Saturday, August 23, 2014

Omelets are fun, homemade comfort food for exotic birds year round

Exotic birds are interesting, intelligent creatures and are no different than other species of captive pets in that they gain pleasure from eating.

It's not hard to get them to eat by and large, though some birds not exposed to a varied diet from a tender age can be quite fussy. Much like their exotic mammalian counterparts, they have preferences when it comes to food, and care needs the taken with their diet to ensure that it's balanced. Too much of one thing and not enough of another (including exercise) can lead to dietary deficiencies and obesity, which in turn can lead to illnesses like heart disease.

Fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts and some seeds are beneficial to maintain not only physical health, but when they are offered in ways that enable birds to forage, they gain the benefits derived from that activity. (Click here for more on creating edible foraging toys for birds.)

Omelets are a great way to include a bird's favorite grains, legumes, seeds, fruits and vegetables in one meal that is yummy, warm and offers the soft, moist texture that many birds crave. Texture is important, too.

These tasty warm offerings are a cinch to make, they're inexpensive and can be made ahead days in advance and refrigerated for convenience. The latter is a boon, especially if you have a caregiver come in to tend to your bird while you're away, as one of my clients does.

Starting with a fresh whole egg and the method below, you can whip up an omelet using your bird's favored ingredients or as some people do, use a product called Crazy Corn that's made with nuts, peppers, whole grains, pasta, papaya, banana chips, pineapple and vegetables, which is cooked first. (I've actually tasted a little precooked, refrigerated Crazy Corn to ensure it was still fresh for a bird before serving it to them, and it's easy to see why birds like it!)

Exotic Bird Omelet

Toss 1 clean egg, shell and all into bowl and crush up with a fork
To that, add 4 tablespoons of your bird's favorite veggies, fruit, cooked beans, legumes and grains (or cooked Crazy Corn Mix) and microwave for 4 minutes* or until puffy & cooked dry. Allow to cool until just slightly warm, cut into wedges and serve. Refrigerate leftover wedges in an airtight container and serve within 3-4 days. Reheat portions in the microwave 5-6 seconds, testing for hot spots to serve warm to your bird daily.

Crazy Corn or the other products in the company's line (click here for their website) can be cooked months in advance and frozen in small batches for ease of preparation.

*microwave wattages vary, this time is approximate so your appliance may take more or less time

Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer -- most recently as a regular contributor for The Ann Arbor News -- and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.

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