Baby animals are known to have not-fully-developed intestines for digestion. That is no exception to baby chicken. Not every food for grown-up chickens can be consumed by baby-chicken.
So it makes sense that people may wonder if they can feed baby chickens oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of the most healthy treats for chicken feeds.
So can baby chickens eat oatmeal? The short answer is yes, they can. This healthy treat can also benefit baby chickens. But how well do they benefit? And how to properly feed baby chicks oatmeal? Let’s find out.
What is oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a type of coarse flour that is mainly made out of milled (ground) or steel-cut oat groats. Steel-cut oats can also be called “coarse oat” and ground oats are usually referred to as “white oats”.
Both forms of oatmeal can be eaten uncooked or cooked with milk, sugars, or water to make a bowl of oatmeal – porridge. That porridge is also sometimes referred to as “oatmeal” by the U.S and parts of Canada.
Oatmeal is often used as the main ingredient in granola breakfast cereal, or one ingredient in oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and more. Savory meat-and-vegetable soup in Arab or Egypt uses oatmeal as a thickening agent.
To the human body, Oatmeal has nutritional benefits of lowering the risk of heart disease. Oat beta-glucan found in oatmeal can reduce the amount of cholesterol in human blood.
Can baby chickens eat oatmeal?
Oatmeal and food with oatmeal as an ingredient have many health benefits for human beings. So can chickens, particularly baby chickens, also benefit from oatmeal?
The answer is an absolute yes. Oatmeal is one of the chickens’ favorite treats. Chickens love it. Oatmeal for chicken contains many good nutrients, especially baby chickens. It also doesn’t cost much money.
In winter, oatmeal is a nutritious warm treat for your baby chickens flock. You can also add a bit of cayenne pepper or cinnamon to further increase the benefits of this healthy treat.
How healthy is oatmeal for chickens?
Source of nutrition like vitamins, minerals, and protein
Warm oatmeal is an excellent source of vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, more vitamins like C, E, K, choline, minerals, antioxidants. It is also a source of protein for baby chickens.
Oatmeal also contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus are good for bone health, magnesium is good for blood pressure regulation.
However, oat beta-glucan may cause health issues if the amounts are too much. So for oatmeal, only feed in moderation to get enough oat beta-glucan.
Clearing up pasty butts
Pasty butt, or pasting, is a common condition on baby chickens. This is when there are amounts of blockages in the form of droppings in a baby chicken’s vent area, resulting in waste that can’t escape.
This condition is potentially life-threatening if not treated properly. The most common cause of pasty butt is stress from changes in environment or having new diets. Poorly digested food can also cause pasty butt.
With raw oats in chicken feeds, you can both treat and prevent pasty butt together. Some sprinkles of this healthy treat to chickens’ daily diet are sufficient.
How to make oatmeal for baby chickens?
Now that you fully know the benefits of this healthy treat to your baby chickens’ complete diets, how can you make oatmeal for your baby chicken feeds?
Cook oats or add warm water to them
First of all, you don’t need to feed them too much of this healthy treat. Just about 1 tablespoon per chicken should be enough.
Even though raw oats are fine with chickens, for baby chick feeds, you should cook those oats for better digestion and absorption of nutrients
If your choices don’t have cooking in them, at least add some warm and clean drinking water to them. Don’t use hot water.
Note that you should only use enough clean water to moisten the feeds so that they don’t feel too soapy or watery. Then let them cool down and serve the warm treat to your flock.
Don’t stop at just oats
Additional mixtures of ingredients to the already healthy treat provide additional nutrients that improve the health of chickens and favorites for a complete feed. You can add things like fruits, veggies, herbs, etc.
- Seeds and nuts: Flax seeds, rice (white rice, not uncooked rice), sunflowers from seeds, raisins, wheat, grains, cantaloupe seeds… for vitamins
- Fruits: your healthy treat can have fruits like peaches, blueberries, apples,…for vitamins and minerals. Apples provide vitamins like A or C, while bananas provide potassium.
- Veggies: you can add to your healthy treat plants like carrots (canned carrots, raw carrots, carrot peelings), lettuce, cabbage, corn, green beans, bean sprouts, tomatoes, spinach… for minerals. Tomatoes, in particular, can provide vitamins like A, C,…
- Fresh or dried herbs: basils, oregano, cinnamon, cayenne, thymes, and more.
- Animal feed: try dried insects like mealworms, grubs, crickets, or river shrimp for minerals and protein. Mealworms, in particular, are rich in protein. Mealworms are also easy to find.
Let’s discuss 2 important herbs in the above list that can have huge benefits to your flock:
Cayenne pepper plants help increase blood circulation to many parts of the baby chicken’s body, such as skin, legs, feet, comb, and more.
This helps the flock resist frostbite during winter since more blood flows in more places means better circulatory system health.
Don’t worry about the taste. Chickens have fewer taste buds than humans, so they won’t bother with the spicy taste of the cayenne pepper flakes
Cinnamon plants help aid the respiratory health issue in chickens and keep the chickens’ mucus membranes in good shape. So just some sprinkles of cinnamon plants added to chicken winter treats should be enough.
What you shouldn’t feed the chickens.
You shouldn’t feed chocolate to baby chickens. Chocolate is harmful to many animals, not just chickens alone.
Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate are 2 compounds that cause nausea, vomiting, etc. to chickens. The compounds also cause diarrhea and worsen the chickens’ health in the long term.
They are also what you want to avoid since they are toxic and fatal.
Avocados skins or pits
Avocados skins or pits contain persin. Persin is considered toxic to chicks and other pets as well. persin can cause heart problems and make it the chickens hard to breathe.
So, can baby chickens eat oatmeal? Yes, they can. And you should feed them oatmeal if you want your flock to be in good shape.
In summary, oatmeal provides oat beta-glucan, protein, and many types of vitamins and minerals. It also helps clear up and prevent pasty butt found in baby chickens
When feeding your chicken coop, try to cook or add enough warm water to the oats. Add some other ingredients for more nutritional benefits, like cayenne and cinnamon. Don’t feed them food like chocolate, avocados skins/pits, raw beans, etc.
Thank you for reading.