7 tasty homemade parrot foods your bird will love

We all know bird food can get expensive, especially when considering how much food is wasted on the bottom of the cage! Birds can be real messy eaters!

We put together a collection of homemade parrot foods recipes for you to save your money and make your bird happy. A varied diet provides the mental stimulation these intelligent birds need to stay healthy and avoid nutrition-related problems such as feather picking, egg binding, and obesity.

And always remember to keep these good habits for the health of your bird:

  • Offer fresh water every day.
  • Provide a variety of fresh foods every day.
  • Give fresh fruits and vegetables every day – Remove from the bowl after 3 hours.
  • Clean all food and water dishes daily.

1 – Sweet Potato Balls

Sweet Potato Balls - Bird treat
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup diced apples
  • 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oatmeal, corn flakes, granola, or similar cereal
  1. Pierce the skin of the sweet potato several times with a paring knife or skewer. Place into the microwave, and cook on High power until the potato is tender, 5 to 9 minutes, turning the potato over halfway through cooking. When done, allow cooling until cool enough to handle.
  2. Peel the potato and place it into a large mixing bowl. Add the vegetables, banana, raisins, apples, and oatmeal. Mix using an electric mixer at high speed until the vegetables have been reduced to tiny pieces and the mixture is thoroughly combined. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water until soft enough to roll into balls.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Roll the mixture into marble-sized balls and place it onto a baking sheet. Feed Polly a couple now, then place the baking sheet into the freezer and freeze solid. Once frozen, remove treats from parchment paper and store them in a resealable plastic bag. Defrost treats before serving. 10 seconds on the microwave should do it.

Originally posted by Sandi on All Recipes.

2 – Veggies and Grains Chop Mix – 1#

This is healthy food to serve your birds every morning! For this chop mix, you can add as many ingredients as you want, just make sure to select at least a couple of veggies and one option of grain/pasta/beans.

Do not use canned foods as they harbor too much sodium for parrots. Purchase raw, fresh vegetables and if you decide to use any of the pasta listed – go easy on it as these are refined foods.

  • Veggies
    • Calabaza squash
    • Carrots (with tops)
    • Kale
    • Turnips
    • Beets
    • Cilantro
    • Broccoli
    • Red and green bell peppers
    • Red chili peppers
    • Zucchini
    • Sprouts
    • Wheat Germ
    • Pot Barley
    • Bok Choy
    • Swiss Chard
    • Snap Peas
    • Cauliflower
  • Grains
    • White, red, and black quinoa
    • Brown rice
    • Barley
  • Beans or spiral veggie pasta

Chop all veggies and drain thoroughly before mixing them with the other ingredients, especially if packaged for freezing.

Once your mix is complete – it is time to begin bagging. Depending on your flock size, you may want to use either sandwich-sized or snack-sized Ziploc bags. Once you have bagged your individual portion bags based on your flock size, place those bags into gallon freezer bags and place them in the freezer. You can now remove one bag a day
for defrosting and serving, whether you offer chop once or twice a day.

Take the bag out the night before and let it defrost overnight and serve the next day!

If you cut finer, it is good because it helps getting rid of pellets that your bird for some reason is avoiding eating. For instance, I know a Sulphur-crested cockatoo that will only eat green pellets if they’re disguised among other food. Chopping a fine mix over their pellets will help with that.

It is just fine if you end up with some chunks that are larger than others, especially if you are feeding a flock that has more than one species or size of parrot. It is also
acceptable to use seeds that were inside of pumpkins or squash, just rinse, remove the pulp, drain and dry and then add to the mix.

Originally posted by Patty Jourgensen on Bird Tricks

What to add on my parrot chop mix?

Do you have a mix of sizes? dietary needs? eating habits? You might want to make more than one batch or make one that is a base and add extras for the different needs of your birds.

If you’re not sure what to add to your parrot chop mix, check the parrot chop builder guide bellow:

Parrot Chop Builder guide

The don’ts of a chop

by Emily Swezey

  • Don’t cook any more of the ingredients than you have to.
  • Don’t add dry seeds- besides flax and chia- all seeds should be sprouted.
  • BUT if you are trying to convert a seed addict to chop, mixing chop with their seeds can get them starting at least tasting chop.
  • Don’t add a ton of fruit.
  • Don’t give up if it’s too wet-add more dry stuff! 
  • Don’t give up if they don’t like it the first time! Try feeding it again; sometimes if you spread it out in a thin layer or mound it up or change the feeding container, that’s all it takes. If all else fails, make it into birdie bread.
  • Don’t let the seeds/grains/legumes outnumber the veggies, it should at least be equal to a 1:1 ratio by volume.

3 – Veggies and Grains Chop Mix – 2#

If you’re still uncertain, follow this easy recipe from Shawna.

  • 1 to 2 orange veggies (carrots and sweet potatoes, but you can also use squash and pumpkin)
  • 1 dark leafy green vegetable (kale, turnip greens, broccoli, collards)
  • 3 to 5 “other” veggies (bell peppers, beets, cauliflower)
  • 1 grain, rotated* (quinoa, wild rice) OR
  • 1 legume, rotated (green beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lentils, mung, adzuki, etc)
  • 1 fruit, optional (blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, cranberries, etc.) 

* Grain, Rotated. There is no need to always add grain to your chop. The reason for this is that they get grains in their pellets, in their bird bread, and some of the cookable mashes. So it seems largely a waste of space. Choose either a grain or a legume.

Originally posted by Shawna on Parrots123

4 – Green Smoothie

This one might make a lot of mess, but it’s a great idea on a hot Summer day. Thorns and Myrtles shared this smoothie idea that consists on blending pellets, veggies and organic juice to get a nice refreshment for your parrot!

  • About 1/2 cup Roudybush pellets (“crumbles”), soaked
  • 2 bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 a mango, peeled and pitted
  • Kale, spines removed
  • Brussels sprouts, chopped
  • Some homegrown Bright Lights Swiss chard
  • Apple Cranberry fruit juice (100% juice, no artificial coloring, no added sweeteners, etc.)
  • Filtered water
  1. Step one is to soak the pellets until they are about the same consistency as oatmeal.
  2. Throw the mush on the blender and add all other ingredients on top. Add the juice/water until you get the consistency you wish to have.
  3. You can also freeze it on ice cube trays and serve it as a popsicle like snack.

Originally posted by Thorns and Myrtles at Budgies Makes Three.

You can make a simpler smoothie version of this recipe by only mixing pellets with juice. Many parrots may find that pellets are too dry and uninteresting. To spruce things up, try adding some water or fruit juice to the pellets. Birds who enjoy dipping their pellets may be less inclined to make “parrot soup” if their pellets are already moistened a bit!

5 – Pellet Paste

This bird food recipe is good for smaller birds that are getting used to a pelleted diet after being only fed with seeds.

  • Seed mix (Sweet Harvest Budgie mix)
  • Pellets (Roudybush Maintenance Mini)
  1. Get some dye-free pellets and crush them in a coffee blender or food processor until they are dust.
  2. Then mix 50/50 with a basic (preferably, dye-free) seed mix. Before you feed, add a small amount of water to make a thick paste. 
  3. If you get the consistency right, you can make pellet/seed balls, or even “seed cakes” with the stuff, or the pellet paste can be fed ‘as is’. 

Even if your bird doesn’t eat the crushed/wet pellets, so long as your bird will dig through the stuff to find the seeds to eat them they will still be tasting the pellets. Do this for about a week.

Originally posted by Monica MC at Parrot Forums.

6 – Blueberry Sweet Potato Parrot Treats

  • 1 cup of a healthful flour mixture (for this batch I used a mix of quinoa, coconut, buckwheat, and almond flours)
  • 2 cups mashed sweet potato (alternative: pumpkin and butternut squash)
  • 1/2 cup of mashed blueberries
  1. Mix up the ingredients each time, I alternate the base between sweet potato, pumpkin, and butternut squash. Add different veggies, leafy greens, or berries.
  2. Bake 25 minutes at 350 in greased shallow glass baking pan (organic extra virgin coconut oil)
  3. Cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces, or use a cookie-cutter. Flip them over and bake the bottoms for another 10 minutes.

Originally posted by Elle on the Happy Cockatoo

7 – Birdie Bread #1

Patty from Bird Tricks demonstrates how to make homemade birdie bread for your parrot (of any size!) and how to progress in your birdie bread to encourage your bird to eventually consume raw veggies.

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 tablespoon of grated cuttlebone/mineral block
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped kale
  1. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients:
  2. Beat together 2 eggs, 1/2 non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup applesauce
  3. Add to dry mixture
  4. Mix/combine.
  5. Add 1 mashed banana.
  6. Added 1/2 cup fresh peas and cut green beans, and a 1/2 cup of finely chopped kale (use a food processor to make this good and tiny!)
  7. Cook at 375 degrees for 28-32 minutes. Let cool to room temperature in the center of your bread before feeding it to your bird.

7 – Birdie Bread #2

  • 1 cup each of barley, oat, rice, and buckwheat flours
  • 1 cup Harrisons super fine pellets
  • 1 cup each pureed strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1 32 ounces can organic sweet potato or pumpkin or 3-4 baked sweet potatoes (no skins)
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 2 eggs (whole – but the shells should be ground – this is for extra calcium)
  1. Grind pellet which can be used for part of the base
  2. Puree fruits and vegetables to be added to the mix.
  3. Bakeware is greased with coconut oil and cooked at 350 degrees until thoroughly cooked (will depend on how thick you pour it into the cooking dish) but still moist.
  4. Once cooled, the bread is cut into individual portions for the size of your flock and then frozen.

Originally posted at Florida Parrot Rescue

Bonus treat 1#: Fresh Mango Salsa

Mix mango, strawberry, cucumber, red bell pepper, cilantro, and fresh-squeezed lime for a refreshing mango salsa for your parrots!

Recipe from The Happy Cockatoo

fresh mango salsa

Bonus treat 2#: Bird Christmas Tree Idea

With toothpicks, put together broccoli stems to build a Christmas tree-like shape. Use bell pepper to wrap the tree around. You can cut a start from the same bell pepper.

Idea from Pet Dyi

More recipes like this one can be found at this link.

Please check our safe bird food post.