Can Birds Eat Oats? Nutritional Benefits and Risks Revealed!

Oats – the Loki of whole grains or the Flash of whole grains? Why not both?

Oats have been reigning in the breakfast industry on the tip of their fingers for decades. With a versatility so prompt and delicious, even lucky charms are put to shame, oats have become the favorites of every nutritionist in town.

Like every parent, we bird parents also seek out the best ingredients to increase our bird’s nutrition intake. Can the Breakfast of Champions be safe for our furry champs? Let’s find out!

Are Oats Safe for Birds to Consume?

Oats are the holy grail of cereal or grains, kicking Cheerios and even rice aside (more on rice here). Since oats are classified as a superfood, it’s essential to understand all the chemical components to determine their benefits and safety. And what is better than being safe than sorry?

Raw and whole oat groats

It’s bemusing how rarely we get to discuss foods that are impeccable when it comes to safety. Yet, today is our lucky day because this superfood will never let you be sorry for introducing them to your feathered friends.

Oats are safe for birds to consume and an excellent way to benefit from all the nutrients that make them the superfood we all know and love.

What Are the Benefits of Oats?

I’m sure you’re at the edge of your seed by now. I know I was when researching. And who wouldn’t be? Oats are so delicious I can’t go a day without including them in one of my meals.

You’re telling me I can share those beneficial nutrients with my bird too? How can I not be on the edge of my seat?

Without further ado, let’s dive into all the good nutrients oats can offer your birds!

1. Rich in Trace Minerals and Micro Minerals

Oats are incredibly nutritious, and what gives them their superfood title is none other than how perfectly balanced their nutrient composition is.

Not only does this kick out the tedious task of creating recipes that balance nutrients, but it also helps avoid the risk of catching up with a deficiency of any particular nutrient.

2. Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are minerals that pre-exist in animals in small amounts. However, during growth spurts and mating season, your birds might need a little pick-me-up.

Oats will accomplish just that with the abundance of trace minerals in them. Here’s a list of all the trace minerals your birds can benefit from:

a. Phosphorus 

Oats fulfill 13.3% of the DV for phosphorus. The primary function of phosphorus is to be the building block of DNA and RNA, without which growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues and cells wouldn’t be possible. However, some other functions of phosphorus include the formation of bones and teeth.

b. Manganese 

The daily value of your bird’s manganese intake can be increased up to 63.91% if you introduce them to oats.

Similar to phosphorus, manganese also plays a role in helping the body form connective tissues, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It is crucial for calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.

c. Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral that isn’t found in abundance. But why worry when oats are there to save the day? Oats are enriched with selenium. Selenium promotes the function of immunity and supports a healthy thyroid.

d. Iron

9.4% of the DV of iron can be fulfilled by adding oats to your bird’s diet. Iron is one of the most vital minerals required in our bodies, with functions such as: promoting general energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and homeostasis.

e. Zinc

Oats can boost your bird’s zinc intake by 13.4% of the DV. Although trace minerals pre-exist in abundance, zinc is by far the most deficient nutrient, especially in females. 

The function of zinc is to aid in wound healing, blood clotting, and thyroid function. However, its vital role is to support growth and development during adolescence, childhood, and pregnancy. 

Next up are our favorite microminerals, and vitamins!

3. Vitamins

Here’s a list of all the vitamins in oats your birds will thank you for:

a. Vitamin B9

Oats contain 3.24% of the DV for vitamin B9 which aids in red blood cell formation and is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy.

b. Vitamin B5

Oats will provide 9.07% of the DV for vitamin B5 which is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells, as well as sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands, small glands that sit atop the kidneys, just like vitamin B9

c. Vitamin B1

Thiamin or vitamin B1 helps the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body uses to produce energy and oats can increase its intake by 15.5% of the DV.

These are the key nutrients that separate oats from other superfoods (hemp seeds, chia seeds, papaya seeds, sweet potatoes). But of course, the primary element of any superfood is still found in oats.

Oats contain beta-glucan which is the most powerful soluble fiber found in foods that will prevent gastrointestinal diseases as well as LDL cholesterol. Consuming oats has been proven to significantly decrease cardiovascular diseases.

A balanced food can never be complete without antioxidants or protein. Oats provide 2.4g of healthy amino acids each 100g of servings. It is also rich in antioxidants such as avenanthramides which have anti-cancerous properties.

What Type of Oats Will Your Birds Enjoy?

If you’re an avid oat-for-breakfast type of person, you’ll understand the overwhelming feeling of choosing the type of oats can be. The types of oats available range from:

  • Whole Oat Groats
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Instant Oats
  • Oat Flour
  • Rolled Oats etc.

Uncooked or cooked oats? Which type will your bird enjoy? Is the type of oats that important? Do the nutrition facts change with the type of oat? Let’s find out!

Birds can consume raw uncooked oats on their own or in a seed mix. Cooking them is unnecessary and the texture itself might turn into a choking hazard.

When it comes to choosing the type of oats, one of the key things to remember is that birds enjoy different textures as it acts as a stimulant.

Foods that are stimulants can also be amazing treats for playtime. Steel cut, whole oat groats, and old-fashioned oats have the most texture of all types. A mix of them would be ideal.

In terms of nutrition, whole oats and unprocessed oats are a tad more nutritious than processed ones but the differences are insignificant.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will answer all your queries regarding feeding oats to birds!

Can Wild Birds Eat Oats?

 Wild birds feast on oats during harvest season as it is one of the most filling grains out there due to their fiber content. It’s highly nutritious for wild birds to consume oats during the migratory and mating season.

Can Birds Eat Uncooked or Raw Oats?

Birds should consume oats in their raw or uncooked form to prevent them from turning into mush. The textured ridges of uncooked oat grains are a sensory stimulant for birds.

Can Birds Eat Oats Soaked in Grease?

Bacon grease or goose grease or any grease of sorts are pure fat which can be deadly in your bird’s diet. Mild reactions can be cardiovascular diseases and obesity to heart attack or death.

Can Birds Eat Fat Soaked Oats?

Birds shouldn’t consume additional fat through their diet as it increases their LDL cholesterol and triggers diseases like obesity, CVD, and musculoskeletal diseases.

Can Birds Eat Rolled (Old Fashion) Oats?

Birds can eat rolled oats since they are highly nutritious and an exceptional sensory stimulant because of their uncooked texture.

Can Birds Eat Quick Oats?

If you read our Can Birds Eat Bread article by now, I’m sure you were just as disappointed as we were when we learnt how harmful bread can be.

Don’t worry because now you can substitute bread for a superfood – Quick Oats! Quick oats are easy to carry around in your pocket whenever you feel like bird feeding in a park.

Can Birds Eat Steel Cut Oats?

Steel cut oats are another one in our favorites list for their texture. Tiny bitsy bites of uncooked steel cut oats are a delicious snack for birds to munch on.

Can Birds Eat Porridge Oatmeal?

Staying away from porridge or cooked oats when it comes to feeding your birds would be advisable as the mushy texture can be stuck in their food pipe causing them to choke.

Can Birds Eat Oat Bran?

Oat Bran is another type of oat that even young birds can enjoy. They are grainy like sand so the risk of choking and indigestion is minimal.

Can Birds Eat Quaker Oats?

Quaker oats are a household staple that inspired this entire article. It’s the most reliant oats company out there that surely won’t disappoint you or your birds!

Final Remarks

I’m sure you were just as ecstatic to learn about the wonderful benefits oats can bring to your bird’s diet if you consumed moderately. No need to worry about a well-balanced diet when oats are there to rescue!

Photo of author

Written and Fact-checked by David Neff

Author at BirdBonica

David is an expert birder and bird parent with in-depth knowledge of birds. He has years of experience observing birds in their natural habitats, studying their diets, behavior, and more. (Learn more about David here...)

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