Do not feed chocolate to birds, as it can be potentially fatal to them.
It's that important message that has this week led to a most unexpected controversy in the world of Minecraft.
The frequency of updates for the world-conquering crafting game has definitely increased recently, and among these additions include the introduction of parrots. In Minecraft, animals can be tamed by feeding them a specific food, and Mojang decided that the food required to tame parrots would be chocolate chip cookies.
Motherboard reports that the issue was raised in what has since gone on to become the most upvoted post of all time in the Minecraft subreddit. The concern was that feeding digital parrots cookies could encourage kids to perhaps try slipping such a thing to a real-life parrot.
Mojang has since acknowledged that this is a perfectly legitimate concern, with lead creative designer Jens Bergensten saying: "If Minecraft has any effect on children's behaviour, we want it to be a positive one, so we'll change the item used to breed parrots before the 1.12 update is released.
"Our reasoning for originally using cookies was twofold; it gave cookies a reason to exist within Minecraft, and it was a subtle reference to the Nirvana song 'Polly.' However, we didn't consider what the chocolate ingredient would mean to real life parrots."
Why can't parrots eat chocolate, you may ask? Well, according to Animalquestions.org: Chocolate is bad for birds. It is not only bad because it is high in fat and calories, it is also bad for them because it contains an ingredient known as theobromine. This compound is poisonous to dogs and cats, and yes even birds.
In fact, due to their smaller size and rapid metabolism birds may be even more susceptible to chocolate's toxic effects than other animals. A bird's body is not equipped to digest this compound in the proper way and can cause many health problems.
Generally, the sweeter the chocolate or the more sugar it contains, the less theobromine present. (Milk chocolate contains about 1-2 mg of theobromine per gram while dark unsweetened chocolate may contain anywhere from 15-16 mg per gram). Despite this tidbit of information, no chocolate should be given to birds no matter what the type. Signs of chocolate toxicity include: hyperactivity, diarrhea, vomiting, heart arrhymthmias, disorientation, seizures, dark colored droppings and death.”
Some other foods that should never be fed to birds include: salt, onions, avocados, caffeine, alcohol, some seeds such as apple seeds, and pits.”