Below is a guest blog post by Karmen Budai, who is the co-author along with Shean Pao of the upcoming book, A Parrot’s Fine Cuisine and Nutritional Guide. TOP's Parrot Food is a main sponsor of the cookbook.
Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
That is exactly how it sums it all up for me. Once you become a parrot parent (or parront), there is no way back. They suck you right in with all their cuteness, fluffiness and unconditional love that is hard to resist.
I can now say that I am a very proud owner of the most gorgeous Lesser, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, called Polly. She's been part of our family for over a year now and let me tell you, she has already stolen our hearts. Our entire household just works around her. This little bundle of joy is full of life. She is a young spirit and will not let us rest for one second.
The main reason that prompted me to start A Parrot’s Fine Cuisine and Nutritional Guide was Polly, and her battle with a series of unexpected health issues that lasted more than four months. I started to look for some alternative, holistic medicines and came across the importance of a raw food diet, avian herbal teas, and edible flowers.
I joined Dr. Jason Crean's Facebook site where I learned how a correct diet can benefit a bird's wellbeing long term and I decided to make that change and give Polly the opportunity to thrive. I also learned about herbal teas and how medicinal they can be for our feathered friends. I had met Shean on Facebook’s Parrot Station while Polly was sick. We were total strangers until unfortunate circumstances connected us, and she kindly offered to ship special avian herbal tea for Polly from the U.S.
Since then, she has become my friend across the Atlantic with whom I can share my new findings with on parrot’s health, diet and safety. The tea at that time was a life-saver and helped Polly with her recovery.
I later started creating healthy salads, mashes, sprout-and-soak seeds and nuts and turning the usual boring veggie bowl into something more exciting and visually more attractive just to get Polly's attention.
Creating this fine-dining experience for my bird became my passion. I started posting some of my creations on the well-known parrot Facebook group called Parrot Station, created by Marlene Mc'Cohen. When I began to receive such pleasant and encouraging comments, it made me start thinking how I could turn the information into a book that could help others feed their birds. So I called my friend Shean and here we are, six months later, about to release our first book together. I am thankful for her graphic design and publishing skills. She has put her heart and soul into A Parrot’s Fine Cuisine and Nutritional Guide to make it as beautiful as it can be.
What I have observed over the past two years on various parrot groups is that people are feeding inappropriate, sometimes potentially harmful, foods to their companions which could have major long-term impacts on their birds health.
The group members on Parrot Station also help each other with various avian information but one of the most popular questions seemed to be, “which pellets are the best for my bird?" This controversial topic always started the debate about what is safe for our birds. This is how I learned about TOPs Parrot Food pellets.
It was Shean who kept advocating about TOP's on Facebook and it took me a while before I actually looked at the product in more detail.
There were two main factors that caught my attention; One, the way the company produces its pellets and two, the ingredients that are used.
Though I was transitioning my bird onto raw whole foods, I still wanted good quality, natural pellets to be available for Polly throughout the day when I couldn’t provide fresh food.
Comparing TOP’s pellets to other popular brands on the market made TOP’s stand out in terms of the nutritional value and quality it was offering.
I like the fact that the brand does not use any artificial colors, preservatives, or sugars. The pellets also don't contain any fillers like peanuts, soy or corn, or chemicals like BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin, which most other brands do use. TOP’s only uses natural ingredients that are cold pressed to preserve nutrition and the only preservatives are Rosemary, Rose Hips, Lemon and Orange Peel. On top of that, the food is GMO free. So, to me, TOP's pellets were the best I could offer to supplement my bird's diet.
Beyond the ingredients, our feeding philosophy aligned perfectly with TOP's mission for its customers, which is offering high quality food. That's why we are excited that the company wanted to be part of our journey in promoting healthy diets for parrots.
What we mustn't forget, though, is that a raw whole food diet is the best choice for your bird in terms of nutrition intake and that pellets should only be used to supplement it. TOP's has been saying this for years and we all agree in this approach.
Remember, variety is the key and the old saying, "you are what you eat" applies to your birds too!
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