How to pre-prepare and freeze bird green foods

During the breeding season, birds should be provided soft food, greens, and live food daily. Preparing fresh foods each day can be really time consuming, so I like to make a big batch on the weekends, and then freeze it in daily portions.

Lavendar waxbill. Photo credit: Flickr.com

Things you’ll need to get started

  1. Meal-prep food storage containers
  2. These two-compartment Bento boxes from Amazon ($22 for 10 with free delivery) are used in this article. They’re great because there’s no need to transfer the food to another container before serving it to your birds.

  3. Lots of leafy greens
  4. You can buy greens from the supermarket, but it can be much cheaper to grow them yourself. If you’ve got a little greenhouse you can keep growing them year-round. Don’t forget that you can’t freeze lettuce, so anything in the lettuce family (including endive) can’t be used with these instruction. The greens shown in this article are silverbeet, green kale, and bok choy.

  5. Egg & biscuit mix and dry soft food.
  6. Any reputable brand of these breeding supplements will do. I’m using Passwell Egg & Biscuit and Passwell Finch Soft Food in this article. If you’re preparing this food for parrots, you can use Passwell Parrot Soft Food instead.

  7. A big colander
  8. To give the greens a good rinse, and make sure they’re sufficiently wet to bond to the dry finch foods.

  9. A large food processor
  10. A Sunbeam Cafe Series food processor is used in this article. It’s an excellent product, but at $299 it’s certainly not the cheapest option available. If you just want to chop greens, one of the $40 varieties from Kmart will be perfectly adequate.

Step 1 – Prepare and rinse the greens

Figuring out how many green you’ll need to feed your birds will take some trial and error. I have about 60 birds—mostly finches—and need to loosely fill a four litre bowl with greens to last them five days.

Try to remove as much of the white stem as possible, otherwise the mixture will end up too gluggy. Kale stems are okay, but spinach and silverbeet stems will completely ruin your mixture.

Give the greens a good rinse and let them drain for a couple of minutes.

Step 2 – Make the green food mixture

Add the still-damp greens to the food processor. I don’t like to fill the processor more than halfway, otherwise the greens don’t chop evenly.

If you’re making the mixture for parrots, you can add some veggies at this stage as well. Carrots and brocolli—already chopped into small pieces—are my favourites to use.

Next, add the egg & biscuit mix. 2-3 heaped tablespoons per halfway-filled food processor will get you the right consistency. If the mixture is too wet once you’ve chopped it, you can always add a little bit more egg and biscuit until the consistency is just right.

Give the mixture a shake so that the egg & biscuit spreads evenly through the container, and then process it. You don’t want to cut the greens too finely, so 3-4 seconds in the food processor should be sufficient.

Step 3 – Make soft food and portion out

Follow the instructions of your soft-food product to prepare the mixture. You’ll need about one heaped tablespoon of dry food per serving. Make sure the mixture comes out lightly moist and not wet, otherwise it won’t freeze right.

Add the prepared green food and the prepared soft food to the freezer containers. Put on the lid, making sure they’re properly sealed, and then put them in the freezer.

Serving the prepared portions

You can defrost the servings by taking them out of the freezer for an hour or two, or by moving them to the fridge overnight. Don’t remove the lid when defrosting the mixture, otherwise too much moisture will escape.

If your birds require live food, add the required amount of insects to the soft-food side of the mixture. This encourages the insectivorous birds to also eat the soft food, which contains most of the same nutrients as they would get from the (much more expensive) live food.

And that’s it! Your birds will love it, but don’t forget to remove any spoiled or uneaten food from the aviary within a few hours.

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