A lot of curious chicken owners ask the question ‘can chickens eat oatmeal? Yes, chickens can eat oatmeal, also known as porridge in countries outside of the USA. In fact my chickens LOVE oatmeal! The bonus to this answer is that oatmeal is full of protein, antioxidants and fiber.
These important nutritional elements are necessary for raising happy, healthy chickens that lay an abundance of eggs.
If you haven’t given your chickens oatmeal yet, go ahead and give it a try to see how much they love it!
What this article covers
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Do Chickens Even Like Oatmeal?
Yes! Most chickens will LOVE eating oatmeal. My chickens adore oatmeal and go crazy for it! Oatmeal, whether cooked, soaked, toasted or even the oats just given raw by themselves are the perfect texture for them to eat quickly and they will happily gobble this food down. Its sure to be one of their favourite treats!
We discuss the different ways to to give oatmeal in further detail below.
Is Oatmeal Good For Chickens To Eat?
Yes, oatmeal is a great food to give to your chickens to eat. Oatmeal is a high energy food, full of fiber, antioxidants and protein that help your chicken’s growth and provide them with optimum egg laying nutrients. There are no negative benefits to feeding oatmeal to your feathered friends accompanied with a balanced diet and high quality chicken feed.
We researched the nutritional profile of oatmeal to give you an overview of how good this vegetable food really is.
Nutrition Profile of Oatmeal
Serving Size: 1 cup of raw oats
- Calories: 307
- Protein: 10.7 grams
- Fat: 5.3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 54.8 grams
- Fiber: 8.1 grams
- Sugar: 0.8 grams
- Water: 8.7 grams
A diet high in fibre, antioxidants and protein contributes to a well functioning immunity, optimal growth, healthy egg production and numerous other beneficial health functions for your chickens.
This study found that fiber is super important to aid healthy digestion and bowel function for chickens. The same study also found that fiber aids in cleaning the gut and that chickens with a fiber-rich diet release less ammonia in their poop.
The antioxidants contained in oatmeal promote high productive and reproductive performance in your chickens. In this study chickens were given antioxidants to improve their health and reduce stresses found in a commercial poultry environment.
What about the Beta-Glucans in Oats? Is it Safe for Chickens?
Oats and other grains contain beta-glucans, a polysaccharide and soluble fiber that occurs naturally. Any whole grain that goes unprocessed is going to have very high levels of beta-glucans. The processed versions of these grains will have significantly less.
Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber and will pass through the digestive tract very slowly. This is the issue with any grain containing a large portion of beta-glucans. When the digestive process is slowed so is the absorption of nutrients. Beta-glucan also binds to water and other sources of food, making it even more difficult for your chickens digestive system to utilize the available nutrients.
Too much beta-glucan can also contribute to a paste or gel-like substance forming in the intestines of your chickens. This can cause irritation of the intestinal tract as well as result in sticky droppings and diarrhoea.
There is an upside to consuming beta-glucans in moderation. Beta-glucans also stimulate the immune system and help ward off disease. Broiler chickens who were fed beta-glucan also had a higher survival rate and better feed efficiency then those not fed beta-glucan. Beta-glucans also help prohibit e.coli and salmonella bacteria.
All in all, oatmeal is a bit of a super food for your chickens and is worth giving to your chickens as part of a healthy and well rounded diet. Just ensure you are also giving them a variety of other nutritional foods and high quality feed as well, such as this one we love for our own girls.
How Much Oatmeal Should Chickens Eat?
There is no set rule of how much oatmeal you can feed your chickens but it should be fed in moderation. A high quality feed such as this one should make up 90% of their diet.
A variety of other fruits and vegetables such as scraps and treats should also be given as part of their diet. A diverse variety of food sources ensures your flock gets all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need in their diet for great health.
How to Feed Chickens Oatmeal
Oatmeal can be given to your chickens either raw or cooked. There are several ways you can prepare oatmeal to give to your chickens. By cooking the oats with a little water to form oatmeal or porridge, soaking the oats in a little water and giving without cooking them or giving the dry oats by themselves. For extra deliciousness feel free to add in some banana, scratch grains, cracked corn, or sunflower seeds. Mealworms and raisins are other good additions to your chicken’s oatmeal.
Sometimes I will give my own chickens leftover cooked oatmeal from our breakfast and other times I will scatter some raw and dry oats around for them to forage and peck at. They love either option!
Can Chickens Eat Oatmeal Cookies?
Technically Yes, chickens can eat oatmeal cookies, however – they should not contain high amounts of sugar.
Cookies made from oatmeal are fine to give but its most important to assess what those cookies are made of before deciding to feed them to your chickens. Cookies full of sugar and additives are not good for your chickens.
If you decide to give oatmeal cookies to your flock make them yourself out of just oats, water and a little mashed banana (to hold them together) and bake in the oven. Wait until they are completely cooled down before giving to your chickens.
So, Can Chickens Eat Oatmeal?
Yes! Go ahead and given your chickens the delicious and nutritious benefits of oats and oatmeal.
Just remember that the vast majority of their diet should come from a high quality commercial feed with other fruits and vegetables given as well.
Chicken Care Shopping List
Are you looking for a shopping list of everything you need when caring for your precious flock? We have put together an easy reference of items for your convenience.
- Chicken coop
- Wood shavings bale
- Nesting Box
- Layer pellets
- Chicken scratch/grain
- Shell grit
- Chicken Safe Disinfectant
- Coop cleaner
- Chicken dust
- Calcium supplement
Nutrition of oatmeal – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/oats
Antioxidant study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7070479/
Beta-glucan study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4811790/