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The Hustle

We live in a world that is constantly moving. To keep up, you have to hustle and keep things organized; let's be honest, it's not the easiest thing to do. Our greys require cage cleaning, meal prep, toy replacement, and arranging. The one thing a lot of new bird lovers don't realize is the dander that some birds produce. It's a fine white dust that seems to get into everything, and I mean everything. Greys are one of those species, along with cockatoos and cockatiels.

I recently got asked what we feed our parrots. Because I am so picky about nutrition, I respond with, "the birds eat better than we do," and for the most part, that is very true. Chop/Mash (whatever you choose to call your mixture) is always on the table, along with sprouts, fresh fruits, soaked nuts (yes, soak your nuts, it increases bio-availability, and a seed mixture. I know some also feed a cold processed pellet, but unfortunately, my birds don't like the alfalfa in them, and when I have attempted to feed it to them in the past, it merely became a projectile towards my head or the wall. So, I stopped offering it.

If I have the time, which isn't always, I will go to the store and create a batch of chop and bring it home, carefully chop and mix, then put it into our freeze dryer or make smaller batches for daily use and put them in the freezer. However, sometimes life gets in the way. Family, vacations, work... the list goes on and on. I have a busy work schedule with my marketing firm, and I don't always have the time, so sometimes I have to improvise. I have sprouts on hand because they are relatively easy to make, especially with Easy Sprout. If you don't, that's ok too. I also know some people haven't reached the point where they are ready to sprout, and that's ok. Some companies offer freeze-dried sprouts, and you can have them delivered to your door. If you're in a time crunch, I will then find organic frozen vegetables, mix them with any fresh items I have on hand, toss in sprouts, some dried flowers, and soaked nuts (which only require 8 hours of soak time, but it's just as easy to let them soak overnight), and we are off to the races. I only offer raw dry nuts in the shell as a training reward or treat. By the way, you can also order freeze-dried chop from various companies. You can offer it dry, mist it with water to reconstitute, or get fancy and mist it with herbal tea. It sounds like a lot, but aren't they worth it?

I like to offer our birds the chance to eat a diverse diet. I like to feed seasonal items because it's less expensive, and honestly, who wants to eat the same thing, day in and day out? I know it's easier to offer your birds pellets and seed and call it a day. However, it is scientifically proven there are problems with that methodology. Feeding nothing but a processed food diet can lead to significant health issues. I prefer to look at the situation as I chose to bring these feathered companions into our home, and it's my job to feed them the best that I can and offer nutrition, enrichment, and a decent quality of life.

Searching for time to clean cages, dust, and wipe down walls and perches can be trying, but I also try and multitask. I put on some music, let our birds out of their cages and turn it into Dance Party USA (some of you might be too young for that reference, so I'll wait while you google it). Make it a game where you are getting interaction with your feathered companion while making it productive. I also like to take that opportunity and rearrange perches. When the mood strikes, I will also trade cages. What I mean by that is; taking one bird and putting it into another one of the bird cages.

Kind of like musical cages. We have three identical stainless cages, so there is no difference, just location, and toys inside. It keeps them guessing, as they would in the wild, and offers easy enrichment. Birds don't sleep in the same spot in the wild; they constantly move and nest in different locations for the night. So why not try and offer that in your home? Another tip, move their cage positions in the room. Not daily, but at least once a week. I do this because greys tend to feather pluck and mutilate when stressed or bored, and I want to keep their brains active.

Another easy form of enrichment is cartoons. I prefer to play cartoons for our birds with space sounds and music. It's great entertainment, and they pick up on things to add to their repertoire. I also love the nature channels on youtube. Some tremendous natural videos will play for hours and have different animal sounds, which they don't get in your house in the suburbs.

Lighting. I have full spectrum lights on a timer. One next to each cage helps vitamin absorption and also hormonal issues that might arise. We rarely have hormone issues between herbal hormone tea and lights in our bird room. If we do, that's rare, but it generally has to do with room temperature, waking them up too early, and messing with their sleep cycle. (I'll write a post all about that later).

You see, we are all busy. The most important thing we can do is not try and do what others are doing and keep up. You have to do what works best for you and do the best you can. No one is the perfect pet parent. There aren't enough hours in the day, but there are ways you can make things easier on yourself.

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