The Charleston Chopettes

Sometimes, I’m reminded of how much I absolutely love Facebook. Like this week – thanks to Facebook (and some great timing), I was able to take a trip to Charleston, SC, meet some wonderful people, and make an absolute crap-ton of fresh bird food.

Tuesday (3.27.12)  I took a nice little road trip down to the beautiful oceanfront town of Charleston. I pulled in, and knocked on the door of Janet Holt Hilton’s house, and was promptly greeted by a beaming Patricia Sund. The kitchen was overrun with CHOP! Vegetables here, funky unknown roots of plants over there, and a food processor going a million miles an  hour while some dutiful volunteers chopped away.

I was instructed to grab a couple bags of freshly cooked foods, and take them to the mixing tub, which turned out to be literally a tub. A spa tub, of course (I think if we had just maybe turned on the jets, the tub would have mixed the Chop for us).  While pouring a gallon sized bag of cooked white beans into this massive spa tub, I met the wonderful Irena Shultz of Bird Lovers Only Rescue, one of the two organizations we were making the Chop for.

Back up a little: what the heck is Chop? Chop is a fresh bird food concept promoted by Patricia Sund. Essentially you get a bunch of healthy items – grains, oats, vegetables, beans, pasta, and more. You cook all the necessary elements, and leave the rest raw. Chop up all of your veggies, and dump all of the ingredients into a big container, and stir. This is Chop. Divide the chop into single serving baggies, and freeze. Pull one baggie a day and let it unthaw in the fridge, and then feed it to your birds. Rinse, and repeat until all of the Chop is gone.

Chop is a fantastic way to make sure your bird(s) get a huge variety of fresh food on a daily basis, with little to no daily prep time. Its also extremely cheap, and fun to make. The beauty of chop is that there is no recipe, so you can make it up as you go along, and cater to your birds taste.

After we had mixed and chopped until our fingers were sore, we began the bagging process. We bagged enough chop to feed about 50 birds for at least two weeks. Our quick calculations revealed that we had made about 150 pounds of Chop – enough to fill an upright freezer chest full. Judith Archer of The Parrot Posse was able to take home about 100 lbs of the food to her 30+ birds, and Irena Schultz took the remaining 50 lbs to her flock. The verdict is still out on whether or not Snowball appreciated all of our hard work.

I must tell you – I am a Chop convert. I’ve heard of it before, but never made it. I feed a good amount of fresh foods to my birds, but this really takes the cake. It’s easy, cheap, and comparatively little prep time, compared to cutting up fresh foods daily. In this particular batch of chop we used over 80 ingredients – including some fun ones like celery root, golden beets, black amaranth, dried seaweed, and more. All bird safe and all absolutely delicious.

You can read more about Chop and our adventures here on Patricia’s blog – Parrot Nation.