Geese are mostly herbivorous. Though they can eat other things besides plants, grass and other plant matter makes up the majority of their diet, and indeed these are their favorite foods.
Geese can also eat grains, including many cereal grains.
As with most livestock, grains are a great source of energy for animals and they can also provide abundant vitamins and minerals.
However, many grains also have drawbacks that means they should be fed sparingly or only in special circumstances.
How about rice? Can geese eat rice?
Yes, geese can eat rice and it is totally safe for them. Rice is an excellent, concentrated source of energy offering many minerals and some vitamins that geese need including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and B-complex vitamins.
It makes sense, because rice is such a staple grain around the world for all sorts of animals, and it’s natural that geese should be able to eat it too.
However it is fairly contentious, and to this very day, there are lots of people that think rice is harmful or even deadly to birds, including geese.
I am beyond happy to report that that is just not true, but there are some more things you’ll need to know before you feed your flock with rice. Keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it…
Myth-Busting: Rice Won’t Blow Up Geese
We need to get one thing out of the way immediately before we go any further. I don’t know how this urban legend has hung around as long as it has, but I remember hearing about it way back when I was in grade school some decades ago.
There is a myth that says feeding rice to birds, but particularly ducks, geese and other waterfowl, will kill them by causing their stomachs to burst.
Bottom line, this isn’t true!
The legend says that the rice will swell up in a poor goose’s stomach due to the presence of water, stomach acid, or both and then either rupture their organs or physically burst its body.
Luckily that is not the case, and quite the opposite: rice is a great nutritional supplement for geese, whether it is cooked or not.
Does Rice Have Health Benefits for Geese?
Yes, big time! Rice is one of the very best grains for feeding to geese because it is easy for them to digest while being a concentrated source of both calories and other nutrients that they need.
Aside from giving them plenty of energy to go about their day, the nutrients present in rice will help geese:
- build and repair strong bones,
- improve the health of connective tissue,
- promote laying in dames and also strong egg shells to improve viability,
- promote good circulatory health via the oxygenation of blood,
- and enhance countless cellular processes that can improve everything from organ health to eyesight.
Truly, rice is a great food for geese, but it just shouldn’t be the primary staple in their diet: rice is quite high in calories, so it’s easy for geese to overindulge and gain weight.
Nutrition Info for Rice
Rice has many nutrients on offer that geese need, and the mineral profile is particularly good. Rice contains lots of calcium and selenium along with a great amount of magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Backing this up is a little bit of copper, zinc, iron and sodium which does occur naturally in rice.
This is rarely an issue so long as your birds aren’t getting tons of salt from other sources, but something to keep in mind if their salt levels are already elevated.
The vitamin content is not nearly as impressive, but still noteworthy. Rice has a little bit of vitamin E and vitamin K along with a decent assortment of the B complex vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6 and folate.
All together, it is a great lineup for geese.
Can Geese Eat Raw Rice?
Yes, they sure can. Raw rice is surprisingly easy for geese to digest, and it also ensures they get all of the dietary benefits that are locked away within this grain.
Cooked rice does have an edge in terms of palatability for most geese, but it loses quite a bit of nutrition.
Can Geese Eat White Rice?
Yes. White rice is fine for geese, and even though it is lower in terms of overall nutrition it is easier to digest and also less prone to going rancid compared to brown rice. It is the best pick for your geese!
Can Geese Eat Brown Rice?
Yes, they sure can. Brown rice has a higher nutrition profile compared to white rice, but it also takes slightly more effort for geese to digest.
Plus, brown rice spoils much faster than white rice so you’ll want to make sure it is still fresh before putting it out in their feeder.
Is Cooked Rice Safe for Geese?
Yes, totally. Cooked rice is just fine for geese and many geese, at least the ones I have seen, seem to particularly like it.
But, as mentioned up above, it does lose quite a bit of nutrition during the cooking process so it is a tradeoff, and you’ll want to offer it as part of a complete and balanced diet.
Can Goslings Eat Rice Safely?
Yes, they can. Rice is safe for goslings, cooked or raw. Just make sure they’re getting their other nutritional needs met as well, and don’t rely too heavily on rice.
It should only be a small part of their diet, but it is a great supplement to offer goslings in moderation!
How Frequently Can Geese Eat Rice?
2 to 4 servings a week. Rice has tons of benefits for geese, and so long as they aren’t subsisting on it as the primary item in their diet, it can be a great supplement for them.
Make sure to keep their food varied, though, and offer lots of grass, some fruits, veggies, other plant matter and grains, and the occasional bug or slug along with the rice.
Also, keep in mind that the calories in rice can help them deal with stress from cold or injury.
Rice is a popular warming feed, and also a good addition to the diet of laying dames who need extra calories and minerals like crazy while they are laying.
Preparing Rice for Geese
You have two options for rice when feeding geese: cooked or raw.
If cooking, keep in mind that the usual 3 to 1 water to rice ratio is a bit too much for geese, and so you’ll want to back it off to 2.5 parts water to one part rice.
That should give you the right consistency without losing all of the nutrition. Geese don’t need food that is super moist, despite being waterfowl!
Let the rice cool, then serve as is or mix into mash or other food to bulk it up.
If feeding raw, make sure to inspect the rice to be sure it isn’t moldy or spoiled, then give it to geese in their feeder or scatter it on clear ground for them to peck at.
Don’t Give Rice to Geese if it Has Any Bad Ingredients or Additives
Rice, cooked or raw, is fine for geese. Flavored rice, risotto, rice krispies, rice cakes, and all the other garbage that has tons and tons of salt, sugar, butter, cheese and the like is not!
Stick with plain, simple rice and you birds will thank you.
Never Give Geese Moldy or Spoiled Rice
There is one major hazard associated with feeding rice to geese, particularly old, stored rice or any rice supplies that have gotten wet or been kept in humid environments. That hazard is mold.
Various molds can attack grains, including rice, and then produce toxins which are extremely harmful or even fatal to birds, including geese.
One notorious mold associated with rice is Claviceps, which produces a mycotoxin that causes ergotism in birds and mammals- including people!
Symptoms of ergotism include nervous system collapse, spasms, necrosis, and even death. This toxin has been around for ages, and has been associated with plagues in people and animals throughout human history.
Seriously scary stuff! So, if you suspect that the rice may have been attacked by mold or spoilage of any kind, don’t feed it to geese!
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.