Did you receive a sample?

Watch this space as we add more info.

Why feed freeze-dried foods?

Vets and bird nutritionists tell us that we must must feed our birds vegetables and some fruit. While some birds take to new fruit and vegetables without any problems, all the birds I've taken in were picky eaters. For example, my budgie Lemmy loves spinach but will not even look at any other type of fruit or vegetable. Higgins they grey loves corn on a cob, but hates anything juicy or remotely wet. Oscar, the corella who is 43 years old and has eaten nothing but seeds before he came to us is genuinely terrified of vegetables.

I have tried making fresh chop and I have tried making frozen chop. It's quite hard to balance the small amount you need to feed (usually recommended as 10-20% of the total diet) with the minimum you can buy (half a cauliflower or a carrot). Fresh chop, even made in smallest amounts, seems so wasteful - you buy a carrot and blitz it with a capsicum and that's still too much food for even three birds, the rest is thrown away. Or, if frozen, it comes out of the freezer a bit degraded and soggy.

It takes a really long time to get birds to get used to new things, particularly new foods. It took us three months to get Oscar to eat pellets.

Freeze-dried foods gives you the convenience of fruit and vegetables being on hand saving you time and reducing waste. You can easily control the amount you give them, for example just one floret of a cauliflower without having to buy and cook a whole cauliflower, and it saves you time.

The concentrated flavours and crunchy taste of freeze-dried food may even help with getting them to eat it.

Feeding Instructions

Because the vegetables are airy and crunchy, they can be fun for the birds to eat as is and can be offered as a treat.

Some birds may prefer it broken up finer and sprinkled on their existing pellets.

You can also rehydrate the vegies by adding a very small amount of water to them and leaving it for about half an hour.

What is freeze-drying?

A freeze dryer removes water from food in order to preserve it. It is different from dehydrating and drying in that the food is first rapidly frozen and then the frozen water is evaporated under vacuum. Think of raisins and dried apricots - they shrivel up and are still a bit chewy. In contrast, freeze-dried vegetables are crunchy, airy, and retain their original size and shape. This means that freeze drying retains most of the nutritional value of the food while condensing the flavour and extending the food shelf life. Some more information is well summarised on this website.

Storage

Ordinarily freeze-drying allows for up to 25 years shelf life if the packet is unopened and is vacuum-sealed or has an oxygen absorber.

The sample you received was not vacuum packed, but because it is freeze-dried the vegetables should last longer than fresh food provided they are kept in a airtight container (several months) or the packet is unopened.

The vegetables are packed in sealed Mylar bags which help preserve the shelf life of the product until it arrives to you. You can transfer the food into another container or use the bag ziploc to reseal it.

When the vegies are becoming soft, it means they've absorbed some moisture from the air and this means they should be used up soon.

The larger bags are packed with an oxygen absorber packet. Make sure no one tries to eat it! Oxygen absorber reacts with the oxygen in the packet and releases nitrogen. Because the oxygen is removed, there can be no bacterial growth and oxidation. As long as the bag is sealed and re-sealed, the absorber keeps working. Once the oxygen absorber packet has become rock-hard, it's been used up - the chemical reaction has finished and will not be able to absorb any more oxygen.

How did we prepare the food?

We purchased some of the vegetables at the Lower Hutt food market. Peas and corn were from a frozen mixed vegetables bag purchased at a Lower Hutt supermarket.

We rinsed all the fresh vegetables, cooked in boiling water, and then freeze-dried. Frozen vegetables were freeze-dried from frozen.

The dried food was stored in vacuum sealed containers until we individually packed it to ship to you.