Chickens love all kinds of grains and seeds. So, it’s natural to ask; can chickens eat brown rice?
Brown rice is a whole grain that’s low in calories, high in fiber, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. So, it would be nice if we could share some with our flock, wouldn't it?
The good news is that you can feed brown rice to chickens, yes. If you’re sifting through your cupboards looking at what you can share with your chicks, here are some important considerations:
Can You Feed Chickens Uncooked Brown Rice?
Yes, you can. In fact, speaking to a number of backyard chicken owners, almost everyone said their chickens preferred rice uncooked.
Which is great as it means you don’t have to go through the effort of cooking it!
Brown rice is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Often called one of the “healthiest foods” in the world, it’s a great choice for you and your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Uncooked White Rice?
You’ve probably heard the rumor that feeding birds white rice is a bad idea, right?
In some areas, it’s even against the law to throw uncooked white rice at a wedding as confetti as it’s believed to be dangerous for birds.
The general consensus is that when birds - and this includes chickens - eat uncooked rice it sits in their stomach or crop and expands. Eventually leading to either seriously painful gastric issues or death.
Well, never one to just believe folk law or rumors, I looked into this in more detail. According to Snopes, a reliable online source known for fact-checking, this isn’t the case.
This isn’t to say that if a chicken ate an obscene amount of rice they won’t feel some ill effects. But it does destroy this rumor and prove that it’s ok to give chickens, and all birds a little white rice.
Can Chickens Eat Rice Cakes?
Rice cakes are basically made from puffed rice pressed together. These are also fine to feed to your chickens in small amounts.
You do have to be careful regarding what additives and seasoning have been added though. A lot of rice crackers have salt and other preservatives to help them taste nicer to use and last longer.
Chickens don’t appreciate the added taste, and they need any added salt in their diets.
Other Foods You Can Share With Your Chickens
If you’re digging through your cupboards wondering what else you can share with your flock, some of the most common foods backyard owners share are:
Grains - Rice is grain, so are barley, oats, wheat, and rye. All of which are great for chickens, they love grains and get a lot of good nutrition from them.
(Most) Vegetables - Most vegetables are also fine. There are a few that can be problematic, so it’s worth checking before giving a vegetable to your chickens for the first time.
Herbs - Herbs are awesome. They are easy to grow, each has its own nutritional makeup and benefits, and I’m my experience chickens love them.
(Most) Fruits - The same rule applies to vegetables. Do a quick check before giving them fruit for the first time, but most fruits provide a good balance of nutrition.
Foods You Should Never Share With Your Chickens
It might be more important to know what you can’t give to chickens, than what you can. Here are some foods that are potentially toxic and should be avoided:
Chocolate and Coffee - I can understand chocolate not coming up often, who wants to share that? But a lot of people recycle their coffee grounds in their garden. If you do, make sure your chickens don’t get any.
Green Potatoes/Tomatoes - When potatoes and tomatoes are green they contain a toxin called solanine. This chemical is very toxic for chicks.
Related content - Can chickens eat potato peels?
Raw Beans - Raw beans contain a toxin that is harmful to us, and potentially fatal to a lot of animals. The toxin is neutralized when beans are boiled for more than 10 minutes.
Moldy Foods - This is pretty obvious, but moldy foods are bad. Mold spores are toxic to chickens, so keep an eye out for any foods in or around their coop going bad.
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Brown Rice?
If nothing else, I hope you were able to bust that myth in your mind that if a bird eats some uncooked rice it’ll swell in their stomach and make them explode!
On a serious note, brown rice is fine for chickens. It provides some decent nutrition to help round out their diet, so if you have some in your cupboard why not throw some in their run.
Just remember that table scraps, fruits, veggies and so on are treats. Always apply the 90/10 rule when feeding chickens.
90% of their diet should come from their pellet feed. This has been formulated to meet their nutritional requirements. The other 10% can come from other foods that are safe for them to eat.