Pigeons can eat almost everything that we eat, this doesn’t mean everything that is healthy for us is healthy for pigeons too. I have been wondering can pigeons eat chocolate or not and here is what I found.
Pigeons cannot eat chocolate as it is toxic for them. Even small quantities of chocolate can cause diarrhea and vomiting. The adverse effects can also cause pigeon death. Never add chocolate to your pigeon diet and if it accidentally eats chocolate, immediately consult an avian.
Why Pigeons Cannot Eat Chocolate?
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, they cause seizures, hyperactivity, and rapid heartbeat in pigeons.
Although no case of pigeons dying from eating chocolate has been reported so far, there are reports of other birds dying after eating chocolate. For example, a Kea parrot died after consuming 20g of chocolate in New Zealand. (1)
Since the Kea parrot is almost thrice the size of a pigeon, eating even 7g of chocolate would kill a pigeon. Some sources claim even 2g of chocolate can cause pigeon death.
Are All Types of Chocolate Toxic for Pigeons?
Yes, all types of chocolate are toxic for pigeons.
- Dark chocolate contains a high concentration of caffeine and theobromine, it is highly toxic.
- Milk chocolate and White chocolate contain dairy products and since pigeons are lactose-intolerant, they are also unhealthy for pigeons.
- Other types of chocolates also contain a high concentration of caffeine and theobromine.
|Chocolate Type||Theobromine (mg/oz)||Caffeine (mg/oz)|
|Baker’s unsweetened chocolate||390-450||23-50|
Can Pigeons Eat Chocolate Cake and Other Chocolate Products?
No, all chocolate products are unhealthy for pigeons as they contain some concentration of chocolate. Even small traces of chocolate affect your pigeon’s health so it should be never fed.
How to Know If My Pigeon Has Consumed Chocolate?
The effects of chocolate start appearing after 2-4 of consumption and last for 72 hours. The symptoms are:
- Impulsive activity with an inability to concentrate (like having fits)
- Frequent vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
What to Do If Your Pigeon Has Consumed Chocolate?
If your pigeon has consumed chocolate, immediately follow the below steps.
- Feed it 15ml of water with a hand-feeding pump or a syringe.
- Hold the pigeon in your hand, its head should be downward and tail upward.
- Softly press the stomach to induce vomiting, this will help reduce get rid of the chocolate present in the stomach.
- Repeat this process 2 times to ensure all chocolate has been removed.
- Mix 1g of activated charcoal in water and feed to your pigeon. It will absorb the theobromine and caffeine and reduce their effects.
- Mix half a teaspoon of apple cider in 10ml of water and feed it to your pigeon. It will help with detoxification and keeping the pigeon hydrated.
- Consult a vet for proper examination.
Chocolate can be life-threatening for your pigeons, if your pigeon ate chocolate, immediately induce vomiting and take it to a vet.
Bilal is a freelance writer and a content creator. He has been in the pigeon hobby for over 15 years. Over the years, he has worked on various fancy pigeon breeds and explored their history.