Should we not throw rice because birds will die

Reading today’s repost of an old topic made me think about this issue a bit, and prompted me to send Cecil and email on it. I don’t know how often he, or assistants, read or reply, but I figured I post my email here and see if any of you have any thoughts on my thoughts…

"Cecil, you know I never put a whole lot of thought into the whole exploding bird from rice theory and just accepted it at face value, but having read your article, I think there is a simple reason to call it BS for good. Dehydrated rice expands because it absorbs water, or if in a stomach, stomach acid. So, the rice a bird eats at worst will absorb up all of the stomach acid in said bird and expand, but it can’t expand any more than the sum of the rice and stomach acid that were already in the stomach. The total volume of rice and stomach acid will be the same before and after absorption, so no explosion. Some will site the case of a compressed dry sponge expanding to 10 times its size when wet, but that is because of the release of residual stresses in the sponge and allowing air to fill up the pores in the sponge, which is not the case for rice.

Jeff from Detroit"

Have you ever tried to sweep up five pounds of rice that have been thrown around a church?

No, I don’t imagine sweeping is fun, but that’s not the point of the original post. I’m wondering if my logic on why rice WON’T make birds explode is sound.

BTW, the last line of the column has a typo:

Of course, it should be

Chiming in from Southeast Asia. Birds do not die from eating rice.

At our wedding we didn’t throw rice (and not because of the birds – we got married at the beach, and I think a lot of people would be secretly delighted if the damned seagulls exploded). We wanted something different. We gave everyone bubble-blowing equipment.
We thought we’d come up with something new. We’d never heard of it before, and it seemed interesting. I got a zillion used plastic film canisters, big gallon jugs of bubble solution and – this one took some doing – a case of those bubble-blowing wands.We made them up into packages for each guest.
Now you can buy sets of these, but back then, we had to make our own.

A link to the column is always appreciated.
Should you not throw rice at weddings because birds swallow it and explode?

Re the release of white doves (with tragic results) mentioned in the column, I understand that your smarter alternative in this regard is to hire a service that advertises for this purpose – the ‘doves’ are actually albino homing pigeons, which naturally boot it back to their dovecote once released.

I just got a rice cooker, and I’d like to shed some light on the cooked/uncooked rice expansion phenomena.

Uncooked rice doesn’t expand much. Try soaking it overnight.

Rice cooked in a rice cooker expands like crazy. I’m sure some varieties will expand more than others, but the cooking does something to the rice that activates it. I’ll have a little left over in the cooker that i’ll soak in water before doing dishes, and it balloons.

Hell, the damn rice even makes you thirsty.

Also, won’t throwing the new anti-fat pills kill the birds for sure? >; )