Treats and Snacks

Trail Mix Treat

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20120808-103344.jpgThis isn’t something you would want to feed your birds a large amount of everyday, but it can certainly be a healthy treat!

 

1 cup Sunflower seeds

1/2 cup Coconut chips

1/2 cup Goji berries

1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup Sesame seeds

3/4 cup Flax seeds

3/4 cup Chia seeds

2 tsp powdered green Stevia herb

2 tsp Cinnamon

 

Soak the sunflower & pumpkin seeds for 8 hours, drain.

Grind the flax seeds & sesame seeds (I use a chopping attachment for a hand blender, but you can also use a coffee grinder that’s never been used for coffee).

Soak the ground flax & whole chia seeds in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes.

Mix everything together.

 

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Spread onto parchment paper lined dehydrator trays. Scoring the trail mix treat will help it dehydrate faster and make it easier to break it into squares.

Dehydrate for 2 hours at 155 degrees, then reduce temp to 110 degrees. Dehydrate for up to another 22 hours. Flipping the trail mix treat after the first 8-12 hours of dehydrating and removing the parchment paper will help it dry more thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Cookie or Breadstick Treats

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Our birds have almost finished up the first batch of these. For the next batch I will be adding a small amount of beets or blueberries to add some color. The birds didn’t seem to notice that these breadsticks look a bit plain, but a little color would help jazz them up a bit.

 

2.5 cups raw buckwheat groats

1 cup raw in hull sesame seed

1/2 cup raw chia seeds

1.5 tbsp raw green stevia herb

2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or ginger or curry (or whatever flavors your bird prefers)

 

Rinse and soak buckwheat and sesame for 30 minutes, drain. Put all ingredients except chia in a food processor until a dough or very thick batter forms. You can add very small amounts of water if needed to process. Stir in the chia seeds whole and allow the mixture to thicken until it’s the consistency of dough.

  • For breadsticks: Use your palms to roll out a portion of dough (like making a snake with play dough – cooking can be fun!). Lay these “snakes” on the parchment paper lined dehydrator trays and smoosh them flat with your fingers. You want them to be about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.
  • For cookies: Use your palms to roll a tablespoon portion of dough into a ball, then flatten the balls onto the parchment paper lined dehydrator trays until they are about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.

Dehydrate for 8-12 hours, then flip and dehydrate up to a full 24 hours total.

You can make just about any flavor with this recipe. This can also be a good recipe for experimenting with different flavors to see what your bird enjoys most. You can even add small seeds on top of the breadsticks or a piece of almond on top of the cookies.

These treats are far from being nutritionally complete, but they are certainly healthy enough that your bird can have a small amount each day. The chia seeds are full of antioxidants and omega-3. The in-hull sesame seeds add extra calcium.

Herbs and Supplements

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Dehydrating can be especially helpful if your bird has an illness or condition that would benefit from the addition of certain foods, supplements, or herbs to their diet. Recently on the EssentialBird Group we were discussing adding dandelion greens to the diet of a bird with kidney problems. Below is a sample recipe that might be useful if a bird won’t consume dandelion greens whole.

 

30-50% dandelion

20-30% berries, frozen/thawed is fine

20-30% soaked grains and seeds

 

 

To the above ingredients you should add the following:

Enough green powdered stevia herb to make it taste just barely sweet to you. This will help mask the bitterness of the greens.

Any spices your bird likes. You can even change it up each time you make a batch, but ginger with cinnamon are the favorites at my house and combine well with both sweet & hot spices. Go light on the spices or just choose 1 or 2 until you know what your bird prefers. I might use a combo of spices like:

  • curry, chili powder, garlic, or ginger
  • cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, or cardamom

 

This same idea can be used for any herbs or foods that will be beneficial for your bird. Most birds seem to readily eat crackers and serving your bird their supplements in this way makes it more like a treat than medicine.

Healthy Fruit Leather

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Berries are the healthiest of fruits and this recipe can be especially useful for birds (like my umbrella cockatoo) who won’t eat their berries!

 

2 cups fresh or frozen berries

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1 small piece of ginger (optional, but my birds love ginger!)

 

Puree the berries and ginger. Mix in chia seeds and allow to sit for 30 minutes so the mixture will thicken. Line dehydrator trays with parchment paper and spread the mixture very thin onto the parchment paper. Dehydrate for 6-12 hours. Cut the fruit leather into small birdie sized pieces or get creative and cut it into strips, roll it up, and secure it with string, raffia or a toothpick.

Super Spiced Carrot Crackers

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This is one of the first recipes we made and is fairly simple. It’s a great recipe for birds who won’t eat whole carrots or kale! My birds love all the spices. This recipe can be used as a treat or as an occasional meal.

 

3 pounds carrot

2 zucchini

1 large bunch kale

3-4 cups fresh ground flax

5 inch piece of fresh ginger

1 cup hulled millet soaked overnight

3 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tbsp cinnamon

1tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tbsp stevia

 

Run everything through the food processor. The millet will likely stay whole and this is fine as it makes the food more visually appealing. Spread the mixture 1/4 inch thin onto parchment paper lined dehydrator trays. This recipe will fill a 5 tray Excalibur dehydrator. Dehydrate at 155 for 1-2 hours, then at 110 for up to another 22 hours.