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Chickens & Oats

 
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What are your thoughts on giving your birds oats?

For the past couple months ive been giving the chickens a bit of ground oats in with their chicken feed in the mornings sometimes. Bout every 3rd morning or so.
The oats were meant for the calves but they prefer grass instead.

I've noticed a couple things:

- egg shells are WAY thicker. I no longer have issues with thin shells that break all the damned time leading to egg eating. No oyster shells being used currently at all.
- the birds stopped picking at eachother. Theyre not missing near as many feathers anymore.
- they dont eat quite as much? If i dont add any oats at all they eat like theyre starving, every. Single. Time. I go through a bag of feed in 2 days. Its almost like they savor their food instead of trying to shove anything they possibly can down their throats like its their last meal.

Now im reading that oats are horrid for your birds?

Im put in the middle-ish of saskatchewan, so its winter currently. Snow wont be leavin for another month.

And its almost middle of February.
 
pollinator
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Samantha Buller-Kormos wrote:Now im reading that oats are horrid for your birds?



I'm eagerly waiting to hear from others with more knowledge. I give my chickens rolled oats at the end of the day as a treat when I'm putting them into their fortified run. Essentially, it's just a "here, eat this out of my hands" kind of thing to entice them into their run. They love oatmeal even more than they love garlic chives. Am I hurting them by giving them this oatmeal?

 
pollinator
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I hadn't heard about oats being bad for chickens. They're used in so many of the bagged feeds and homemade feed mixes, I have a hard time believing they've suddenly become "bad".

Could you share your source for that information, please?
 
pollinator
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I tried black oats on my chickens and ducks, they left them till last and ate them grudgingly! But normal oats went down well, I used to rotate between oats/barley/rye/wheat/potatoes. and the concentrate.
 
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We give sprouted hulless oats daily to our chickens and ducks. The oats are only a 3 day sprout so not greened up yet. We also give them sprouted yellow field peas. We used to use regular oats not sprouted but the chickens wouldn't eat them whole at all, but if ground they couldn't be so finicky. They didn't seem to like the hulls.
 
Samantha Buller-Kormos
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For those wondering, I googled chickens & oats and got this:

https://the-chicken-chick.com/the-shocking-effect-of-oatmeal/

From the chicken chick saying oatmeal is a no go?
 
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Mine really don't like whole oats but it's very inexpensive here so I turn it into fodder about 4" tall. I feed that every 2nd day and some pens love it, others not so much but it helps keep the yolks darker in the winter.
 
Skandi Rogers
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William Bronson wrote:Skandi, do you grow your own black oats?



No I don't but lots of people round here grow it for horse feed so I buy it off of them about 100kg at a time.

Samantha Buller-Kormos wrote:For those wondering, I googled chickens & oats and got this:

https://the-chicken-chick.com/the-shocking-effect-of-oatmeal/

From the chicken chick saying oatmeal is a no go?




That article is just saying don't feed your chickens anything that isn't a complete manufactured feed. the "Shock" anti nutrient it vilifies at the end is Beta-glucan it is indeed present in Oats but it is also present  barley, wheat, rye, yeast, bacteria, fungi and litchens. so it's to panic people into buying the trademarked layers pellets the article mentioned
 
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My chickens have almost full time access to whole oats as well as whole wheat and limited amounts of actual chicken feed. They do well on this and between the chickens, geese, and ducks they go through about the same amount of wheat and oats. I've tried in the past of an oat only diet for a short period but found it much better and healthier when they got a variety of food.
 
William Bronson
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Samantha Buller-Kormos wrote:For those wondering, I googled chickens & oats and got this:

https://the-chicken-chick.com/the-shocking-effect-of-oatmeal/

From the chicken chick saying oatmeal is a no go?



That link seems both authoritative and terrifying.
The idea that the oats would displace healthier options doesn't bother me.
Of course, my chickens never seem to finish their layers feed as it is.
Instead hey wander off to scratch for whatever they can find in  20 x 4 feet of composting leaves.
The scary part is when they talk about a nutrient blocking gel forming in their lower intestines.
Nothing on the page can be highlighted for some reason, making fact checking a wee bit harder.

That same beta-glucan gel works in humans to feed our good bacteria:
Beta-glucan-enriched pasta boosts good gut bacteria, reduces bad cholesterol
It in fact slows and reduced our uptake of carbs, so yeah it blocks nutrients, but it also has many beneficial effects.


Chickens might simply work differently, but I also wonder about the evidence cited in the first link.
Oats are compared to Layena® , a Purina product.
At least one of the cited links goes to an coop extension  page, no longer hosting that content.
That's fine but it also suggests  a bias for conventional agriculture that I feel we must take into account.

The  beta-glucan gel is said to contribute to the growth of Clostridium perfringens, and lead to Necrotic Enteritis.
Clostridium perfringens is apparently everywhere,and is normal kept in check by good bacteria but it can do real damage to stressed animals
If the  chickens that are sick and dying from Clostridium perfringens  are also on low level antibiotics, how does that effect the good bacteria that normally deal with Clostridium perfringens?

Hmm.
Googeling "lactobacillus beta-glucan chicken feed"I found this:
Review: Roles of Prebiotics in Intestinal Ecosystem of Broilers
and this:
Effect of dietary supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus D2/CSL (CECT 4529) on caecum microbioma and productive performance in broiler chickens

It may just be my confirmation bias talking, but my conclusions are:
1.I don't find The Chicken Chick to be a reliable source on this subject
2:We all might want to start feeding lactobacillus fermented oats to a our chooks, and perhaps ourselves.

I have a nice 1 gallon jar with a tap at the bottom.
I think make a batch of lactobacillus juice in it.
Starting with some cabbage, I can take juice from the bottom and start some oats in another jar.
If I like how it smells Ill eat some, and if it doesn't kill me Ill feed the chooks.
I might be on my way to fermenting my feed all the time.


 
Samantha Buller-Kormos
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Perfect! Thank you very much everyone!
 
pollinator
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I wouldn't worry about oats, personally, especially if it's part of a varied diet. My chickens eat anything they find appealing; including dead animals, owl pellets, pig poop, and other stuff that makes me raise an eyebrow.
If you were slowly poisoning your birds with oats, you would probably already had sick (or dead) birds to deal with.... Maybe?
 
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I think that whole oats are irritating to chickens mouth/throat and they will choose other things before them... so I was told.  I don't have access to free/cheap oats, so I don't feed them.  I have access to free barley, which I feed out in small amounts without trouble.  
 
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The "Chicken Chick" is talking out of her cloaca.  Got the help of a "scientist" for a major international corporate feed brand, huh?  Riiight.

Our chickens have always been raised on pasture with a lot of volunteer oats.  Except in deep winter we don't feed even half enough the amount of feed that the chickens require.  This encourages them to forage in the pasture.  We sell out of all our eggs all the time; our customers say they are better than any other eggs they can find.  We've never lost a chicken to disease, egg-binding, or anything except predators.

If you confine your chickens and feed them on a diet exclusively made up of oats, I'm sure they would get sick.  You would too.

You know what else makes your chickens sick?  When their coop smells really bad and instead of cleaning it out (or just moving it, like we do) you sprinkle perfumed sawdust on it that you bought from the "Chicken Chick".  Because hey, nothing keeps your chickens healthy like perfume on the shit you make them live in!
 
pollinator
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I would bet that the chickens whose innards are on display in the photos in the article were fed nothing but oats to achieve those results.

Trust Purina to suggest that anything other than a Purina product is deathly poison that will kill your whole flock and the rest of your livestock too. And maybe your children. Probably your children.

The moment I smell a hint of fearmongering in such an article, I start looking for the money trail. It seems we've found it (it wasn't hard, you just read the credentials listed for the "authority" interviewed), and it leads straight to a company pushing cheap shit that they overcharge for as superior to anything that comes out of the ground for free.

For the chooks, balance is the key.

For misinformation, fear is the giveaway.

-CK
 
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