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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?
Like I said, we’ve all heard those wedding day nightmare stories, but none of us have every actually been to one of those weddings. It’s because it isn’t true.
In fact, rice is not only safe for your chickens to eat, they actually really like it a lot.
Can Chickens Eat Rice?
Yes, chickens can eat rice. It is completely safe and healthy for them to do so, as well. Find out more as we continue.
Is Rice Safe For Chickens To Eat?
Yes, rice is safe for your chickens to eat. It will not poison them, cause them to explode, or any other negative outcome.
Is It healthy?
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.
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.
Can Chickens Eat Uncooked Rice?
Yes, they can. Chickens won’t explode from rapidly expanding rice if they eat it prior to being cooked. We go a little more in detail to why that is later in this article.
Can Chickens Eat Rice Krispies/Puffed Rice Cereals?
Rice Krispies, and other rice based cereals are okay for your chickens to eat 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?
Like Rice Krispies or other rice cereals, rice cakes are perfectly fine to feed to your chickens. Just avoid rice cakes that have extra salt or sugary toppings, like caramel.
Can Chickens 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 rice dinners have a MUCH high salt content.
Can Chickens Eat Spicey Rice Mixes?
Just like flavored mixes, the sodium content is just way too high for your chickens.
How To Feed Your Chickens 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, rice in it’s uncooked form will never have the time (or boiling temperature, for that matter) to expand quickly enough to cause a chicken to explode.
That means you can give rice to your chickens whether it is cooked or not.
Quick Tips For Chicken Treats
Rice is just one of many different types of food you can give your chickens as a treat. Here are several categories of treats your chickens can eat and a few they should absolutely avoid!
Fruits have a load of sugar in them. They are okay to give to your flock, but only in small quantities. You will really want to monitor your chickens when they get fruit to make sure that one or a few chickens do not bully their way into eating way too much.
Dried fruit, like raisins, can be even worse. Since they have been dried, the moisture is all gone and you have an extremely high concentration of sugar. This level of sugar can really upset your chicken’s balanced diet and can lead to illness or, in extreme cases, death.
– Apples (not the seeds)
Vegetables & Gourdes
Vegetables do not contain quite the same amount of sugar that fruit does but still needs to be given sparingly.
Chickens love berries. But, just like with fruit, they should only be given in moderation; a few berries at a time. The reason is they also have a lot of sugar in them and can upset your chicken’s nutritional balance.
– Mountain Ash Berries
– Rowan Berries
Berries To Avoid
Both gooseberries and elderberries can be toxic to your chickens. Eating them can make them very sick or even kill them. Both should be avoided.
Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Chickens
Here are a few things your chickens should not eat.
- Acorns: tannins, or more accurately, tannic acid is prevalent in acorns and oak leaves. Chickens consuming these, even in small amounts, can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.
- Alcohol: this should be a no brainer
- Apple seeds: they contain cyanide which can be lethal for your chickens
- candy: refined sugar is bad for your chickens and can be deadly
- chocolate: chocolate can have the same effect as candy
- dry beans: they have the toxin phytohaemagglutinin. All beans MUST be cooked, not just soaked, to be safely consumed by your chickens.
- jam, jelly, or preserves: same as chocolate or candy; sugar content is too high
- pesticides: it’s literally poison
- raw/green potato peels or skins: green potato skins contain the toxin solanin. It can be deadly when consumed by your chicken.
- tea bags: similar to acorns, tea bags contain tannins and can be very dangerous to your flock