We've all heard the stories of wedding day disasters where birds eat uncooked rice and then they start dropping out of the air. Well, since chickens are birds too, can chickens eat rice?
Keep reading below for all the details on whether your chickens can eat cooked and uncooked rice or if it will be their downfall.
Can Chickens Eat Rice?
Yes, chickens can eat rice as a healthy and nutritious snack. They can safely eat cooked and uncooked rice as well as brown rice, white rice and other rice variations as long as they don't include toxic additives.
Can chickens eat cooked rice?
Yes, chickens can eat cooked rice. In fact, cooked rice is the easiest and most appealing form to feed to your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Uncooked Rice?
Yes, chickens can eat uncooked rice. Chickens won't explode from rapidly expanding rice if they eat it prior to being cooked.
Just remember, when chickens eat raw rice, or uncooked rice, it will be a bit tougher for their digestive juices to break it down. Dry rice is also tougher for them to "chew". Since they do not have teeth they have to peck and the harder, dry rice is does not crush as easily as cooked rice.
You've probably heard the old urban legend where birds eat uncooked rice thrown at a wedding, it expands in their stomach, then they explode and die (or some variation).
Fortunately, that is a myth and entirely untrue. When a chicken eats their food is stored in their crop where it is broken down into smaller bits. Those broken down bits of food eventually make their way to the stomach to be fully digested.
So, uncooked rice, will never have the time (or boiling temperature, for that matter) to expand quickly enough to cause a chicken to explode.
Can chickens eat brown rice?
Yes, chickens can eat brown rice. In fact, brown rice tends to have more nutrients and be less processed that other rice variations, so it is a top choice to give to your flock.
Can chickens eat white rice?
Yep, chickens can eat white rice too. It is perfectly for fine for them to have.
an Chickens Eat Rice Krispies/Puffed Rice Cereals?
Technically, yes chickens can eat Rice Krispies, and other rice based cereals are as a treat. You will want to keep the amount they eat low as they do contain added salts and sugars. Any excessive amount of either of those things can be detrimental to your chicken's dietary health.
You will also want to avoid any flavored versions of Rice Krispie style cereals. That means no Cocoa Krispies or Strawberry Rice Krispies.
And Rice krispie Treats (or other cereal bars) are a big NO. The marshmallows that hold them together are not only a huge sugar dump, but the stickiness can also be harmful for your chicken.
Can Chickens Eat Rice Cakes?
Yes, chickens can eat rice cakes as long as you stick to non-flavored and low sodium ones.
Can Chickens Eat Rice Pudding?
No, chickens cannot eat rice pudding even as a treat. Most recipes contain a higher amount of sugar than your chicken will likely be able to handle.
Can Chickens Eat Flavored Rice Mixes?
No, chickens cannot eat flavored rice mixes. It is best to leave these in the kitchen.
Chickens should not exceed a sodium level of more than 1%. Often times these prepackaged instant rice, uncooked rice meals, or already cooked rice dinners have a VERY high level of extra sodium, or salt.
Can Chickens Eat Spicy Rice Mixes?
No, chickens cannot eat spicy rice mixes. Just like flavored and pre cooked rice mixes, the sodium content is just way too high for your chickens.
This is also true for uncooked rice that is flavored, as well. When letting your chickens eat rice it is best to just stick with plain rice.
Can Baby Chicks Eat Rice?
No. Chicks need a pretty precise diet when they are growing. It is best to keep them on a dedicated chick/starter feed until they are old enough to switch to adult feed. We suggest not allowing them to eat it at all, whether it's cooked rice, uncooked rice, rice cakes, or crisp rice cereal/Rice Krispies; they should not have any of it.
Is rice healthy for chickens?
For the most part, it is. It's definitely not a replacement for their normal diet. Rice is very carb heavy with very little protein. Chickens need a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, as well as other nutrients. The best way to guarantee a healthy and balanced diet is to give them a reputable layer feed.
But, all in all, it is perfectly healthy for chickens to eat cooked rice and uncooked rice. In moderation, rice is a great economical food with many essential nutrients from the recommended nutritional scale. Rice adds nutrients to your chickens diet like B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
For the maximum nutritional benefit, we suggest feeding rice that has been through minimal processing. When minimally processed, many of the original nutrients are left intact instead of being bleached out or destroyed through some other means.
You will also want to only feed rice and other non-standard foods a few times a week and not daily. You will want to keep track of when and what they are eating so they do not have their nutritional balance thrown off.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
How To Feed Your Chickens Rice
It is pretty simple to feed your chickens rice as a healthy snack or treat. First, get whatever type of rice together that you plan to feed them. Then, you can either add it in with their regular feed, put it in a separate bowl or even feed it to them out of your hand.
If you want to, you can create a chicken boredom buster by making rice balls and either using other chicken safe ingredients to get them to stick together, or even slightly freezing them. Then you can give them as a ball or even hang the ball from the coop or a limb and let them peck at it.
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.