My parrot, Phineas, is a very picky eater. But when I first brought home a bag of Lafeber’s Nutri-Berries three months ago, he went nuts for them! I was delighted and relieved to have found something he was crazy about. However, I quickly learned that keeping a regular supply of Nutri-Berries in the house is pretty expensive. Not only that, but I started wondering if I could create a more natural and personalized (Err, parrotalized?) version of the treats myself. I wasn’t thrilled with some of Lafeber’s ingredients like soy, maltodextrin, propylene glycol, and preservatives. Plus, no one knows my little feathered-bundle-of-joy’s haughty preferences better than I do!
With the recipe below, you can easily whip up some customized, nutritious, Nutri-Berry-like treats for your feathered friend or flock using the ingredients they need and enjoy most. Your pet(s) will love these beautiful homemade creations – and so will your wallet!
- 1 cup dried fruit (No sugar added!) Rasins, mango, papaya, apples, apricots, bananas, cranberries, blueberries, cherries and dates (or any combination of these) are classic favorites!
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- Pellets (Your parrot’s favorite daily pellets) This adds extra vitamins essential to your bird’s diet. I use ZuPreem Natural Premium Daily Bird Food in Phineas’ treats.
- 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (Not salted!)
- 1/2 cup crushed/slivered nuts (Not salted!) Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans and hazelnuts are always popular!
- 1/3 cup flax seeds
- 1/3 cup quinoa
- 1/3 cup hulled millet
- 1/4 cup flaked coconut (Not sweetened!)
- 3 tbsp sweetener (honey, molasses or agave nectar) For a healthier, less sweet treat, use 2 tbsp of applesauce and 1 tbsp of sweetener instead.
*Optional: 1/4 cup each of shelled sunflower seeds (Not salted!) and sesame seeds can also be added. If you add these, up to an extra tablespoon of sweetener will be needed.
*Peanuts are a controversial part of a parrot’s diet due to a dangerous fungus called “Aspergillus” which can grow in their shells (Learn more at Parrot Parrot). However, if you choose to use them, the safest option is to select unshelled, unsalted, human-grade peanuts (from the grocery store – not the pet store).
Grind or puree (depending on bird size) the dried fruit, rolled oats, pellets, pumpkin seeds and nuts in a blender or food processor. Mix thoroughly with all remaining ingredients. If mixture does not pack together easily, it may be necessary to stir in an additional drizzle of sweetener.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat hands in a thin layer of olive oil or coconut oil (or another bird-safe oil) and form mixture into tightly packed 1/2 to 1 inch balls. Place on a baking sheet that is either lightly greased or covered in parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Allow the treats to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet. They harden as they cool and will fall apart if moved while they are still warm! Store in an airtight container.
This recipe should make roughly 100 treats (depending on size, of course).
I hope you and your parrot enjoy these yummy treats as much as Phineas and I did! Bon appetit!