Birdie Muffins

A few weeks ago we took our lovebird, Ray, to the vet for his annual checkup. We don't actually take all the birds each year, but rather cycle one bird in each year. It's pretty expensive and, unless there seems to be something wrong, every few years per bird seems just fine.

As always my veterinarian, Dr. Dustin, gave me the pellet speech. If you have a bird you totally know what I am talking about. "Pellets are much better for the bird because they provide 100% of the nutrients that they require and they will live longer, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Now I love Dr. Dustin.  Honestly, I do. I love everyone at Bay Area Bird Hospital and consider myself blessed to have such a great avian vet in my city. However, I do not want to feed my birds pellets. It's not that they are too expensive. I would pay any price if I meant it would keep my birds healthy. The fact of the matter is, none of my birds like pellets. I don't blame them. I tried them and they taste horrible. I wouldn't want to eat them either. I have tried all of them on the market and whether they are sunny fruit flavored or summer garden delight, they taste like cardboard. Even Wild & Spicy didn't get by flock going. (Yes, that is a real flavor.)  I have mixed them into vegetables and fruit; hidden them in seed; and tried to make them fun by hiding them for my birds to discover. No interest. I even bought birdie muffin mix and baked for them. What do you think happened? Well, look at the picture. They taste exactly like they look. They were gross.

They say that pellets provide the exact number of nutrients birds require for a healthy life and I am sure they do. I have tried to tell Max, Ray, Billy and Mojoe that but it went about as far as telling a kid to eat liver because it's good for them. I am fully aware that my birds aren't children, but they still can taste. They are are also very expressive when they like something. Max purrs when he sees a blueberry and Mojoe can hardly wait to get to his morning breakfast of Italian Parsley and quinoa. They may not be children, but they are my kids. I know what they like.

There are countless articles on best practices to convert your birds to pellets all of which, in my opinion, are just ways to force your bird into eating them. Given the choice the bird is not willingly going to eat these things - period. I could decide I want to feed Joey pellets, too, so he could live longer, but I don't think it would make him very happy. I certainly wouldn't be joining him in that little experiment.

So, why am I ranting about all this? Well, because I really started to feel guilty about not being a good provider for my birds. It didn't matter that in addition to seed I gave them fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked them grains and gave them vitamin supplements. I still felt like I was doing something wrong. Then I started thinking about how hard it must be to be a parent of real children. With all the dos and don'ts floating around out there how does one make the right decisions? It must be a total nightmare. I asked my friend, who's a mom, about this and she said, "You do your best with the information you have and follow your heart. You will do what is right." That was the wisest advice I have received in a long time.

On my follow up visit with Ray, I asked my vet to check his weight and she remarked how healthy he was, how beautiful his feathers were, and what a wonderful disposition he had. In short, he's a pretty amazing bird. I noticed she stopped pushing pellets after she told me that. I guess I am doing something right after all.

There are always going to be things I should or shouldn't do, but I am just going to do my best and follow my heart. I think we all should.


Shelly- Mom Files June 9, 2011 at 5:16 AM  

You know although our pets are not real children we still feel the same for them. We do the best we can and that is all that matters. There are plenty of things that are so good for my kids that they don't like or don't get enough of. They are still happy, healthy, well-rounded braniacs. I can truly say that I have never seen a person bake muffins for birds before! You are a GREAT pet parent. I know your feathered babies appreciate you :)

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About Sean & Joey

Joey and I are just a couple of guys living in San Francisco. I love cooking and we both like trying new things. Planning our meals is one of our "together" things. I hope you enjoy our blog! - Sean


This blog is dedicated to the two most important people in my life - my mom, Ernee Jean O'Brien, and my partner Joey Concepcion. They both have showered me with unconditional support and love and have always encouraged me to be myself. I will always miss my mom and I don't know what I would do without Joey.

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