The Talking Texan Parrot

"EAT YOUR CORN!"

Einstein talks a lot about eating corn! "Eat Your Corn" is one of his most popular videos. We are told by many fans that they can now get their children to eat their meals by imitating Einstein! "Eat Your Corn!"

Corn is a generic term Einstein uses for "food." We would feed her corn on the cob and say "corn". We would do this with carrots, broccoli, and any food we gave him. Corn was the first food word he learned. Whenever we fed him, he would say "Corn!" We would laugh and say, "Eat your corn!" Soon, he was telling us to "eat our corn," to "eat some corn," and "want some corn." These phrases stuck, and it became a part of our every day vernacular!

What does a parrot eat?

Einstein eats more than just corn! He eats a variety of beans, grains, legumes, fresh vegetables, some fruits, nuts, healthy seed. He also gets a healthy pelleted food to balance out his diet. I also sprout seeds and grains. Read Einstein's blog post for more information about sprouting.

Variety is the key when feeding parrots. He is not fed the same thing continually. They need variety for dietary reasons as well as emotional reasons. In the wild, the seasons change so they are not always eating the same thing year-round. The same should be true in captivity.

Einstein also enjoys protein food. Occasionally he will get a piece of chicken, he especially loves chicken bones and we will give him a chicken leg bone. Personally, I prefer to give him organic if at all possible. We make sure it is fully cooked and cooled. Most of the meat removed. Parrots love the bone marrow and will crack the bone to reach the marrow. Some worry about a shard of bone getting caught in their throat. Parrots are very effective eaters and it is not a concern.

African Grey parrots need to have some calcium in their diet also. Dark leafy green vegetable are a good plant based source of calcium. Low-fat or non-fat yogurt is also enjoyed by Einstein. A small nibble of cheese is fine. However, parrots are lactose intolerant, some dairy products such as whole milk is to be avoided.

Chop and Mash Method of Feeding Parrots

Parrots can live to be 60 to 100 years old. So, proper nutrition is very important. Years ago it was believed parrots just needed "bird seed." That's what people would feed the outdoor birds. However, outdoor birds enjoy a smorgasbord of other foods that nature provides. They get to forage and find foods that they need besides the seed in our backyard feeders.

Parrots in captivity need to be offered a variety of health foods. A captive parrot on a seed and peanut diet is like allowing your child a diet of French fries and candy. Malnutrition, disease, and early death are inevitable.

I first learned of the mash concept for feeding parrots from Sally Blanchard. It’s a technique of combining and cooking a variety of different beans, grains, pasta and vegetables and mashing them together so that the parrot cannot reject part of its diet. The parrot takes a bite of pasta for example and will consume part of a green bean in the process. Much like the way we might put zucchini in a lasagna so our kids will eat some healthy vegetables. Chop is basically the same concept, except it includes more vegetables. Chop is a time saver in that the vegetable are pre-chopped and ready to serve. Patricia Sund is responsible for the popularity of the Chop concept.

I have provided recipes for you to follow or use as a guide. Chop and Mash should really be thought of as more of a technique, rather than a recipe because the ingredients can and should varied.
There is much you can feed your parrot. Parrots enjoy you sharing your food with them. It is a wonderful bonding exercise. However, be careful that you share only healthy foods and not foods that are harmful, or lack nutritional value. Below is a list of what you can and cannot feed your parrot. This list is not complete, if you have a food item that you are unsure about you should ask your veterinarian or do not feed the food to your parrot. Portion size and moderation are important. One grape to a parrot is a serving, whereas we would eat a full bowl.

EINSTEIN'S FOOD LIST

NEVER FOODS!
These foods are to be avoided.

Alcohol
Avocado
Milk/Cream
Caffeinated beverages (coffee)
Chocolate
Seeds or pits (apple, peach, plum, cherry, other stone fruits)
Raw meat
Raw eggs
Mushrooms
Dried Beans (cooked beans are safe)
Raw white potatoes
Moldy or spoiled foods

Not recommended
Raw garlic
Raw Onions
Eggplant
Rhubarb
Ice cream
OCCASIONAL FOODS
When feeding human food,
use restraint and common sense.
Examples below:

Prepared foods high in FAT
Potato chips
Vegetables with butter or sauce
Fried foods
Fatty meat
Pizza
Pie Crust

Prepared foods high in SALT
Salted potato chips
Salted corn chips
Salted nuts
Salted crackers
Salted vegetables or meats
Many prepared foods such as microwave entrees
Salted popcorn
Bacon, ham and other cured meats

Prepared foods high in SUGAR
Cakes
Cookies
Sweetened juices
Sugary cereal
Sherbet
HEALTHY FOODS
This list is not complete, it is
simply a guide.


GRAINS
Spelt Berries
Kamut
Hulled Yellow Millet
Oat Groats
Quinoa (red or white)
Barley
Amaranth (soak or cook)
Buckwheat
Brown or white rice (sparingly)

LEAFY GREENS and VEGETABLES
Kale
Dandelion greens
Carrots (and carrot tops)
Turnip greens
Mustard greens
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Cauliflower
Kohlrabi
Zucchini
Tomatoes (No seeds, stems or leaves)
Summer Squash
Chayote squash
Cucumber
Green beans
Parsnip
Sweet Potato
Pumpkin
Endive
Escarole
Water cress
Bok Choy
Lettuce mix Dark Leafy Romaine
Jalapeño
Chili peppers
Cilantro
Bell Peppers
Turnip
Rutabaga
Celery
Cabbage*
Parsley*
Beets & beet greens*
Swiss chard*
collard greens*
radishes*
spinach*

FRUITS
Apple
Banana
Mango
Papaya
Cantaloupe
Apricot
Peach
Pears
Cranberry
Blueberry
Raspberry
Strawberry
Blackberry
Cherries (pitted)
Kiwi
Watermelon

NUTS
Almonds
Pine nuts
Pistachio
Walnuts
Pecans

LEGUMES
Split Peas
Green Lentils
French Lentils
Chick peas (Garbanzo's)
Adzuki

SEED
Canary
White Millet
Yellow Millet
Sunflower
Safflower
Fennel
Pumpkin
Flax
Spray Millet
Sesame Seeds
Hemp

DAIRY
Yogurt or cheese (Low-fat or Non-fat)
*Cabbage, parsley, beets & beet greens, swiss chard, collard greens, radishes, and spinach can be feed only in moderation because they contain oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance cause birds from properly absorbing calcium. They're also sources of vitamin A and other nutrients, just be sure the diet includes foods abundant in calcium, like carrots and almonds. Low oxalic acid greens like kale, mustard greens, & turnip greens are better choices.
Pellets
To round out your parrots nutritional needs, a well manufactured pelleted diet should also be offered. Ask your certified avian vet for a recommendation.
Click to view list
In this video, Einstein talks about all of his favorite foods!

Dairy

Parrots are lactose intolerant. Which means they do not have the enzymes required in their digestive system to digest the milk sugar, lactose. If a parrot drinks a small amount of milk, it will cause the foreign sugar (lactose), to draw fluids into the intestinal tract, resulting in diarrhea. Your parrots dropping will be very watery. DO NOT feed your parrot milk or milk that is for lactose intolerant people. Yogurt and cheese are fine, in small quantities. In the cheese and yogurt, making process the lactose is consumed by the good bacteria used to make the product.

Meats and Protein

Beef, chicken, lamb, eggs, and fish are all good sources of protein and can be fed to your parrot. Careful moderation and potion control are the key. Eggs are a good source of vitamin D. Salmon, and other fish contains omega 3 fatty acids. While these foods contain desired nutritional benefits, they are also high in saturated fats and cholesterol.

Egg shells from hardboiled eggs are a good source of calcium. Grind them up and add them to bird bread or other foods.

Hemp seed, quinoa, cooked lentils, and beans, sprouted grains, almonds, and kale are good vegetarian sources of protein and should be included.

This video shows Einstein enjoying a rare and special treat, a pulled pork sandwich!
Parrots are messy when they eat, and you will not be able to teach a parrot to be a neat eater. They were put on this earth to replenish the forest by dropping what they eat, in our homes our floor is a suitable substitute!

The web is a great source to search for other information about parrot nutrition. Please research everything well before offering a questionable food to your parrot. Best yet, if in Doubt, Don't Feed.

Einstein loves to talk about the foods he eats! This is a 6 minute video playlist of Einstein talking all about the many foods he enjoys eating.