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I've lived with Peachfront Conures Aratinga aurea for 30 years. I've bred 'em, trained 'em, even visited Bolivia to observe them in the wild. For more about me, click right here.

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10:19 p.m. 2012-08-06

the question of chocolate

A few days ago, I talked about avocado. There's no debate about avocado. It's poisonous to parrots. Don't feed it to your peachfronts. Ever. And if your peachfronts get their busy beaks on some avocado, get them to an emergency vet right away.

With chocolate, it isn't so clearcut. In fact, when I first got into birds, chocolate was sort of a health food. I remember seeing a macaw at a foofy hotel where I stayed in Houston who was offered a small candy bar every other afternoon, not really a rare treat for large birds at the time. Now, I would never, ever feed chocolate to my peachfronts, but I'm reasonably sure when I first got Arthur in the 1980s, I let him have a tiny taste once in a blue moon, and nobody was much concerned, and nothing much happened.

Eventually, through Bird Talk magazine, I learned of a case of an African Grey who ate too much chocolate, had some sort of heart attack, and died. This report raised my awareness, and I usually keep chocolate out of the house altogether. When I do eat chocolate, I treat my birds with peanut butter or something else they like at the same time -- just not chocolate.

However, that said, if your bird has only a teeny, tiny taste of chocolate, you probably don't need to panic. I wouldn't deliberately offer the chocolate, and you would be wise to distract your peachfront from the chocolate. But if the peachfront somehow grabs a bite anyway, it is not an instant death sentence or anything like that. Just be careful, and use your common sense.

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