Monday, 6 September 2010

In Season: Cobnuts

The season of fresh nuts here in the UK is quite short. The nuts on offer are mainly cobnuts and also walnuts, though these are harder to find. I was lucky however and picked some of both from my local farm shop. Fresh nuts taste quite different to dry ones. They are crunchy and even slightly moist. This makes me think they are lower in fat than once they get dry.
Cobnuts, are a type of a hazelnut. They are rich in vitamin E, B1 and B6 and calcium. They have a good amount of protein and fibre too. Cobnuts can be slightly cracked for smaller parrots or given whole in shell to macaws or large cockatoos. I am not sure what Digby enjoys more - eating nuts or chewing on the shell of cobnuts and walnuts.
When choosing nuts to give to parrots in shell choose those without any sign of rot.

You can see in the photo some nuts are whiter and some are darker. The lighter ones are just younger nuts. These are the ones I choose to give to Digby. There is one black-ish nut on the left there in the pile. It looks to me like it has started to go mouldy, so I would definitely not give that one to him.

Walnuts are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are very rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, contain some minerals, like manganese and copper. Walnuts also possess anti-inflammatory properties, so good for arthritis and inflammatory skin conditions sufferers. They also have an antioxidant compound beneficial for immune system support. 
Since walnuts are quite large in size I wouldn't give more than half of it per day per medium sized parrot. Again, eating them from a shell is a lot more exciting for birds and if you know they are fresh and clean you can have a piece of mind that they are safe nibbling on that woody shell. 

All nuts are best kept in the fridge short-term and in the freezer long-term. If they are dry then they can go rancid if left at room temperature for long, ff they are fresh nuts then they will just go mouldy if not stored properly.

Here is his highness first enjoying his tiny bit of walnut, then cobnut...

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