24 May 2010

Green Beaks

There is a new unanimous favorite on the menu at the Feather Dorm. Swiss Chard is high in nutrients, readily available at the weekly farmers market, and apparently tasty to both birds and rabbits. One upside is happy animals that actually eat their food in the morning, rather than toss most of it around in a sassy demand for attention. The other upside is the entertainment they provide with their chlorophyll-stained beaks and faces.

Swiss Chard has been a favorite green vegetable of the Flock Advisors for some time, but its bitter taste when raw had kept me from ever offering it to the birds, who seem to prefer sweet fruits and veggies. Last week, however, a sudden shortage in lettuce for Kenobi forced me to break into the human stash of groceries for anything that halfway resembled his leafy fare. Being toward the end of the week, the produce drawer held only a Zucchini and a few stray leaves of Swiss Chard left from the bunch we had consumed throughout the week. The Chard won as most resembling lettuce, and Kenobi inhaled it.

Kenobi has a rather particular palate that has been known to snub baby carrots for some carpet or a People Magazine cover. Seeing his dish licked clean, I decided to see if the stuff was safe for the birds. It checked out as not only safe, but recommended as a source of vital nutrients like potassium and vitamin A. After fifteen minutes of food prep, which consisted of chopping the leaves and some apple to compliment it, and doling out the morning feedings, I was delighted with a few minutes of utter silence, except for the gnashing of little beaks. Each bird was digging deep in their bowl for every scrap of their fresh, green surprise. Cher's novelty foods I normally put in a coconut shell that hangs from the roof of her cage, and she had it clutched close to her face with one foot while she busily blazed through every leafy tid-bit.

A week into the new menu item, everyone in the Feather Dorm is still taken by it. Coconut and Lennon both have their white beaks stained green, and Kenobi has a little dollop of green under his chin. New favorite foods are fun, and especially rewarding when they are also nutritious. Part of the fun of having birds is the multitude of fresh produce that they can safely consume, and trying to find which are their favorites. Lists of parrot or rabbit safe plants and fruits can be found all over the internet, and I will usually try to cross-reference at least three reputable ones just to be sure. Washing the fruits and veggies is an important must as small animals are extremely susceptible to pesticides and chemicals that the human body would hardly detect.

In other news, Cher has finally cut the sequel to her first film, in which she played a naive student on the road to shear genius. In the sequel, she has in fact mastered the skill of stretching her fully fledged wings on cue. Check it out below, and be sure to keep an eye on the FlipperstoPaws youtube.com channel for more such fun. Kenobi was extra playful the other night, and some of that footage will most likely find its way off of the editing desk and onto the youtube servers.

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