Can we give rice to the pigeon?

Do pigeons "explode" when they pick raw rice?

Pigeons that eat raw rice explode. This rumor has persisted for years. But can that really be? We asked around.
In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer sprinkles raw rice. That magically attracts the pigeons. They peck and "boom" they explode one by one. What is possible in animation - is that also possible in real life?

"No!" Says Stephan Weigl from the Biology Center Linz. "When pigeons pick up grains, they collect in the crop (note: this is a bulge in the esophagus). There they are moistened and brought to body temperature so that they can later be processed better in the stomach."

Raw rice still swells in the stomach



Now comment "Raw rice still swells, but that it tears pigeons explosively like when making popcorn, I think that's wrong - I've never heard", explains the bird expert.

After all, many birds in nature also eat rice, such as wild geese, which stuff their stomachs on their long wanderings on rice fields.

Pigeons do not die when they pick raw rice grains. While it is true that grains of rice that have not yet been cooked increase their volume in the stomach. It takes about half an hour to three quarters of an hour until they get from the goiter to the stomach. It takes a little longer for the rice to rise, but it is not dangerous for pigeons. Also because the stomach is very flexible.

This is how the story came about



The rumor that raw rice harms pigeons is said to have been started by American columnist Ann Landers in 1996. Through her argument she wanted to achieve that more rose petals are thrown at weddings instead of the traditional rice.

The Naturschutzbund advises against feeding city pigeons. "Anyone who wants to 'spoil' the 'poor Tauberln' with leftovers, bread and rolls makes them sick, they get diarrhea, they forget how to search for food and become dependent on feeding."



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