Dogs love Cheerios, so do some cats and a lot of other household pets.
But what about backyard chickens? Can chickens eat Cheerios?
Yes, chickens love Cheerios and some other breakfast cereals. They are fine to feed to them, but make sure you break them up and only do so as an occasional treat.
It’s a valid question. I hate wasting food, and I know my chicks will eat up any table scraps and breakfast cereals that I don’t want. Even if they are a little past their best by date.
I’ve given my chickens Cheerios before, and I can tell you that they gobbled them up as fast they were hitting the floor. I’ve also spoken with other owners and they said the same thing.
So, there’s no question that chickens can and will eat Cheerios. Which doesn’t come as much of a surprise, does it?
Before you grab a box of cereal from your kitchen cupboard, there are some things you need to be aware of:
Do Cheerios Provide Good Nutrition for Chickens?
Cheerios are made from whole grain oats. Which as most backyard chicken owners know, whole grain oats are good for chickens and they love them. In fact, quality chicken feeds contain a large % of cereal grains.
The problem, however, is that Cheerios - and this is the case for most cereals and humans foods - contain a lot of additives and preservatives that are not good for chickens.
They contain preservatives, additives, sugars, and some other ingredients that chooks could happily do without. As well as providing vitamin and mineral content tailored to our daily needs, not theirs.
As far as cereals go, Cheerios are not the worst. They contain about 2 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugars, and 8 grams of protein per 1-cup serving.
What jumps out at me right away is how low they are in protein and how high in sugars compared to a formulated chicken feed. Dodson & Horrell Layers Pellets provides 16% protein, for example.
This means that you should only give them a few Cheerios at a time and as an occasional treat. A little here and there isn’t going to do them any harm. And as I said, I’ve never met a chicken that didn’t love them, so it’s a nice thing to treat them with.
Are Multigrain Cheerios Better for Chickens Than Original
You probably know that grains are good for chickens, such as corn, barley, oats and so on.
So, seeing the word “multigrain” in multigrain Cheerios, it’s normal to assume that this is going to be a better option than the original type.
According to the ingredient listing on the manufacturer’s website, multigrain Cheerios include 5 whole grains; oats, corn, rice, sorghum, and millet.
All good grains, and most of which can be found in cereal grains used to make formulated chicken feed. The problem is the same as with other cereals though, some of the other ingredients added to sweeten them for use aren’t good for chooks.
They are better than the original variety, that’s for sure. But not by a huge amount, and I wouldn’t give them more of these just on that basis.
What About Honey Nut Cheerios?
Honey Nut Cheerios are really popular, too. They contain some oil flavorings and almonds but aren’t any better for chickens in any way.
In fact, they are higher in sugar content than both the original and multigrain varieties.
Keep these in the cupboard for yourself. If you are letting them get a bit stale and dry, you’re not eating them fast enough for sealing the packet properly!
Chickens can eat Cheerios, yes.
But in moderation.
You should not feed your chicks cereals to supplement or replace any part of their diet. A chicken’s typical diet includes; Pellet feed, grit to help them digest their food, greens, fruits, and some table scraps to add some variation.
Although fine in small amounts, they’re high in sugars and preservatives that chicks can do without. But they do love them, so it’s always fun to share some as a treat.