Yes, chickens can eat steel cut oats. Like other oats and most grains, they are a great source of nutrition and can be eaten either raw or cooked. A good, hardy, immune system boosting chicken food.
Are Steel Cut Oats Healthy for Chickens?
First of all, for those who aren’t familiar with the difference between steel cut, rolled, and instant oats, I can explain;
All oats start off as oat groats. This is the unbroken oat grains you may be familiar with, then depending on how they’re processed they become either steel cut, rolled, or instant.
Steel cut oats which are also called Irish or Scottish oats, are chopped into small pieces and cooked for the longest period.
This makes them the chewiest form of oat, and they have a very different taste. To us at least, chickens don’t have as many taste buds as us and likely can’t tell the difference.
Like other oats, steel cut is a great source of protein, they’re packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. And, they have a higher fiber value than rolled and instant oats.
This is why oats are typically an important part of commercial chicken feeds and fed to backyard chickens by owners.
Oats make for a simple, inexpensive, nutritious, energy-packed snack. It’s simply one of the best foods you can give to chickens.
How to Feed Chickens Steel Cut Oats
As I already mentioned, you can feed your chickens oats either raw or cooked.
Throwing some down as scratch is a great way to encourage their natural foraging behavior. Or, you can just add some to their feed if that works out better.
If you’re going to cook them, all you need to do is add some warm water to a bowl of oats. Not so much that they’re watery, just make a bowl of oatmeal for your chicks.
If you really want to treat them you can add some fruit, nuts, or anything else they love. You’ll have some seriously spoiled chickens on your hands!
Oats are really versatile and easy foods to feed in so many ways. It’s one of the best things about them, and combined with the awesome nutritional content it makes sense to have some on hand.
Some Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
There aren’t too many foods that are toxic and harmful to chickens, but you need to be aware of the ones that are.
Here are some of the foods to avoid giving to your chickens:
Chocolate - One of my favorites, so I’m happy to keep it to myself. Jokes aside, a couple of compounds called theobromine and caffeine in chocolate is harmful to chickens, cats, dogs, and some other pets.
Tea and Coffee - If you recycle tea bags and coffee grounds in your compost heap - keep your chickens well away. These also contain the same harmful compounds as chocolate.
Raw Beans - The lectins found in raw or undercooked beans are toxic, even fatal to chickens.
Greasy/Salty Foods - While not toxic as such, you have to respect that chickens require good-quality nutrition to stay healthy and lay tasty eggs. Giving them leftover junk food or foods high in salt and additives etc isn’t good for them.
Related - Can chickens eat French fries? (A few won’t hurt!)
Avocado Pits/Skin - This is commonly known to pet owners too. The flesh is fine, but the pits and stones of avocados contain a toxin called persin.
Green Potatoes/Tomatoes - Plants in the nightshade family produce a toxin called solanine. This toxin is harmful to chickens (and us!) and present when potatoes and tomatoes are green.
Some Foods Chickens Can Eat
Chickens will eat almost anything. As long as you’re giving them foods that are safe for them to eat, and not overdoing the treats, it’s a fun way to add some variation to their diet.
Here are some of the best foods to give to backyard chickens:
Other Grains - Oats are great as I’ve already explained, as are lots of other grains. If you want to make a feed or give you chickens something to scratch for try; wheat, rice, corn, cornmeal, etc.
Vegetables – Vegetables contain a good range of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other healthy nutrition. Try offering your flock some broccoli, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, yams, etc and they’ll gobble them up.
Herbs – I love feeding my chickens herbs. Herbs contain various wellness and health benefits, so it’s an interesting topic to dig into and pick which you want to try.
Fruits - Chickens are fruit monsters. This is a good thing because fruits are packed with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and more. Just wave some banana, melon, berries, or apples in front of your flock and you’ll see what I mean.
Can You Feed Uncooked Steel Cut Oats to Birds?
Yes, you can. If you have a load of oats, or just want to feed some wild birds too - they’ll eat steel cut oats.
Just add some to a feeding tray or somewhere they can easily find them. Or, you could take the time to make a suet cake.
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Steel Cut Oats?
Steel cut oats, rolled oats, oatmeal, it’s all great for chickens. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy to prepare food to add some variety to their feeding schedule, I recommend oats!
What’s the Difference Between Steel-Cut, Rolled, and Instant Oats? - thekitchn.com