October is Pumpkin Month…..Feeding Pumpkins to your parrot

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Pumpkin is a great food for you birds and they are so reasonable in the fall! By late October, the stores are offering them for about .10 per pound. That is when I stock up. Fruits which are orange and yellow in color tend to contain higher amounts of carotene which is converted to Vitamin A. The more intense the green, yellow or orange color the more beta carotene the vegetable or fruit contains. Pumpkin provides vitamin A, potassium, protein, and vitamin C.

I can't resist enhancing the natural sweetness already found in squashes, yams, pumpkins by baking them for our fids. I have also read that cooking helps aid absorption of the Vitamin A (Beta carotene). Other sources of beta carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other orange winter squashes, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, spinach, apricots, broccoli, and most dark green leafy vegetables. The smaller the pumpkin, the easier it is to cut. They are not as firm as the bigger carving ones.

Here are some various ideas for you about preparing pumpkins.

To bake a whole pumpkin, cut off the top with the stem to use as a lid. Wash your pumpkin well before cooking. Scrape out the seeds and pulp. Replace the lid and bake at 350°F until tender, about 45 minutes. Serve as is, cut into pieces, or scrape the flesh out and puree.

Another way to deal with your pumpkin is to cut it into cubes and steam it for 20-30 minutes or until semi-soft.  You can mash the cubes for smaller birds such as finches. It can also be pureed to make birdie bread. Pumpkin adds moisture, flavor, and fiber to bird bread.

Pumpkin seeds have long been a favorite of parrots.  It is easy to prepare them. 

Remove seeds from pumpkin. Do not salt like you would for us humans.
Wash and remove pulp and strings. 8-10 pumpkins yields about 1 gallon of seeds. Pat dry and place on cookie sheet. Do not use "non stick." Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. This turning of the seeds is critical to prevent burning so make sure you are there to flip seeds.

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