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VIDEO: Put That Coffee Down Right Now, Kyara!

What’s worse? Giving coffee to a parrot, or giving a coffee to a cockatoo?

Follow Jessica Pineda on Twitter at @parrotsandvets


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Sometimes you see something that immediately makes you cringe before you even click play. Case in point: this video of Kyara, an adorable umbrella cockatoo, slurping away at Starbucks coffee.

While the video stated that the owner checked with her veterinarian to make sure it was OK for her cockatoo to indulge in a caffeine addiction, that does make me wonder why. Caffeine is one of those no-no foods for pet birds. According to the article, Bad Foods For Parrots, "Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and cola can cause an increase in heart rate in pet birds and make them hyperactive. If enough of a caffeinated beverage is consumed, a bird could have seizures and die.”

Considering how lightweight and so much smaller pet birds are compared to us, it’s hard to determine portion sizes for them. I’ve heard people say use the size of your bird’s eyeball to figure out your bird’s portion size. In that case, portions can be pretty small.

Which brings me to my first point: what’s worse? Giving caffeine to parrots (definitely a no), or to a cockatoo? We all know how cockatoos can be. (Cockatoo owners, you know what I'm talking about.) They really don’t need caffeine thrown into the mix.

Why is it always cockatoos always dabbling into the bad foods anyway?

Cockatoo dipped in chocolate
One of the memes that needs a huge disclaimer to it.

Sigh.*

What do you think? Do you give your birds caffeine? What has your veterinarian said? Let me know in the comments.

*The cockatoo in chocolate thing is fake. It's from a movie (see below), but you know it could happen.

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Posted: May 28, 2014, 7:30 a.m. PDT

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VIDEO: Put That Coffee Down Right Now, Kyara!

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Reader Comments
When we were little, our parents told us, "Don't cross the street!". We were too young to understand the potential dangers, even if patiently explained. It is obvious to me that we, the general public are being treated in a similar manner by the "Bird Gurus",
who believe (rightly so) that most of us are too stupid to be able to learn and understand that caffeine is toxic to animals in roughly the same percentages as humans. All the vets I've talked to say that while caffeine isn't harmful in small amounts to birds, dogs, etc, it is just as lethal as it would be to a human if a sufficiently large enough amount was ingested. How much is too much? It's like trying to tell a three year old when its safe to cross a busy street. Just saying NO! is much easier.
Roger, Brown Deer, WI
Posted: 6/4/2014 12:31:18 PM
I would be extremely careful giving birds caffeine. It is not advisable for any creature with a rapid (or irregular) heart rate. Even decaf has a small amount - enough to affect my heart so I can only imagine what it might do to a bird. Sadly, it is one of those things that might be tolerated well many times, however should something scare or upset the bird and raise the heart rate further, it could cause a fatal arrhythmia. I would find something without caffeine. We have rooibos tea here and the birds love it. It's not actually a tea, but the bark of a bush that actually has health benefits as well as being downright tasty.
Dee, Raleigh, NC
Posted: 6/3/2014 10:47:28 PM
My bird (caique) likes to eat coffee grounds - used or raw. I try to give her decaf when I can. Is decaf OK?
Heidi, Shakopee, MN
Posted: 6/3/2014 6:38:33 PM
My Umbrella Cockatoo came to me 13 years ago and fought me for my coffee cup the first day. I found another smaller coffee cup and filled it with water so she could have her own "coffee." Other times she gets a small amount of fruit juice. Clearly, she had been a coffee drinker in a previous home, however we resolved the issue. She is definitely one of those cockatoos that does not need any artificial stimulation. I have known many people over the years who had healthy birds while doing things that made me cringe. Others were not so lucky. I guess I like to err on the side of caution with my own birds, but prefer not to judge others, if possible.
Ellen, Auburn, ME
Posted: 6/3/2014 5:41:18 PM
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