Can chickens eat oatmeal? Are you looking for a safe healthy snack for your chickens? Read on to find out if oatmeal is safe for chickens and if there are benefits that chickens can gain from eating it!
Can Chickens Eat Oatmeal?
The simple answer to this question is yes. Chickens can eat oatmeal.
However, what kind of oats can chickens eat? How much oats should chickens eat? How often should chickens eat oats? What benefits do oats offer chickens?
These are all questions that we will answer here!
Different Types of Oats for Chickens
First lets discuss the different types of oats and how to prepare them for your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Uncooked Oatmeal?
Yes, chickens can eat both cooked and uncooked oats. Oats are a good source of fiber and a good source of nutrition.
However, uncooked oats will contain more nutrients than cooked oats so I would recommend not cooking the oats first.
Now that’s not to say you can’t soak the oats.
Warm oats might be very enjoyable for your chickens on cold winter days! However the carbohydrate content of oats will help them keep a healthy body temperature during the cold winter months even if they are not soaked.
You can also soak the oats in hot water (allow it to cool before feeding to chickens) to soften the oats and to make them easier to digest.
However chickens are not like people and can digest grains a lot easier than we can. So the soaking is definitely not necessary.
Plus giving your chickens uncooked oatmeal is much easier for you!
Can Chickens Eat Raw Oats?
Yes! Chickens can definitely eat raw oats. Like I already mentioned their ability to digest grains is much better than ours. They can easily digest the hulls and all.
Plus raw oats will have more of their nutrients intact, making them a great addition to your chicken’s diet.
Can Chickens Eat Whole Oat Groats?
Yes! Oat groats are raw oats that have been hulled, so the chickens can definitely eat these and they are a great addition to their diet.
Can Chickens Eat Steel Cut Oats?
Yes! Chickens can eat steel cut oats.
Steel cut oats are oat groats that have been chopped into course pieces. They will absorb water faster than raw whole oats and oat groats, thus making this a better option if you plan to soak your chicken’s oats.
Can Chickens Eat Scottish Oatmeal?
Yes! Scottish oatmeal is simply stone ground oat groats. This makes for varying sized pieces that will absorb water more easily.
Can Chickens Eat Rolled Oats?
Yes! Rolled oats, also called old fashioned oats, are groats that have been steamed and rolled into flakes. They are still nutritious, but will not contain quite as many nutrients since they have been exposed to heat in the steaming process.
Can Chickens Eat Instant Oats?
The answer to this is both yes and no. Plain instant oats are safe for your chickens to eat, however they contain the least amount of nutrients due to the longer heat process they were exposed to during processing.
And you definitely need to read the ingredients on the instant oats package before feeding them to your chickens as some instant oats can contain additional ingredients that would not be good for your chickens.
Oats Nutritional Benefits
So, now that we’ve established that it is safe to feed oats to chickens, let’s talk about why we should feed them to our chickens.
Is it actually beneficial to feed oats to chickens? What nutrients will oats add to our chickens’ diet?
Oats contain the following nutrients:
These are all nutrients that are important for your chickens to receive. They will not only help your chickens to have healthier stronger bones and bodies, but will help them to lay healthier eggs as well.
How Much Oatmeal Should Chickens Eat?
This is the important part of feeding chickens oatmeal.
We have established that oatmeal is good for your chickens. But as with most things, moderation is also important. Getting too much oatmeal is actually not good for your chickens either.
Oats are carbohydrates, and too many carbs will cause health problems in chickens. It will cause chickens to experience unhealthy weight gain as well.
The majority of a chicken’s diet should consist of chicken feed, with oats being considered a treat food.
Oats are a good source of protein and a great source of nutritious elements, but is definitely something that should be given in small amounts.
It is recommended to give each chicken about one tablespoon of oats per serving.
This will give the chickens the nutrients that they need and will make the oats a healthy treat that they enjoy!
How Often Should Chickens Eat Oatmeal?
So how often should you give chickens a tablespoon of oats?
Oats should be fed to chickens no more than once or twice per week.
This will allow the chickens to benefit from the oats without overdoing it.
I would also recommend feeding your chickens their regular feed first and then giving them the oats so that they don’t replace their regular feed with oats and will eat both.
Basically it’s like making them eat their dinner before giving them dessert;)
Best Way to Feed Chickens Oatmeal
Feeding your chickens oatmeal is very easy!
You can mix the oatmeal in their feed, however if your chickens are picky they might pick out the oatmeal and leave the rest of the feed. So if you are worried about this happening then definitely feed them their regular feed or layer feed first.
You can either put the oats in a dish after their feed is gone, or you can simply sprinkle it on the ground and let them eat it that way.
Chickens With Pasty Butt
Something else that oats help chickens with is pasty butt.
Feeding your chickens oats can help prevent and get rid of pasty butt in chicks and chickens.
Be sure to clean the feces stuck to the back of the chick or chicken right away following safe pasty butt instructions.
For chicks that are suffering from pasty butt it’s best to grind the oats up in a blender, making it extremely fine. This will make it easier for them to eat and digest as they are not capable of eating what a large chicken is able to.
Chicks will definitely benefit from being fed hull-less oats as they will be gentler on their digestive tract.
I hope this helps you when it comes to feeding healthy treats to your chickens!
Your chickens will be very excited to eat oats and will benefit from the excellent source of vitamins that oats have to offer!
For additional information on raising healthy chickens be sure to read:
How to Kill Parasites in Chickens Using Essential Oils
Do Hens Need A Rooster To Lay Eggs?