Rice makes a great addition to any plate.
Having some chicken? Add some rice.
Having some soup? Add some rice.
Making a crockpot dish? Throw in some rice.
There are so many things that you can do with rice – and so many different kinds of rice to choose from.
There is a rumor going around out there “not to throw rice to the birds”.
Because apparently it swells up in their stomach and causes it to explode.
But is this fact or fiction?
Can parrots eat rice?
The answer to this question is yes, parrots can eat rice. The idea that rice swells up in a bird’s stomach is completely fictional – and this is why you can’t always believe rumours. The truth is, rice is completely safe for birds and they actually eat it all the time during migration. So the next time you hear someone say “don’t throw rice to the birds”, you can correct them!
But this leads us to many other questions as well – is rice nutritionally beneficial for parrots?
How much rice can parrots eat?
Does it matter if rice is raw or cooked?
And what types of rice are considered safe?
Today we will answer all of these questions and more – so let’s not waste another minute!
Is Rice Nutritionally Beneficial for Parrots?
Yes, rice holds many nutritional benefits for parrots.
This is necessary for a healthy nervous system, muscle functioning, and digestion. It also helps to control the metabolism.
This helps to lower the risk of arthritis, diabetes, and cataracts
This helps to produce energy. It is also needed for respiration, the production of antibodies, and for the formation of red blood cells.
Iron is required to prevent anemia.
It also helps to produce hemoglobin and aides in the production of feather pigmentation.
Magnesium plays a role in the formation of bones, as well as in heart health and metabolism management.
This is required for healthy growth and reproduction.
Protein is necessary for feather formation and body temperature regulation.
Are there any downfalls of eating rice?
While rice is a safe and nutritionally beneficial option, it’s also full of carbohydrates.
One cooked cup of rice contains approximately 53.2 grams of carbohydrates.
In moderation, carbohydrates are beneficial for your parrot.
Why? Because they are the building blocks of energy.
In other words, carbohydrates are what give both our bodies and brains the energy that they need to function throughout the day.
Without carbs, we wouldn’t be able to function.
And the same is true for our parrots.
Like anything else in life, however, carbs need to be eaten in moderation.
While some level of carbs are healthy for our parrots, too many carbs can be dangerous.
Overeating carbohydrates in one meal is unlikely to cause your parrot any troubles (except maybe a stomach ache), but too many carbs over time can lead to obesity which, as we know, can lead to a host of other conditions, illnesses, and diseases.
In return, rice is safe for our parrots but because it contains a lot of carbs, it should only be fed in moderation.
So how much rice can you feed your parrot?
To give an exact amount would be difficult because it really depends on the size of your parrot.
With that being said, it’s safe for grains to account for 20-30% of your parrots diet.
Still, this 20-30% should not be comprised of only rice.
It should also contain a healthy blend of other nutritious grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and barley.
Does it matter if rice is cooked or raw?
If your parrot is larger, both cooked and raw rice are safe for them to eat.
Think about it – in the wild, do parrots have pots and pans to cook the rice that they eat?
Silly question right?
So any rice that they eat in the wild is raw.
Having said that, this doesn’t mean that parrots will not have their preferences.
Parrots that are kept as pets have conveniences that parrots in the wild don’t.
Sure, they can’t use pots and pans to cook their own meal but they do have you to do it for them.
And once your parrot gets a taste of cooked rice, they might turn their nose up at raw rice altogether.
Though each parrot will have their own individual preferences, most find uncooked rice hard and less interesting than cooked rice.
With that being said, smaller species of parrot may not be able to eat hard rice.
The pieces are too large and hard for them to swallow and digest.
In return, if you own a smaller parrot, any mixes with dry rice should be avoided.
How do I feed rice to my parrot?
The best way to feed rice to your parrot is bland.
Cook it as is (or serve raw) without any spices, sauces, or any other additives.
A lot of the things that we put on our rice to give it flavor can be dangerous to parrots so if you have added anything to your rice, avoid sharing it.
With that being said, it is okay to add vegetables, seeds, and other grains to your rice.
A nice mix of chopped carrots, corn, seeds, and rice can make a delicious and nutritious meal for your feathery friend.
White or Brown Rice – Which is the better choice for parrots?
When it comes to parrots, both white and brown rice are safe options.
With that being said, brown rice is generally considered the better option.
This is because brown rice holds more nutritional components than white rice.
When white rice is made the most nutritious part of the rice is removed (bran and germ).
Brown rice, on the other hand, maintains these components, giving the rice more nutritional value both in raw and cooked form.
Can parrots have fried rice?
No. Parrots should not have fried rice.
Fried rice is made with soy sauce, which is very high in sodium content.
While small amounts of sodium content can be easily processed by parrots, larger amounts (such as those in soy sauce) can be deadly.
Parrots cannot excrete salt the same way that humans can.
Too much salt can quickly cause a hardening of the arteries and additional heart problems.
Therefore, even though fried rice is not considered toxic to parrots, it can lead to health problems if served regularly over time.
Can Parrots have Rice Flour?
Yes. Parrots can have rice flour.
Rice flour is just rice that is ground up into a powdery consistency so it is safe for birds.
With that being said, you probably wouldn’t eat rice powder on its own.
In most cases it’s baked into a recipe.
In such a case, you need to make sure that all ingredients within the recipes are safe before feeding it to your parrots.
It’s also important to note that we are talking about rice flour that is made at home.
If you are to purchase rice flour in a store, check to make sure that there are no added ingredients or preservatives that could be dangerous for your parrot.
What other types of rice are safe for parrots?
Most types of rice are safe for parrots.
This includes jasmine rice, sushi, arborio, and basmati.
As a general rule of thumb, as long as the rice contains no added ingredients (like soy sauce, etc), then it should be safe for your parrot to have in moderation.
In conclusion, yes, parrots can eat rice – they can eat brown rice, white rice, and almost any other type of rice – except for fried rice.
When feeding your parrot rice, always make sure that it is in it’s blandest form.
Mix it with some chopped vegetables and seeds for a nutritious treat or meal.