Soaked Oats


Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
An extreme weather system will be coming through tomorrow and be here for a few days. Temperatures will be so low that water will freeze within 30 minutes. I have too many water bowls to heat and can apply water often on once per day owing to short day length and work schedule. To compensate I start putting soaked oats in the water bowl. The oats are fully hydrated and usually with a little fermentation going on. By weight they are 70% water when well drained. When applied I make certain they are not well drained making for additional water. Under conditions they are used the quickly freeze, but unlike with straight water, the mass is easy for the chickens to peck apart with their bills. This coupled with a good drink of water in the early day is enough to keep birds well hydrated. Care is take to ensure the complete portion of diet is still properly consumed so requirements for protein and vitamins are met. Otherwise the soaked oats are entered into field calculations as scratch which are valued more as energy. The application of soaked oats is also timed for when energy requirement goes up to counter wind chill. Most of my birds are outside where wind chill is considerable.

Shelled corn, millet and wheat can be used in a similar matter.


Jan 7, 2016
Adirondacks, Upstate NY
Great information and thank you for sharing this. Im a newbie with 12 Red Star Hens, and after such a mild fall / beginning of winter in Upstate NY, we are into the coldest snap we have had in a while, and the water situation has hit the critical point. I use the metal double walled waterer, and once that sucker is froze, trying to get it thawed and filled looks more like a pro wrestling match. I do not have electricity in our coop, and would prefer to keep it that way. I've been trying to increase the water content of their "treats" like cantalope, cucumber, microsprouts, and this morning,... oatmeal with warm broth, it was a **** near party, they loved it! I was hoping that by feeding food with a higher water content it would help to offset the temporary lack of water due to freezing. Am I correct in this train of thought,..? In addition to "treats" they get scratch feed, and layer pellets. We have not experienced any interuption in egg production, although poops are a little looser than usual since incorporating the juicier treats, but nothing that seems out of the norm. I have a poop board under their roost, that gets scraped everyday or every other day, So I can get up close and personal with the "end Product" and any signs for concern. I will definitely try the soaked oats especially after the oatmeal party they had this morning.

Here are a few other ideas I had, to keep the water from freezing, but I haven't had time to research thoroughly. You have waaay more experience than me, and would appreciate your thoughts.
1. Will a small amount of sea salt in the water help it from freezing as quickly, and is it ok for chickens, maybe mix in some bone broth with the water?
2. Would there be any harm in placing a rock, like a regular rock from our yard, on the woodstove to warm it, and place it in the waterer. I was thinking it would slowly release its warmth, and whatever minerals might leach into the water are naturally present anyhow?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, thank you in advance.


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