With pellets, seed, fruit and veg, and a little extra protein as the basis of the diet, treats should not take up too much space in the menu. Many owners like to prepare dishes for their birds, however, and some of these are very simple and satisfying to make.
If buying treats rather than making them, avoid anything with added sugar or colouring.
Peanut butter cones – the easiest of them all. Simply mix unsalted, sugar-free peanut butter (or grind your own peanuts to make a homemade version) with seeds and larger nut chunks, and press the mixture onto and into a pine cone.
Yellow-headed Amazon enjoying a snack
Salad – simply chop four types of veg and two types of fruit from the lists given in the fresh food section of this guide. Mix on a handful of sprouted mustard or cress (or chopped dandelion leaves), and stir on a handful of seed until everything is nicely coated. The salad will perish quickly, so only make enough for one sitting.
Bread/cake – you will find all manner of bird bread and bird cake recipes online, but should be mindful of unhealthy shortcuts. Most bread mixes will contain salt, as will most ready-made loaves. Some mixes and loaves have a high sugar content too. The healthiest and easiest method is to mix 100g quality organic flour (wheat, rye, oat or buckwheat) with grated carrot or pumpkin/squash and chopped broccoli or kale (100g combined weight), and a handful of mixed seeds and chopped nuts. Bind it together with a raw egg, and pour into a small greased and floured cake or bread tin. Bake in a medium oven for 15-20 minutes. When cooled, slice and serve (or freeze the slices). It will keep fresh in a fridge for up to a week.
Sun Conure weighing up a treat
Seed Bells – a shop-bought one is ok as long as it doesn’t contain the usual baddies of sugar, colouring, etc. For homemade treats you will need metal kebab sticks or skewers, or lengths of wire, to bake the mixture on. Take 150g parrot seed mix and mix in one beaten egg and a tablespoon of organic wheat, rye or oat flour. Divide the mix into four and dollop it rough rectangles on four pieces of oiled and floured greaseproof paper. Place the stick or skewer on each rectangle of mix and roll it into a cylinder shape, using the paper. Place the coated sticks on a floured baking sheet and bake in a medium oven for 10-15 minutes.
For information on seed containers and seed pests, see our Budgerigar Guide.