My stance on food appearance is that it doesn’t seem to matter that much to avians. At least not mine. While I am not a scientist and have never performed a study on such things, I can tell you through casual observation with my own flock – beautiful, plain, or even downright ugly, on a plate or in a bowl, with little ornamental designs or just heaped in a big pile, they are equally enthusiastic about any meal. To them, food’s food!
As to what’s in the diet itself, our vet says a small amount of a boxed seed mix, a base of organic pellets – without colouring or additives – and lots of vegetables and fruit, combined with various other foods for protein like egg, quinoa, or brown rice. I haven’t seen any research otherwise, so that’s what I’ll stick to.
It’s the stuff in their meals that matters – and so long as you’re adding plenty of new tastes, I view that as more than okay. I don’t think I’m abusing my pets by failing to provide cute but pointless fruit Christmas trees and gorgeous little treats wrapped up with a spinach bow. Does my bird know what a Christmas tree is? No.
Does he care?
No. So why would he care about eating a fruit version? He’s just as happy to rummage through a bowl for his favourite bits – or better yet, use an actual foraging toy or bird-safe skewer.
My flock do seem to like it when I mix up the textures, by, say, grating, chopping, mashing, and slicing their foods differently, or even putting things in whole. Other than that, though, they really couldn’t seem to care less if I make it ‘pretty’ or not – because they have no concept of beauty.
I read a quote once: ‘Birds don’t care about food presentation; humans do.’ Once again, I can’t remember where I found that – I’m pretty sure it was in the pamphlet from the vet on the importance of UV in diet. I swear, this time I’ll find it. The reality is, though, that the birds have no idea what it is that we’ve given them because they’re birds. They don’t know the difference between a Christmas tree and a UFO. In the wild, they don’t care, either.
Just by the by, according to our vet, birds see very little in the way of colour without UV… and so many extra efforts wouldn’t be ignored, exactly, just unseen.
Whatever the case, I do sometimes (rarely) make something special – and I do also try and vary the way I serve things up. I’m aware, though, that the extra, extra effort is done for me. After all, the birds just end up tearing it up and flinging it everywhere. Maybe a little bit gets eaten in between…?