Can Chickens Eat Oatmeal?
Adding Mealworms for Chickens to Winter Oatmeal Can Increase Protein
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Can chickens eat oatmeal? Yes. They certainly can! Oatmeal for chickens is one of my favorite treats to serve my flock in the winter. Warm oatmeal for chickens is a nutritious, energizing snack for them. Chickens love oats, which are an excellent source of vitamins, protein, and antioxidants. Raw or cooked, oats provide essential vitamins and nutrients including calcium, choline, copper, iron, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and zinc.
According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, feeding chickens oatmeal has been shown to improve the general health of chickens. And adding a three percent ration of oats to chickens’ diets can reduce pecking and cannibalism, both of which can be problems during the cold months when your chickens might be “cooped up” more than normal.
Baby chicks also benefit from oats. They will grow up healthier than chicks that aren’t offered oats and adding ground raw oats to your chick feed can help clear up pasty butt in baby chicks which is a potentially life-threatening condition.
How to Make Oatmeal for Chickens
Making oatmeal for chickens is simple and you don’t need to feed them much. I measure out about a tablespoon per hen. The oats don’t need to be cooked; I just pour warm water over them. Use enough water to moisten them, but not so that they’re soupy. Let them cool and bit and then serve to your chickens.
Plain oats are fine, but it’s also fun to mix a few things into the oatmeal. Scratch grains, unsalted nuts or cracked corn provide good fats that will help to keep your chickens warm in the winter. If you’ve been growing sunflowers from seed, stir some of them into the oatmeal.
Fresh or dried berries are also a nutritious addition to oatmeal for chickens. Try cranberries, blueberries or chopped strawberries. Raisins or mealworms are other things you can add to the oatmeal that your chickens will love.
What Vegetables Can Chickens Eat?
Chopped vegetables are another great add-in for oatmeal for chickens. Beets, carrots, corn, green beans, peas or sweet potato are all great choices. Fresh or dried herbs are another nutritious add-in. Try basil, oregano, parsley, sage or thyme for added health benefits for your chickens.
More Beneficial Add-ins
Chicken frostbite is a concern in the winter. Good circulation is important to prevent frostbite. Cayenne pepper improves circulatory system health by increasing blood flow to a chicken’s comb, wattles, feet, and legs, which can reduce the risk of frostbite. So adding a bit of cayenne to your oatmeal for chickens can help to prevent frostbite. No worries about the cayenne pepper bothering a chicken’s palette. Chickens don’t have nearly as many taste buds as humans, so they aren’t bothered by the “spicy hot” in the cayenne.
Respiratory issues are also common in chickens, especially when they aren’t outside as much in the fresh air. Cinnamon helps to keep mucus membranes in tiptop shape. So adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to the oatmeal can also be extremely beneficial to your flock.
This winter, treat your chickens to some warm oatmeal on cold days. They’ll enjoy it and also benefit from the nutritious snack. Do you feed your chickens winter treats? Let us know in the comments below.