The Flash!

I got The Flash here.

I got The Flash here.

I have been a huge fan of Parrot Nation‘s own Patricia Sund, not only for her commitment to parrot nutrition but for creating the “Chop” concept and bringing it to the forefront of the avian community.  There are not a lot of people, that I know, who would put it all out there.  Trust me, writing a blog about your life and opening your veins to let them bleed onto a computer screen just to be judged is no easy feat.  I learned the hard way, it’s all about not taking things too harshly and with a grain of salt.  It can be however the most rewarding experience that a writer can experience.

Awhile back I ran into a “different” approach to “Chop” on Facebook, actually it was in the Parrot Pantry group to be exact.  Emily Swezey author of “Life from Scratch” came up with the idea of flash freezing chop.  This is geared to be an alternative to bagging chop, granted, at first I was a little reluctant but now I’m sold.  I am the type of person who usually lives by the “if it aint broke” modo especially when it came to “Chop” and feeding my birds, however I am open to improvements, especially when it comes to my animals.  A few weeks ago, I began pondering Emily’s logic and research.  I decided to contact a professor friend of mine back at Colorado State University Agricultural Experiment Station, who specializes in growing, harvesting and transportation of various crops (including most of the vegetable ingredients in “Chop”). I asked her about “The Flash” and if it was going to be more beneficial than what I was doing.  Indeed, I came to find out that flash freezing can be incredibly beneficial in saving the nutritional integrity of your ingredients.  It can also help the cell structure of the ingredients not lose their integrity (which causes them to become mushy) while frozen, then allow the thawing process to restore them to their “almost original form”.  Hmmm, I was intrigued.

chopimage2So, what’s “The Flash” freezing process you ask?  Ok….Let me tell you.  After you put in all of your various ingredients into your “Chop” mix, you take something shallow that will fit in your freezer (I used a casserole dish).  Spread your “Chop” into the dish and place the dish into the freezer.  Wait about two hours and comeback.  You will notice that there will be a nice sheen of ice crystals throughout your “Chop”.  Now this is where it gets good.  The next thing you need to do is grab a spoon and begin breaking the “Chop” apart.  It’s very similar to fluffing rice in a rice cooker.  After the fluffing is done, you simply pour the frozen product into your freezer containers.  I used small individual freezer Tupperware and I also used a large freezer Tupperware container because I wanted to see if there would be a difference. I will report there was no difference in the consistency nor the quality of product after using both for four weeks.  I even put some in traditional freezer bags to see if that would make a difference.  Nope.  With this experimental batch, I only made ten quarts, simply because I was not sure how it was going to work. But it worked out marvelously!

How do I feed? In the morning and evening both Dexter and Cooper get a tablespoon and a half, while little Hugo (our lovebird) gets a teaspoon.  This is the kicker, the birds love the new method of pulling it right out of the freezer and into their bowls.  The consistency is crunchy and eventually thaws into something totally different (the thaw only takes about 15-20).  As we all know, birds love novelty and anything that is a bit off the beaten path. The bagging method of “Chop” without “The Flash” involved doesn’t really allow to add fruits to your mix because.  However with “The Flash” method, you can flash freeze your “freezing friendly fruits” separately and then add them into the containers you feed your birds right out of the freezer.  Talk about saving time, if I can just pull it out of a container, scoop fruits and veggies into the bowl and place it in my bird’s cage for a couple of hours, until they are finished ravaging it, then why the hell not. When fed the birds would eat for a bit then give up, with this method I am happy to report, it’s like having a two course meal in one bowl.

Exciting right?  Okay, maybe only for us “bird folk” but taking a method and adding a twist to keep our birds happy is worth it in my opinion.  Before you abandoned all of you know about “Chop” I still recommend alternating between the original bagged method and “The Flash” because just as I said…..variety is the spice of life!

WWSJDI think it’s such an exciting time in the parrot community! We can all share ideas and make changes to existing formats to help suit our needs.  I have referred to Patricia Sund as the Steve Jobs of the avian community, and I stand by those words.  Without her Parrot Nation blog and her conceptualization of her own “Chop” mix formula, we would not be having these conversations today. I also would not have had the courage to begin Parrot Earth and write about the birds that I love so much.  I’m also impressed with Emily Swezey for bringing us a different view-point regarding flash freezing fresh parrot foods and “The Flash” method.  She had the gumption to see “Chop” a bit differently and try to create her own that would work for her household.  Good job Emily.

Whatever your methods for feeding your birds are, remember who has paved the way for your journey into aviculture, tell them how much you appreciate their accomplishments and look to the future.  Because with a world of innovative people the parrot nutrition train is picking up steam and who knows where it will go!

Please Sir, I Want Some More…

There is something in our society that is called fame.  Fame can be the most wonderful thing in the world, and also can be the most detrimental.  Media in any realm will build you up, and with our societies need to break you down, eventually slap you in the face, and wait for your media demise.  Lady Gaga named an entire album after the “Fame Monster”.  It’s amazing how people feel the need to attack other’s without genuine cause or feeling of remorse when all is said and done.  Just because our social construct brings you closer to people in this day of technology, it does not give you the right to demean and insult someone that you do not know.  “Knowing” someone is understanding their intentions, and being able to describe their personal character from first hand experience.  As bloggers, we put ourselves out there on the main stage with spotlight shining and the world to see.  Unfortunately this can be the double edged sword that you don’t expect.  Readers will not only critique your work, but will also dissect your grammar, spelling, and basic writing skills.  It’s a slippery slope.  I believe anyone who has a blog should be commended for their courage, and convictions for putting it out there.

 

Click here for Fame.

A fellow blogger, and friend Patricia Sund got criticized for her “Chop” concept, and was accused of several things; everything from not knowing her nutritional facts to saying that “Chop” could replace pellets.  They also say it’s all grains, blah blah blah, I actually don’t want to get into too many details, because it gives this naysayer critic power.  I also don’t want to give her ridiculous statements any validation.

That is anything that can be further than the truth.  Now, this happened a few days ago, and she responded to her critics, heck we even had a little dialogue regarding the deal, and I had to add my two cents and tell her how appreciative I am for the “Chop” concept. I being me, stewed on it a bit.  I have a very outspoken and protective personality, so I decided to write about it.  Sometimes when you are out in the public eye, it’s lonely as hell.  People think that they know you, and make assumptions about your person.  You may be thinking, “well isn’t your blog just about birds”, well yeah, but there are more people in this world than you would think, who happen to own parrots.  My blog has been read across the globe, and it’s kinda scary, and invigorating at the same time.  It makes you realize the social responsibility and the microscope that you are under.

“Why would you put yourself out there?”, is what I was asked by a friend that was interested in beginning a blog.  “I hope that someone can learn from my mistakes, and skip those wrong steps that I have made in the process.  We learn more from our mistakes than we do our successes sometimes, and it helps to learn from others mistakes too.”, is how I responded.  It’s great to help people and love what you do.

I know a woman here locally in Washington, that runs a rescue, and she reached out to me via email, asking about “Chop”, and what I thought.  I of course raved about it, and told her the story of Dexter, who would eat nothing except pellets, dried bananas, and grapes when I got him.  She said she had three of the most malnourished parrots that she had seen in her 15 years experience of working with birds, and wondered if I thought that “Chop” would help.  I have never claimed to be a medical expert, so I referred her to the  avian vet she was affiliated with.  I provided her with all the links and videos to chop that I had seen, and asked her to keep in touch and let me know how everything went.  Six months later, I almost had forgotten about her, she emailed me a progress report.  “The Military Macaw and two Yellow Fronted Amazons that were so malnourished, are now doing great.  Feathers are growing in and they seem to be feeling so much better.  With all of the birds that I care for, the chop has been the easiest way to feed them fresh stuff every day instead of just pellets.  Thanks again for your input.” is what she sent me.  I of course could not take the credit, I just referred her to “Chop”.

I do want to say, I know there are other ways of feeding your birds healthy things, like “mash” and some people cooking for their birds daily.  Good for you, I’m sure that your birds are very happy, and are the better for it.  However, (I have not seen them) I would appreciate the step by step videos that Pat put together, and all of the hard work she has done to get the idea of birds having a better diet, out there in the world.  It’s funny because, she’s not out there to toot her own horn, she is actually out there just trying to do something for birds.  The greater good.  If your bird could ask “what have you done for me lately”, what would your response be?

 

Ingredients in this batch of Chop: (click here for blog post and ingredients.)

This was my latest batch of “Chop”, and it keeps getting easier and better with time.  It has not only taught me about nutrition for the birds, but also has taught me about some nutrition for humans too.  I always say the birds eat a lot healthier than we do, but hey, I’m learning about things more than the meat and potatoes I was raised on.

Dexter and Cooper wait every morning for breakfast, like Oliver Twist saying, “please sir, I want some more“!

Every morning I wake up and uncover the boys, they are ready and waiting for their “Chop” or “Teenie Weenie Beanies”.  Some mornings are much more “urgent” than others, they always have pellets, but it’s the “Chop” they want.  After all the hard work that goes into one batch, I am glad that they like something healthy.  It’s gives me pride they like something that I work hard on.  Now I know how choosy Jif moms feel.  I kid.

The fact that Dexter will now try new foods, and loves fresh veggies is the remarkable thing.  I constantly worried about his nutrition, and the fact he was so picky.  It took me several attempts to get him to try it, and understand it was a food source, but when he did, BAM he was hooked.  Now he is nutritionally better than the day that I brought him home.  It’s amazing how a little extra added nutrition can bring your birds to life.  I believe it has a large part to do with the “Chop” concept.  If you haven’t tried it for your birds, give it a go, you may be surprised at how with pellets, nuts, sprouts and “Chop” (and Teenie Weenie Beanies, but that’s another post) will help enrich your feathered companions diet even more… and when it works, I will be doing the “told you so” dance.

Just a thanks, and a little homage.

I had an in-depth conversation with someone over this past weekend at work.  She asked me about my blog, and upcoming website, and just “what it is all about”.  I think that when someone asks me questions about what I am doing on the side besides managing a sports bar and grill, I look for the opportunity to educate them about the world of aviculture.  Granted some people walk away and think I am a “bird nut”, but I guarantee when someone who they know gets a bird and has a question, I am the person that they get referred to.  Now in this conversation I was explaining the “camaraderie” that bird folk have, and she asked about competition.  I can only speak for myself, but I really don’t feel  a real competitive vibe within the blogs, and websites of the world.

Click here for Blog.

I started reading Patricia Sund’s blog, and I fell in love with the whole thing.  I have always lived my life with the idea that life should be lived with paying compliments where they are due.  I am new to the blogging world, and if it were not for Pat, I would not have had the inspiration and guts to throw my hat in the ring of online opinions.

I got my photo of Patricia Sund at here.

I have gone to Patricia for advice on various things, and she has been so kind, and taken the time to actually help me out.  You have to understand that Pat is kind of a celebrity in this little world of ours.  When I say “little” I mean, since youtube, and the internet, the seas and continents don’t seem so huge after all.  Pat’s video of a little unknown penguin went viral on youtube, and was on the today show.  I always said you are no one, until you have to get an entertainment attorney, an agent, and your first stalker.  Pat has not let her “fame” go to her head, and remains very humble and appreciative of her success as a blogger, and let’s not forget her column in Bird Talk “A Memo to Parker and Pepper”.

Let’s talk about the latest installment on Parrot Nation, it’s a video collaboration of people all over the world (heck there are even a couple shots that we sent her) making chop (chop is a food concept that has also gone viral that Pat came up with), and the sensation and diet changing concept for parrots all over the world.  Because of this concept, parrots are being given the chance to have a better diet, and quality of life.

So if you have a chance, stop by Parrot Nation (it’s on my blog roll) and check it out.  You will see just what I am talking about.

As I have always said…Give compliments where they are due, and pay a little homage to the people that inspire you.  It’s always great to hear something nice.

Patricia, thanks for being such a true inspiration to a guy that wanted to get back into writing, and who happened to be new to the , what used to be abyss, world of aviculture.