Can Birds Eat Rice Cakes? A Tasty Treat or Dangerous Snack?

Rice cakes were all the buzz in the nineties. It had to be a household staple if you had an almond mom.

Surprisingly, rice cakes are still a big part of food culture, especially as a low-calorie substitute for bread and crackers.

Birds enjoy a yummy rice cake snack whenever they need a little pick me up. Yet I can’t help but worry – are rice cakes safe to be a snack for birds?

Yes, but don’t add salt or other flavor enhancements with these.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know to affirm the safety of rice cakes in your bird’s diet.

Interested to know more? Keep on reading!

Are Rice Cakes Safe for Birds to Eat?

To analyze the safety of rice cakes, we must first assess all the ingredients that go into making rice cakes.

Compressing puffed rice into cakes is what rice cakes are. Rice has been a part of the bird’s diet for a few millennials. Backyard birds are often offered leftover rice, and it has been a tradition in many bird enthusiasts’ households.

Rice cakes on a paper

If you’re interested to know more about rice, you can read our in-depth guide on the safety of feeding rice to birds.

However, we will leave the assessment of the safety of rice for some other time. We know that rice cakes are a perfectly safe snack, only the ones with no added salt or flavorings.

There is a heavy emphasis on the word snack as it is still high in calories, but the immense benefits and the yumminess will surely make it your bird’s go-to snack.

Want to know what the benefits of rice cakes are? The following section is meant for you!

What Are the Benefits of Rice Cakes for Birds?

Rice cakes are a savior when it comes to snacking as bird parents. They’re crunchy and chewy all at once.

The benefits they offer are the perfect cherry on top. Let’s Explore them in greater detail, shall we?

1. Rich in Trace Minerals

Rice cakes contain quite a list of trace minerals, even more than most natural foods. Trace minerals are nutrients that are found in abundance in the body.

Although trace minerals aren’t the ultimate essential nutrients your bird might need, they often suffer from deficiencies of such minerals.

The symptoms, however, go unnoticed due to how small birds are compared to other animals.

Crispy rice cakes on a white bowl

Without further ado, let’s fly right into all the trace minerals that rice cakes offer:

  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

a. Manganese

Manganese plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Apart from these, manganese is impeccable for wound healing by improving collagen production.

Each rice cake contains 15% manganese of RDI.

A deficiency of manganese may result in symptoms such as bone demineralization and poor growth in young birds.

b. Copper

Copper helps make red blood cells and keeps nerve cells and your immune system healthy. It also plays a key role in reducing free radicals that can damage cells and DNA.

Each rice cake contains 4% copper of RDI.

A deficiency of copper leads to symptoms like fatigue, vision loss, and difficulties in walking.

c. Selenium

Selenium is an essential component that goes into the making of proteins that help make DNA and protect against cell damage called selenoproteins.

Each rice cake contains 4% selenium of RDI.

Selenium deficiencies cause symptoms such as myodegenerative diseases.

d. Zinc

Zinc is vital for skin health, immune function, and cell growth. Zinc is the ultimate essential nutrient despite being a trace mineral, as it is something our body doesn’t naturally have and needs to be consumed externally.

Each rice cake contains 2% zinc of RDI.

Mild zinc deficiency symptoms include diarrhea, decreased immunity, and impaired wound healing.

2. Good Source of Macrominerals

Not only do rice cakes deliver essential microminerals, but it also provides vital macro minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus.

a. Magnesium

Magnesium plays many crucial roles in the body, such as supporting muscle and nerve function and energy production.

Rice cakes contain 3% manganese of RDI.

Chronically low levels of magnesium can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

b. Phosphorus 

Phosphorus is one of the primary components for the body to form bones. It’s also required to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.

Rice cakes consist of 3% phosphorus of RDI.

Low phosphorus consumption can cause symptoms such as anemia, musculoskeletal diseases, and stunted growth, especially in young birds.

3. Delivers Vital B Vitamins

With all the many nutrients rice cakes already offer, they also provide essential B vitamins such as Vitamin B5 and Vitamin B3. 

a. Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is a daily multivitamin that needs to be consumed externally for benefits that help lower cholesterol, ease arthritis, and boost brain function, among other benefits.

4% DV of niacin is provided by rice cakes.

A deficiency of vitamin B3 has symptoms like constipation or diarrhea, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

b. Vitamin B5

Pantothenic acid, also called Vitamin B5, is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system and liver, making blood cells, and maintaining a healthy digestive tract.

Rice cakes contain 2% vitamin B5 of the DV.

Low levels of Vitamin B5 lead to symptoms such as upper respiratory infections, muscle cramps, and insomnia.

Phew! Now that was a never-ending list of nutrients provided by what people think is just a mere snack, wasn’t it?

Apart from these beneficial nutrients, rice cakes are the perfect snacks for our feathered friends as they are a non-messy food perfect for foraging as the crunchiness acts as a stimulant.

What Are the Downfalls of Rice Cakes?

The only downside to the nearly-perfect rice cakes is the lack of protein and fiber.

Puffed rice cakes on a wooden table

Unfortunately, both of these nutrients are the two building blocks of a bird’s diet. Without these, rice cakes are not ideal to be a permanent part of the bird’s diet.

Although they are promoted as a low-carb substitute for bread and crackers, they are still pretty high in carbs for birds to consume regularly, as they can spike their blood sugar levels.

Increased blood sugar levels can damage arteries causing cardiovascular diseases in birds.

Frequently Asked Questions

While we’re at it, let’s find the answers to some popular questions plaguing pet parents right now, shall we?

Can Wild Birds Eat Rice Cakes?

Rice cakes are a scrumptious and safe addition to your birdfeeder for an occasional treat or two.

However, the downsides are not as effective on wild birds as they are on pet birds due to burning all the carbs while scavenging for food.

Can Birds Eat Brown Rice Cakes?

Brown rice cakes are far more nutritious than regular rice cakes. They are also much lower in carbs and contain fiber, unlike white rice cakes allowing them to be a little bit more part of your bird’s regular diet.

Can Birds Eat Korean Rice Cakes?

Korean rice cakes are a lot different than regular rice cakes. The ingredients that go into the making of Korean rice cakes, such as salt and sesame oil can put your bird at risk of salt toxicosis and obesity.

The tough and chewy texture of Korean rice cakes also makes them a choking hazard for birds with small beaks.

Can Birds Eat Rice Krispie Treats?

Rice Krispie Treats are a heavily processed food with added high fructose sugar, marshmallows, and salt; all of which are toxic to birds. Due to all the processing, they also lose all their nutritious value.

Hence, it’s unsafe for birds to eat rice krispie treats.

Final Remarks

With all the factors concluded, it’s safe to say rice cakes are a perfect snack and should stay that way. They can’t be a part of your bird’s everyday diet to a few disadvantages.

They are, however, the true definition of a nutritious snack when purchased unsalted. Despite being human food, they offer a plethora of benefits, all the while being perfectly safe.

Don’t forget to check in with your vet before adding any new food, especially human foods like rice cakes to your bird’s diet, no matter how safe they are!

Photo of author

Written and Fact-checked by David Neff

Author at BirdBonica

David is an expert birder and bird parent with in-depth knowledge of birds. He has years of experience observing birds in their natural habitats, studying their diets, behavior, and more. (Learn more about David here...)

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2 thoughts on “Can Birds Eat Rice Cakes? A Tasty Treat or Dangerous Snack?”

  1. We have had some,40 rescued birds,moluccan,Myers parrot,2goffins,several keets,and many tiels. Thru the years old age has taken many. They eat just about everything we do.(our larger birds love chicken bones), they’re good for the marrow. Rice cakes are a favorite treat.Along with veggies and fruit pellets,etc.


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