When rearing ducks, as with any poultry, you want a reliable source of food that you know works for your ducks and causes no health complications. Rice is among the most popular foods in the world. It is relatively cheap and available all over. So, rice could make good, reliable sustenance for your ducks.
Can ducks eat rice? Ducks can eat rice. Not only that, but ducks also love rice. Rice is a nutritious, tasty delight each time they have it providing proteins, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Additionally, ducks can eat rice either cooked or uncooked rice.
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Is rice good for ducks?
Rice is good and safe for ducks to eat, rice will provide ducks with some of the nutrients they need for growth and development.
Rice is a great source of energy for ducks
Both brown and white rice contains an abundant source of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are essential in providing much-needed energy for ducks – whether they are starter, grower, or breeder varieties.
The excess carbs will be stored as fats, which is crucial for cold seasons.
Rice is more nutritious than corn for ducks
Like other poultry, ducks do not need protein but instead rely on amino acids. Amino acids must be delivered through the ducks’ feed.
Hence, it is essential to ensure that amino acids are sufficient in the diet of your ducks.
Rice contains substantial amino acids that ducks need to build structural and protective tissues and to facilitate their metabolism.
Rice is better than other cereals such as corn and wheat because the amino acid composition is balanced.
What does this mean? It means that brown rice is better placed to produce a satisfactory rate of growth among the ducks.
As scientist A.E. Harper noted, “The unsatisfactory rate of growth of animals consuming nutritionally unbalanced proteins is frequently attributed to an amino acid imbalance.”
Therefore, rice is a good choice for the growth of ducks since it supports sustained growth.
Rice has less risk of toxins as compared to corn
Rice bran is a by-product of the process of milling brown rice into white. Bran is the outer hull of the rice grain that gets removed from the rice grain during the milling process.
Experts recommend it as poultry feed – even as an alternative for corn. This study showed rice to be better than corn in humid locations.
This is because rice bran is rarely contaminated by aflatoxin. Given that young ducklings are especially susceptible to mycotoxin like aflatoxin, it seems safer to feed young duck rice bran in humid regions.
Fun Fact: Ducks help rice farmers in Iran, France, China, and Japan to practice environmentally conscious farming. This happens since ducks are used to weed out rice paddies and eat the insects that may be in the rice paddies.
As a result, the rice farmers use lesser pesticides, the ducks are happy – a win-win!
On top of that, the duck waste enriches the soil in the rice fields, leading to higher yields.
This practice of using ducks in rice farming (known formally as integrated rice-duck farming) is an ancient method of farming from about 600 years ago in China that is getting a comeback, as we continue to deal with the adverse effects of climate change.
Which kind of rice is best for ducks?
There are three kinds of rice that you’ll have to consider if you like the idea of rice for your ducks. They are white rice, brown rice, and wild rice.
Experts claim that brown rice is better than milled or white rice. This is because the bran layer is still present in brown rice, as opposed to milled rice.
This bran layer contains additional nutrients that are essential for poultry.
Besides, brown rice is cheaper than milled rice because it does not go through the milling process – the processing cost is lower and the price is lower as compared to milled rice.
Meanwhile, wild rice is that which is produced naturally, meaning little to no chemicals.
As a result, we can expect wild rice to pose lesser risks of contamination that could occur with white rice and brown rice, all while providing the nutritional value you seek.
Therefore, wild rice seems to be the best of the three.
I think that if you can get your hands on wild rice, give it a try. If not, brown rice or even rice bran should work well. Of course, if you want to reduce the risk of contamination from aflatoxins, definitely go for rice bran.
Preparing rice for ducks
Cooked or uncooked rice is good for ducks. If you want to serve cooked rice, avoid including spices, salt, and other additives. Plain cooked rice is usually recommended.
If the flavor is what they need, then mixing up vegetables will work perfectly. Some veggies you can mix include kale, cabbages carrot, cucumbers, collards, beetroot, alfalfa sprouts, among others. However, spinach and iceberg lettuce should never be fed to ducks.
As a rule of thumb, the rice should not exceed 10% of the daily diet of your ducks. It is delicious food that should be dished out as treats – not the main course!
Is rice bad for ducks?
Overall, rice is pretty harmless and good for ducks. However, it can be bad, keep the following in check:
Overfeeding rice to ducks
Feeding duck too much rice will fill up their tummies and, hence, they will not have room for other nutritious food.
This is particularly critical for young ducklings which actually need specific nutrients for proper growth in their formative years.
Without wholesome nutrients, young ducklings are left to a whole list of diseases, for instance, angel wing – which I addressed in my previous post.
I don’t expect that you’ll have to worry about this if you provide a properly balanced diet in their daily meals.
Shifting to rice products
Rice may be good for ducks, but rice products are another matter. The problem is that these products such as seasoned rice have gone through processing – as human food – and some of the chemicals used in that processing can harm ducks.
In addition, rice products such as rice cereal and seasoned rice could fill up the ducks pretty quickly and, thereafter, make them lose appetite for the more nutritious food you provide.
Feeding moldy or rotten rice
Before preparing rice for your ducks, it is important to check that it is in proper quality and has not gone bad. Mould in rice can cause devastating complications for ducks.
Watch this video of Ducks eating uncooked rice
What should you not feed ducks?
Ducks should not breads, chips, popcorns, crackers, donuts, excess onions and garlic, mushrooms, drink tea or coffee, alcohol, xylitol peanut butter, buttercup, lupine, daffodill, lily of the valley, sweet peas, tulips, poppies, lilies and iris, vetch, milkweed, and pennyroyal.
Can uncooked rice kill ducks?
No, uncooked rice cannot kill ducks. This is an urban legend that has been proved untrue. When ducks eat uncooked rice, it is quickly digested. This rapid pace at which uncooked rice is digested prevents the rice from harming the ducks; the uncooked rice does not absorb water/moisture long enough to harm the ducks. Uncooked rice is okay for ducks.
FYI, The myth of uncooked rice killing birds emerged in the 1980s. The source of the myth is not clear, but it got popular when a state representative in Connecticut proposed a law to prohibit tossing rice at weddings.
Then an article in 1988 by Ann Landers had a bride-to-be restricting guests from tossing rice at her wedding. This myth has persisted to date, though multiple experts have since denounced it.
Can ducks eat white rice?
Ducks can eat both white and brown rice. However, in terms of nutrition brown rice is considered more nutritious as it has not been processed as much as white rice.
Can ducks and chickens eat rice?
Both ducks and chickens can safely eat both brown and white rice. However, the rice should only be offered as a treat and should make about 10% of your chicken and ducks diet.
Is cooked rice bad for ducks?
Cooked rice is not bad for ducks as long as it does not contain spices or other additives. If you want to spice up rice you can add veggies into the rice but never spices.
My Final Thoughts
Rice is good food for ducks. It is nutritious, accessible, and pocket-friendly. Ducks will eat both cooked and uncooked rice. If you get the chance, go for wild rice or brown rice – they are more nutritious. But if you happen to be in humid areas or are just worried about the risk of moisture in rice, rice bran may be more appropriate. All the same, the rice should be fed to ducks as treats; not as the main meal.