Minecraft to change controversial parrot feeding mechanic

Posted May 17, 2017 by James Walker
Minecraft developer Mojang has said it will change the way parrots are fed in the game after community members realised it could kill real birds. A feature of an upcoming update, parrots are currently fed with chocolate which would actually poison them.
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Mojang announced it's bringing parrots to the hugely popular game back in March. Everything appeared to be going smoothly until earlier this week. In a post on the Minecraft subreddit that has since gone viral, user 1jil explained that the game could inadvertently pose a risk to real birds.
Mojang had originally planned to let players breed parrots using chocolate chip cookies. The studio had overlooked the fact that a real parrot would be poisoned and could die if it ate any amount of chocolate. Although Minecraft is clearly not representative of the real world, the user pointed out that the game's immense sway with young players could lead to unfortunate unintended consequences.
"I get that you want to give chocolate chip cookies a use in the game, but literally millions of players of kids will play this game and chocolate and pet parrots are common enough that this will cause a problem. There is no question about that," 1jil wrote in the original Reddit post. "You can't tell me some 6 year old is going to play Minecraft and then try to feed their Mom's 45 year old Macaw chocolate chips or a chocolate chip cookies."
After accumulating over 37,000 upvotes in the course of a few days, the post has become the most popular ever on the Minecraft subreddit. With the community overwhelmingly in support of changing the mechanic, Mojang has come out in favour of the idea and announced it will revise how parrots are bred. The company also revealed the chocolate chip cookies were an inside nod to the Nirvana song Polly.
"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," Minecraft lead developer Jens Bergensten said to Motherboard. "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.'"
Mojang has not confirmed what will take the place of the chocolate chip cookies. The most popular suggestion currently seems to be bird seed, an item that would be a new addition but could be crafted from seeds and vegetables that can already be grown.
The unique situation reflects Minecraft's extraordinary popularity with young people across the world. Because the game is so widespread, Mojang has to remember how its work will impact the people who play it. By taking the unusual step of heading back to the drawing board on an upcoming feature, the company seems to be demonstrating that it takes its responsibilities seriously.