It’s that time of the year in North America when pumpkins are available for a low price at most grocery stores. Of course, most people carve faces into them, but pumpkins can also be an inexpensive source of food for pets and people. So, if you have some pumpkins you plan to carve, save the seeds and some of the flesh for your parrots.
The seeds make great parrot treats and are a good source of several minerals. They are also high in fat, so they should be fed sparingly to species prone to obesity, such as Amazons, Pionus parrots, and Rose-breasted Cockatoos. Parrots seem to prefer roasted seeds (at least mine do). To prepare pumpkin seeds, rinse the seeds off right after you take them from the pumpkin, dry them, place them on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and bake at 325 F for about twenty-five minutes. Check the seeds after ten minutes and flip or stir them. Do not salt them if they are to be fed to birds.
The flesh of the pumpkin is also very healthful and is an excellent source of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body by humans and parrots. A few of my parrots will actually eat raw pieces of pumpkin and I usually give Mitri the cockatoo big pieces to chew up. The flesh can also be pureed and added to muffins or bread.
The base recipe I have used is as follows (from cooks.com):
3 1/3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Mix dry ingredients and add:
1 c. oil
2/3 c. water
2 c. pumpkin (Puree)
Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.Prepare muffin tins by greasing with vegetable oil or butter and sprinkling lightly with flour. Shake out excess. Fill muffin tins three-quarters full and bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
I changed it a bit and took out half the sugar and replaced it with a cup of oats and a half cup of wheat germ. I also added a cup of walnuts. The parrots loved them and I enjoyed them as well.