There is a myth that rice especially uncooked rice, is harmful to most birds as it causes their stomach to swell and eventually burst, killing them.
However, this is just a myth as I can tell you rice is absolutely safe to feed to your turkeys.
Whether cooked or uncooked, when given in the right proportions, rice is not only safe for your birds it also provides quite the range of health benefits to your turkeys which we will examine in this article.
We will also look at other issues such as whether turkey can eat rice bran, white rice, things to watch out for and how best to feed turkeys rice.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Rice To Turkeys?
Carbohydrates are sources of energy for both humans and animals which keep us going through our day.
Rice has been discovered to contain about 28 grams of carbs per every 100-gram serving.
This energy is important to turkeys for their various daily activities.
Vitamins are essential nutrients which serve the function of protecting the body from diseases.
Rice is known to have important amounts of vitamins A and C. Rice boosts the turkeys immune system, improves their egg quality and overall egg laying activities.
Fiber as we all know is also an essential nutrient for turkeys.
Fiber which has both soluble and insoluble fiber helps to speed up the digestion process in turkeys, reduce constipation and promote gut health in your birds.
Proteins are one of the most important nutrients required by turkeys. A turkey poult usually requires about 28% of protein to mature and develop fully.
Protein helps turkeys to strengthen their muscles and also boost overall body features.
Feeding your turkeys rice will provide them with the protein boost they need to supplement their feed.
Minerals such as Iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium are all required in your turkey’s system for healthy growth and survival.
Rice provides these minerals to your turkeys in the quantities they need to remain healthy and also function well.
Here is an article I wrote on what do turkeys eat?
How Often Should I Feed Them Rice?
We have established the fact that rice is not unsafe for you to feed to turkeys and that they enjoy eating rice in whatever form you feed it to them.
However, feeding your turkeys large amounts of rice on a regular basis can cause constipation.
Rice absorbs moisture from your turkey’s body, hardening and drying its droppings, but too much of it tends to make the turkey inconvenient and induces digestive problems.
Remember that the turkey’s main source of food should always come from their commercial feed which has been specially formulated for them.
In essence, it should take up about 90% of their food while the rest 10% can come from other foods.
Rice should fall into the 10% category. You can feed them rice about once or twice a week and also give them rice leftovers from time to time.
Can Baby Turkeys Eat Rice?
Baby turkeys can eat all forms of rice that is given to them.
Now, remember that as newly hatched poults you shouldn’t feed them rice or any other foods apart from their feed for the first 4 to 6 weeks.
Within that period you should also feed them grit which will enable them to digest other foods which are not part of their commercial feed.
In the wild, turkeys chew up their feed and feed to their poults, so it might be advisable to give them cooked rice or rice that has been whittled down to smaller pieces to enable them swallow easily.
Do Wild Turkeys Eat Rice?
Wild turkeys can eat rice just like their domesticated cousins.
If you happen to have a flock of wild turkeys around you, it is okay for you to toss them some rice from time to time if you have got some around.
You can give them either cooked or uncooked rice. I’m sure they would appreciate it just as much.
And you would see none of them would end up dead as the myth advertises.
Can Turkeys Eat Uncooked Rice?
Turkeys can eat raw uncooked rice without it having any negative effects on them.
The myth that birds should not eat rice all started out from a myth back in the 80’s which claimed that when rice is tossed to birds, it swells up in their stomach and makes it explode.
However this is not true as rice needs to get to a be in water or temperature at boiling point to swell and expand.
The digestive system of a bird is not that hot and besides the food doesn’t stay long enough in their tract to swell.
Unfortunately the myth got a hold over people till now that it’s being dispelled. So it’s perfectly safe for your birds including turkeys and rice in any form.
Can Turkeys Eat Rice Bran?
Rice bran is a side product of the processing sector.
The bran is the tough outermost part of grains of rice that is stripped away when brown rice is processed into white rice. Rice bran has been included in poultry diets from time to time.
However, there has been controversy on exactly how much rice bran should be given out to poultry birds also depending on whether the bird is a layer, broiler or youngling.
Rice bran is rich in protein and carbs which provides energy to your birds, so it is safe to feed them to your turkeys. You can include it as 10 or 20% of your turkey feed.
Also check out this article I wrote on can turkeys eat quinoa
Can Turkeys Eat White Rice?
Turkeys can eat white rice from time to time. You shouldn’t make it so much part of their diet as it doesn’t have much nutritional value especially when it is cooked.
Most of the starch in the rice has been leached out during the processing and after washing and parboiling it is almost junk food.
So yes, you can toss out leftovers to your turkeys once in a while but it should be in moderation.
Things To Watch Out For Before Feeding Them Rice
Rice is a nice complement to your turkey’s diet, but like everything else, it should be taken in moderation.
Offering your turkeys rice is a wonderful thing to do, but it should not be done on a regular basis and should not substitute their regular diet.
You should also understand how to properly feed rice to your turkeys in order to maximize their nutritional value.
While turkeys can consume rice in any form, uncooked rice, brown rice, and wild rice have been found to be the most nutritious.
Always ensure that rice remains a treat for your birds and should be kept that way.
Rice should be fed to your birds once or twice a week, or as needed, but not on a daily basis.
How Can I Feed Rice To My Turkeys?
You can feed your turkeys bothe cooked and uncooked rice. As I have mentioned earlier, you can also decide to add rice bran to their feed.
If you have brown rice on hand, you can feed them to the turkeys as that is more healthier than white rice. If you are feeding them cooked white rice, you can feed them leftovers.
You can also prepare their own mix specially.
This might just be white rice with a mix of vegetables such as carrot, banana, lettuce and others. This will be a particularly healthy treat for them.
The rice myth has gone a long way in stopping people from feeding rice to their birds and it’s so bad we don’t even throw rice to birds at weddings anyway.
Anyway that has been disproved and you know better.
Rice is healthy and safe for your turkeys and provides them with nutrients such as carbs and protein, minerals and vitamins.
Rice is a great treat for your turkeys however, it should always be served in moderation to them.
Turkeys can eat both raw and cooked rice. Uncooked rice might be slightly healthier for them as it has not lost its’ nutrients in the process of cooking.