Ask Lafeber

Question:

May 26, 2021

Picky Parrot webinar – feeding chop


Hello, I’m trying really hard to make my African Grey to eat her chop, also adding some crushed pellets and things that she likes but it doesn’t work… as she has her pellets bowl always available… should I not give her her pellets in the morning? I don’t want her to starve… thanks!


Answer:

Hi Patricia,

“Chop” has become a popular trend among pet bird owners. But there are a few things to know about it. The idea of offering a “chop” mix of veggies, greens and fruits, is based on getting a bird to try these foods. Some birds will eat a chopped up mix more readily than larger pieces of the same foods. However, “chop” has evolved into a notion that it is a “must feed” and that it can replace a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets, if the right ingredients are used. This is an all too common misconception – “chop” should be considered one of the foods that make up 20% of the daily diet, and should never be fed instead of a scientifically formulated daily diet. Our Vets and nutrition experts have explained that the nutritional value of fresh foods will vary greatly based on how and where it was grown & harvested, and how long it has been at the store or when it was frozen. So a “chop” diet can be very inconsistent where nutrition is concerned.

If your Grey doesn’t like chop, it may very well be that she doesn’t like the way the food is prepared and mixed. Birds have individual tastes just like we do. Some birds prefer raw foods, others prefer steamed or cooked. Some will eat large pieces, others want a fine chop. Some like grated fruits and veggies. Some like all of the above, but it depends on what the food is. Maybe they love raw green beans, but only like cooked carrots. Maybe they want their veggies mixed with cooked rice or pasta. Some birds seem to not like fruit, but if you wash it thoroughly and leave the rind or peel on it, the bird loves it. Greys are often this way. The reason is that some birds hate to hold sticky or wet foods. I always hear about birds hating bananas. But if you slice the banana in rings, with the peel intact, the bird is very likely to try it. Mine love the ends – they hold it like a cup and dig out the banana. I had a macaw who wouldn’t touch a certain brand of banana. Upon research, I found that brand sourced their bananas from a different country. After testing different brands, I discovered he would only eat bananas from one particular country. We know our birds are smart, but we still tend to underestimate them. Try different ways of preparing & presenting fresh foods and see if she is more receptive. Greys often do not like to get messy, so my guess is chop is too messy for her because it tends to get stuck to the beak.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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