Feed Pigeons Rice All The Time, Is It Safe For Them? Myth And Fact

One of the most common traditions in wedding ceremony is a tradition of throwing rice. This tradition has been around for thousands of years. However, it did not start with rice. Instead, they used wheat, then replaced with seeds, and then after centuries, it changed into rice. This tradition is a symbolization for the fruitfulness of marriage for the couple, good luck, and fertility. 

Talking about the tradition, there is some tale about pigeons and rice, where people believe that white rice from the wedding is dangerous for pigeons who come after and eat the rice from the ground. The rice grains, as people said, absorb the water in the birds, swell up, and then lead into an ‘explosion’ or burst up the poor pigeons’ bellies. 

What a nighmare to witness pigeons pop themselves on wedding ceremony, right?

If you start worrying about the birds (and the wedding!) because of this tale, let this article help you out to answer and figure out all the misconception about rice and pigeon.

Feed Pigeons Rice All The Time, Is It Safe For Them? Myth And Fact

The origin of where or how this idea came from is not known, but it has been around at least since the 1980s, when the practice of throwing rice at weddings was discussed and an advice columnist published a warning letter about it. From there, many weddings event organizers started to eliminate this tradition from the wedding ceremony and changed it into another form.

  • That sounds worrying. Is that true?

The tale of rice and pigeon is not true at all. No one ever has seen and exploded pigeons after a wedding party because of the rice grain.

There are many types of wild birds, especially the types of waterfowl, shorebirds, and migratory birds, who eat uncooked rice grain all the time and turn out okay without any digestive problem or any ill effects. So rice, or any other similar grains like wheat or barley, is perfectly safe for birds to feed.

Moreover, rice grains are effectively able to absorb liquid only in boiling water or in its cooking temperature. Why would pigeons or any other birds have boiling water inside their belly? That would not make any sense. Any uncooked rice grains would be properly digested and broken down by acids and enzymes in pigeons’ digestive system. So it should not cause any health problems, or even burst up their bellies!

  • So it is okay to throw rice on your wedding, right?

From the earlier explanation, we know that rice has nothing to do with pigeon’s health and belly. But this does not mean that this practice is perfectly safe to do at weddings. There is fear of injuries from slip and fall at the sidewalk or steps in front of the wedding venues, like churches, because of this hard, tubular rice grains that spread out on the ground after the tossing rice ceremony.

No one may see an exploded pigeon, but seeing wedding guest, groom, or even bride slip on the steps and injured because of rice grains would not be nice too, right?

That is why some wedding venues do not let any throwing rice practice, not because of the birds, but to keep everyone safe. 

  • Fun fact: bread is more harmful to pigeons rather than rice grains

Feeding pigeons is a fun activity to do especially on a picnic! Bread crumbs, however, is one of the most common foods that we like to feed to wild pigeon at the local parks or ponds. But, do you know that bread is not good for pigeon’s health?

The complex carbohydrates in bread have no nutrients that pigeon’s need and it is difficult for the pigeon’s system to digest. Rather than bread, or any foods that normally offered for us like cheese or meats, the pigeon would rather feed with non-fiber items like grains and seeds, dried peas, and corn. Those food are way healthier to them!

This does not mean you have to change from tossing rice to corn at the wedding ceremony, though!

  • Another option: releasing doves ceremony!

If tossing rice is banned from your wedding venue, what can we do to? Well, one option that you can do to replace the tradition with another activity that safer for you is the releasing doves ceremony! This ceremony can be a symbol of peace, luck, and all the good wishes in the new couple’s home and throughout their lives together. 

There is also some thrilling experience when you are the one who releases the pure white dove into the sky and sees them fly away, right?

The most important thing to be noted about this practice is to make sure you use the right type of birds. Many people mistaken ring-necked doves with the well-trained homing pigeons that are the right species for the ceremony. Ring-necked doves have no proper skill to survive in the wild and find their way back home after they released into the sky. They might get killed afterward from predators, car accident, or even starve to death

So, rice might not kill the pigeons but releasing the wrong birds such as ring-necked doves to celebrate your wedding is. 

No worries, though! As long as you let the professional service company handle it and use the well-trained homing pigeons, everything is safe for everyone, and the wedding can be as magnificent as it can be! 

That is all about ice and pigeons facts and myths. From here we know that rice has no harm to the pigeons who eat them, nor burst up the pigeon’s belly. The throwing or tossing rice practice is banned from wedding ceremony, not because the worries about the birds, but rather to keep everyone safe from slipping because of the hard, tubular form of rice grains that spread out on the ground after the party.