There is no real recipe for making chop, it’s all about making food in a large batch and then freezing it in single day serving sizes. And because the produce is finely chopped in a food processor, parrots are not able to pick out and eat their favourite things. Even picky eaters get a much better diet! Chop can be made from any parrot safe vegetables. The list below is just an example of some of the things you can add to your chop.
Dry Ingredients, which are added first Oatmeal flakes and Flax Seed etcetera
Cooked Ingredients are Rice, Pasta, Split Peas, Quinoa and Lentils
Frozen Ingredients are Sweet corn
Fun things you can add in are Pecan, walnut or almond pieces, Pomegranate seeds and Lightly cooked Cranberries
Food processor items are Kale, Sweet Mini-Peppers, Chard, Jalapenos, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Green Beans , Broccoli ,Cauliflower, Parsley, Different coloured peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Beans , Spinach.... Remember any safe vegetables can be used and also use the seeds from peppers and jalapeños.
How to Make Chop
Chop is made up of 3 main groups of ingredients:
The dry Ingredients are used to help soak up any excess moisture so your chop doesn’t get soggy when it is defrosted. Beans and grains are cooked, drained and cooled. These add a complete protein to your parrot’s diet. Vegetables make up the main part of the chop and introduce a lot of nutrients to the diet
The first step is to cook your beans, grains, pasta, sweet potatoes and rice etcetera. We use a separate pot for the beans and the rest of the cooked ingredients. Drain and cool the above well. It is important, that you remove as much of the moisture so your chop doesn’t become too moist or soggy. Sweet potatoes should be lightly cooked to release the nutrients, but do not cook them completely or they will become mushy, once your Sweet potatoes are cooled you can chop them using a knife into smaller chunks.
Mix all your dry ingredients in to the tub/ container/large mixing bowl that you plan to mix your chop in. Remember you do not have to use all the ingredients on the list, but make sure you have enough dry ingredients to soak up the excess moisture that freezing causes.
Processor time. Place each of your fresh vegetables into the food processor and pulse a few times. Remember you do not want to puree the contents, but you do want it finely chopped so that your parrot can’t just pick out the things they like to eat. Drain each processor batch well. You can use a salad spinner or a colander, whichever works best for you. For very wet items, such as peppers, you will want to drain on paper towels to soak up all that excess moisture.
The processor ingredients can be lightly steamed or left raw.
Now it’s time to build your chop. Mix the cooled, processed and drained items with your dry ingredients in the tub/ container/large mixing bowl. It works better if you stir in each addition; otherwise it becomes very hard to mix it all together. Eventually you will need to just dig in and use your hands! Now is the time to add any of the fun ingredients if you want to jazz up the chop (nuts, cranberries etcetera). The last step is to add your frozen Sweet corn. To make sure you aren’t making the chop too wet, lightly squeeze some in your hand. If it sticks together, the mix is too damp. You can add more dry ingredients, or even pellets to help dry it out a little.
Prepare your chop for freezing. You will want to freeze your chop in one or two day serving size meals. You want to feed your parrot about a Tablespoon at a time (more for larger birds). If you have only 1 or 2 parrots at home, you can freeze your chop in ice cube trays and then store in freezer bags. Each cube would be a daily serving.. You do not want more than a couple of days worth of chop defrosted at a time, because it will start to break down very quickly. The night before you plan to feed your chop, take out a serving out and pop in the fridge to defrost, once thawed it can be served cold or if your parrot likes a warm meal you can pop it in the microwave to warm it up but make sure it’s not too hot before you serve it to your parrot.