Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Unanimous Decision About Kale

We have a lot of farmers' markets here and throughout the state, so there's always something fresh and delicious to choose from nearly any day of the week.

I keep seeing pictures on Facebook of happy little birds chomping away on clumps of kale and lettuce and other various greens, so I decided I should give my birds some, too. I stopped by one of the stalls that offered only the finest organic vegetables. I at least knew better than to buy one of their big bags of kale or collard greens because if the birds didn't like them I wouldn't eat them.

So I asked as politely as possible if I could buy just a small handful of kale and collard greens. "Just to see if my birds like them," I explained.

"Your birds eat collard greens?" the staff person seemed incredulous.

"Well," I said, "it's worth a try."

She let me pick out a few leaves but refused my money.

"If they like it, you can buy a bag next week," she told me and hurried away to help the next customer, who probably had a more reasonable request.

I took the greens home and washed and drained them. I used an old wooden clothes pin to attach one leaf of kale and one leaf of collard greens to each cage. The birds eyed this new development with much suspicion, so I told them it was a treat.

I had tried giving the cockatiels a shallow bowl of water last week with some fresh spinach in it to bathe in, but they were having none of it.

Then I went off to do non-avian chores, certain the leaves would be thoroughly chewed up and eaten within minutes.

About ten minutes later I stopped by the cages. Cheb and Flash had pulled down both the kale and collard greens, leaving the clothes pin intact. They  were stomping on the leaves, perhaps thinking they were area rugs for their cage. I did not see any beak marks.

Charli, on the other hand, had not pulled down either leaf, but had clearly chewed some holes in the collard greens leaf.  Big holes.

In this video (I apologize for the poor quality) she is hanging upside down, performing one of her favorite acts -- making a hole in something then using her beak to make the hole bigger and bigger. I suppose it must feel good to her beak. I learned long ago not to let her get started on any of my favorite tee-shirts. (The leaf looks brown in the video, but it was as green as the rest of it in real life.)

I may or may not give it another try this weekend, maybe presenting the leaves in a different shape (chopped up).

Either way, I suspect I won't be able to post cute pictures of my birds wrestling healthy green plants into their little beaks anytime soon.

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