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Do backyard birds eat rice?

Do backyard birds eat rice?

You are fond of your backyard birds, want to feed them rice, but are in doubt if they eat rice?. This article answers if backyard birds eat rice, common myths and other aspects of rice as food for birds.

Backyard birds eat rice and it is very safe to feed them with rice. Large birds such as pigeons, doves, and pheasants can easily eat dry rice. It is good to feed small birds with cooked rice.

Like all other scrap items from our home and kitchen, even rice can be fed to birds. Eating rice is not at all harmful for the birds, in fact it is nutritious. However, if the birds want some other food to eat, then they may avoid eating rice, but it does not mean they do not eat. Only at that time, it is preferable to feed something more attractive food like bird seeds and have them quench their hunger.

Myth about swelling of stomach of birds on eating raw rice

There is a myth that is very popular all over the internet that eating raw rice can cause swelling in a bird’s stomach. Particularly, when it becomes hot or cooked in its body. Many people stopped feeding rice to birds particularly during weddings to the flock with a doubt that they may end up killing the birds.

Almost 30 years back, Connecticut State Rep. Mae S. Schmidle passed a bill that would ban throwing rice at weddings. The reason given was as rice was thrown at a wedding, all the birds that fed on rice were dead. This was suspected as poisoning due to the rice and swelling happening due to rice.

This is a plain myth. First of all, just like the human body, there is not that much heat that rice can cook inside a bird’s stomach. Secondly, birds always eat rice during all sorts of migrations that they undergo. You don’t have to worry at all feeding rice to birds even in raw form. They do not die from eating rice.

Even if a bird cannot digest some hard food, and birds swallow the food, it has a natural process of regurgitating the food back just like humans vomit. And based on the location, if the location is having plenty of rice grown, birds would naturally incline themselves towards rice.

Uncooked or cooked rice for backyard birds?

As a general rule, larger birds such as pigeons, doves and other species can eat uncooked rice very easily. For smaller birds, the size of food looks very big as well as it might be hard for them to bite. Some birds may get distracted although they can eat rice. In that case, feeding cooked rice is a very good option.

If the rice is organically grown without use of pesticides, just like for human beings, it is much more nutritious and healthy for birds as well. In case, you want to use other form of rice, millets are a good substitute for rice. Also, millets are just like bird seeds and can be a favourite food for birds. Millets are a favourite for particularly house sparrows, dunnocks, finches, reed buntings and collared doves. 

If you want to feed seed mixtures, and more bulky food to the birds, then you can use raw rice or even wheat as a substitute for larger bird species such as pigeons, pheasants.

Can sparrows eat rice?

Sparrows can eat rice and it is not at all harmful for them. Sparrows prefer larger foods like grapes, apples, nuts, grains and in a similar manner, they eat rice. 

They can easily handle hard rice and other variants of rice such as millets, wheat, etc. There are some habits in sparrows while eating rice.

In California, USA mostly the sparrow varieties are house sparrows and they prefer eating rice when it is thrown or scattered on the floor instead of keeping them in a bowl, particularly colored bowls. Also, your backyard sparrows might not like it when feeders are slightly swinging in air. They want it to look like their natural habitat.

Can backyard birds eat white rice?

It does not matter if it is white or brown rice, cooked rice is very much fine for backyard birds to eat. As it is cooked, it is much softer and birds would like it.

Similarly, all varieties of rice variants that can be cooked such as millets, wheat, etc. are alsofine for birds to eat. 

Can parrots eat rice?

Just like any other birds, parrots also can eat rice. Similar to other variants we discussed, if the parrots are large, both cooked and raw rice can be fed to the parrots. But some parrots may prefer only cooked rice if they are made accustomed to softer meals. 

How nutritious is rice for birds?

Rice has several nutritious values for a bird to grow healthy. It consists of Thiamine, Niacin, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Iron, protein and Manganese. Manganese is good for clotting, metabolism, reproduction and growth of the birds. Iron is helpful for the blood to carry oxygen by producing haemoglobin. Just like human, low iron can cause anemia in birds. Thiamine is mainly effective in efficient metabolism. It helps in a stable nervous system, muscle functioning and effective digestion.