I bought a cup of rice pudding at the RV Resort, and offered some to the coot. The coots really love this stuff, and I suppose it is very nutritional. It has plenty of fat, sugar, and starch, and probably some calcium from the milk. It may help the coots build up fat for the winter cold.
At the end of 2006 Reynaldo's quit making the pudding, so I had to develop my own recipe and start producing rice pudding myself. Keep in mind that coots are very sensitive to taste and smell so I wanted to duplicate the original commercial pudding as well as possible. The following is my best effort at a recipe for coot pudding.
The coots will not tolerate adding eggs in any form, so this is an egg free recipe. The coots don't like cinnamon and will eat around it. In fact, Beaky sneezed the first time he tasted it.
Three quarters cup of long grain white rice
Two and one quarter cups of water
One cup of whole milk
One cup of heavy whipping cream (not whipped)
One half cup of sugar
Two teaspoons of vanilla extract
Add the rice and water to a saucepan and heat to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for twenty minutes. It will look more like mush than rice, but the texture of the finished pudding is most important. Dump the rice and other ingredients into an open casserole dish and bake in the oven for thirty minutes at 350 degrees F. Stir at the beginning and, occasionally afterward (with a wooden spoon) to avoid a burned skin on the top. Pour it into a food storage container and refrigerate overnight.
A coot can't eat two quarts of pudding so you may wish to try it yourself. It is much better if you cool it for an hour in the refrigerator and eat it while it is still warm. This is probably the way it was intended a hundred years ago.
The final texture of the pudding cannot be easily determined until it cools completely, and is critical to the birds. It should be loose enough to allow the coots to bite into it. It should stick together well enough to allow them to pick up a large wad of it when in a hurry.
If the pudding is too thin and watery increase the amount of rice. You want it to be rather stiff after cooling overnight, since it will tend to thin over several days in the refrigerator. Use short grained white rice or "Pudding Rice" if it is available.