Can Chickens Eat Rice?

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Chickens can eat plain and cooked rice once they are at least 6 weeks old. Brown rice is best as it's less processed, while rice cakes should be avoided entirely.

Chicken owners everywhere have wondered if providing rice to their chickens is a good idea. There are many types of rice – but which ones are okay to feed your backyard chickens?

This article covers the nutritional benefits of rice and what forms of rice are safe for your chickens to eat, as well as the potential dangers that rice can have if included in your chicken’s diet.

Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Rice?

Good news! It is safe for chickens to eat plain rice. Chickens can eat both cooked and uncooked rice despite a popular myth that raw rice is deadly to birds.

2 chickens eating rice

Chickens are able to process uncooked rice through their digestive system and break it down with their digestive juices and the help of grit in their gizzards. Chickens likely will be more satisfied if provided cooked rice than uncooked, particularly on a cold winter morning, but it is safe to give them either.

Feeding rice is not inherently dangerous for chickens, but you should keep in mind that rice is mostly a carbohydrate and has low protein (around 4%) so it should not be fed in excessive amounts.

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Baby chickens should not eat rice if they are less than 6 weeks old as rice is quite filling. You’ll want to ensure that baby chicks eat their chick starter to grow as it has all of the nutrients they need.

Old rice, spoiled rice, or rice that has been mixed with substances such as oils or butter should never be fed to chickens as they cannot digest it. Opt for wild rice as it most closely resembles rice that chickens may come across while living a free-range lifestyle.

Is Brown Rice or White Rice better for Chickens?

Brown rice retains more nutrients than white rice because it has been processed less and therefore is better for a chicken’s diet. The more processing – the more nutrients are removed.

Brown rice is nutritious and will have more fiber and take longer to digest than white rice, and is a better source of vitamins and minerals if you choose to feed chickens leftover rice.

You can provide white rice to your chickens (it is far more common to have on hand), but brown rice has more nutritional benefits.

Can Chickens Eat Rice Krispies Cereal?

Rice is a cereal grain and the one that is most widely available. Rice cereals such as Rice Krispies, are made from rice but have other additives such as sugar and preservatives that aren’t good for chickens.

The more processed a food is, the less likely that it is healthy for chickens to eat. So while your chickens would eat Rice Krispies, it’s better to provide them with a whole food option, like brown rice.

See Also:  Can Chickens Eat Lettuce?

Can Chickens Eat Flavored Rice?

Chickens should not eat flavored rice or rice pudding because flavored rice contains seasonings such as salt, sometimes sugar, and extra oils or fats that are harmful for chickens.

If you want to flavor rice for your chickens, do it by adding fresh vegetables and fruits, cut up into small pieces, and mixed with the plain rice.

Can Chickens Eat Rice Cakes?

Rice cakes should never be fed to chickens because they have a high sodium content and the puff rice cereal that comprises them is highly processed.

rice cake with danger sign

What Health Benefits does Rice have for Chickens?

Chicken keepers can serve rice as a healthy treat because it has good nutritional value.

Rice contains antioxidants, selenium, vitamin b6, calcium, potassium and magnesium. These nutrients boost a chicken’s health as part of a balanced diet.


A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina recently moved across the globe to Austria, where she bought land specifically to build a small house with room for a backyard chicken coop. Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for a flock of hens owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of chickens, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Chicken Care Taker in 2022.

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