Friday, April 24, 2020

Brock Afentul ( Hypocrisy and Questionable Husbandry

Welcome all, to the saga of, a Youtube channel, Instagram, Facebook page, and Discord maintained by a dude named Brock Afentful, owner of a fluctuating number of pet toucans. Before we get started, I wanted to list some of my other posts about this situation, as it would really be to your benefit to take the time to go through all of it. I urge you to keep an open mind however. 

If you "read" my material and upon finishing, are still asking yourself just why the heck do I have a problem with Brock, or why I would stand in the way of him "rescuing" toucans, you certainly have not read my content with an open, impartial mind. If you are of the belief that Brock is infallible and that absolutely nothing I say will change your mind, you're wasting your time sending me hate mail and death threats.

Brock on Reddit

The Death of Maeve

Buying Non-rescued Birds

Brock's Fake Toucan Rescue

Last year I described an apparent mental failing I termed The Parrot Paradox. In short, this is people's tendency to see a pet that is uncommon and unusually owned and perceive that animal as difficult to care for (or jump to the conclusion that it doesn't belong in captivity) often without even knowing anything about that animal. This is a consistent occurrence with parrots (common) vs. toucans (uncommon) and the belief that the latter requires specialized care or should only be in zoos, even when parrots are considered to be high-maintenance pets [5].

To expand upon this cognitive bias, I would like to introduce you to the "Three Can'ts" (because they all say you can't care for a toucan properly, so to speak). These are three individuals who post a lot of online content about their pet toucans, therefore, their information is favored by Google and Youtube algorithms. All three have the following in common: They've owned toucans as pets, they all believe toucans shouldn't be pets, and they are all relatively young, have no education in the sciences, and had their first toucan(s) for 6 years and under before giving them up or having them prematurely die (generally longevity in captivity is 21 years [25]).

They are Brock Afentful of 2CAN TV, Jamieleigh Womach of Bird Tricks, and Chrissann Nickel of the blog Adventures in Toucanland.

I will discuss the other two in more detail in future posts, but while Womach and Nickel impulsively purchased their toucans, Brock may be the least qualified to be making public statements on the suitability of toucans as pets for many reasons.

To start, this is the video that inspired this post:

In this video, Afentful makes some comments that show an appalling lack of self-awareness and obvious hypocrisy which is evident from the title alone (Tiger King, Exploiting Animals for Fame, & Why Toucans Shouldn't be Bets!(Rant).

He also says: "I don't believe toucans, or any exotic animals, should be pets. But they are here to stay and we can't change that now. The best thing we can do is make sure they get to qualified people or facilities that give them the best lives possible." and on another video "I do NOT recommend or endorse Toucan's as pets."

These comments sound insane, considering that Afentful:
  • Spent $10,000 to $12,000 on his first toucan, Ripely, from a breeder.  
  • When Ripely passed, he got his followers to help him buy a new one (and send the original's body to an unspecified museum), for a similar price.
  • He also got his followers to help pay for 2 more toucans soon after, under the guise that they were being "rescued". 
  • He (obviously) puts up content that makes owning toucans look appealing (because they are), for revenue. 
  • He literately says that his channel is responsible for 75% of his income and asks his followers to help pay for his new house ("we're trying to move to a new facility" from the video "Toucans Bite and it is Not Fun").

Therefore, Brock Afentful is, by every definition, exploiting his birds, as they help pay his bills, and yes, his earnings also pay for the care of the birds, which is also to his benefit, because they are his desired, extremely expensive, luxury pets. One only needs to glance beneath the "rant" video in question, where he is ironically begging for donations and selling products depicting his pets.

Brock Afentful Questionable Husbandry

Why is Afentful asking for donations? The fact remains, either he can afford the care of his birds that he asked his supporters to help him buy and simply would rather have someone else do it, or he can't afford their care yet "rescued" two toucans after he spent what would be more than a month's income for much of America's population on the first toucan.

Furthermore, his house is filled with what appears to be expensive mainstream film memorabilia, including this model of a Jurassic Park T-rex that retails for over $500 in the U.S. at the time of its release.

This is important, as Afentful presents his channel as an educational resource and perhaps even a toucan "rescue". It should be noted that there are real bird rescues that utilize their limited resources to help as many lower value birds as possible, while Afentful is collecting money for three valuable (even if they are sick) animals that he owns completely for pleasure (his words: “I can’t imagine living my life without a toucan”) when he supposedly thinks that is wrong. He even claims that he does this "for a living".


Small Cages?

Ironically, by the standards of most toucan keepers, Brock Afentful's enclosures are way too small for large toucans, including one of the most well-known breeders, Emerald Forest, and even they don't believe toucans shouldn't be pets. Most owners of large toucans believe they should ideally be housed in walk-in avaries. Here are cage specifications from three resources:

Emerald Forest: 12 feet by 24 feet by 8 feet [4]
AZA:  2 feet wide by 6 feet long by 6 feet high (this is only a quarantine cage for short periods) [17]
Summers, Amando: "Large Toucans need the largest Macaw-size cage you can find, or better, walk-in aviaries" [21].

This was Ripley, his first toucan's cage, this is Toupac's cage, and this is the cage for the 2 new birds he "rescued" (at 14:00), which appears to be the same model (or is it the same cage?) of Toupac's double macaw-sized cage (possibly 80"x40"x61" interior), but split in half to accommodate the two birds (it is unclear if this housing situation is permanent, and if it is, this is a very stressful situation as the two birds do not get along and have no means of hiding from each other's view).
However, he claims 2 of the birds are rarely in the cage.

But there's a few problems with this.

  • Toucans defecate, on average I would say, every 5-10 minutes, constantly, all day. As they do not have a crop like parrots [4][6], they eat throughout all their waking hours and poop on a consistent basis [1][22]. They can even sometimes eliminate food they've eaten 15 minutes ago [6]. This means that if he is telling the truth, then even with daily frequent cleaning, his house is filthy and gross and possibly infested with fruit flies/ants/other bugs [22], especially since he lives in the South (personal experience owning a toucan). That is simply not sanitary.
  • He is forcing his toucans to sleep outside of their preferred sleeping quarters, a nesting cavity [16][17][22][25], none of which are present inside or out of the cages.
  • It is completely unsafe to allow toucans to free-roam the house without constant supervision, and I mean constant. Simply being 'around' or within the same space isn't enough. They can injure themselves, and far more commonly, ingest small objects and die [4][11][22]. His house appears to be a normal house, not an emptied-out specially designed-for-birds living space. 
  • His house contains a small number of perches and perch-able surfaces. While it might sound appealing that the birds get to "free roam", they naturally prefer to spend little time on the ground [17]. This means the space that is available to them, besides the floor, is not so large. 
  • It is recommended that the larger toucans are kept outdoors with natural sunlight for optimal health [17]. 
  • If Afentful wants us to believe these toucans are so well-behaved that they remain still on certain perches and are perfectly content, he has successfully made the argument that they are excellent pets. Otherwise, this housing situation is not adequate.
  • Furthermore, if he doesn't believe in caging the birds for long periods, it begs the question, why did he raise money to buy two more "rescue" toucans that may or may not get along with his first toucan within the household or properly adjust to this precarious free-roaming situation that he is dependent on? As he states he "tries to give them as much of a cage-free life as they can possibly have", he sounds like he feels entitled to have the birds even though he does not have the proper enclosure(s) and requires them to be extremely tame and well-behaved (in direct contradiction to them being "bad pets") in order to live well in his home. Furthermore, he claims Beatrix cannot be out as often due to "behavior issues", but these "issues" (aggression, territoriality, flying into walls, ect.) are in fact NORMAL and EXPECTED toucan behaviors [4][15][16] (especially when they are parent-raised [1]) .
  • Afentful could have pursued buying or "rescuing" less expensive aracaries or toucanets that are the appropriate size for his situation, as I did, but he choose to purchase large toucans for his own desires. 
This was Beatrix's quarantine area with papers that were "just changed", to give some perspective on the amount that toucans eliminate. Image used under Fair Use.


Feeding Toucans Junk for Views

None of Brock Afentful's followers seem to make anything of the fact that he at least once has fed all of his toucans fried chick-fil-a nuggets and Froot Loops. He does this possibly to amuse people, not for "education" and certainly not for the benefit of the birds. While Afentful often states to his followers that toucans like to eat meat, they rarely do this except when raising chicks [3][13][14][20][22][24][25].

The diet should be as low in iron as possible [4][7][10][11][22]. Animal protein is high in iron [18] and toucan owners know to avoid meat entirely if they aren't breeding [7][8][10][19][22][24]. However, the Chick-fil-a nuggets are not just meat, but fried and cooked with various spices of unknown suitability for birds. Foot loops are extremely high in sugar, even for humans. Feeding these foods one time (if it was only one time) might not be harmful, but why take the risk with delicate animals like toucans just to get views? This is not only "exploitation", but potentially harmful exploitation.

Furthermore, Afentful's first toucan was fed cooked turkey shortly before her death at 6 years old. Her cause of death was cryptically described as "heart failure" or a "dormant heart issue", which he tries to imply was a genetic issue. Toucans are prone to cardivascular problems, and one cause is a high-fat diet and obesity [2].

Lying about Toucans being Injurious

Part of Afentful's spiel about toucans making bad pets involved him making a click bait thumbnail about toucans biting and inserting fake blood splatter on top of the image. He seems to rather enjoy presenting toucans as 'raptor-like' perhaps to make himself feel like a daring animal wrangler.

Actually, toucans may have the least injurious bite of any comparably-sized warm-blooded animal that you can possibly own. Their beaks are very lightweight [23]. After prompting his toucan who has "behavior problems" to bite him, he sustained a superficial red spot on his finger, which proves this. Parrots, on the other hand, can break your fingers [9], but I haven't heard him suggest parrots are bad pets. This is just another great example of the aforementioned paradox. Not many pet owners would induce a bite from an animal that could cause significant harm. If I prompted some of the animals I own to bite me, I would easily end up in the hospital.


Toucan Behavioral Issues?

Afentful suggests Beatrix, the keel-billed toucan, has "behavior problems" and is "not pet quality" despite the fact that she is an adult bird in a new environment being forcibly housed closely to other strange toucans of different species, which is not recommended [4]. I believe her behavior is completely normal and expected, which only further proves my point: Afentful seems to have expectations of birds behaving like tame dogs and when they do not, he considers them to be bad pets. This is entirely the root of exotic pet criticism, i.e. comparison syndrome. People who have incorrect perceptions of animals will label them incorrectly. The fact that his other "rescue" toucan is behaving so well (even before his supposed ample time working with them) is great evidence they make excellent pets for the right owners.

The Bottom Line

Brock Afentful frequently states throughout his Youtube channel that he doesn't believe toucans (and other exotic animals) should be pets while he purchases the birds, actively supporting the trade and making money from showing them of. Therefore they are not rescues, they are assets. While suggesting that only a limited number of people, himself included, have what it takes to care for toucans, his husbandry is questionable and does not follow the recommendations of leading toucan breeders. Afentful appears to make up his own rules regarding not just toucan care, but who is qualified to own them and nonsensical logic that permits him to "rescue" and even purchase toucans while simultaneously siding with animal rights activists so that he can get praised by pro and anti-exotic pet minded supporters, reaping every benefit.

*If any of the information presented here is factually incorrect, please let me know with sources provided.


  1. Axelson, Rick. Toucans and Toucanettes - General. Care & Wellness, Pet Services. 2009.
  2. Cubas, Zalmir S. "Toucans: Husbandry and Medicine World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2009." Hemoglobin (g/dL) 16: 14-61.
  3. dos Santos, Alessandra Aparecida, and José Ragusa-Netto. "Toco-toucan (Ramphastos toco) feeding habits at an urban area in Central Brazil." Ornitología Neotropical 24 (2013): 1-13.
  4. Emerald Forest Bird Gardens. Care Information.
  5. Engebretson, M. "The welfare and suitability of parrots as companion animals: a review." ANIMAL WELFARE-POTTERS BAR THEN WHEATHAMPSTEAD- 15.3 (2006): 263.
  6. Hess, Laurie. Axelson, Rick. "Toucans and Toucanettes - Feeding". Care & Wellness, Nutrition, Pet Services
  7. Jennings, Jerry. Toucans & Their Captive Reproduction.
  8. Johnson, Sibylle. Natural and Captive Diet of Toucans / Toucanets and Aracaris.
  9. King, I. C. C., H. Freeman, and J. E. Wokes. "Managing parrot bite injuries to the hand: not just another animal bite." Hand 10.1 (2015): 128-130.
  10. Mazuri. Mazuri® ZuLiFe® Soft-Bill Diet for Iron Sensitive Birds.
  11. Máinez, Mireia, et al. "Traumatic (foreign body) pericarditis in a Toco Toucan (Ramphastos Toco)." Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 47.4 (2016): 1097-1100.
  12. Otten, Benjamin A., et al. "Mineral content of food items commonly ingested by keel-billed toucans (Ramphastos sulfuratus)." Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 15.3 (2001): 194-196.
  13. Ragusa-Netto, José. "Abundance and frugivory of the toco toucan (Ramphastos toco) in a gallery forest in Brazil's Southern Pantanal." Brazilian Journal of Biology 66.1A (2006): 133-142.
  14. Ragusa-Netto, José. "Toco toucan feeding ecology and local abundance in a habitat mosaic in the Brazilian cerrado." Ornitologia Neotropical 19 (2008): 345-359.
  15. Reynolds M. 2017. Toco Toucan: species fact sheet. Silver Spring (MD): Avian Scientific Advisory Group. [accessed 2020 April 16th].
  16. Ritchie, Branson W., Greg J. Harrison, and Linda R. Harrison. Avian medicine: principles and application. HBD International, Incorporated, 1994.
  17. Seibels, B., and M. Vince. "Toucan Husbandry Manual for the AZA Piciformes TAG." Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2001).
  18. Sheppard, Christine, and Ellen Dierenfeld. "Iron storage disease in birds: speculation on etiology and implications for captive husbandry." Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 16.3 (2002): 192-197.
  19. Silva, Juliana Macedo Magnino, et al. "Development of young toco toucas fed with dry dog food and toucan pellets." Revista Brasileira de Saude e Producao Animal 12.3 (2011): 739-749.
  21. Summers, Amado. Toucan Frequently Asked Questions.
  22. Toucans... My Experiences with their Care and Breeding
  23. Worell, Amy B. "Ramphastids." Handbook of Avian Medicine. WB Saunders, 2009. 335-349.
  24. Verschoor, T. "Talking ToucansZooQuaria 90 (2015): 16-17.
  25. Vincent, Mairee. "The Preliminary Studies of Wild Toco Toucans (Ramphastos toco)-a keeper's experience in the field." Ratel 34.3 (2007): 8.


  1. Great Article, so sick of these Pet-Tubers putting the label "Rescue" on something and some how that makes them different then zoo's, It's a joke, I own plenty of exotic pets, Finches, large Emerald Boas, and they all are doing fine on the way i take care of them, I've even owned several large bamboo sharks as well as random salt water fish. I'm so tired of these people making money off the pets they tell everyone else to own.. he's nothing more then a Carol Baskin and the rest of these "Peta" simps.

    1. They are incredibly frustrating, thanks for commenting.

    2. I agree. There's a similarly beloved pettuber called GoHerping who's the reptile version of Brock, he passes himself off as an expert yet this "expert" allowed his bosc monitor to languish for TWO YEARS with a tapeworm, not once ever taking him to the vet. His excuse? "I know more than vets do". Even though he failed to recognize obvious symptoms of internal parasites for two friggin' years. His ego is massive and he simply will not listen to anyone, much like Brock claims to know more than vets and breeders. Granted, many breeders out there are bad, but I don't think he's a good source of info considering he can't keep a toucan alive. He keeps blaming these premature deaths on poor breeding, but, I mean....three deaths? Actually it might be four now.

  2. Brock is particularly annoying. He spends his entire "live time" every week encouraging people to give him money, and this is constant. I am glad to read that someone is calling him out on his hypocrisy.

    1. Thanks! I will be making a video on Youtube on this topic.

  3. What is this bullshit? You are just jealous that he has a knowledge of the birds and stuff. He takes care of the toucans very good, much better than uneducated people

    1. If you're spoofing his fans, great job! If not, I've clearly left a shit load of references here to back all of my claims in addition to having a toucan for many years, uneducated I am not.

    2. Yes you are uneducated. You are just jealous you can't take care of the beautiful toucans. Brock is doing an amazing job with rescuing the birds and taking care of them

    3. Thanks for stopping by Brock.

    4. I am not Brock lol. I'm his viewer. If you watched his channel properly you should know he rescues Toucans. Toupac is a rescue and Beatrix is a rescue as well. And he has told them why he did rescue them

    5. I hope you are really, really young. I've discussed this topic at length. Check out the new post about him while you're at it. Please don't bother commenting the same nonsense.

    6. I'm 23 lmfao, you are just fucking pathetic.

    7. When I said I hope you are really young, it's because you sound like an idiot, so I was hoping that was the reason. You seem proud to declare otherwise.

    8. You are a fucking idiot fucking whore. You have no right to hate on Brock because you are fucking jealous that he cares about the toucans. Fucking whore. Just go fucking kill yourself

    9. You literally know nothing about birds, you child. Nothing. You're just an idiot little boy lashing out over something so insignificant, it's the most pathetic thing I've ever seen. You really have no life at all, do you? None whatsoever! 😂 Imagine, being such a useless person that you base your entire personality around worshipping some nobody on YouTube. Wow.

      Funniest thing is, this Brock guy you wanna fellate so badly is being actively harmed because of you. See, the only you've accomplished here is convince everybody that your loverboy Brock is an objectiveIy horrible person. If his fanbase is as infantile and psychotic as you, then he can't POSSIBLY be a good guy.

      Grow up, stop playing Fortnite, and go read a book for once in your life. Make yourself into a person who's actually worthy of existing in this world, instead of just an internet laughingstock. And, believe me...we are ALL laughing at you.

  4. Well, Melissa you atleast opened my eyes. I am more well versed when it comes to marine wild life and in this case I was a bit guillable (or didn't fack check enough) but I will stop looking at his channel because i hate hypocrisy when it comes to caretaking of wild animals. Thanks for educating me ;)


    This from someone who is as educated as you claim ?
    You call Brock out for hypocrisy but you yourself are a hypocrite, as you fail to mention any of your apparent problems with him keeping them as pets in your own advocation for pet Toucans. Not only this, but Brock is in fact educated and the Toucans he own are rescued. And yes, sometimes rescuing birds means buying them, simply to remove them from a terrible situation. Not only that but the fact you used Beatrice's attitude as a point, you posted a literal article discussing how good Toucans behave.

    And Furthermore, Brock asks for donations as any charity does, Merch spreads awareness. He is asking for donations to constantly help and improve the Toucan's care. And you yourself have no right to criticise him when advocating for Toucans to be pets.

    1. If he's buying them, he's not rescuing them. He's encouraging the trade. The seller doesn't care of the philosophy of the buyer, they're just glad business is going great.
      He is buying pets for himself and getting suckers to pay for them, while telling them only he can do it.
      She wrote that article this year, obviously (I think) to counter this narrative that "toucans are not pets" - by showing how yes, they can be. And she has a pet toucan.
      How is Brock educated? He's just a random pet owner.

    2. Let me break down each one:
      Toupac, toco: rescue, given to him by previous owner who became unable to care for him.
      Maeve (RIP), red-billed: purchased as a pet from a dubious breeder, which he expresses regret over. She passed because of complications of not being given proper formula from her breeders.
      Beatrix, keel-billed: "rescue", purchased from previous owner who didn't correctly care for her. He convinced them to come down in price. He suspects she was caught wild and illegally imported.
      Rhiannon, red-billed: purchased as a pet from a reputable breeder, he was able to trace it and can confirm she was given proper formula.
      Unnamed baby channel-billed: purchased as a pet from a very reputable breeder with day-by-day records of weight, diet, etc. The breeder actually sought him out specifically because he wanted his birds to have a good home.

      So the only one that supports "the trade" (assuming you mean illegal animal trade) would be Maeve, which is a fair point of criticism. He should have looked deeper into the breeder, especially after seeing the discoloured plumage and bill. Beatrix's previous owners probably won't buy another bird since they had problems with her (as a result of not giving adapt living conditions). Rhia and the new baby are from breeders who were certified by zoos.

      One last thing to consider is that by putting videos out there and talking about these kinds of problems he get people interested in toucan conservation, fighting the illegal pet trade, etc.

      So while there are some reasons to criticize Brock, I'm quite confident he doesn't want to support illegal animal trafficking or anything that could bring harm to the animals.

    3. "So the only one that supports "the trade" (assuming you mean illegal animal trade) would be Maeve" That isn't it at all. No one ever said anything about the exotic pet black market. Brock has been perfectly and crystal clear that he believes toucans should not be pets, PERIOD. Or at least that's what comes out of his mouth. However, I am aware that he has purchased FIVE toucans from breeders and dealers in the following order:
      -Zoey the collard aracari
      -Ripley the toco toucan
      -Maeve the red-billed toucan
      -Rhiannon the red-billed toucan
      -the channel billed

      3 are dead. I don't care if some were purchased from reputable breeders. Buying an animal from a legal source is the bare minimum of ethics that is exercised by a typical exotic pet owner. Maeve did NOT originate from the illegal pet trade or at least there is no evidence she did. The issue there was that it is believed the breeder fed the wrong formula and that is responsible for her death (I do NOT believe this, please see my other post).

      Again, Brock is someone who says toucans should not be pets, and he just went and bought 2 toucans within 3 months with his donators money. The new bird was probably at least $6000. Please see my other posts on him, and there is another one pending. $12,000+ on new birds for Brock this year and he still wants people to help him buy a new house so he can show cute videos of himself living it up with his pets (this does NOTHING for conservation and is barely educational) so that he doesn't have to get a job.

      Can you not see that he is lower than dirt?

    4. How are people so easily duped? This guy is a phony. One does not purchase a 'rescue'! It isn't rocket science!

    5. @Tang: You literally forgot Ripley, the most important one. Or did you just willfully not include her because she disproves you fallacious argument?

      Blind hero worship is bad enough as it is, but it's a million times worse when you do it over some unemployed nobody on YouTube. What's that say about you, I wonder? Either way, no matter how much you fellate this guy, that doesn't make him infallible. At best, he's a hypocrite who isn't taking the best care of his birds. At worst, he's a serial toucan murderer exploiting these poor animals for money and attention.

  6. Your articles are very interesting, thank you for the great research.

    I'm kind of torn because I don't think Brock means to do bad, but there seems to be a LOT he's doing wrong. It doesn't feel like he wants to treat the birds badly, but then again it's not like I can read his mind so I guess that could just be my hope talking.
    I really love birds in general (though my main interest is in parrot species; I have two budgies) and by god do I know how it feels to do wrong by them and feel horrible when you know better once you're older (not that Brock is a child but I guess my own wrongdoings are why I want to give him the benefit of the doubt...)

    Note that I don't know anything about taking care of toucans except for what I've heard from him and what I've now read in your articles. Again, thanks for writing and sharing your articles, I'm trying to keep learning and questioning things (so I don't fall into delusional admiration i guess) and I'm glad there's someone out there who's content I can read to do so!

    Sorry for the long comment, I hope it's not too much.

    Greetings from Germany,

    1. I don't think he means any wrongdoing either, but he IS still doing wrong. And at the end of the day, he's still a bad person because 1) he refuses to listen, arrogantly assuming he knows more than actual professionals to the detriment of his birds, and 2) his fanbase is completely made up of total psychos.