Oats are a nutritious food with lots of health benefits. But is it a safe food option for chickens? Can chickens eat oats? Yes, they can; as omnivorous birds, chickens can eat a variety of food, including oats.
As a poultry owner, you must be aware of the type and quantity of food you’re allowing your chickens. The same is applicable for oatmeal as well. Even though it’s a nutritious food like wheat or corn, you must maintain moderation with other treats.
Hence, to get complete details on feeding chickens oatmeal and its related health benefits, continue reading this article.
Can You Feed Raw Oats To Chickens?
Yes, you can feed raw oats to chickens. Raw oats are richer in protein and fiber, making them even more beneficial for chickens. Whole oats are not very chunky, so chickens won’t have any issue eating them raw. Chickens can easily peck on the small oats grains without the risk of choking.
But to add variety, you can soak the oatmeal in some water and then feed it to the chickens.
How Much Oats Can I Feed to My Chickens?
Oatmeal is extremely beneficial but adding it regularly to chicken diets isn’t the best idea. Hence, maintain moderation and keep oatmeal an occasional treat for your poultry.
Chickens can’t digest high-fiber food quickly, and since oats are very high in fiber, you should be careful of how much you are feeding the chickens. Try adding oats with other nutrient rich meals to maintain a perfect balance between fiber and other essential nutrients.
Why Are Oats Nutritious for Chickens?
Yes, oats are nutritious for chickens, as stated throughout the article. Adding oatmeal breakfast or simply oatmeal as a snack is a healthy treat for the general health of your chicks. Here are some essential vitamins and minerals your poultry will get when you feed your chickens oat hulls or oats.
Oats are rich in b vitamins like- thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and choline. A lack of vitamin c can decrease chickens’ appetite and energy levels. Lack of energy will reduce the capacity to eat and drink, and you may see shocking effects like losing weight; hence to prevent any such adverse impact, add oatmeal to chicken diets.
Plus, a deficiency in vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) may damage chickens’ nervous systems and skins. Some of the symptoms of vitamin B5 are- rough feathers, flaking around the beak, and flaking between toe and feet.
B5 deficiency in laying hens might reduce their capacity for fresh eggs production, plus the embryos in the egg will also get affected; as a result, the chicken chick might die after hatching.
Manganese is another important nutrient that helps in the reproduction process. Oats are rich in manganese; therefore, they can complete chicken’s daily requirement of nutrients.
Just like lack of B vitamins may affect chicken’s egg production and bone strength, the lack of manganese may also weaken their eggs. Manganese deficiency leads to thinner eggshells, and the baby chicks born out of these eggs may experience different abnormalities and potentially life-threatening conditions.
Phosphorus is crucial to maintaining good bone health along with promoting healthy growth, and oatmeal is a good source of it. If your hens lack enough phosphorus along with calcium, they may experience weight loss, enlarging and swelling of hocks, lameness, soft beak, and bones.
Another great nutrient chickens get from oatmeal is zinc. It helps with their circulatory system health, among various other health benefits. Zinc deficiency may lead to weaker feathers and might affect their skeletal system as well.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked/Warm Oats?
Chickens can eat warm oats, but you don’t really have to cook them. Just warm water on a teakettle and add it to the oatmeal. You can take oats as per your feed efficiency and add other things like cinnamon and cayenne pepper to the warm oatmeal.
Cayenne pepper has various health benefits. For instance, cayenne peppers provide good circulation by increasing blood flow and preventing frostbite in cold months. Cinnamon is good for your poultry’s respiratory health as well as their overall health.
Besides, you can add berries, sunflower seeds, green beans, unsalted nuts, scratch feed, etc., to make the oatmeal even more nutritious. Chickens love munching on the soft mushy, warm oatmeal on cold days. Serving warm oats during cold weather will keep chickens warm and their energy content high.