Oats or ‘porridge oats’ are similar in size to birdseed, they’re classed as a ‘superfood’ and humans can eat them without any issue but can a bird eat porridge oats too?
The simple answer is yes, birds can and should eat porridge oats. Oats are healthy, nutritious, and inexpensive food to feed birds as an occasional alternative!
Just ensure the birds have an adequate amount of water available separately, then porridge oats are an incredible alternative for any bird owner.
Nutritional Value of Oats
Check out the nutritional value of these typical ‘Quaker’ JUMBO rolled oats
|Typical Values||Per 10g|
|of which saturated||0.15g|
|of which sugars||0.11g|
Allergy Advice: May contain Wheat & Barley
How Do I Prep Oats For the Birds?
There are a number of ways to do this. The easiest and simpler way is to place them out as you would any other form of birdseed.
Pour a small handful of oats onto a tray or bird table, load them into a seed feeder, or simply scatter the uncooked oats on the ground for them to discover or mix with larger seeds.
What about a bird feeding station like below?
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This makes sure that, if there are numerous ones in a single sitting, no one bird is consuming only oats, but rather that they are more evenly distributed amongst the group.
Consider taking the time to put the oats into a suet cake. This fatty treat is perfect during the winter months and is certainly enjoyed by birds.
- Melt a cup of suet (aka “lard” or “hard fat”) into a pot and mix in 2 cups of uncooked porridge oats
- Allow to cool and roll it into several small balls
- Cut them into small wedges and serve
- Add dried fruits or chopped nuts for extra nutritional benefits.
- Ensure the ratio of fat to dry ingredients is 1:2.
It’s important to ensure you only feed them small amounts in any one sitting and that they have enough water available.
Unlike seeds, oats, as with other cereal grains, quickly turns to a pulp when exposed to liquid. It’s why your cereal turns “mushy” or “soggy” when in milk for too long.
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Never cook oats for the bird. Hardened porridge can be difficult for birds to eat and even damage their beaks so it should be avoided at all costs.
As the majority of oats for sale are uncooked, this will rarely ever be an issue for most people.
Are Porridge Oats Good For Birds?
Porridge Oats are, without a doubt, excellent for most birds. However, there are certain rules one must abide by when feeding them.
Firstly, they must be fed in moderation. Too much, without water readily available or after being cooked can actually be harmful to the bird.
Oats are an excellent source of both carbohydrates as well as fibre and contain more protein and fat than most other types of grains.
They are loaded with many important vitamins and minerals as well as numerous antioxidant plant compounds. Only half of a cup of dry, uncooked oats contain:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B5
They are incredibly healthy for both humans and birds alike, arguably one of the most nutrient-dense foods birds can eat.
Oats shouldn’t be eaten at the exclusion of other foods. As part of a balanced diet, there is little else that can compete nutritionally with porridge oats.
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Many studies have also shown that oats are rich in anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidants, but also a specific antioxidant is known as “avenathramides”.
This antioxidant can help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide. Antioxidants on their own are also powerful and helpful, even for humans!
They provide protection against the effects of the environment, toxins and the harmful free radicals.
Antioxidants, as the name actually implies, work to break down toxins and poisons existing inside the body, actively working to help make you and your bird healthier.
The Bottom Line
So long as oats are uncooked and fed with plenty of water, your bird will be happy you included this healthy and tasty addition to their meal.
Just be prepared for a lot more chirping once they realize you’ve really got the goods!