Have you been asking yourself if your chickens can eat oatmeal, worry no more? We will discuss everything you need to know about feeding your chickens on oatmeal. Keep reading to learn more.
Raising a healthy flock is every backyard chicken keeper’s dream. Most chicken enthusiasts are always keen on what they feed their birds. Your backyard chicken can eat many types of foods, such as grains and fruits.
What is Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is among the most popular foods in the world. It comes from oats believed to be one of the healthiest grains around.
Oats have been around for a long time. However, they were cultivated and domesticated much later than barley and wheat.
People were not keen on oats in ancient times, and they did not value them a lot. They were used as fodder for animals. Up to date, it is still being used for sheep, cattle, and horses.
People started to embrace it and added it to their diet as time went by. Since then, it has become a staple in most people’s diets.
Not much is known about how the oatmeal we use now came into existence. There have been a lot of beliefs about its exact origin.
The porridge that most people eat is one of the best ways to consume oatmeal. It is a popular breakfast food that is consumed by many people across the world.
There are several types of oatmeal that you can find on the market. Here are some of them:
- Oat Groats
- Scottish Oats
- Rolled Oats
- Steel Cut Oats (Irish Oats)
- Instant Oats
Is Oatmeal Safe For Your Chickens?
Yes, it is safe for chicks to eat oatmeal. Many backyard chicken keepers around the world have been feeding their livestock, including chickens, on oats.
As the owner of the flock, it is your responsibility to feed your birds a healthy meal. If you are giving your chickens other types of foods, you will have to be cautious of the amount they can feed on.
You must avoid overfeeding your chickens as too much of something can be harmful to them. This applies to oatmeal too.
Benefits Of Feeding Your Chickens on Oatmeal
Oats have been a delicacy for chickens for many years. Most chicken keepers give them to their birds because they have a lot of benefits, such as abundant minerals and vitamins.
Chickens can get a lot of nourishment if they are fed oatmeal. Here are some of the benefits that come with feeding your backyard chicken on oatmeal:
Oats have a lot of magnesium which is important in the bone formation of birds. In addition, feeding magnesium to your chickens will help activate several enzymes.
Suppose your chicken is suffering from Hypomagnesemia magnesium deficiency. In that case, it could affect their calcium homeostasis and vitamin D. If this occurs, it can easily lead to an increased risk of the chicken developing some poultry diseases.
Lack of magnesium in your chickens’ diet can develop diseases related to their cardiovascular system. It can also affect the density and growth of their bones.
Besides, a magnesium deficiency can also affect a chicken’s metabolism. Feeding your backyard chickens on oatmeal is one of the best ways of adding magnesium to their diet.
Magnesium will also be vital to your chicks if you are keeping some. If your baby chickens have a magnesium deficiency. It will more likely impair their physical development and affect their growth. In some cases.
It can lead to lethargy or the death of the chick. It might not be a big issue to lose one member of your flock. However, it can be a concern when it happens multiple times.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
When your chickens lack Vitamin B1 or Thiamine, it can affect their energy production rate, specifically the conversion of glucose (sugar) into fat. Besides, a chicken that has a deficiency in Vitamin B1 may likely lack appetite.
Lack of Vitamin B1 or Thiamine in your chickens’ diet will make them lack enough energy to drink or eat or have difficulty in doing so.
As a result, your chickens will start losing weight which can eventually lead to losing the ability to move or walk from one place to another.
This can be a big challenge, especially when you allow your chickens to free-range.
When your hen becomes paralyzed, it can become a major challenge for her. Although it mainly affects their legs, it can eventually affect the other parts of their body, such as necks and wings.
If this condition worsens and your birds are not attended to in time, it can lead to death.
To prevent this from happening, you will have to provide your chickens with a balanced diet.
One of the best sources of Vitamin B1 or thiamine that you can include in their diet is oats.
If you have been looking for something rich in manganese to add to the diet of your chickens, then oatmeal can be a good option for you. Manganese is vital in chickens, especially during reproduction. In addition, it will help in the egg formation process.
If you are raising laying hens in your flock, you must ensure that they are fed on foods that have abundant manganese.
Lack of the right amount of manganese in their diet might lead to the production of eggs with various abnormalities such as thinner eggshells.
Besides, the chicks hatched from these eggs may also have some physical defects.
Chickens that lack manganese will more likely develop a condition known as pyrosis.
It can affect your chicken’s legs and cause slip[ped tendons. Their legs will grow shorter and thicker than they would normally be.
As a result, your chickens might be unable to walk from one place to another.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid is found in a wide variety of foods such as oatmeal.
If one of your chickens in the flock has a deficiency in Pantothenic acid, then you can help her by adding oatmeal to the diet.
Chickens with vitamin B5 deficiency will likely have issues with their nervous system and skin.
The Adrenal Cortex of their Adrenal Gland may also be affected. Some of the signs of chickens that have a deficiency in Vitamin B5 include:
- Cracking and flaking found between the feet and the toes
- Flaking at the corner of the beak
- Rough and brittle feathers
- Stunted growth and feathers
If your laying hens have a Vitamin B5 deficiency, their egg production might be affected.
You will notice a reduction in the number of eggs that they lay. Besides, it can have an impact on the embryos inside the eggs.
Chicks born out of such eggs will appear to be weak. Worse still, the chicks may die after hatching.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral for the development and growth of bones. If you have been thinking of food rich in phosphorus to give your backyard chickens, then oatmeal is a good option.
Both phosphorus and calcium are responsible for the development of a chicken’s body. If you do not provide your flock with enough phosphorus, it can result in the following:
- Reduced body weight
- Softer bones and beak
- Enlarging of the hocks
- Swelling of hocks
To prevent your chickens from going through this, you will have to make sure that they are supplied with enough phosphorus.
A balance between the calcium and phosphorus levels in chickens will prevent them from going through this.
Oatmeal has a lot of zinc that your flock can consume. If one of your chickens has a zinc deficiency, you can use oatmeal to solve the issue.
If your hen is suffering from a mild form of zinc deficiency, she might experience slower body growth. Other effects of zinc deficiency in chickens include:
- Thicker and shorter bones
- Unhealthy and frizzled feathers
- The chicken may also experience respiratory challenges, which can even lead to death
Chicks born from a chicken with zinc deficiency might develop problems. They will generally appear weak and will find it hard to drink and eat. Their skeletal system will be affected most.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Oatmeal?
Yes, you can feed your chickens on raw oatmeal. Backyard chickens can safely consume raw oats without any concerns. To preserve more fibers and proteins, you do not have to cook oatmeal.
If you are feeding your chickens on raw oatmeal for the first time, you will have to observe them closely to know how they react. If it looks enjoyable to them, then you can keep doing it.
You can also add water to the oatmeal and give it to your chickens. Water will help in softening the oats and give them a different texture than raw oats.
To shake things up a bit, you can mix it with other nutritious foods such as berries and seeds. You will have to make sure that they are safe for your chickens to consume.
It is safe and healthy to feed your chickens on oatmeal. It has a variety of nutrients as well as vitamins and minerals. However, you must ensure that your birds consume them in moderation.