Though the article focuses on parrots, the same foods may be offered to most seed-eating birds. The cooked beans can be mixed with cooked brown rice or whole wheat bread crumbs. For birds that eat their food whole — like doves — first grind the larger beans before mixing them with bread crumbs to form a granular meal.

By David Poole

A whole host of pulses are extremely good for providing excellent levels of protein and carbohydrate as well as fibre. However, they *must* be cooked because many contain enzymes which inhibit protein assimilation. I use the following on a daily basis and find that they are excellent dietary constituents: Haricot, Black-Eyed, Lima and Garbanzos, yellow and green Split peas, Lentils of any colour.

Most weekends I have a big ‘boil-up’, having soaked a cup of each overnight. The beans and peas are all cooked separately and if I feel so inclined, throw in a few chillis for flavouring. When the beans are tender, they are drained and allowed to cool before packing and storing in the deep freeze. My CAG gets a heaped teaspoon each, of any 3 of the above every day to which I add broccoli, carrot and frozen peas. The whole lot is nuked until piping hot and allowed to cool for around twenty minutes.

Occasionally a small piece (1cm.cube) of hard cheese is finely diced and sprinkled over the top and sometimes, finely diced chillis and/or ripe bell peppers are also added. As a especial treat, a teaspoon of low-salt, homemade tomato sauce which contains onions and garlic is poured over the top before nuking. This makes a very acceptable baked-bean ‘taste-a-like’ and my CAG goes wild over this. Fruit in some form is also available every day and of course constant supplies of pellets. I do not now offer any sunflower at all, but I do provide millet which contains the lysine that is missing from pulses.

Jalapenos are perfectly OK for all parrots that will eat them and you need have no worries about the ‘heat’ that we experience with chillis. The pinkest M2 that I’ve ever seen is given 2 or 3 hot chillis every day and his owner claims that they were the cause of the bird’s vivid colouration. After 15 years the bird is in rudest of health and has never plucked or bitten a single feather in all of that time.

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