A repository of parrot-human relationships. The beautiful and the ugly. The joys and the pain. The heart-warming and the heart-wrenching. And then some Buddhist content once in a long while.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mike's Mana Mash (A Complete Parrots Diet)

Now's end of the year school holiday. As I managed to find some time to do some shopping, I decide to try out a popular but demanding mash recipe called the Mike's Mana Mash.

Some of the ingredients have been modified due to availability.

The 34 ingredients I use for this mash:

Part 1: Cooked Grains-Beans Component
1) black-eyed peas (1 tablespoon/15 ml)
2) organic pinto beans (1 tablespoon/15 ml)
3) kidney beans (1 tablespoon/15 ml)
4) yellow split peas (1 teaspoon/10 ml)
5) red split peas (1 teaspoon/10 ml)
6) chick peas (1 tablespoon/15 ml)
7) black beans (1 tablespoon/15 ml)
8) soy beans (1 tablespoon/15 ml)
9) lima beans (2 tablespoons/30 ml)
10) organic wheat (1 tablespoon/15 ml)
11) pearled barley (1 tablespoon/15 ml)
12) organic wild rice blend (2 tablespoons/30 ml)

The beans are bought in separate packs and mixed. You can try to find pre-mixed grains-beans mix at health food stores but they would nto carry the exact ingredients as required for the mash. Some of the beans are not available in Singapore's supermarkets and therefore I tend to use organic grains and beans from health food stores if I can't find them in the supermarkets. Freshness of dried beans and grains can be extended by storing them in the freezer, otherwise they can be stored at room temperature in cool and dry places.
The beans are rinsed several times and soaked overnight (at least 8 hours of soaking). This will soften the grains and beans up and activate the process of germinating, which further enhance their nutritional values.
They are again rinsed several times before filled with clean water that just barely covers the mixture. The mixture is heated to boiling for 10 minutes and then allowed to simmer till most of the water has been simmered off. The trick is to have as little water left from the cooking as possible as nutrients will be leeched into the water. By simmering till dry, it will further soften the grains and beans while retaining the nutrients. This cooking method is similar to cooking rice.
The cooked grains-beans mix is the allowed to cool before used for the mash.
Part 2: Frozen Vegetables Mix Component
13) frozen corn
14) frozen peas
15) frozen carrots
16) frozen green beans
(all-in-one 500g pack)

Frozen vegetable mix can be bought direct from supermarkets and grocery shops. Stored in freezer compartment and thawed when needed.

Part 3: Cooked Vegetable Roots Component
17) steamed sweet potato (1 small piece/175g)
18) steamed white potato (1 small piece/175g)

The sweet potato and white potato are cut into cubes and lightly steamed. Steaming will make them more palatable as well as make it more easily digestible.

Part 4: Seeds Component
19) sesame seeds (1 teaspoon/10 ml)
20) raw pumpkin seeds (1 teaspoon/10 ml)

Pumpkin seeds are raw. they are harvested from pumpkins directly and not bought commercially. You can buy pumpkins and retain the seeds. These are washed and sun dried. The sesame seeds are bought from supermarkets or shops. You can choose either black or white sesame.

Part 5: Fresh Vegetables and Fruits Component
21) zucchini (1 small piece/60g)
22) tomatoes (1 piece/110g)
23) parsley (25g)
24) tou miao (baby green leafed vegetables; 25g)
25) bananas (1 piece/150g)
26) apples (1 to 2 pieces/150g)
27) oranges (1 to 2 pieces/150g)
28) blueberries(1 tablespoon/15 ml)
29) mango (1/2 mango/60g)
30) papaya with seeds (150g)
31) red/green grapes (175g)

Fruits and vegetables are cut into bite size. Any leafy vegetable can be minced, especially for birds who turn away from these green vegetables. Mincing will ensure some of these vegetables in the form of tiny green pieces will be ingested together with the rest of the mash.
The recipe prescribe the use of cranberries...as they are less easily available than blueberries, I have replaced them with blueberries. The same can be said for the green vegetables; they need not be tou miao or parsley. You can experiment using other green leafy vegetables.
All the fruits are to be de-cored and pitted as some fruits' seeds, such as apple, are toxic to parrots. The only exception is papaya, whose seeds can be eaten by parrots and are intentionally retained in this case. Peeling is optional but I did that for oranges and mango. Some birds like the different texture of the skin and the flesh of the fruits while others might be discouraged. So assess how your bird reacts to fruit skin.

Part 6: Supplement Component
32) kelp powder (1 teaspoon/10 ml)
33) alfalfa powder (1 teaspoon/10 ml)
34) pollen powder (1 teaspoon/10 ml)

The supplement powders have been pre-mixed before the photo is taken. Some supplements can be bought containing both kelp and alfalfa. I added pollen and I also recommend another possible addition in the form of wheat grass powder. Just be careful with the amount as these are supplements and not main components of their diet.

Ingredients before mixing:

The final stage of preparation is simply a mixing of all the various components together. Just ensure that all the ingredients are well mixed.

End product:


The mash is packed into serving size and stored in the freezer compartment for around 1 week. Each pack is thawed slowly over 24 hours in the cooling compartment of the fridge before serving.

Serving Size:

Small parrots (parrotlets, budgies, lovebirds, cockatiels, etc) should be given one heapful teaspoon amount.

Medium sized parrots (quakers, conures, pionus, caiques, mini macaws, etc) would suffice with around one heapful tablespoon.

Large parrots (African grays, Amazons, cockatoos) take around 3-4 tablespoons.

Very large parrots (macaws, large cockatoos) take around 4-6 tablespoons.

The suggested amount of the ingredients are adjusted to my own flock's 1 week supply. You may have to adjust the amount of ingredients so that you won't make too much or too little of the mash. Refrain from storing too much mash for too long as their freshness will be compromised.

The above is just a guideline and not a prescription. Fine tune the amount to what your bird can finish within 2-3 hours. The leftovers should be removed within this time span as well as they contain fresh ingredients and easily goes bad.

I therefore prefer offering the mash in the evening after school or work so that there is enough time to clear up in 2 hours time after they are done eating. My flock will usually retire for the night after their evening meal.


All my birds take the mash readily. It helps that they have been trained to eat these food as I have been feeding them fresh or cooked vegetables, fruits, grains-beans sprouted or cooked. So for them, it is just a change of presentation and variety.

Considering the issue of freshness, I would have preferred to offer the three main components separately so that the food offered will be as fresh as possible instead of having to freeze them. For example, I would advice to give one day cooked grains-beans mix, another day would be fresh vegetables and fruits mix and yet another day giving cooked vegetables.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gabriel
It's very nice to see that you have taken the time to take all these pictures of the ingredients in the mash and how nice it looks when mixed together :o)

One note, though.
The mash are NOT a complete diet for the birds. It's a base diet and you have to top the diet of with seeds, nuts fresh fruit and vegtables along with the mash, to make it complete. Some parrots like macaw's need way more fat in their diet than others, for these birds, nut is a very important nutritionally factor. Other birds, like budgies, need more seeds as they origin from grassland.

Very nice blog !!


The world according to Leah said...

I just went over the recipe you have posted here, once again.
I have to warn about the use of Lima beans as a food for birds. They contain cyanide, hence they have to be cooked to beyond recognition to be safe to serve for the birds - sadly a lot of vegetarians have learned this the hard way - only with the birds, it take only a fragment before it's too late and they'll die because of it.
Another note. You have to give Mike Burton credit for this recipe - after all it is he who have spend more than 2 year (full time) of research on the recipe and he is the one who have shared it with every one.
If anyone are interested in more information about the mash, they have to join in on the mash group on yahoo: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/mikes_manna_mash/

Gabriel, you have to change the title, so not to mislead people to think that the mash recipe are a complete diet for the birds, and you have to give Mike credit.


Unknown said...

i gave my parrotlets some sprouted black eyed peas, not cooked. Will this make them sick or toxic?

They also had a organic yellow squash blossom from the farmers market.

I have not found these items on toxity lists.
Please apprise

Unknown said...

i gave my parrotlets some sprouted black eyed peas, not cooked. Will this make them sick or toxic?

They also had a organic yellow squash blossom from the farmers market.

I have not found these items on toxity lists.
Please apprise

The world according to Leah said...

Samtosa: It's ok to offer sprouted black eyed peas as far as I can tell.
Please join in with us on the mash list at yahoo - I posted the link in an earlier comment.
Some of the members know so much more about nutrition for birds than I do.

Unknown said...

i gave my parrotlets some sprouted black eyed peas, not cooked. Will this make them sick or toxic?

They also had a organic yellow squash blossom from the farmers market.

I have not found these items on toxity lists.
Please apprise

oceanmock said...

It is important to be certain you have the proper ratio of grains to legumes (2:1) for a complete protein. Legumes should be cooked thoroughly.
I also noticed that the fruits/veggies are chopped VERY large - it is important to chop/dice finely to reduce 'picking' of favored items. Parsley needs to be a very minor component of the mash - it is a diuretic.

you can use greens including collards, dandelion, mustard, kale.

As mentioned by another poster, the Mash is NOT a complete diet, and when developed by Mike Burton (who spent several years researching and refining this)was NEVER meant to be called 'complete'. You may want to change that, and give credit to Mike as the developer.

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