If you have birds in your yard or there are some in a nearby park, you’re probably wondering what you can do to help them – make the yard more attractive, install a bird feeder, or decide on what foods are best for them. So is rice out of the question, as the legend says?
Not really. Recent studies confirm that rice is safe for birds, despite the well-known belief that it swells and kills them. However, not all birds will choose to eat rice, and it’s not the best food for them in terms of nutrients.
As such, if you want to learn more about the topic, keep reading, as we’ll share some facts you probably never heard of!
Is It Safe For Birds to Eat Rice?
Ornithologists suggest it’s completely safe for birds to eat rice. So where does this belief come from, after all?
We all know about the “tradition” of throwing rice at newlyweds. Apparently, this tradition originates from China, which worships rice as a fertility symbol.
However, an article published in 1985, in The New York Times states that whoever throws uncooked rice at the so-called “nuptial affairs” would get a $50 fine because, supposedly, birds eat the rice and are subsequently killed as a consequence of rice swelling.
As such, over the years, more and more people started thinking and spreading the idea that rice is harmful to birds.
Nevertheless, ornithologists who’d observed birds eating uncooked rice stated there was nothing wrong with them afterward.
That’s because a bird’s stomach isn’t nearly as hot for rice to be able to be cooked in, and it will just be broken down inside its digestive system. In fact, some studies show that bird seeds expand even more than rice does!
The correct concern here is, “Would a bird eat rice?” The thing is – rice is safe for birds, but birds aren’t necessarily fond of it. While some species are experts at eating rice, some will pass on the offer. But why? Keep reading to find out!
What Birds Eat Rice?
The types of birds most attracted to rice are pigeons, pheasants, and doves. They’ll eat rice in any form – cooked, uncooked, brown, or white. Depending on the bird’s size, as well as the rice size, some will eat basmati, jasmine, or red rice.
Other birds, however, won’t be too happy with rice only. Smaller birds probably won’t even dare touch rice, as the grains might be too big.
On the other hand, if they’re non-migratory birds and are in need of food during the winter, they probably won’t refuse a rice meal.
So if you want to feed rice to the birds in your yard or in a park nearby, ensure that you choose a type that’s appropriate to the size of the birds you’ll be feeding.
If you offer them cooked rice, ensure it contains no salt or other additives, as it will do more harm than good.
Do Birds Eat Rice Cakes?
Birds can eat rice cakes, but this shouldn’t be a regular food source in their diet because of their high carbohydrate content. However, once in a while, birds can feast on rice cakes because they’re low in calories and fat, making them excellent snacks.
If you want to feed the birds in or around your backyard some rice cakes, make sure they contain no salt and other harmful additives.
Besides, you can break them into smaller pieces. This will make the food-searching process more interactive, and they’ll find it easier to eat and swallow the pieces.
If you spread rice cake bits throughout your yard, make sure to increase the frequency of cleaning it, as they can get moldy if wet.
Do Birds Eat Rice Krispies?
Birds will definitely delight in rice krispies, but it’s generally recommended to avoid adding this snack to their diet.
That’s because 3.5 oz (100 g) of rice krispies contain approximately 0.3 oz (10 g) of sugar. A little sugar doesn’t hurt birds, but if they have regular meals in their diets that are high in sugar content, this can cause serious health issues.
Moreover, rice krispies are full of synthetic preservatives that can be very harmful to a bird’s body.
Therefore, while you can offer birds rice krispies once in a while, ensure never to make them a regular meal.
Can Baby Birds Eat Rice?
While rice isn’t nutritious enough for baby birds, they can consume it, as long as they’re small enough. Alternatively, you can also opt for cooked rice, which baby birds will find easier to ingest and digest.
It’s also recommended to mix rice grains with other types of bird seeds to ensure that the birds get all the nutrients they need from their meal.