Can Chickens Eat Rice? Benefits & Risks

Chickens can eat cooked or uncooked rice. Chickens can also eat various types of rice, including brown rice, white rice, and wild rice. In fact, chickens can get loads of health benefits from eating rice.

Furthermore, rice contains essential minerals such as vitamin B, carbohydrates, vitamin B12, and protein sodium. Rice will therefore provide your birds with the much-needed nutrients to keep them healthy and keep your birds active.

Benefits of Rice for Chickens

Chicken keepers may not think that rice has any nutritional value to offer to their birds. However, rice has so many benefits for chickens. Below are among the benefits of rice for chickens.

– Rice has plenty of Niacin

Popularly known as vitamin B3, Niacin is a vital nutrient in rice. Niacin is beneficial for poultry birds, including chickens, Guinea fowls, and ducks. Niacin enhances the functioning of the digestive system and nervous system.

Chickens that don’t get an adequate Niacin to develop a Niacin deficiency over time. This deficiency can lead to feathering problems, bowed legs, and dermatosis. Adult chickens with a Niacin deficiency usually experience metabolic disorders.

Giving your chickens rice will provide them with enough Niacin to overcome any health issues that result from having a Niacin deficiency.

– Rice Helps Boost Egg Production

Rice contains selenium, a mineral that plays a vital role in egg hatching and egg production. Chickens with a selenium deficiency suffer from poor egg production. Backyard chickens can get this mineral from plants, and therefore they don’t require extra selenium in their everyday diet.

However, indoor chickens can suffer from selenium deficiency since they can’t get enough of this mineral from their diet. Sprinkling some rice in the coop is a sure way of providing your chickens with enough selenium to boost their egg production and egg hatching capabilities.

– Rice Can Improve Your Bird’s Digestive System

Rice is an abundant source of vitamin B1, also known as thiamine. A vitamin B1 deficiency will affect your birds’ digestive system. Moreover, it can affect their nerves, muscles, and heart. Chicks and adult chickens with a vitamin B1 deficiency also experience tremors and walking problems.

Chickens can also experience loss of appetite due to a vitamin B1 deficiency, exposing the birds to the risk of emaciation. Rice will work wonders in providing your chickens with sufficient amounts of vitamin B1, ultimately improving their digestive system.

– Rice Enhances Bone Formation in Chickens

Chickens with poor bone formation usually suffer from a magnesium deficiency. It is challenging for chickens to get adequate magnesium from commercial feeds.

Fortunately, rice can be the best solution for chickens grappling with a magnesium deficiency since it has loads of magnesium. Besides enhancing bone formation in chickens, magnesium is vital for eggshell formation.

– Rice is Vital For Brain Development in Chickens

Chickens with a vitamin B6 deficiency usually have poor brain function and development. Such chickens have problems regulating their body clocks. No wonder roosters with poor brain function usually crow at odd hours.

Rice is a rich source of vitamin B6, and it will help improve your chickens’ brain function and development. The vitamin B6 in rice will also help your chickens effectively break down amino acids.

Can Chickens Eat Uncooked Rice?

Yes, chickens can eat uncooked rice as they can eat other types of uncooked grains and cereals. Uncooked rice is far much better than cooked rice since cooking displaces some of rice’s essential minerals and nutrients.

How to Feed Rice to Chickens?

Like other birds, chickens also love rice, whether cooked or uncooked. Here is how to feed rice to your chickens.

  • Decide which variety to feed your chickens – Three main types of rice are all ideal for chickens. You can either decide whether to provide your birds brown, wild or white rice. Feed your chickens with either wild rice or brown rice if you want them to get more nutrients. These two rice varieties don’t go through processing, and therefore they are rich in nutrition.
  • Clean the rice – commercially-farmed rice may contain unpleasant and harmful chemicals that could affect your birds. Clean and rinse the rice in clean water before giving it to your chickens.
  • Decide whether to feed your chickens cooked or uncooked rice – Chickens can eat cooked or uncooked rice. Although cooked rice is an excellent addition to chickens’ diets, it isn’t richer in nutrition than raw rice. However, cooked rice is suitable for baby chicks since it is softer, and therefore the chicks can digest it much easier.
  • Give your chickens rice in moderation – While rice is beneficial for chickens, you shouldn’t give your chickens rice in excess. Moderate the amount of rice you give to your chickens. Too much rice, especially uncooked rice, can cause bloating and digestive problems in chickens. Also, feed rice to your birds alongside other food items, and don’t let rice be your chickens’ main diet. Chickens need to supplement their diet with other healthy foods other than rice. If possible, feed your chicken with rice at least once a day. You can sprinkle a few handfuls of rice in the coop or backyard for your birds to eat.

Can Chickens Eat Brown Rice?

Yes, your chickens can eat brown rice since it is one of the best rice varieties for chickens. Brown rice doesn’t go through excessive processing, unlike white rice, and it, therefore, has plenty of nutrients that are essential for chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Rice Cake?

Yes, chickens can eat rice cakes since they are healthy like other rice cereals. However, refrain from giving your chickens rice cakes with excessive sugary toppings, additives, and salt since they can harm your birds over time.

Can Baby Chickens Eat Rice?

Rice is good for chickens, but it isn’t the safest food item for baby chicks. Baby chicks don’t have robust digestive systems, and therefore they struggle to digest food.

Cooked rice is the best for baby chicks since it is easy on their stomachs. Baby chicks should, however, eat cooked rice sparingly.

Can Chickens Eat Rice Only?

No, chickens can’t eat rice only. Since they are omnivorous, chickens can eat different food items, including insects, vegetables, plant matter, and tables scraps.


Rice is good for chickens if you give it to your birds sparingly. Furthermore, rice has multiple benefits to offer to your chickens.

Regardless of the rice variety, you wish to feed your chickens, they will surely love it. Consider feeding rice moderately to your chickens to give the birds the much-needed nutritional boost.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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