effort, efficient way of feeding good stuff to my birds”.  Patricia seems to nail it with her “Chop Concept”.

Here is what went into my first batch of “Chop”.

Cooked Grains:  Spelt, Hulled Barley, Brown Rice.  And some cooked Brown Rice Pasta Shells.

Dry Ingredients:  Kelp Powder, Dulse Flakes, Millet, Barley Flakes, Quinoa Flakes, Ground Flaxseed.

Chopped Fresh Vegetables:  Cilantro, Kale, Red Swiss Chard, Red Bell Pepper, Poblano Pepper, Anaheim Pepper, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Parsnips, Chayote Squash.

Since I already had frozen little baggies of cooked beans (a mix of Garbanzo, Adzuki and Pinto) that I was adding to my fresh vegetables each day, I didn’t add beans to this mix.  I’ll just combine one baggie of beans and one baggie of “Chop” to make the complete meal.

I had all four burners going cooking the grains and pasta while I washed, spun dry, and chopped vegetables.  I started at 1:30 pm and was finished by 4:30 pm with this tub of “Chop”.  And that was with considerable help from the parrots.  Without the extra help, I could have finished maybe as early as 3:30 pm, but where’s the fun in that?

I dished up bowls of “Chop” with added beans right away and everyone dove in.

My little Byrd enjoys her first bowl of "Chop".

Of course this is fresh chopped vegetables mixed in with cooked grains and beans.  Will they eat it in the morning after it has been frozen and thawed?  That will be the true test of “Chop” for my flock of parrots accustomed to getting a fresh vegetable mix every day.

A resounding YES.  Exactly as Patricia showed me how; I took out one package of frozen “Chop” and one package of bean mix the night before and put in in the refrigerator.  It was still slightly frozen when I took it out of the refrigerator at 6:00 am.  By the time I dished it up into the bowls, changed cage papers, water dishes and put toys in the cages, it had thawed.  They dove into their “Chop” as if they had been accustomed to having it every morning.

I'm happy to report "Chop" is a resounding success at my house!

Thanks to Patricia Sund and her dedication to teaching her “Chop Concept”, I now have a more efficient way to deliver healthy food to my parrots.  And I won’t be wasting so much fresh food each week.  I will still offer fresh fruits and vegetables.  But now I can offer those on foraging toys and skewers along with “CHOP”.







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2 Responses to I May Be a Chop Convert !

  1. Rachel LaBrum says:

    Hi! I’ve been experimenting with chop, too. My only question is, how do you incorporate yams and winter squash? I’ve always fed them cooked but can you add them to the chop, raw? Also, I notice that no fruit is added. As my mini macaw and, especially, my hawk-head need a little extra fruit in there diet, can any be added to the chop? I was thinking perhaps chopped organic apple…? I’d continue to add berries fresh at serving time for my hawk-head, I think. Opinions are welcome!!!

    • Kris Porter says:

      Hi Rachel – I just made a batch of Chop and added cooked beets. I would add cooked Yams in the same way. I boiled them until just fork tender. They were still firm enough to cut into 1/4 dice. You have to chop them by hand, not the food processor, so they stay firm. Then I mix them into the Chop with the rest of the ingredients. For winter squash, I will add raw butternut squash and chop it in the food processor along with all the other vegetables.

      What I’ve read is that root vegetables (rule of thumb is those that grow underground as opposed to the squash which grows on top of ground) should be steamed or cooked before serving with the exception of carrots. If you search the internet you can find many reasons for this from they are toxic to they are more nutritious if eaten cooked. I’m thinking they aren’t toxic, but are more easily digested if slightly cooked and also more nutritious if cooked. I know I can eat a raw carrot with no ill effect, but a raw beet, turnip or yam will give me indigestion. Not to say that compares to what would happen if my parrots ate it, but I do see they relish the pieces of cooked beet or yam – so I cook it first. You just want to make sure you don’t cook it too done.

      As for fruit. No I don’t add it to the Chop. I will add small pieces of apple or grape or berries to the bowl when I serve Chop. But my preferred way is to give them pieces of fruit as training treats, for example when I open the cage in the afternoon to let everyone out, I will cue, Step-Up, and reinforce with a piece of Apple. Also I put fruit on SS Skewers with other shreddable material to hang in the cage as a foraging toy.

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