Do pigeons explode from eating baking soda or powder? A deep dive

Do pigeons explode from eating baking soda

Pigeons have multiplied to uncontrollable numbers, these birds seem to be everywhere. You may be looking for a quick and easy way to get rid of them, or, you may be looking for clarity on this topic to avoid your pigeons from exploding. So, does baking soda, one of the staples in your medicine cabinet, really make these birds explode? This article looks into it

Baking soda does not make pigeons explode. Some say that baking soda will cause gas to form and collect in a pigeon’s stomach, it is said that there will be so much gas produced that eventually, this gas will make the bird explode. This is a myth.

Do pigeons explode from eating baking soda? A deep dive

Pigeons are a part of our urban landscape, there aren’t many places where you won’t find pigeons. They eat almost anything they can find and are seen as a general nuisance.

There are a couple of myths and misconceptions surrounding pigeons, what they eat, and what makes them explode. So, do pigeons explode from eating baking soda?

The theory of exploding pigeons: 

Many urban legends recommend that you avoid giving pigeons baking soda, rice, Alka seltzer, baking powder, or anything that can supposedly cause a vigorous reaction in the bird’s digestive system. The thinking behind this is that these foods can cause the birds to explode.  

How does baking soda work? 

Humans use baking soda in baking, this product when activated, produces carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide makes baked goods rise and become fluffy and light. 

In addition, when people have issues with indigestion or trouble passing gas, we take baking soda to help. The baking soda makes us pass gas or burp thus making us feel better

How does this affect birds? 

Supposedly, when birds eat baking soda the gas produced by this product will build up in the bird’s stomach. Because the bird cannot pass gas, this gas will supposedly build up so much that it will cause the bird to explode.

Fortunately, this is simply a myth. 

However, there is some truth to this idea, it is true that the reaction in the bird’s stomach, between the bird’s stomach acids and the baking soda, will create a gas. However, the amount of gas produced isn’t enough to cause the bird to explode.

Baking soda does not make pigeons, any other bird, or any other animal for that matter, explode.

For a bird to explode from the inside, a considerable amount of pressure needs to be applied from the bird’s stomach outwards. The reaction that baking soda creates does not create this much gas and pressure.

A pigeon may get sick from eating baking soda, it may get diarrhea, and it may even develop bloating and gas but it won’t explode.

Warning about feeding birds: 

You should probably not be giving birds any foods or medications that are only meant for humans. This can be seen as animal cruelty unless it’s been advised by your vet.

A pigeon’s body is able to regurgitate foods that it doesn’t want. This mechanism enables the bird’s body to expel food before it enters the bird’s digestive system in the first place, this is a failsafe.

This failsafe isn’t needed in the case of pigeons eating baking soda but it can be used for other foods

Do pigeons explode when they eat baking powder?

What is baking powder? 

Baking powder contains baking soda, baking powder also contains acid. The acid plus the baking soda in baking powder is what makes baked goods rise.

It is similar to baking soda in that it can make your baked goods fluffy and rise, but just like baking soda, it cannot make pigeons explode. 

What does baking powder do to birds? 

When birds eat baking powder, a reaction happens, and carbon dioxide gas forms in the bird’s stomach. However, the reaction that happens in the birds’ stomach simply does not release enough gas to make the bird explode.

Does bicarbonate of soda make birds explode?

What is bicarbonate of soda? 

Bicarbonate of soda is simply another name for baking soda, it is an alternate term for the same product, it will not make birds explode. 

What will it do to birds? 

The most this product will do is create a gas in the bird’s stomach that will pass without harming the bird. Just as with any other food, if the bird does not like the bicarbonate of soda, or if it causes the bird discomfort, then the pigeon will simply regurgitate this food

Do pigeons explode from eating Alka seltzer?

What does alka seltzer do? 

Alka seltzer is a medication commonly used by humans. It gives temporary relief to people suffering from heartburn, an upset stomach, and indigestion. This medication is an antacid, it reduces the amount of acid in our stomachs

What will Alka seltzer do to birds? 

A bird will likely not be able to eat one full tablet, the most a bird could likely eat is a small piece of a tablet.

If there is enough water in the crop, the tablet will land in the crop and start to fizz. This fizzing will likely disturb the bird and the bird will try and vomit it all out before it gets down to the rest of the digestive system 

Even if the tablet were to reach the bird’s stomach and start to fizz, the gas produced by this fizzing would not be enough to make the bird explode. Thus, pigeons cannot explode as a result of eating Alka seltzer

Does rice make birds explode?

No, rice does not make birds explode. This is a myth that has unfortunately gone on for too long.

It has gone on for so long that people aren’t throwing rice at weddings anymore thinking that it will make birds explode. Some people are rather throwing birdseed which is better I must admit but the origin of this reasoning is flawed.

The myth:

The idea behind the myth is that uncooked rice, if eaten by a bird, will expand in the bird’s stomach. This expansion will be so strong that it will cause the bird to burst from the inside and explode. This is, in fact, a myth.

Birds can eat cooked or uncooked rice with no issues. But birds will probably not be attracted to the rice in the first place.

What will make a pigeon explode?

Simply feeding birds uncooked rice, baking soda, or Alka-Seltzer will not make the bird explode. If you want to make a pigeon explode or any other bird explode, then you’d need to feed the bird calcium carbide or have them eat magnesium silicide.

The calcium carbide, when mixed in with the bird’s stomach acids, produces a gas called acetylene. This makes the bird explode from the inside. The magnesium silicide releases silane, the silane will create an explosive reaction when it reacts with oxygen.

Can birds fart?

We haven’t found any evidence that birds fart. That is, we haven’t found any evidence that birds fart in the same way that humans fart.

Birds, just like any other animal, have an anus, they use it to poop. They don’t fart like humans and other types of animals do. This may be because birds have a faster digestion rate.

Because of this faster digestion rate, their food stays in their bodies for shorter periods of time, not long enough to ferment and create gas.

Another hypothesis on why birds don’t fart is that, unlike human stomachs, bird stomachs don’t contain the same bacteria that form gas in the stomach. Birds may leak out farts passively unlike the one loud fart that other animals let ut.

Do birds burp?

Birds do burp, humans aren’t the only species that have this ability. Just like humans, birds burp to release the excess air trapped in the body. Air trapped in the upper digestive tract to be more specific. Burping happens when you swallow excess air then release it from the mouth.

Birds can also swallow excess air. The release of this air is a burp.

Do birds eat raw porridge oats?

Birds do and can eat raw porridge oats. In fact, it would be better to give the birds raw oats over cooked oats. Cooked oats become sticky on the bird’s beak, the oats become like a glue texture. It then hardens around the bird’s beak.

The uncooked raw porridge oats are a good source of nutrients for birds. Giving it to birds is much better than throwing it out and wasting it.

Is bread bad for birds?

Bread is not bad for birds but it’s not the best thing you can give to your birds. Bread is very filling for both humans and for birds. Unfortunately, bread is not nutritious.

If you give your bird bread alone it will fill up on it and not be interested in eating any other foods and the bird will be nutrient deficient. It’s ok to give birds bread occasionally but don’t make this a habit.

In addition, if you give birds pieces of bread that are too hard and too large the bread can choke the bird and kill it. If the bread has mold on it then the bird can develop an illness from the mold and this can be fatal. Read more about giving birds bread here.

Other foods that you shouldn’t give birds include banana peelsdog foodice creamfrench fries, and honey. Click the links for more info. Foods that you can feed birds are cranberries, broccoli, and pine nuts. Click the links for more info.


There are many myths that exist around pigeons. The idea that baking soda will make pigeons explode is a myth.

If you give a pigeon baking soda the baking soda will not create enough gas for the bird to explode. The gas produced by the baking soda will most probably be burped out.

In addition, rice will not make the bird explode either. Neither will bicarbonate of soda, or Alka seltzer

However, there are a couple of compounds that can make birds explode, these include calcium carbide and magnesium silicide. You shouldn’t give pigeons or any other birds any of these. Giving these to birds in the hope that the bird will explode is animal cruelty.

Do pigeons explode from eating baking soda or powder? A deep dive
Scroll to top