Just to say “Hi”!

It’s been a long time since I’ve last posted on this blog and I apologize for such a long pause in my updating.

I’ll try to keep my blog updated more frequently from now on. In this past year a lot has happened and changed. Lino, my senegal, is now a full fledged teenager with all the wonderful perks of puberty. More on all fun aspects that came with that big change in a next post, though.

Until next time,

Iskra and her feathered friends wish you all the best!

Things for Wings order!

This was actually a combined order. What happened was that I purchased a part of the haul during side-walk sale and asked Danita, owner of T4W to hold it for me for a little bit so I can add to my order later on and save on shipping. Well, that’s what I did and a HUGE box of goodies arrived yesterday!

I had to pick my parcel up at the post office where I met a cool clerk. What granted her the “cool” status? Well, she saw that on the box it says parrot toys and told me she also has parrots.

I asked her ” What kind ?” expecting the usual answer I get- a green one. Much to my surprise, she told me she has a small flock of cockatiels and she has a huuge aviary for them. Luckily, I was the only one at the post office, so we started talking about parrots and caring for them and it all ended with me opening my box there…at the post office!Danita has super power packing skills, so I had to carry a box with parrot toys hanging from it to my car.

She loved the toys and I gave her one of Danita’s business cards, so she can order from there, also.

And now the pics!!!

Passion flower shred and chew is a great toy and much larger than I thought it would be. I also got 10 of pine foot toys that are stuffed with colored beads. I should have ordered more as they are going crazy over them.

Lino’s toys ūüôā He’s like a termite and destroys all his toys, even if made out of harder woods VERY quickly! I really like the pine toy, it’s made on SS rods and has beads between pine blocks.

My favorite toy- a custom toy for Lino! It has pine, yucca, cottonwood, willow, hardwood beads and vine balls tied together with various ropes; seagrass, leather, hemp and coco rope. It’s very tightly packed and it will keep him busy!

Ringo is a more into shredding than destroying wood, so I got her those kind of toys…filled with paper, seagrass, balsa ūüôā and they are in girly pink and purple colors!!!

And the last is also a toy for Ringo- a busy basket ūüôā a shredders dream

I love all the toys I got and it will keep them very happy for awhile ūüôā

Banana berry crackers

I made this wonderful and very simple to make crackers for my two parrots, since they’ve so good lately. You can add or substitute any of the ingredients, it’s that simple to make ūüôā

Ingredients needed:

1/4 cup of flax seeds * (optional)

1 tbs of chia seeds* (optional)

1/2 cup of water* (optional)

1/2 cup of berries ( I used goji berries and blueberries)

1 cup flour ( I used 1/2 cup of spelt flour and 1/2 cup of millet flour, but any will do)

1/2 cup of coconut flakes 

1/2 of a banana ( or one smaller banana)

1/2 cup of buckwheat

1 tbs of Pura Vida ( or any herbs you like, for eg. chamomile, hibiscus, etc)

some Cayenne pepper  ( or cinnamon or any other parrot friendly spice)

First, you soak chia and flax seeds in water. It doesn’t take that long for both chia and flax to turn into a gooey mix. Once they have gelatinized, put them, coconut and banana into a blender and pulse it until you have a smooth paste. I blend coconut flakes because this way little bits of coconut get evenly distributed in the dough. That being said, you don’t have to do that, you can add it later on.

In your flour add the banana paste and mix it all together, than add the rest of ingredients. Mix them well!!! Don’t be alarmed if your mix is sticky. It’s supposed to be, though. Just spread it onto a baking sheet, place another on top, roll the dough out and put it either in your dehydrator or in the oven.

If you dehydrate them, it will take 12 hours or in the oven for a few hours. If you are going to bake them, than you should bake them at 130 Celsius until firm…cca 30 min.

You can form different shapes, than roll them into seeds if you like it that way more. You could substitute banana for any other fruit, since flax and chia combo are creating a gooey enough mix.

If you don’t have flax or chia seeds, you could make these crackers just with a banana. I’ve made them before with only a banana and dried fruit and it works equally good and to be honest, I think they like it more with only banana and berries in it. ¬†I think I’ll make my next batch without flax and chia.¬†If you decide to use a more “watery” fruits like an apple, than just remember to add a bit more flour.

So, you see it’s that easy to make homemade crackers ūüôā

Happy baking everyone!

New Crystal’s Bird Toys order

Few days ago I¬†received¬†a wonderful parcel from Crystal’s Bird Toys. However, I just got around to post about it ūüôā

Everything looks amazing. So, here are the pics ūüôā

I ordered a Make it Snappy and Make it Snippy. One is made out of balsa and the other one is out of pine.

And a large HOOT bag. I don’t think my picture shows how many toys were in the hoot bag!! One thing that completely blew my mind was that Crystal color cordinated all the toys; blue ones for Lino and pink and purple ones for Ringo. She, even included two of each toy, so both of them get their own. That’s BEYOND amazing customer service.

Ringo NEVER plays with store bought toys, no matter how many custom toys I buy, she’ll only play with some foot toys. She will, however, play with toys I make her, especially if she sees me making them. I hung the Make it Snippy on their playground and she flew to it, started destroying it and didn’t move from it for an hour!!! I’m very pleased to see her destroying a toy with so much gusto!

Thank you, Crystal!!!

A new (and much improved) homemade Avicake recipe

I posted my Nutriberrie/Avicake recipe that I created without any liquid sweeteners. I was very pleased with results  even though it is only a treat.

One thing I wasn’t happy about (and part of the reason my nutriberries are only a treat around here) was that I had to use dates. Dates ARE healthy, BUT also loaded with sugar. So, even though I did take molasses and corn syrup out of the equation, I was still left with quite sugary dates. I wanted to make something similar, since they seemed to love them so much, but make it less treat – like and more day-to-day type of a snack.

That got me thinking, if it would be possible to make homemade Avicakes without dates. It turns out it is. Only thing you should keep in mind is that you really should be mindful about amounts of water in the mixture. For eg. if you are using fresh veggies, be sure to dry them as much as possible, since apricots are not as sugary as dates and will not “hold” everything together as well as dates. That being said, once dry, my Avicakes are solid.

Let’s get baking!!

Base of my Avicake recipe was:

1/4 cup of flax seed (soaked overnight in 1/2 cup of water)

1 apple

1/3 cup dried apricots 

Blend all of the above ingredients in a blender until it makes a consistent mix. Don’t add any additional water!

Add ins were:

1 1/2 cup of Chop (or any vegetables you have at home)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup coconut flakes

1/2 cup of various seeds and grains

Extras added were crushed chili pepper, Pura Vida, chamomile flowers and ginger.

After you mix everything very¬†thoroughly¬† grease a pan with parrot friendly oil (I used coconut oil) and either dehydrate it (that’s what I did) or bake in the oven at a lower temperature until firm. After it’s done, cut it into squares.

I would like to¬†clarify¬†one thing-you could use both chia seeds and/or flax seeds. Why I used flax and not chia? Simply because they get chia seeds in their diet and I like to offer as much as diversity as possible, offering them a lot more this way. Second reason would be that flax seeds get a lot more gooey, hence is a better “glue” for this mixture.

They smelled amazing!! I love how they turned out, I really do.

Happy baking everyone!!

Homemade Nutriberry/Avicake recipe

Firstly, ¬†why I said Nutri-berries/Avicake is because I experimented with shapes of the dough to see how it works. If you look at the ingredients list of Nutri-berries and Avicakes, you’ll notice that they are pretty much the same. What I wasn’t happy about were the corn syrup, peanuts, soy,…

I wanted to make an organic, much more healthier version of them. I used to feed them, but quickly stopped once I’ve read what they were made of. Never the less, my IRN LOOOVVVEEDD them. So, I set on a mission to make them as good as they get.

Before I start explaining the recipe, I would like to stress that this was a test batch, just to see would it be possible to make them without any honey or molasses and how would they be formed into various shapes. It turned out, my dough is pretty amazing. Ready to get baking?

Base of my Nutri-berries recipe is made of:

5 dates

1 apple (or a small jar of apple sauce)

1/2 cup of flax seed

a little bit of water

You’ll need a blender to blend, all of the before mention ingredients, together. Add a little bit of water to make it all come together in a sticky mixture. I forgot to measure how much water I’ve put in, but will do it next time. Promise. Making the base is the¬†crucial¬†part! Blend everything together very well! It has to form a consistent mix.

Next step is adding extras to make our Nutri-berries that more appealing and nutritious :

1 carrot, grated

1/2 cup each of millet and rolled oats

1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds

1/4 cup of coconut flakes (I used a blender to crumble them up)

1/3 cup of raisins

As I mentioned before, this was a test batch, so I used all the stuff I know they like. So, these will be more a treat than a regular thing. I have a few ideas how to make them more healthier and less treat-like, though. You could use sprouts, if you have a dehydrator, instead of seeds I used in this batch. You could make quinoa clusters and use them, too. Adding nuts is also a good idea. More healthy greens, like watercress or kale.

I’ve also added :¬†1 tbs¬†of each¬†Pura Vida ¬†¬†¬†(A wonderful product by Avian Organics)¬†and chamomile flowers and some nettle leaves, too. I added Avian Organics apple powder, also. Final thing that went in was a 1 tbs of chili flakes.

I suggest you mix thoroughly each time you add a new ingredient, so everything is evenly distributed.

Next step is to grease your hands with a parrot friendly oil and get to making balls or any other shape you want. I used coconut oil.

If you bake them there are 2 options. One is to bake the for a few hours at the lowest temp your oven works at. They are done when they get nice and firm. Other option is to bake them at 130 celsius for 30 min.

Second option is to dehydrate them for 10 hours. This way and baking them at the lowest temp. helps you conserve valuable nutrients as much as possible.

Happy baking everyone!

A CBT order

I’ve¬†received¬†my first Crystal’s Bird Toys order! I’m super excited about it. All of the toys look amazing, super colorful and I think both birdies will have an awesome time playing with them.

I’ve got a foot toy hoot bag. I’m not sure what size the bag was, though, but it came loaded with foot toys. By the amount of them, I’d say it was the large hoot bag.

Next on the list was the Make it Snappy! This is a really nice, big, tightly strung toy. It has a lot of chewing possibilities and I love it!! It ended up a lot bigger than I imagined to be, what is always a plus.

The Scavenge is a perfect foraging toy. It has an almond hidden on the bottom of the toy and another one hidden inside.  It comes stuffed with crinkled paper so you can hide additional treats, like I did.

Small Squeak Squiggle

I also got two Fred’s Foragers toys that I didn’t take pictures of. All in all, I’m very pleased with my order and I think birdies will be, too.


Name: Hops (eng.)/ Hopfen (de.)/ Hmelj (cro.)

Latin name: Strobuli Lupuli 

Yes, the same hop that is used in beer brewing and no, it will not turn your parrots into beer lovers! My grandmother used to say that when you have trouble sleeping you should put some hops buds under your pillow to help you sleep. Well, I’m not sure how putting flowers under your pillow will work, but a tea made from hop buds can help you relax.

Hops, as far as I know, originated from Great Britain, but it is vigorously grown throughout entire Germany. No wonder Germany is so famous for its beer. They also grow in forests, as weeds in gardens, bushes, etc all around Europe. Useful parts of these plants are female flowers, id. buds, that appear in late August, early September.

Hops have many benefits- from anti-inflammatory¬†purposes, relaxing agent to antioxidant activity. Studies are still being made on this plant and it’s influence on our and our pets health.

I did use it with my own parrots to help soothe them. As with any calming herb, its all about amounts. I used hops as a part of a herbal, calming tea, along with chamomile, nettle, lavender, etc.

I used a *very* small amount of hop buds in my mix. No, more than 2-3 buds per 200 g of a dry mix, that I later steeped. I used a basic recipe I got from my veterinarian and added herbs I had available through my local health food stores. I’ll share the recipe in one of my next posts. ¬†If you are not sure about the proper dosage of hops, I would advise contacting a herbalist.

I did see changes in their behavior. Lino has become a lot more calmer and he doesn’t attack me for no reason what so ever. It took a few weeks, but we’re getting there.