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Diet supplementation: Let's make some mash!

Making mash is a great way to give birds the additional nutrients they need to thrive. Learn how below

Three African Greys enjoying a fresh batch of homemade mash.

What is mash?

Mash (sometimes known as chop) is a mixture of a lot of healthy foods that enhance your bird’s diet. It's a great way to introduce foods they might not eat in their natural state like peppers, broccoli and cauliflower. There are a lot of great recipes online so take advantage of them. Don’t get overwhelmed by our recipe. We have 23 birds of various sizes in our foster home so we try to make a large batch that will appeal to every taste. Alter the recipe as you see fit!

How do we do it?

Making mash is simple. Just cook foods to relative readiness, mix together, and serve! Having a good variety of ingredients is more important than following the recipe precisely. Ingredients can always be substituted or exchanged. This last batch included the following ingredients and was enjoyed by birds small and large.


Raw veggies

  • Yams

  • Carrots

  • Kale

  • Cauliflower

  • Broccoli

  • Jalapeño peppers

  • Bell peppers of all colors

Cooked on stove

  • Squash

  • Quinoa

  • Brown Rice


  • Corn

  • Peas

Canned low sodium/organic

  • Garbanzo beans

  • Lima beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Black beans

  • Pinto beans

Other items

  • Coconut flakes oil

  • Kelp powder

  • Basil

  • Dill

  • Thyme

  • Cinnamon

  • Oregano

  • Red pepper flakes

  • Pellets they won’t eat normally (we add it a bit at a time to soak up any liquid that might have slipped in).


The larger items are either put through the food processor or hand sliced. They should be cut to the size your bird will eat. This might be trial and error as it was in our house. We discovered our birds like it in the smallest form instead of chunky.

Because we make it for such a large number of birds, we actually mix everything in a large tub and place it in quart or gallon freezer bags. If you are feeding a smaller number, you may want to put it in an ice cube tray. Once frozen put the cubes in a freezer bag and pull out a cube when you need it. That way the rest won’t spoil.


Each morning in this foster home we feed a spoonful of mash, an alternating variety of cut up vegetables, oatmeal, raisins, kale, and other bird safe foods. They are also limited to two fruits a day due to the sugar such as mango, frozen blueberries, bananas, apples, and papaya (one of ours loves the seeds and gets a papaya from Santa every year). Over the top we may sprinkle hemp seed, millet, and other bird safe spices. Once a month they may get scrambled eggs with a bit of spice over the top. Once a week we hide a favorite nut in a paper cup, newspaper, or cupcake holder so they have to forage for their treat.

It is a process but it is amazing after breakfast how quiet everyone is with full happy bellies. And if their breakfast is late because the humans decide to stay in bed? Boy do we hear about it!


By: EBR Staff

EBR is an exotic bird rescue made up of volunteers throughout Oregon. Our mission is to find a safe loving home for every bird, and to provide education and support to our community. Find out more about our work at



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