Can Chickens Eat Oatmeal?

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Chickens can eat oatmeal, both cooked and raw, and will definitely enjoy oatmeal in the winter months. Avoid instant oats as they can contain sugar and other additives. 

There’s nothing quite as satisfying on a brisk winter morning as a bowl of warm oatmeal. Known as porridge in some countries, it is tempting to share this nutritious meal with your chickens who undoubtedly would enjoy a warm treat in cold weather.

Yet the question arises – is it safe to offer my flock oatmeal?

In this article, we will explain the health benefits of adding oatmeal to your chicken’s diet, cover the amount that should be offered, and offer ideas for supplements that will enrich this already nutritious food for optimal health.

Is it Healthy for Chickens to Eat Oatmeal?

Oatmeal is a healthy food for chickens as part of a balanced diet which aids in digestion and improving the overall health of your chickens.

Oatmeal without any additives contains the following minerals, enzymes, and nutrients:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Beta-Glucan
  • Magnesium
  • Thiamine
  • Antioxidants
  • B-Vitamins
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Choline
  • Manganese
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Vitamin A

These nutrients improve cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure. They fight free-radicals, help develop strong bones, improve the immune system, and aid in egg production.

Baby chicks can benefit from having oatmeal added to their diets when experiencing pasty butt, as it has been known to clear it.

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Behaviorally, it can also help reduce the amount of pecking, and lead to less cannibalism in the winter months when your chickens are confined in their chicken coop.

How Should Oatmeal Be Prepared for Chickens?

Oatmeal can be offered dried, or you can pour warm water over it to moisten it before offering it to your chickens.

It will be easier to eat if you don’t add too much liquid, but you can cook it first if you so desire if you drain off the excess liquid.

Oatmeal should not be prepared with extra salt, sugar or fat as these aren’t healthy for your backyard chickens.

Should Chickens Eat Whole Oats or Rolled Oats?

Chickens can safely eat both whole oats and rolled oats. They can also eat raw oats and steel-cut oats without any issue.

The only type of oatmeal you should avoid providing chickens is the instant, pre-packaged kind that has extra sugar and other additives.

Can Chickens Eat Fruit with Oatmeal?

Chickens will love having fruit added to their oatmeal. Any fruit that is safe for chickens to eat is safe to be mixed in as long as it’s provided in moderation.

Some of the best oatmeal mix-in’s are blueberries, bananas, and strawberries!

Can Chickens Eat Vegetables with Oatmeal?

The good news is that if you feed chickens oatmeal, you can sneak in all kinds of other healthy foods. You can absolutely add veggies to their oatmeal.

Vegetables such as sweet potatoes can make an excellent addition for extra fiber. You can also try corn, beets, or carrots!

See Also:  Can Chickens Eat Carrots?

Offer different combinations to add variety and diversify their diet.

What Can You Add to Oatmeal for Chickens?

Aside from fruits and vegetables, you can add sunflower seeds, nuts, and mealworms to oatmeal for extra protein and crunch! You can also add chicken scratch or finely crushed eggshells to provide extra nutrition for your laying hens.

Your chickens may enjoy having cinnamon and cayenne pepper tucked into their oatmeal. Cinnamon can help mucus production and lead to less respiratory illness, and cayenne helps improve blood flow which can reduce frostbite in chickens.

Another great herb you can add is oregano, which has natural antibiotic properties and can help combat illness in your chickens.

Adding these spices won’t hurt your chickens – they don’t have the same receptors on their tongues that we do. Just be sure to sprinkle these spices in moderation, just as you offer oatmeal itself in moderation.


A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina recently moved across the globe to Austria, where she bought land specifically to build a small house with room for a backyard chicken coop. Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for a flock of hens owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of chickens, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Chicken Care Taker in 2022.

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