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How does oatmeal help chickens stay warm?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by austradork, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. austradork

    austradork In the Brooder

    Apr 12, 2010
    I've noticed that a lot of people say they give their chickens oatmeal to help them stay warm during the cold months. How does this work exactly? Are people thinking that eating warm food somehow has a lingering effect on body temperature? Or does it have to do with providing extra calories in order to help them fatten up? I'm confused!

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I suspect it's because we feel warmer when we eat a comfort food like that -- whether we are or not.

    Obviously, carbs let the body create heat/energy from food a little more quickly than protein or fat, because they digest more quickly. But when you think about the fact that all food must turn into blood sugar before it can, it doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?

    If I come in cold and want to warm up quickly, I drink something cold. Makes the body put out heat to warm the cold drink. Guess we should be giving them ice cream....

    I give mine some sort of treat, usually leftovers, in the morning, because I want to keep them trained to come when I call or walk outside, and because I love watching them run up and eat it. I do it in the morning so they won't get too full -- those crops are pretty big at night. Right now I have several molting so I'm being generous with the BOSS. I try to keep the treat balanced so I don't mess with their nutrition too much (a little protein, a little carb, not too much quantity in treats.)
  3. wildorchid053

    wildorchid053 Songster

    May 12, 2009
    syracuse area, ny
    i would think if the crop is full of warm stuff to digest it would be warming the body too like a little hot water bottle on their chest, plus the carbs make energy like scratch does
  4. Warm food does make you feel warm. Eat a hot bowl of soup yourself and see what happens. Carbs generate heat in the body. Oats are healthy. Warm oats are great for warming ya up.
  5. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Crowing

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    If I come in cold and want to warm up quickly, I drink something cold. Makes the body put out heat to warm the cold drink. Guess we should be giving them ice cream....

    That is an old wives tale. Eat something hot to make you warm, eat something cold and your body has to use more calories to heat said cold food up.​
  6. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Songster

    Aug 15, 2010
    West Michigan
    It doesn't necessarily have to be warm oatmeal, either.... I have a bag of Layena pellets my girls wouldn't eat normally, so I take a cup of it, mix it with a cup of horse sweet feed (has molasses for more energy when it's so cold), a handful of scratch grains and whatever leftovers from last night's dinner.
    I always save the water I cook veggies in because it has lots of flavor and vitamins. If I didn't make gravy for my family with it the night before, I heat it up in the microwave and soften the Layena pellets to make a hot mash. Sometimes it takes a little more hot tap water, but just enough so the pellets are falling apart into crumbles. Maybe one of yesterday's eggs had a cracked shell... I beat it up and add that too.

    This way they're really getting their 16% protein chicken feed, plus some extras. It kinda feels like slipping shredded carrots and celery into orange finger Jello and feeding it to children who won't usually eat ANY vegetables but adore Jello! But in any case the girls get a really warm start up to their day, especially when it's bitterly cold outside. They also have dry Kent Extra Egg crumbles on demand, oyster shell and grit too.

    I do have a question, though. Since it's been so cold, their eggs have gotten smaller. Before we had snow, I'd get 10-12 eggs, mostly x-large (2.3-2.4 ounces) or jumbo (2.5 + ounces). Now I get 8-12 eggs and the majority of them are large (2.0 - 2.2 ounces) or x-large. Is it because they're using up energy keeping warm instead of putting it into eggs? or because there's not much greenstuff and bugs to eat? They are consuming more chicken feed than in the warmer months.

    This is their first winter; they're 9 months old and quite healthy.

  7. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    I have found that they love fresh, SLIGHTLY WARM, water. I take out a pail of that and everybody takes a good drink when it's cold..

  8. firsthouse_mp

    firsthouse_mp Songster

    Dec 13, 2009
    I am not sure if the warm oats helped warm my hens but I gave it a try. They weren't eating the sprouted lentils that I "made" so I mixed the oats with the lentils and a bit of yogurt....success! I bit of BOSS in there too. My spoiled hens don't eat BOSS. They will eat expensive mealworms, but my budget won't allow me to indulge that too often. I have also put the gravy from a pot roast with BOSS and lentils and they like that too! [​IMG]
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I've never cooked for my chickens. I must be a horrible chicken keeper! Wait, I did boil eggs and chop them up finely for chicks in the brooder, and for an ailing hen... but not as a general rule.

    I buy el-cheapo brand old fashioned rolled oats, 100% oats, no added salt, and give that as a treat. They take it from my hands. (Although I do toss some out for the too shy birds, especially when a senior hen or two blocks the way.)

    Never cooked it. Hmmmm.
  10. NJChicken

    NJChicken Chirping

    Jun 25, 2010
    Annandale, New Jersey
    Yesterday it was mucho cold here so I cooked them some oatmeal, added some canola oil, added an egg to the hot mix and after it had cooked, I added some layer crumble to it. Let it cool outside. When offered in a cake pan, they cleaned it up in less than 15 minutes. GONE! [​IMG]

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