"Winter Survival "

NatJ

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Ask a vet familiar with glucan-fiber / nutrition as it pertains to chickens.
I do not have access to any vets that know about chickens. Most vets know little or nothing about chickens. The ones that do know about chickens are not available to me.

Been raising chickens for many, many years.
And so have I, and my parents and grandparents before me. Which proves nothing about whether oats are harmful to chickens or not.

A little research goes a long ways.
Yes, it does. But apparently my "research" and your "research" have found different things.

Beyond that -- stop reading online nonsense and contact:

University of Minnesota Extension for starters..​

Can I look on their website?

The University of Minnesota Extension says:
"Scratch-cracked corn and oats are a nice treat for the chickens that does not supply all their nutritional needs but is fine in moderation."
https://extension.umn.edu/small-scale-poultry/raising-chickens-eggs

The University of Maine Extension says:
"Chicks can be fed wheat, oats or barley. The oats or barley need to be limited to 25% of the starter diet. After six weeks of age, the birds can be fed rations with oats or barley as the whole source of grain,"
https://www.mofga.org/resources/poultry/chickens/

And, for a source that is not online, I have the book Practical Poultry Management, by James E. Rice and Harold E Botsford, published in 1925. (Both of those authors are listed as professors of Poultry Husbandry at Cornell University. Rice was head of the department.)

It says,
"Oats, if heavy, are very desirable for poultry. Light oats are of little value. They have a heavy shuck and contain too much fiber, which is largely indigestible. Oats should not exceed 20 per cent of the grain mixture." (page 89)
"Ground heavy oats are a desirable constituent of the mash. They are rather bulky. Because of their high fiber content, they should not exceed 25 per cent of the mash mixture." (page 90)

So yes, there is quite a history of including oats as part of the diet of chickens, and of oats being considered a good food for chickens (but not as a complete diet.)

And logically, I see no reason why rolling oats should be any worse than feeding them whole, or grinding them and mixing into the feed. It's just a change of shape. I recognize that oatmeal is usually cooked, and I do not know whether cooking makes a difference to the digestibility-- but cooking increases digestibility for most foods, and I have not seen aynthing saying oats are different.

I have no idea what "chicken chick" is. What are you talking about?
I am talking about a blogger who puts up articles with pretty pictures, that new chicken keepers like to read and quote and recommend. But some of her information is just plain wrong, and I don't trust anything she writes unless it is verified by other sources.

She wrote an article on oatmeal:
https://the-chicken-chick.com/the-shocking-effect-of-oatmeal/
Every fall, some newbie posts about how wonderful it is :rolleyes:
Her "research" is awful ("beta glucans are bad" has footnotes that lead to a definition of beta glucans, and to a paper that says they harm different species in different ways while never mentioning chickens or oats.)
And the "nutritionist" quoted in that same article thinks you can validly compare nutrient percentages of dry chicken food and wet oats. Gee, he better not let his chickens have any water to dilute their complete feed!

But I am very tired of seeing people quote that article, and what you initially said sounded almost exaclty like what that article said.

Which is why I asked for sources. If a GOOD source shows that oats have problems, then I am happy to listen to it.

But so far, the sources I have seen that appear to be good or reputable do NOT say anything about oats being worse than other grains (like wheat, barley, and rye which also contain beta glucans and also have a history of being used in chicken food.)

you like to argue without facts.
I like facts. That is why I asked for a source.
The internet has plenty of facts, and even more lies, and the difficulty is to figure out which are which (which is part of why I also quoted a physical book that predates the internet.)
 
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U_Stormcrow

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Beta Glucans are found in all cereal grains, generally concentrated in the bran, and generally higher in oats, barley, and rye (I believe in that order, but don't quote me, I didn't double check sources). In humans, they are considered "good" (to a point), in that they slow digestion, giving our bodies more time to extract nutrients from our feed. One of the cholesterol lowering fibers, its claimed.

In poultry, they are considered "bad" (after a point). One of the (many) reasons you don't generally see a chicken feed based primarily on oats, or barley, as opposed to wheat, corn, or soy, and instead see oats and barley used as adjuncts in combination with soy, wheat, and corn in areas where other cereal grains are abundant. Typically with a recommend that they not exceed 15% or 20% of the complete diet. Honestly, given their protein/fiber/fat makeup, and the amino acid profiles of the proteins present, its hard to make a complete feed based on them anyways.

That said, barley is abundant in Europe, more so than wheat, and it (or the byproducts of it) is frequently used in the EU as both animal feed and poultry feed. The EU, of course, tends to use lower protein feeds than we do, supplimented by synthetic amino acids. Additionally, they've researched significantly the use of enzymes to assist their birds in breaking down beta glucans into more digestible forms, and have had much success with it.

There are also numerous sources and studies (many I consider questionable) touting the value of beta glucans in bird's immune systems, or enzyme-assisted higher beta-glucan diets as avian feed with purported beneficial effect in avian immune responses. [edit: its certainly plausible that higher beta glucan diets in poultry sufficiently alter conditions in their gut that they are no longer hospitible to various bacteria, etc which have adapted themselves to colonizing our chicken's bodies, much as altering your body's Ph can have a very negative impact on pathogen's in you, while also making your own body operate less efficiently in some fashions. The question, as always, "is the cure worse than the disease?" /edit]

In this case, I'm sticking with the old adage, "the dosage is the poison" - yes, too much oat, barley, rye, or other beta glucan sources can be a problem for your poultry - but so can too much corn, wheat, soy, calcium (carbonate, citrate, diphosphate), salt, etc... I don't consider the observation to be particularly insightful, nor the warning particularly useful here in the US, as its unlikely your nutritionally complete commercial feed has a high oat or barley component, and if it does, it almost certainly has the enzymes added to assist in breaking those beta glucans down into more accessible nutritional sources.
 
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U_Stormcrow

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oh, and much of the beta glucans and immune response studies are coming out of Korea and China, where most of the (loosely) weight gain/condition studies are older, and originate in the EU. Generally over the last 20-25 years or so, for both. Full text is rarely available for free, but the summaries are often decent enough to give you an idea of the general findings and the study size.
 

3KillerBs

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What about whole corn? Should I feed them that? It can get done to -20. I gave them corn through the winter last year and started to give it to them now to get them ready for winter. Is that a good idea?

What chickens need most all year round is a good, complete, nutritionally-balanced diet.

Chickens LOVE corn like children love candy, but it's far from complete nutrition and so should be given carefully without overloading them. :)
 

Minister Marc C

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Jun 28, 2021
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oh, and much of the beta glucans and immune response studies are coming out of Korea and China, where most of the (loosely) weight gain/condition studies are older, and originate in the EU. Generally over the last 20-25 years or so, for both. Full text is rarely available for free, but the summaries are often decent enough to give you an idea of the general findings and the study size.
$208.00 + per bushel for oats.
$5.00 + per bushel for corn.
You wanna feed em oats? Go for it !
People sure do like to argue.
 

Minister Marc C

Chirping
Jun 28, 2021
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Not certain I want to be part of this "group" any longer.
All ANYONE wants to do is ARGUE :rant like a bunch of kids.
Good luck with your flocks -- I'm outa here. Sheeeesh. :he
 

U_Stormcrow

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Odd, I wasn't making a cost argument. Neither, did I understand, was he when he advised against the use of oats in chicken feed. Was I wrong?

Nor was I aware that his pronouncement alone, supported by nothing other than claims of experience, was to be considered valid - all contrary (or qualifying/quantifying) opinion offensive to OP. He was, after all, the one who invited us to do our research. (same link) Something I also advise.

I'm happy to link study sources for the claims I've repeated in this thread, now that my computer is pairing with my cell phone, and I have a keyboard again.

His original post in this thread was pretty good, I thought. But if this exchange was to be an exercise in rhetoric? He's got no game.

/edit and I see now he's gone back to add links and a whole new argument on price, not present at the time of my initial responses. Cute.
 

U_Stormcrow

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His first link says nothing about oats at all, and a site search "chicken and oats" provides few hits. Only the top two seem relevant. From the first, this is the relevant line,
"Scratch-cracked corn and oats are a nice treat for the chickens that does not supply all their nutritional needs but is fine in moderation."

That link then goes on to recommend a lightbulb or heat lamp in the coop for winter weather, contrary OP's recommend (and, incidentally, my own, for most US climates and adult, fully fledged birds). The second link describes a large family farm which has chickens (and other animals), and raises oats (among other crops).

The second link also doesn't mention oats.

The third link is like the first - someone's homepage, no mention of oats. Performing a site search "chicken and oats" provides a page on recipe substitututions.

Offered for the benefit of those reading along, that don't have time to search OP's offered links for relevance to the topics at hand.
 

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