According to a recent veterinary article read in one of the monthly avian magazines, the overuse of calcium in the nutrition of some hens can be the cause of softshelled eggs just as often as not enough. With this in mind, sprinkling extra calcium products on readily consumed eggfoods or other softfood to ensure ingestion might not be wise. If given the chance to get enough calcium on their own, our feathered friends should be able to regulate their own needs. With this in mind, provison of crushed sterilized eggshell and a soft mineral block should be the easiest way to ensure proper calcium levels. The crushed shell can be mixed with a fine mineralized crushed oyster shell (which also is a good source of calcium) in a small treat cup, and made constantly available. For a soft mineral block, which is very hard to find, the following recipe was copied from BACK to'BASICS, The Management and Culture of the canary; by John Rice. "Most mineral blocks on the market are hard. Here is a basic recipe you can work with. Plaster-of -Paris is the hardening element. Try adding less of the plaster-of- Paris than the recipe calls for. 2 cups plaster-of-paris 1 tablespoon calcium phosphate 1/4 teaspoon iodized salt 1/4 cup blue mineral grit 1 tablespoon of trace minerals Trace minerals can be obtained from a veterinary supply house. The calcium phosphate can be purchased from a pet shop or supply house. Mix the above ingredients with just enough water to make a very thick paste. The mixture is then poured into ice cube trays until it starts to set up. While it is still soft, bend a piece of wire into a (u) shape. Place the wire down in the center of the cube. After drying hard, the wire will make it possible to fasten the mineral block to a wire cage. Make sure blocks dry completely before using." Plaster of Paris is a synthetic, man made material, which is composed essentially of plaster or plastic. It is often used to make the non cement walls of garages or basements. The material is non toxic and will not harm the birds if they chew/eat off of your mineral block. Plaster of Paris is a stable material, so the mineral block will be sturdy for your birds to use. This article was provided by Bea Rogers of the Pennisula Caged Bird Society
Thoroughly rinse the seed, and then let it soak for 24 hours in 1-teaspoon bleach per quart of water, stirring occasionally. After 24 hours, rinse very well and place in large strainer (the flatter the bottom the better). Place strainer in another container (I use a 9x13" cake pan) Place a hand towel, paper towels or other type of fabric that will absorb water over top of seed in strainer. Towel or fabric should be large enough that it touches seeds, droops over sides of strainer and touches bottom of second container. Fill second container with enough water so towel/fabric can absorb the water. The water-saturated towel/fabric will keep seed moist enough so it can sprout within a day or so (depending on how fresh the seed is). Sunlight will help seed to sprout and keep bacteria/fungi low. Keep filling the second container with water so that the seed can stay moist. You have to rinse/mix the seed several times per day so the seed doesn't spoil (benefit of using the strainer). Also, change the towel/fabric when necessary. Hint: It helps to place the strainer on a short platform (a lid or something like that so the seed on the bottom doesn't get waterlogged) within the second container, If the seed you use is fresh, you should see sprouts in 2-3 days. Rinse well before feeding to birds. Feed very shortly after you see sprouts, as the bigger the sprout gets, the bitterer it becomes. I add sprouts to the birds' soft food mix or just put them on a plate/in a bowl and let the birds have at them----some eat them, some don't. This recipe sent to the TIEL-L Mailing list by Chrys Meatyard of Bir-D-Ranch.
These are the ingredients for what is pictured but I have used all types of veges. Remember your bird should receive some fresh veges each day because this is the only way they get the enzymes needed. 2 cups frozen corn 1/3 cup frozen Green Beans or Peas 2" piece of carrot (scrubbed) 4" piece of celery with leaves 1" square of sweet green and red pepper each Wash all veges well and chop. I put mine in the food processor. To get everything out of processor I add water then pour water and floating veges into bowl with frozen veges. I then micro for 1 min just enough to defrost the frozen veges. I then portion this out 1/8 cup per pair of birds.Rice Mix
1/2 cup each of 2 types of beans or legumes 4 cups water Bring this to a boil then turn heat down and simmer till beans are tender. Drain and save water. This is done so that all the nutrients that would normally go down the drain with the water is absored by the pasta and rice. Saved water 2 cups dry chopped spagetti or any type of pasta Add water if nessarary and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook till tender. Drain and save water. Cook 1&1/2 cup brown rice according to directions on package with saved water add more if necessary. I mix all cooked items in a large pan together well then package in 1 quart containers. For a small portion I have also frozen it in ice cube trays then packaged the cubes in zip lock bags. This is portioned out to the birds 1/8 cup per pair of birds.
1 egg or 2 egg whites 1 cup flour or (1/2 flour & 1/2 wheat flour) 1 cup milk (V8 or fruit juice) 1/2 cup Hagen handfeeding formula 1 Tablespoon melted butter 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup corn meal Combine ingredients as listed. Beat well,grease and pour into 2 qt cake pan. I use a corning ware 10" fry pan. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes. Adjustment need to be made for high altitude. A suggestion from the Holistic list that I belong to. Use Stevia instead of sugar. It's in the health food stores as a dietary supplement,
Oatmeal Apple muffinsAfter recommending the above Herb. Gloria Scholbe sent this. I have a little booklet about Stevia that gives a lot of information about it (by David Richard) and gives several recipies from soup to desserts. Here's a recipe for Oatmeal Apple muffins from that book: 1 C Whole Wheat Flour 1 C rolled oats 1/2 tsp salt 3 tsp baking powder (non aluminum) 1/2 tsp nutmeg 2 tsp cinnamon 1 1/2 tsp stevia extract powder 1 egg 1/2 C milk 1/4 C oil or 1/4 C applesauce 1/4 C raisins (I'd substitute grated carrots) Preheat oven to 400, mix first seven ingredients thoroughtly. Mix remaining ingredients in separate bowl, gradually mix dry into moist ingredients. Spoon into greased muffin tins, bake 15 to 20 min.
1 cup pellets (or hand feeding formula) 1 cup floor (whole wheat or half ww half unbleached) 5 tsp backing flour 1 egg (homeraised or free range preferably) :) 1/4 tsp salt 2 tbsp oil 1 1/4 cup water 2 tbsp honey 1/2 cup (or more) veggies 1/4 cup seed (hulled is better) 1-2 tablespoons of seed Pulverize the pellets, egg (with shell), and about half the water in a blender. Mix the rest of the ingredients except the 1-2 tablespoons of seed and add the blender's concoction. The rest of the water is used to rinse out the blender. Once the ingredients have been mixed, pour into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining seeds on top. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40-50 minutes. I recommend making half and baking in a 9 by 9 dish. That way it is shallower (more birdy-sized!) This recipe sent to the TIEL-L Mailing list by Lucy Levers
Treat SticksKitter belongs to the same Lovebird E-mail list that I do and this is printed here with her permission. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and place a foil lined cookie sheet inside it Ingredients: 1 cup mixed seed/pellets 1 tsp. honey (I used corn syrup and it worked just as good. KG) 2 tsp. smooth peanut butter 1 egg 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin (knox) Put honey,egg,and peanut butter in a bowl and mix very well. A wire whisk works best. WHILE STIRRING (important, otherwise you will have lumps) sprinkle gelatin over the mix. Stir well again. Add the seed/pellets to the mix and stir to coat. Let the mixture set up for a minute or so, then pack into the of wooden spoons or around a stick it takes some patience to get it to stick to the stick but it will work. Put them in the oven as you make them. If you use large eggsyou can put in a little more seeds. Measurements do not have to be exact. Experiment with the seed mixture add chopped dried fruits, vegatables, nuts, chili peppers, or bits of cuttle bone without the shell. Bake for about 45 minutes at 300 degrees they will just be a little brown. Enjoy Kritter of Kritters aviary and caviary Seattle, WA
High Protein MixI get lots of great recipes from my Lovebird E-mail list. Here's another one sent in by Rosemary. 1 hardboiled egg...take the shell off. 1 Tbsp handfeeding formula 1 Tbsp Universal food (or bread crumbs, etc) Put the above in a Lil' Oskar type of chopper. Chop. The product will be a fluffy but drier egg stuff. It keeps better than just "eggs." You can give microwaved shells as well for added calcium.