Archive for the Nutrition Category

Birdie Bread Mini-Muffins

Posted in Birds, Chloe, Chop, Kacey, Macaw, Nutrition, Simba, Training, Uncategorized, Zazu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by angelsofflight

The biggest enjoyment my flock gets in the morning is not me saying “good morning”, or the kisses they get, nor the “did everyone sleep well” speech.  It’s their undying love of breakfast!  A mix of strawberry yogurt, cut up fruit, 2 teaspoons of the famous “CHOP” and (drum roll please…)…Birdie Bread Mini-Muffins.  My flock goes absolutely nuts over these things.  Constantine tends to have a couple with his tea in the a.m. as well…when the birds are in a sharing mood.  The recipe is really easy and I promised a few people I would post it.

I personally use all organic ingredients because that is just my preference for my birds, but you can generally find all this at your local grocery store.  This recipe is great for making into a loaf as well.  I like the mini-muffin pan because it is easier for me to serve it up to the flock.  One mini-muffin in each bowl is a perfect size for everyone all the way around.  A small side note…I never cook with Teflon pots or pans when cooking for my parrots.  I have separate cookware for them consisting of a couple of pots, a pan a baking sheet and my mini-muffin pan.

The ingredients are as follows:

2 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 cup Rolled Oats
4 jars of baby food (I use 2 jars of sweet potatoes and 2 jars of carrots)
3/4 cup mashed Bananas
1/4 cup Peanut Butter (Smuckers Organic is the best!)
1/4 cup Parmesan/Romano grated cheese
2/3 cup grated Carrots
1/2 cup Broccoli Florets

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Stir together muffin mix, oats and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.  Put baby food, broccoli, mashed bananas and peanut butter in a blender and blend briefly (just until blended).  Add carrots and cheese to dry mix and mix until the carrots and cheese are lightly coated with the dry mix.  Add wet mix to the dry mix and fold together lightly with a wooden spoon JUST until mixed…Don’t over mix!

In a greased mini-muffin pan (I like to use the organic baking spray),  fill each muffin cup with a tablespoon of muffin mixture.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Pop them out of the pan and cool on baking racks.

These are great because you can freeze them too and just take out what you need for the next day.  Pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them up and your good to go.  Vary the recipe too if you like!  You can use mixed frozen veggies instead of the carrots and broccoli.  Instead of the baby food, try some canned pumpkin or mashed sweet potatoes or squash.  Mix and match with your birds favorite foods.  They are even a great gift to a fellow avian friend when you go to visit.

In the end, your flock will love you more than they do already…I know mine do!  Bon appetite!

The Imaginarium

Posted in African Grey, Birds, Cage set up, Chloe, Chop, Cleaning, Education, Enrichment, Kacey, Macaw, Moluccan Cockatoo, Nutrition, Patricia Sund, Recall, Rescue & Rehabilitation, Simba, Training, Zazu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2010 by angelsofflight

When I set out on this little adventure of building The Imaginarium I knew it was going to be a huge undertaking.  My father is an old man and really doesn’t use the downstairs of his house.  In fact he doesn’t even like to bend or climb stairs so it’s undeniably ridiculous that he built a 2-story house.  However, it benefited me and my flock.  While still in the beginning stages, I have cleaned up the cement slab and all that was “stuck” to it.  Some green slimy stuff and threw all the old decrepit furniture that he was saving (for god knows what) to the curb side for pick-up.  Now I have begun setting the stage for The Imaginarium.

The Imaginarium - After clean up

I chose the name, The Imaginarium, instead of simply saying “My Aviary” for the simple reason that not only do my birds need an Aviary, but I need some peace as well.  Here I will be able to relax, reflect, be alone or with friends, dream, escape and simply imagine.  I’ve added a few little friends to the landscaping.  There is “Diva: The Pink Gecko” for some character and of course the faithful “St. Francis” to watch over the birds and I while we are in The Imaginarium.  I imagined the most beautiful sanctuary complete with music, wind chimes, lush green trees, beautiful colorful flowers, and a small vegetable garden with herbs, strawberries, tomatoes and a few others I have yet to pick out.  It is a work in progress for sure.

St. Francis: To watch over my flock

Diva: The Pink Gecko

So needless to say, my 2 non-flyers are enjoying the scenery for the moment until the fencing is put up.  I’ve already started sitting out there with Chloe and Simba and imagining the day away.  Simba and Chloe have become really good friends.  They dance and sing together to the playlist I made for Angels Of Flight Productions.  It has all the music from all of our videos on it and a few Jimmy Buffet songs as well as Kenny Chesney’s “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” which has quickly adapted as the motto for hanging out at The Imaginarium.  There’s a big wooden sign going up on the wall with that motto on it.

Chloe & Simba: Enjoying the late afternoon

Chloe & Simba: Hanging out after a bath

I am anxiously awaiting the actual fence to go up.  The materials should be here sometime this week.  My contractor assures me that it will be finished by next weekend.  I can’t wait to let Kacey and Zazu out in it.  I love watching them hang upside down on their perches and do all the comical Macaw stuff.  I can only imagine what there going to do with a 20′ x 12′ x 11.5′ Imaginarium.  The possibilities are totally endless.  I’ll be blogging most of the construction and doing some video too.  But for now…relax, pour yourself a “Green Parrot” cocktail, kick off your flip flops and imagine…

A Year In The Making

Posted in Birds, Chloe, Education, Enrichment, Kacey, Macaw, Moluccan Cockatoo, Nutrition, Recall, Rescue & Rehabilitation, Training, Zazu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2010 by angelsofflight

Zazu at 16 weeks old

The  day my life was blessed by a little Blue and Gold Macaw was June 13, 2009.  She was 16 weeks old and for some reason I was drawn to this little one with 3 of her toes missing instead of the cosmetically perfect other young Macaws that  happened to be at Sue’s aviary.  I always wanted a baby of my own.  I had seen all the bonding and fun people around me had with their baby birds that I never got to experience.  Not that I am complaining about being the permanent rescue home for Kacey and Chloe but, I just wanted a baby to call my own and that would have the same home for the rest of my natural life…and one I could train properly with no hangups.  I guess you could say I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about.  I realized, there is no difference except in patience.

Kacey: The Mistress Of Mayhem

Kacey was by far my biggest challenge.  It took 9 months of training and getting to know her before she trusted me and I trusted her.  She was my first big bird and she will remain with me until I no longer exist.  She tests my patience on a daily basis to see if I will still respond.  Every now and then she will snap at me through the bars of her cage…I suppose it’s sort of a game to her to see if I still love her.  The snap comes and then the scratching of her head to say “YooHoo…I Love You…”  she’s very comical in her testing, I think that’s one of things I love about her so much.  She’s a content bird now and I adore her as my first child.  She’s a very independent bird…unlike the others.  She has adapted well to my fascination with different species and has excepted her other 2 sisters and her brother.  After all she was the only one in my life for a year until Chloe entered the scene.

"Lady Chloe"

Chloe was a sweetheart of a bird…she was  a barber of her wing feathers and every now and then would hit a blood feather that scared the wits out of me.  Back to the computer for more research.  This time I was searching for remedies on feather picking and barbering.  I quickly realized, there’s nothing much I could do except love this sweet beautiful bird who would eventually most likely start picking at other areas as well.  She has now started picking at her chest instead of her wings and I am once again beside myself.  I haven’t changed anything so my wits are strung out again.  I try everyday on a daily basis to help and correct it but this habit is stemmed from something much deeper than before I had her…I will never know Chloe’s whole true story.  All I know now is that she is loved by me and I will take the best care of her I can.

Now…a year after enters the famous Zazu

My friends have enthusiastically watched Zazu grow up on Facebook.  From the awkward, wing clipped, clumsy little Macaw with only 5 toes collectively to the magnificent Blue and Gold Angel she has become over the past year.  This past Wednesday (March 17, 2010…St. Patrick’s Day) was her 1 year birthday…we call it a hatch day.  I look back over the last year to see all that has gone on…  The controversy of me recalling a wing clipped bird at the beach, the fact that she was a baby and not a “real” rescue, the decision to harness train her or not, how to feed her, what to feed her…everyone has their opinion and I took all of those opinions and made my own opinion out of it.  With the help of  few trust worthy friends and a strong heart and mind, Zazu has turned into a dream come true.

Targeting started at the onset of my time with Zazu.  The first night I got her home, I was mixing formula and BOOM…I had a 16 week old Macaw recalling to me…yes it was because she was hungry…and no that is not how I trained her in the months that followed.  I was fortunate enough to know that she had fledged before her wing feathers were hacked so I did have a bit of an advantage.  The following months, once again, brought alot of online research, opinions, and training.  I started inside the confines of my home for the first 3-4 months and then ventured outside.  This was the scary part…although I had all the confidence in the world with Zazu’s and my relationship, accidents can happen.  I was getting the guidance I needed by a well-known trainer and without his help I would have never even thought about doing this.  Her first recalls were in the backyard…a place her and I were familiar with and where I knew if an accident should occur, I would be able to retrieve her.  These training, targeting (on ground and in flight) and recall sessions in the backyard went on for about 2-3 more months with the same sessions going on inside as well.

Let’s jump to the 6 month mark…the first outdoor experience in recall and target training away from the house.

Zazu recalling at the beach

Zazu had become confident as well as I had on the recall and targeting so I decided to take her to the beach one early morning.  Packed up with water, treats and a few birdie friends with their birds, we headed to Port Royal Beach in Naples, Florida on a Sunday morning.  I started out slow with some ground targeting work in the sand for about 20-30 minutes then we graduated to a few recalls ascending off the ground.  As the morning went on, we were recalling off the pilings on the edge of the shore and just had a grand old time.  Zazu was confident and bold and never skipped a beat or a perfect landing.  As the next 6 months went on, friendships were diminished, relationships were severed, and jobs were lost but the one thing that stayed constant was my relationship with Zazu.  She has always been there for me and has never disappointed me.  During the recall training process people kept telling me…be careful, are you worried she’ll fly off and never come back…so forth and so on.  Yes, of course that weighs in the back of my mind. But, with proper training and all the elements that come with proper training such as: Positive Reinforcement, Operant Conditioning, Food Management, etc. the scenario of Zazu flying off and never coming back under normal circumstances are highly unlikely.

Enter…the spook flight…

About a month ago Zazu  and I were having our normal training session in the backyard.  This consists of a few obstacles that I make her overcome on a daily basis such as flying down off the second story deck of the house while I stand in the backyard and recall her…as well as flying into and out of our favorite oak tree that I climb with her as well and have her target to the different branches downward for a safe recall land.  I live behind a middle school and take into account the different times that the kids are changing classes because they can be a distraction sometimes…I learned that this distraction needs to be dealt with.  This one particular day I did not time the distraction correctly and the physical education teacher decided to hold his class in the back of the school near my training session with Zazu.  A flood of children came running across the field and spooked Zazu into our training oak tree in the lot next door.  This wouldn’t have unnerved me as much as the fact that the spook flight occurred off the second story deck.  As I was frantically making sure I knew exactly where she landed I was thankful she targeted to her second obstacle.  Although watching her fly across the field was beautiful I do believe my heart skipped a beat as I walked calmly across the field.  Equipped with a referee whistle and a whole almond (her jackpot emergency recall treat) I could see exactly in the tree where she landed and, gave a quick chirp of the whistle, and a reinforcing “Come here Zazu”, she flew down out of the tree effortlessly, instantly on cue and directly into my hand.  Upon her landing I was greeted with an enthusiastic Macaw “Hi!!”  and a beak snuggle into my neck.  This particular recall could not have been achieved without proper training…and the circumstances could have been alot worse.  This has not stopped our training outside and now after a few sessions of training during the class change at the school, her distraction has turned around to a concentrated effort.  Zazu is by far the smartest Macaw I ever met…I may have that opinion because she is mine but she is very attentive and her concentration and willingness to work to get the job done is far more than I ever expected.

With only 3 more wing feathers on each side to grow out since that first and only hacking…and a year of training under our belt, she just celebrated her 1st birthday.  She gets stronger and more skills everyday.  Turns and banks on a dime like a Cessna and soars like an Eagle…The making of the past year has been one hell of an experience with Zazu…I am enthusiastically looking forward to the next as well as I think Zazu is too…

Zazu and Me: Best Friends Forever

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcloa1_angels-of-flight-the-ambassadors_animals

The Avian Jewel Of Hollywood Florida

Posted in African Grey, Birds, Chop, Enrichment, Macaw, Nutrition, Patricia Sund, Zazu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2010 by angelsofflight

On my recent adventure to the East coast of Florida I had the privilege of being introduced to a whole new world of “Birdie Shopping”.  The East coast has so much more to offer for our feathered friends as opposed to the West coast.  There are more specialty shops catering to our feathered counterparts as well as a whole different way of thinking and caring for them.  Everything is more natural and more catered towards the environment and enrichment opportunities that they have there.  With superstores such as PETCO, Pet Smart and Pet Supermarket being really the only avenues for shopping for your birds here in Naples, Florida; they tend to not only cater more to the smaller birds but lack the variety of foods to be sold that we now know the Avian Community needs to fulfill our parrots lives and keep them healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, there are certain “mom and pop owned” stores here that have a bit more variety that you can travel an hour to get to, but why would you do that when just a half hour more driving will get you a plethora of specialties?  Thus this is why The Golden Cockatoo is considered their Avian “Jewel” of Hollywood, Florida.

"Casey" the African Grey

Aside from being one of the major Avian focal points of  the East coast, The Golden Cockatoo also has some amazing and knowledgeable residents.  For instance, “Casey” the African Grey (owned by Susana) greets you when you walk in and firmly reminds you that you are in his neck of the woods so please act and spend accordingly!!  “FCAT” is a Black-headed Caique owned by Richard Horvitz (the President of The Golden Cockatoo).  “FCAT” tends to watch the customers and invite them over for a scritch of his neck.  The whole cast and crew of The Golden Cockatoo makes you feel warm and welcomed in the store.  Any questions you may have they are right there to answer for you.  With 2000 square feet full of Avian paradise for shoppers it’s no wonder why Ian Brown and Richard Horvitz  set out to make the most convenient and variety filled store you could possibly think of.  The customer service, the prices, and the variety of the store just boasts a fantastic shopping experience all the way around!  You know if Patricia Sund is shopping there, the place has to be phenomenal!

Richard Horvitz (President) and Patricia Sund (Parrot Nation)

The ambiance of The Golden Cockatoo is sort of a “Grocery Store For Birds”.  Providing a huge selection from sprouting supplies, nuts, dried veggies and fruits the store has anything and everything you could possibly think of to make your fine feathered friend happy.  During my shopping experience there I found this fantastic bag of grass!  (No…not what your minds are thinking!!)  Avian Herb Salad!!!  This stuff, when put into our ever popular CHOP! provides all the natural grasses and herbs our Avian friends need such as dandelion, red clover, elderberry, lavender, kelp and so on.  I was so amazed at the all natural selection of foods for my birds I went completely nuts and bought up a bunch of it!  The Golden Cockatoo also manufactures their own line of all natural foods and feeds; Noah’s Kingdom has become a household name here at Angels Of Flight! and the dogs like it too!  Fantastic nut and seed mixes provide all the daily essentials that we put into our CHOP!  Again, there is such a plethora of items and ideas you can come up with that it’s no wonder I was there shopping for two and half hours!!

Aisle #1 of the "Grocery Store"

Aisle #2...All Natural "Grocery Store For Birds"

Now onto the toys…what a subject here!!  Words cannot explain the amount of toys there are to choose from!!  “Petco Who?”, “Petsmart what?”  These stores don’t exist anymore when The Golden Cockatoo shows up!!  The assortment of toys, foraging, shredding, wood, plastic, footy toys, beaky toys and so on is enough to give you a happy little buzz!!  There are walls and walls of TOYS!!!  I think that is where the bulk of my time was spent…filtering through walls of toys…I think I made Patricia a bit dizzy running all over the store.  Zazu (my 10 month old Blue and Gold) is a hard chewer.  I get the biggest toys I can find here in Naples at Petco and Petsmart and within an hour…there goes my $24.95 down the drain.  With the toys I picked up at the Golden Cockatoo, after 3 weeks, they are still holding strong!!!  Go Zazu…chew all you want!!  She was so happy I found toys for her that have lasted this long.  I’m a bit on the excited side as well that my purse isn’t in the red zone every week!

Walls full of toys!!

I would have to say that The Golden Cockatoo has to be my all time favorite shopping experience for me.  I am definitely going to make it a point to travel there at least every other month to stock up on supplies.  This has been just another great adventure that Angels Of Flight has had.  I think there might be an idea in my future and a great collaboration for us here in Naples, Florida…hummm…maybe I won’t have to drive over to Hollywood as often as I think…the wheels are always spinning for me!!

So, in closing, if you get a day off from work and you are looking for something to do…I highly suggest getting in your car and driving over to Deerfield Beach, Florida to check out The Golden Cockatoo.  It is a drive and a shopping experience that you will never forget.  I’m so happy I don’t have to wait for the “Bird Fair” to come to town anymore.  I just pack up “Simone” and we are off to Aunt Patricia’s house for some relaxation and birdie shopping at The Golden Cockatoo…our favorite paradise for birds on earth!

Y'all Come Back Now!!!!

The Golden Cockatoo

360-366 South Powerline Road

Deerfield Beach, FL  33442

Phone: (954) 725-0088

www.goldencockatoo.com

CHOP…The Concept

Posted in Enrichment, Nutrition with tags , , on August 3, 2009 by angelsofflight

“CHOP is a feeding concept. It is like you’re making two lasagnas and you cook one for dinner that night, and put the other in the freezer because you’ll be able to pull it out some evening when you don’t have time to cook.”

– Patricia Sund

Chloe & CHOPCHOP is the brainchild of Patricia Sund.  A fantastic columnist for Birdtalk Magazine and the author of Parrot Nation.  CHOP is the concept of making up a bunch of food and pre-packaging it to serve later…And what a great concept it is!!!  I recently held a “CHOP Party” at my home with 3 of my close friends.  To describe a “CHOP Party”…it’s kind of like a Mary Kay party with vegetables instead of cosmetics  (although at the end of the bagging process, cosmetics could come in handy).  We had such a good time and prepared 1800 healthy meals for our birds!!  That’s right…I said 1800 meals!!!  Everyone always asks me to send them the recipe and well…there is no recipe for for it…just ingredients.  It is a process though and you have to get it right so it doesn’t come out soupy.

There is a huge selection of ingredients for CHOP.  Just go to your local Whole Foods Store, organic market or Farmers Market, go into the produce section and pick one of everything!!  Do your research though…not all veggies are good for your bird…here is a list of ingredients that went into the mixture for our “CHOP Party”… 

004Veggies

 

Broccoli Florets

Cauliflower Florets

Asparagus

Sweet Peas

Sweet Corn

Butternut Squash

Yams / Sweet Potato

Collard Greens

Tri-Colored Pepper Mix

Jalapenos Peppers

Kale

Mustard Greens         

Zucchini

Carrots

Celery

Romaine Lettuce

SpinachIngredients

Yellow Squash

Bell Pepper

Chard

Parsley

Cilantro

Ginger Root

Dandelion Greens

Escarole

Endive

Arugula

Bib Lettuce

Bok Choy

Water Cress

Cranberries

Basil

Oregano

Dill

Banana Pepper

Radish

Broccoli Slaw010

Snap Peas

Black-Eyed Peas

Yellow Split Peas

Green Split Peas

Cabbage 

Red Cabbage

Parsnips

Turnip Greens

Okra

Rosemary

Thyme

Nori – Japanese Seaweed

 

 

Grains

Muesli

Celery Seed

Hemp Seed

Wheat Germ

Brown Flax Seed

Unsweetened Coconut

Red Quinoa

Wild / Brown Rice

Spelt

Whole Grain Pasta Spirals

Higgins Leafy Greens & Herbs

 

To start off with, all the grains that need to be cooked should be cooked ahead of time, drained real well and cooled.  This will prevent the mixture from getting soupy.  Next, invest in a food processor!!  This will save so much time as far as the chopping up of the vegetables.  I personally have 2…a small one for the little stuff and a big one for the big stuff.  Be sure to get at least a 5-gallon bucket to mix everything into.  If you are making a huge batch where a 5-gallon bucket is not going to cut it, I suggest cleaning out your bathtub and mixing it in there.  I have found this to be a great method on mixing because as you are adding the ingredients, all the excess water drains out.  It may sound insane but trust me…I know what I’m doing here! 

 

Here is a little video on mixing in the tub!!

 

 

All the veggies get chopped.  You can use frozen or fresh, but fresh is preferred.  If you are using frozen veggies, be sure to thaw them overnight.  Cook the Quinoa, Pasta, Rice, Spelt, Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash.  Once you have everything chopped, cooked and drained, mix it up really good and add your dry ingredients last.  If you are using the bathtub to mix, I suggest you scoop it back into the 5-gallon bucket after mixing to be bagged up.  This will enable you to sit in front of the TV and sort of take a breather.  When bagging the CHOP, I like to use a 1/2 cup scoop.  I have 4 big birds and this allows me to get 4 meals out of a ba018ggie.  Each baggie consists of 6 tablespoons of CHOP.  Make sure the baggies are SNACK size…or better yet, if you have a vacuum sealer, this would be the ultimate course to take as suggested by Patricia!  Once you have all the CHOP bagged, put those little baggies into a 1-gallon freezer bag.  This prevents the mixture from getting freezer burned.  When rolling the baggies and sealing them, it is extremely important to get all of the air out of the baggie.  This also prevents freezer burn.  If you have help in the kitchen, it’s great!  One of you can bag it, the other can roll it.  Hence, this is why I host “CHOP Parties”.  First of all it’s a great way to get birdie friends together, enjoy a FEW hours with each other and get ideas as well.  Make sure you develop a list of ingredients, then split it by how many people are coming.  The list is so nobody brings the same thing as someone else.  Give each person their own list, agree on a date, time and where to meet.  Give everyone a specific job to do one person could chop stuff in the food processor while another cuts it up and prepares it for the processor…someone else can be in charge of cooking the grains and another can be in charge of chopping up the small stuff (like herbs)…the possibilities are endless!  Count how many little bags you have at the end and split it up amongst yourselves. Missi.Me.Cash.Chloe Just think of all the free time you and your birdie friends are going to have to play with your birds after this!  I am personally off the hook for the next 81 days after our last “CHOP Party”…Now my friend Missi and I have time to hangout together and play with our birds!!

 

EndNote: Last but not least!!!  When serving your birds CHOP be sure to add a nice nut mix such as Higgins Boca Nut Mix as well as a pellet food.  I personally like Hagen Pellets, they are small enough that the chop gets deposited on them nicely so with every bite I know my bird is getting complete nutrition.  My personal feeding regimen consists of 1 tablespoon of Chop, 2 tablespoons Hagen Pellets, and 1 tablespoon of Higgins Boca Nut Mix.  This gets eaten up completely by noon if I feed at 10:00am. and then again at around 9:00pm.  The other thing I like to do is place my birds food bowls in different parts of their cages.  This provides a sort of search and reward enrichment excercise.  This provides excellent foraging skills as well as excercise without them even knowing it.  It will help build muscles and provide total climbing throughout their cages.  Be sure not to put your birds favorite treat into the CHOP (such as sunflower seeds, pine nuts, etc.).  These must always be saved for the training!  Trust me…you’ll make a bigger impact with your bird when he’s focused on getting done what he has to do to get what he wants!

For more information on the concept of CHOP, please visit Patricia Sund’s “Parrot Nation”.  There is tons and tons of information there.  Don’t hesitate to ask questions as well…they are always welcomed.

Happy Chopping!!!