Feeding Rice to Ducks – Nutrition and Precautions

Feeding Rice to Ducks

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I used to firmly believe that rice belongs to a category of food items that shouldn’t be fed to the ducks. I had heard an experienced bird keeper saying, ” Rice is extremely harmful to the birds as it expands their stomach that later becomes the reason for their death”

I never let my ducks eat rice for a long time but then thorough research changed my views. Since this website states lesser-known facts and rewards readers with the necessary information about goats, sheep, cattle, and birds so I decided to help my readers to clear their doubts and gain a better understanding of this widely believed statement  (Rice expands the bird’s stomach and eventually kills them) as well.

Before going into the depth of this topic, let me first answer the most frequently asked question.

Can ducks eat rice?

Yes, ducks can eat rice and it doesn’t harm the poor bird if fed in moderation and the right manner. Not just ducks, all birds can benefit from eating this super nutritional food item.

Do ducks like rice?

Ducks like how rice tastes in their mouth. They appreciate rice as much as we humans do. If a food option supplies the nutrients and satisfies the taste buds at the same time, I think there is no better option.

The myth “Rice harms the birds’ stomach” has no authentic evidence

The most widely believed myth “Rice expands the stomach and eventually kills the birds” has no solid evidence to prove it. Somebody just started the rumor in 1980 and we began depriving our birds of this rewarding food item.

Rice is a low-cost nutritional treat for birds

Like humans, birds do get bored with the same old food. It’s better to treat them often with their favorite foods. Rice is the cheapest alternative to the expensive treatment options and then they are full of nutrition. Isn’t it a win-win?

The right way of feeding rice to ducks

To the maximum benefit from feeding rice, one needs to carefully follow these feeding rules;

  • The first thing you need to know is that the ducks can eat both cooked and uncooked rice but you should only choose uncooked rice for your ducks.
  • Brown and wild rice are more nutritious than white rice, so try arranging brown or wild rice for them.
  • Rice should be fed in moderation and once or twice a week. It’s a treat and should never be considered a meal.

If an aviculturist follows these three rules, it’s guaranteed that the rice won’t harm any bird. I don’t know who spread the fear among the birdkeepers that feeding rice kills the birds when the wild birds have been eating rice from the field since the beginning of time.

Why should the cooked rice take a back seat?

There are two reasons to support the idea that ducks should only be fed uncooked rice.

  • Uncooked rice suits the ducks more because in between the cooking process the rice loses its major nutrients.
  • The uncooked rice cannot absorb water but cooked rice does take away a lot of moisture from the body.

So, if getting rice through a process makes them less nutritional then what’s the point of doing it anyway? Feed them uncooked.

Crushed or uncrushed rice, both are fine!

It doesn’t matter if the rice is crushed or not as the uncrushed isn’t that hard on that tiny throat. If you are an overprotective aviculturist, you can feed them crushed otherwise uncrushed is a fine option.

What vitamins and minerals rice have?

According to harvard Rice contains these vitamins and minerals in abundance.

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus

Let’s see how these are beneficial for the poor birds.

Vitamin A

Duck and all other wild and domestic birds need vitamin A in abundance for the wellbeing of several functions of the body; reproductive, digestive, and respiratory. It is also desired for the maintenance of epithelial cells.

Vitamin C

We all know how important vitamin C is for the survival of birds and plants. It boosts performance and immunity and keeps all functions in their body working fine. Moreover, it also improves egg quality.


Iron pretty much performs the same function in plants, animals, and birds’ bodies. So like every mammal, ducks need an adequate amount of iron to make DNA. The deficiency of iron leads to death.


Zinc alarms the bird keepers as consuming it in a huge quantity can kill the birds. Rice does contain the life-threatening element but not in the amount that it overtakes the benefits.


Phosphorus is an important multi-functioning nutrient that has gained the reputation for maintaining the acid and base balance, healthier bone, and egg formation.

There are several other nutrients as well but it’s impossible to write each one down with their benefits so I tried to list only the important ones only.

Other treats for ducks

Not only rice but ducks can also feed on sunflower seeds, wheat, peanuts and every other treat.


It is widely believed that rice expands the bird’s stomach and eventually kills them. In reality, there is no valid reason to support this myth. The rice is extremely safe and beneficial for the ducks.

Ducks can eat both cooked and uncooked rice but the uncooked version is recommended.The uncooked rice does not absorb the moisture and gets digested easily. Rice contains several important vitamins and minerals but the major ones are, iron, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and C. They are extremely beneficial if fed once or twice a week but in moderation.


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