Budgies are exotic parrot species that are extremely popular as pet birds.
But many pet owners struggle to feed a proper diet to them as they are not the type that can eat anything and everything without any problems.
While they can eat all kinds of food, not all are safe, and the owner’s discretion is required.
Most households around the globe eat rice on a regular basis. Being so readily available, most are tempted to feed it to their budgie.
There is a popular myth that rice swells in the bird’s tummy and harms them. Is that true?..
Can budgies eat rice?
Yes, budgies can eat rice in a moderate amount to reap its benefits. The myth about rice harming birds’ tummies is entirely false.
It forms a good source of fiber and carbohydrates for them.
Related Read: Can Budgies Eat Cucumber? Is It Good For Them?
Cooked rice vs. Uncooked rice: Which one can budgies eat?
You can feed both cooked and uncooked rice to the budgies. But they find it easier and more flavorful when they eat boiled rice.
Nutritional benefits of rice for budgies
Rice offers plenty of nutritional benefits to budgies, provided it is consumed in moderation. Some of the health perks offered are:
Rice is a fiber-rich grain, which is excellent for the budgie’s digestive system. It provides a high amount of dietary fiber to the bird that helps it better digest food, absorbs nutrients, has a clean colon, and has regular bowel movements.
Rice also provides a compound called lignan that helps to lower the bird’s blood pressure and cholesterol level. It also reduces the stiffness of arteries.
Overall, a small serving of rice two to three times a week is excellent to reduce risks of heart diseases, nourish gut bacteria, and reduce chances of respiratory infections and even cancer.
Rice, especially the whole grain variety, contains a plethora of minerals like magnesium, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, copper, iron, and zinc. Each benefits the budgie in its unique way.
Magnesium helps in many vital functions like muscle contraction, bone development, and cellular production. Manganese plays a crucial role in energy production and antioxidant function. Selenium also helps in antioxidant protection, and immune function. Together with Vitamin E, it helps prevent cancer.
Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin and preventing anemia. In budgies, it also helps in creating feather pigmentation. Folate is vital for the production of DNA and other genetic material.
It assumes higher importance for female parakeets, especially in breeding conditions and when nurturing their babies.
Overall, the minerals improve the parrot’s bone health and even strengthen their feathers, especially when they molt. Minerals help in the re-growth of feathers and make them more robust, more resilient, and more colorful.
Minerals also help enhance cell growth, improve blood flow, strengthen muscle tissue, boost energy levels and help them yield healthier eggs.
Rice does not have a lot of vitamins, but it has a decent amount of Vitamin B1 and B6. These vitamins boost the budgie’s mood and memory, boost their immune system and help them recoup from stress.
All these add plenty of nutritional value to rice for feeding to the budgies.
Potential issues of feeding rice to budgies
It is always advisable to feed a small amount of rice two to three times a week. Giving too much can have some adverse effects.
Foremost, rice has nutrients, but they are low compared to other seeds and plant matter. They are primarily carbohydrates, and overeating can lead to obesity, diabetes, and several other health problems.
Cultivation of rice needs fertilizers and plenty of water. Because of it, rice may contain high levels of toxic heavy metals like arsenic and mercury. They can be detrimental to the budgie’s health and can even cause death.
Moreover, if the rice is grown in a polluted area, the contamination level can be higher. Furthermore, the contamination is usually concentrated in the most nutritious part of the rice, i.e., its bran and germ. For it, many serve white rice, but it loses its purpose as its nutritional value goes down.
How to prepare rice for budgies?
Birds can eat both uncooked and cooked rice. Many even show preferences for cooked or raw rice.
However, cooked rice is easier to digest as well as more flavorful for most budgies. But one needs to follow a few protocols for feeding rice to budgies.
- It is best to serve plain boiled rice with no seasonings or salt added to it. Salt and seasoning herbs are harmful to budgies and might trigger health issues. The rice should be boiled till soft and tender.
- You must never give hot rice to budgies but allow it to cool before serving. It’s best to wash it well under running water both before and after cooking before serving them. It eliminates all contaminants and makes them safe for consumption. Moreover, serving rice and water together prevents them from clanking together and makes for a lighter feed.
- Do not feed much but just a tiny portion as a treat to them twice or thrice a week. Post that, it will harm the budgies. Uncooked rice should be served in a smaller portion than cooked rice.
- To increase the nutrient profile of the rice, you can add a few chunks of fruits and vegetables.
Related Read: Which birds eat mealworms? | How do birds find worms?
Now we address some common queries that most budgie owners have in their minds regarding feeding rice to budgies.
Is rice safe for budgies?
Yes, rice is entirely safe to feed to budgies, provided it is given to them in small quantities occasionally.
Can baby budgies eat rice?
Baby budgies can eat rice, but it is a poor choice for them and does not offer sufficient nutrients. Baby budgies have a high protein, vitamins, and minerals requirement.
Rice has a poor protein content and other nutrient profiles like vitamins and minerals are poor compared to several other bird foods.
For this reason, giving rice to baby budgies and breeding budgies is not recommended.
Can budgies eat brown rice?
The nutrient profile of brown rice is denser than white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain, and white rice is created by removing the bran and the germ of the brown rice.
Most of the nutrients are concentrated in the bran and the germ. It makes brown rice a better choice to feed to your pet feathered friend.
Can budgies eat basmati rice?
It is fine to feed all varieties of rice to budgies, be it basmati, long grain, short grain, jasmine rice, etc. They are just varieties of rice and perfectly safe to feed to birds.
However, you should avoid branded rice packets, including microwave rice sachets. They are often made more flavorful by adding salt and seasonings that are detrimental to the budgies’ health.
Can budgies eat puffed rice?
Puffed rice can be given to the budgies to eat, provided no other ingredient is added to it.
Can you feed rice flour to the budgie?
Rice flour is just powdered rice and thus can be fed to the budgies. But most often, it is baked into a recipe and then fed. In that case, you need to check that no ingredients present in it are harmful to the feathered pet.
Can budgies eat rice cakes?
Rice cake is created by condensing puffed rice or softened rice into a fixed shape. Their nutrient profile is quite similar to rice and can be thus fed. Pure rice cakes with just rice as its ingredient can be fed with closed eyes.
But other rice cakes can have some ingredients added to them to increase taste and flavors. With those, you need to check that they do not have any ingredients like salt, sugar, butter, onion, garlic, etc., that are harmful to budgies.
Can budgies eat rice krispies?
Rice Krispies are categorized as desserts and available as cereals, marshmallows, and butter. Generally, their main ingredients are rice, sugar, salt, barley malt flavoring, and preservatives.
Except for rice, all other ingredients are harmful to the budgies and can cause serious digestive issues, obesity, and lethargy.
Because of it, rice Krispies are not recommended for budgies but can be given a very small piece as a rare treat.
Can budgies eat fried rice?
Fried rice has plenty of oil, butter, and other fatty ingredients along with seasonings that make it an unhealthy choice for budgies. They should not feed on it.
Rice can be a healthy source of nutrients if fed in small portions on and off. It should always be fed plain. We hope that you will now feed your budgie, rice in the proper manner.