Rice cakes have been present around the world for a while, particularly prevalent in Asia. It has many shapes, sizes, and textures depending on the processing and what rice was used.
Since chickens can eat most human foods, it makes sense that people may wonder if they can feed their chickens rice cakes. Can chickens eat rice cakes? They can, but they should not eat rice cakes regularly.
What are rice cakes?
A rice cake is a food that is made from rice and shaped, condensed, or combined into a single object. Rice cakes have many variants spanning across the world, but particularly in Asia.
Some common rice cake variations are made either with rice flour, from ground rice, or from whole grain rice condensed together or combined with some binding substance.
As a result, the nutritional contents vary in rice cakes as well. The puffed rice cake is a popular variant in North America and some western countries. It is made with puffed rice bonded together with many methods.
The puffed rice is popular among children and acts as a low-calorie replacement for bread, chips, or crackers. It can have plain flavor, salted, or half coated in chocolate or yogurt.
Can chickens eat rice cakes?
While rice is very healthy to feed the chickens with its nutrient-rich property, you should not treat rice cakes the same. Rice cakes don’t have enough nutritional value to satisfy the chickens’ diet.
Given that most rice cake variants are made with some kind of cooking process, such as cooking, steaming, frying, and more, some of the rice’s nutritional values are lost to some extent.
For example, with cooked rice, while the nutrients are decent, it does not meet the requirement for a chicken’s main diet.
Cooked rice nutritional value
Cooked rice has decent amounts of vitamins, for example, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate. All of them sit at a decent amount.
In those vitamins, you can find folate that helps prevent embryo loss during the incubation’s late state. So chickpeas would make a nice treat for laying hens.
The amounts of minerals in cooked rice are lower compared to raw, uncooked rice.
You can find minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and minerals with a high amount like phosphorus at 43mg per 100g, potassium at 35g per 100g, and sodium at 245mg per 100g.
Cooked rice only has 2.67 grams of protein in 100 grams. Other high-protein food could have an amount of protein of up to 10 or 20 grams.
Protein is an important nutrient for not just chickens, but also many other animals. Ii helps in regulating, repairing, forming, protecting chickens’ vital parts, forming the immune system, and balancing fluid.
If there isn’t enough protein, the chickens can experience tissue shrinkages and fluid retention.
Considering that cooked rice’s nutritional contents are not enough for a chicken’s main diet, the rice cakes are insufficient to be fed to chickens as the main diet.
So you should only feed the chicken rice cakes as a treat. The chickens seem to enjoy eating rice cakes, but just feeding them rice cakes will not satisfy their hunger because of the low calories and low nutritional content.
Furthermore, you should not let chickens eat rice cakes regularly since apart from the low-nutrient rice, they also contain some additional substances that are not healthy for chickens at all.
Why you shouldn’t feed the chickens rice cakes regularly
Rice cakes shouldn’t be fed regularly to chickens – Image source by Jonathan Cooper fromunsplash.com
A lot of rice cake variants contain high amounts of sugar. While a bit of sugar is fine for your chickens, too much sugar will lead to overweight in chickens, which leads to egg production dropping.
For puffed rice cakes, if they are coated in chocolate, you should avoid them all the way since chocolate is harmful to many animals, not just chickens alone.
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine. Those 2 substances can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and worsen your chickens’ conditions.
If you buy rice cakes from a store, there is a chance that the rice cakes will contain preservatives or chemicals that are harmful to your chickens.
The rice cakes bought from the store can also contain xylitol, which is naturally occurring alcohol, and generally, alcohol is bad or even lethal to chickens.
What rice product should you feed my chickens instead?
Instead of rice cakes, you can feed your chickens uncooked or raw rice since it contains much higher nutritional contents than rice cakes since the good nutritional contents are not destroyed by heat.
Among the uncooked rice, you can pick brown rice or wild rice since the nutrients are best preserved in those types of rice. White rice will be less nutritious since some healthy parts have been removed during processing.
There is a myth saying that if you feed birds raw or uncooked rice, they will explode because the uncooked rice will mix with water and cause their stomachs to burst.
That is not true at all. Chickens have a unique digestive system that makes them consume raw or uncooked rice just fine
First, the raw or uncooked rice will go into the crop that stores excess food, then to the proventriculus, the stomach that will break down the rice. The leftover rice will go to the gizzard that breaks down the rice even further.
Further reading: Can chickens eat Rice Krispies?
Can chickens eat rice cakes? Rice cakes would make a delicious treat, but don’t use rice cakes as the sole ingredient in the chickens’ diet. Also, you should not feed the chickens rice cakes regularly.
While rice cakes are nice food for humans, it is low in calories and nutrients so it will not satisfy the chickens’ hunger.
Furthermore, there is a chance that the rice cakes can contain harmful substances for your chickens, like sugar, additives, and preservatives. If the rice cakes have a chocolate coating, avoid them all the way.