Hops

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.

Advertisements

Roses

Name: Rose (eng.)/ Ruža (cro.)

Latin name: Rosa

Roses are one of the most favorite flowers of women around the world, because of its  beauty and delicateness. Roses are more than a token of love and appreciation, they have been used as a remedy for many years. Despite their tender look, these are very hardy plants, know to survive even in the most hostile environments. What they do need is water, plenty of it, without it they will not produce its beautiful flowers.

One of the most common usages of rose flowers, to be precise its petals, are in different rose oils and waters. Rose water and oil  are often used in high-end skin care products, because of its calming effect on skin and help with irritation. One of many reasons why rose oils are so expensive is that it takes a lot of petals to create a small amount of oil.

Wild roses produce rose hips, which are loaded with vitamins A, C and E. During the World War II, according to a few sources, English government ordered that all of  rose hips had to be harvested and a syrup to be made, as fruits were unavailable at that time. There is  research that states that rose hips have 60% more vitamin C than citrus fruit. Nowadays, dried rose hips are commonly available in most health food stores. You can use them as is in a dry mix for your parrots or as a immune busting tea. Roses have made more than a few steps into cooking- from vine to jellies and various sweets.

If you have roses in your garden, you can collect petals before they fall to the ground and use them later, either in teas or dry mixes. You can also buy teas made out of  rose buds. How they were made is simple- rose buds are collected while still young and fairly small, than they are dried and used for making teas.

Rose tea has many benefits, but should be used in moderation as it can cause diarrhea.  One of many plus sides to rose tea is that it acts as a natural relaxant. It soothes and helps calm the nervous system. I use rose petals, flowers and buds in a dry/ tea mix. It’s a mixture of herbs and flowers that help you, well in these case my parrots, to calm down a bit. It’s meant to be used either as a calming tea or sprinkled over their foods. I’ll show you the mixture in another post.

Common Plantain

Name: Common Plantain (eng.)/ Trputac (cro.) /Breitwegerich (de.)

Latin name: Plantago major

There are few different types of Plantain that are edible, parrot safe and have beneficial properties. Basically, it’s a weed and it grows around most parts of the world. That makes it easy to find and offer to parrots. They grow anywhere ranging from meadows, next to road curbs, pastures, even on dried out meadows, too.

Both leaves and stems (with seeds) are edible. Common plantain has wide, roundish leaves. Easy to spot.

There are a lot of beneficial traits of plantain; for years it has been used to help sooth stomach problems, as it counteracts the effects of stomach acid. I’ve also read that a tea from leaves of plantain can help clear out toxins and purify blood and some articles I’ve read on the subject suggest that plantain is one of the best cures for issues with blood and limb poisoning.

It is loaded with vitamins such as vitamins C, K and B, also it is high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc. As you can see, plantain is a very beneficial herb for you and your parrot. One of the most common usages of plantain is to help with blisters, wounds and any other skin problem, even sunburns. It is also a wonderful aid in kidney health. I could, honestly, go on and on about benefits of this plant. I’ve fed plantain to my parrots without an issue for a very long time. It seems to me that they really enjoy its flavor and I’m honestly glad they do. I try to mix and match different herbs, flowers and grasses, so they can pick and choose what it is that they need and want. It’s very enriching for them and that’s just one of many plus sides of feeding fresh plants.

If you don’t have access to untreated lawns, meadows or pastures, look at your local herb or tea manufactures, Mountain Rose Herbs being one of those stores who sell plantain in North America.

Flower bouquet

There are two meadows very close to where I live. No one goes there and they haven’t been treated, planted on or worked on for 20+ years. They are surrounded with trees, bushes and a lot of plants forming a very thick fence.

I found some pretty cool clover and dandelion flowers and very soon they formed a nice bouquets for my parrots.

There are reports that red clover helps prevent cancer and heart diseases, lowering cholesterol and to prevent osteoporosis.  Also it  is considered to be one of the richest sources of isoflavones. It is also rich in many vitamins and minerals.

Edible flowers database

I’ve  decided to create an online edible flowers, plants, grasses and herbs database. Most information you can find online are made with North American flowers in mind, to be precise, plant names are often very colloquial and when you google it, you can come across more than a few different types of flowers and not be sure which one is the one that you wanted. I’m working on a list of plants that are safe and can be found throughout most of the world.

How will it look like? I want to keep it as simple as possible. My goal is to show that adding fresh plants to your parrots diet isn’t as hard and doesn’t request a lot of work on your part. We do know that parrots eat fresh flowers, leaves, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts in the wild, so it only makes sense that we try to copy some of that into our homes. There are healthy foods all around us, we just need to open our eyes a bit more.

There will be a link in the sidebar, to the entire list. Easy to find and browse through. I will add photos and plants as I find them, because I will only use my own photographs. The list will include : name of the plant in a few languages and it’s Latin name, so there will be no need for Google translate, as it tends to lead you to a completely different plant. This way any confusion about a specific plant will be cleared out.  Along with photos of plants, I will list their health benefits, how to use them and a few other information, everything I post will be linked to a specific article/site where I have found information I’m sharing here.

Keep in mind that all of plants you give to your parrots have to be picked far away from any roads, not treated in ANY way; either with pesticides or any other chemical, for that matter. Plants should not be exposed to harmful fumes or near industrial plants. Use your common sense here, if it doesn’t feel right, probably it isn’t. Wash all of the plants thoroughly and cut the ends of before you give them to your birds.

Easier way is to plant them on your balcony /garden/ patio, this way you are 100% sure what you are feeding them is safe. Most of these plants are weeds, so keeping them alive isn’t a problem.

Fresh picked from the garden

One of many perks of having a garden is that you’re able to grow what ever you like; from fruits and veggies, to beautiful flowers and trees.

This morning I went down to the garden and I’ve cut a few roses, lilies and willow branches, as well as harvested the last of my strawberries.

When it comes to parrot safe plants, please take into consideration that some of many lily species are not safe, however day-lilies (hemerocalis) are safe for your parrots. Lilies you see in the picture are not safe for parrots!  I’ve cut it, so I could put it in my vase.  Roses, on the other hand, are parrot safe.

Some parrot species, like indian ringneck, in the wild eat flowers as a part of their diet, so if you have a chance, offer parrot safe plants to your pets. If you are not sure if a certain plant is safe for your feathered companion, I found a wonderful list on Kitchen Physician.

Both Lino and Ringo enjoyed strawberries! I’ve placed them in a bowl on my kitchen counter and allowed them to pick what ever they liked. I think this is another very easy form of enrichment and they really liked it.

Strawberry season is coming to an end, so it’s good that everyone made the best out of it! Strawberries are easy to grow in a pot and they produce just as well, so you can plant them on your balcony if you don’t have a garden!

A flower for you

I love to give my parrots fresh flowers and branches if I can.

These are two bouquets they got today

Because not everything is showing very well, here’s a list of what it’s made of: fresh willow branches, fresh fruit branches ( this is a type of apple if I’m not mistaken. My neighbor cut one branch for me), dandelion flowers and greens and daisy flowers! Be sure everything you give your parrots isn’t sprayed with pesticides or anything else and washed before you give a plant to your parrot.

Both of them enjoy these types of toys very much and especially happy that Ringo does, because a wild IRN’s diet consists of flowers, too.