Guest Author - Heather Thomas
Autumn brings out the baker in me. Luckily for our birds, in my attempts to avoid too many baked snacks for myself, I have resorted to creating healthy bird treats. Stick with in-season and organic fruits, vegetables, and whole foods to maximize nutrition.
Dried Fruit and Vegetable Treats
Apple, cored and sliced (so the hole is in the center)
Bell pepper, sliced into rings
Uniformly slice all produce. Place in a dehydrator until thoroughly dry. String onto natural twine and simply tie onto your birdís cage. You can also use dried fruit and vegetables on foraging kabobs designed for birds. Other produce that can work includes small squash, mango, and papaya. Be sure to make a hole in the center of the food prior to drying to make stringing possible.
Sandwich Cutout Cookies
-Two or more slices of whole-grain bread
-Natural Peanut Butter
Use cookie cutters to cut bread into desired shapes, you will need two of each shape to make the sandwich cookies. Place in 200-degree oven on the middle rack until bread is dried through and crunchy. The time will vary depending on the size of your cutout. Allow bread to cool completely on a baking rack. Spread one side of the treat with natural peanut butter and top with another piece of dried bread. CautionóBe sure to use quality whole grain bread without added high fructose corn syrup or additives. If cookie cutters yield too large a cookie, use an item such as a shot glass to cut the bread and reduce the size of your finished product.
Greens, chopped finely
Apple, chopped finely
Remove the top of the pumpkin, like you are carving a jack-o-lantern. Scoop all the seeds and flesh into a bowl. Add greens, sprouts, and apple to the seeds and pumpkin flesh. Mix to combine. Stuff the mixture back into the pumpkin and give to your bird. Remove any leftovers after 4 hours to avoid bacterial growth. Feel free to change the filling to suit your birdís likes and dislikes. Also, you can use a food processor to incorporate the greens so that it is more difficult for your bird to pick them out and discard. However, if you do use a food processor, do not process the pumpkin seeds; your bird will enjoy them most if they are whole.
Birds enjoy interesting food and it keeps their minds and beaks busy and entertained. A busy bird is less likely to indulge in undesirable behavior.