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Can Chickens Eat Rice? What You Need to Know!

Kristin Hitchcock

Chickens are omnivores and can eat all sorts of things. They are known for their wide acceptance of food. They are true scavengers and will eat just about anything they can find. Rice is one of the foods that chickens can eat safely. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is one of the healthiest foods for chickens. Rice is high in carbs, and processed rice contains very few vitamins or minerals. It isn’t the most nutrient-dense food source for this reason.

However, that doesn’t mean your chickens should never eat rice. Some varieties are more nutritional for chickens than others. You simply need to select the rice you give them carefully. In this article, we’ll help you do just that.chicken divider

Is Rice Good for Chickens?

Certain kinds of rice are relatively good for chickens. Brown and wild rice are the best varieties. They contain a large amount of protein, fiber, and vitamins. They’re minimally processed and offer a lot of nutrition, making them the perfect choice for many chickens.

Domestic-Chickens-Eating-Grains-and-Grass_Imageman_shutterstock
Credit: Imageman, Shutterstock

White rice may be the most common variety out there, but it isn’t the best option for your chickens (or for humans either). The healthier part of the rice has been removed from the white rice during processing, so it is missing its brown coloration. This process also removes most of the vitamins and minerals from the rice.

Cooked and raw rice contain similar nutrients. Cooked rice is more accessible for people to digest and contains higher levels of moisture. You don’t need to cook your rice for chickens. However, if you happen to have some cooked rice on hand, there is no reason you can’t give it to them.

Can Chicks Have Rice?

Tiny chicks that are under 10 weeks old should not be fed rice or similar foods. Instead, they do best on “starter food.” This sort of food is formulated for baby chicks and helps them grow quickly, as they do in the first few weeks of their life. Chicks have particular nutritional requirements at this age, which rice usually doesn’t fit into.

You should preferably avoid feeding chickens any rice varieties until they are at least 6 months old. Before this, they need particular foods and a formulated diet.chicken divider2

Does Eating Rice Make Birds Explode?

There is a common misconception that eating rice will make birds explode. Usually, this is mentioned in weddings, where people are encouraged not to throw rice in celebration in order to save the birds. However, there is no truth to this rumor.

There is no scientific proof that shows birds explode when eating rice. Many chickens and other birds have been eating rice for decades and they are just fine.

rice-pixabay
Credit: moritz320, Pixabay

This is due to the bird’s digestive system. A chicken’s food is first saved in the crop, where it stores excess food. Then, the rice is put into the stomach, where it is digested with stomach acid. At this point, most of the rice is gone. If any rice is left over, it is down by the gizzard. However, there isn’t much rice left at this point to expand. Plus, rice has to be boiled to expand substantially—and your chicken’s stomach isn’t boiling.

In other words, the rice is only an old wives’ tale. Your chickens will not explode or be otherwise harmed if they eat rice. It can be a suitable addition to any chicken’s diet thanks to its high protein and vitamin content.

Can Chicken Eat Uncooked Rice?

While humans have a hard time eating uncooked rice, this is not the case with birds. Their unique digestion system allows them to break down raw rice with little issue. After all, they evolved to eat these raw grains. Their stomachs are made for it.

As we stated earlier, cooked rice isn’t going to hurt your chicken. If you happen to have extra cooked rice around, feel free to feed it to your chicken. It has similar nutritional content to uncooked rice.new chicken divider

What Kinds of Rice Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens can eat regular rice that you purchase in the store, including instant rice. They can also eat Rice Krispies, which are formulated with extra nutrients and vitamins. You should only feed your chickens plain Rice Krispies, though. The chocolate and frosted varieties have excess sugar and sodium, which are not suitable for your chicken. Furthermore, you shouldn’t feed Rice Krispies cereal bars, as they have a sticky agent that can be difficult for chickens to digest correctly.

Chickens can also eat rice cakes, though not regularly. They have little nutritional value and don’t contain many calories. They’re an “empty” food. Because they lack nutrients, your chickens are better off eating something else.

You should not feed your chicken-flavored rice mixes, as these often contain extra sodium and spices that may be harmful to your chickens.

Find out if other foods are safe to feed to animals:


Featured image credit: allybally4b, Pixabay

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!