Oatmeal has gained an excellent reputation for being one of the healthiest ways to start a day for humans, but as a keen birdwatcher, I can’t help but wonder does that healthy option transfer to birds.
Yes, you can feed birds oatmeal. In fact, due to oatmeal being small in size, similar to bird seed and full of protein, they are an ideal food option. Oats are an essential nutrient to a birds diet come winter. Blackbirds, Blue Jays, Cardinals & Sparrows love oats, they’re classed as ground feeding birds and will likely feed off the lawn.
Now, before you go ahead and scatter oats on your bird table or load up your bird feeder. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what makes oatmeal safe for birds and the specific types of oats you should be aware of.
Is Oatmeal Safe For Birds?
Oatmeal is perfectly safe for birds to eat in moderation, as with everything.
Essentially classed as a super-food, Oatmeal is absolutely packed full of healthy nutrients and it will undoubtedly have a positive effect on birds, as well as tasting delicious.
As mentioned above, Oatmeal is nutrient dense, we’ve put together a table below per 100 grams of oats to give you an indication of how their health is affected.
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.763 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.139 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.961 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||1.349 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.12 mcg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||56 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||54 mg|
|Iron, Fe||5 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||177 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||4.9 mg|
|Phosphorous, P||523 mg|
|Potassium, K||429 mg|
|Sodium, Na||2 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||4 mg|
|Dietary Fiber||10.6 g|
Are Oats Safe For Fledglings?
When it comes to baby and young birds, there’s some more information you need to be aware of.
Yes, oats are safe for fledglings, however, they shouldn’t consume anywhere near as much as a fully grown adult bird can, moderation is essential.
The reason for this is a fledglings diet is different from that of an adult, as they’re still in the growing phase of life. Animal-based protein, in the form on insects should account for around 75% of a baby birds food intake.
Not to mention that oatmeal can contain milk, which in turn contains lactose. It’s not recommended to feed baby birds much lactose heavy foods.
Cooked or Uncooked Oats. Does it Matter?
Birds will eat both cooked and uncooked oatmeal, but there is one clear option you should stick with when feeding birds oatmeal; uncooked porridge oats.
Uncooked Oatmeal is the ideal option as it’s dry, it’s easy to mix up with other forms of bird seed and can be easily digested, or washed down with water.
The issue with cooked oats is it will turn sticky, which for obvious reasons can become an issue for birds.
There’s a danger birds can choke on sticky foods, or struggle to swallow it when its in and around their beaks.
So, uncooked oatmeal is the way to go.
3 Tips When Providing Oats To Birds
One of the great things about trying to attract birds to your yard, bird table or bird feeders is the different creative options we have available to us to do that, whether it’s bird feeder placement, creative food ideas or unique ways to attract birds, it’s all part of the fun.
From our experience, we’ve got 3 excellent tips for you when using oatmeal to feed birds.
A Seed Medley
Birds love seeds and grains, there’s absolutely no harm in mixing oatmeal into that equation.
Serving Purely Oats
Backyard birds eat oats, so scattering those oats on a bird table or on your lawn is a fantastic option.
This is a favorite of mine, I recently wrote a guide on feeding birds seed balls with no lard, oats can be an excellent addition to this, their texture when wet can hold the other grains and seeds together, especially when using suet cake and other dried fruit.
Birds Species You’re Likely To Attract
The majority of birds in your area will be attracted to oatmeal food, but there are a select few you’re more likely to spot through your binoculars than not, let’s take a look:
- Blue Jays
- Sparrows (House & Eurasian Tree)
- Mourning Doves
What do all these birds have in common? That’s it, they’re all ground feeding birds. You’re more likely to see these wild birds hovering over your lawn, as opposed to clinging onto your bird feeder for their bird food.
As mentioned above, Oatmeal can attract some wonderful birds, such as the blue jay or cardinals. Sadly, there is the potential you attract pigeons too – not the most appealing of birds, but an unfortunate side affect of oatmeal as bird food.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can birds eat dry Quaker oats?
Yes, birds can eat DRY Quaker oats. Quaker oats are a nutritious food source for birds with a minimal amount of preservatives added.
Can birds eat oatmeal flakes?
Yes, birds can eat oatmeal flakes. As with normal oatmeal, they don’t harm birds and are as appealing as regular oatmeal to a bird.
Can birds eat oatmeal cookies?
Yes, birds can eat oatmeal cookies. We’d recommend only feeding birds organic oatmeal cookies to avoid any potential added sugars, but oatmeal cookies are still packed full of nutrients birds love to eat.
So, there you have it. Birds can eat oatmeal, oatmeal is a bird food that’s incredibly popular, cheap and easy to feed wild birds, not as cheap as kitchen scraps but a lot more nutritious.
It’s important to limit the amount younger birds are eating, but in general, you’re safe to provide birds in your yard with preferably uncooked oatmeal, not cooked oatmeal.
Mixing the oatmeal with bird seeds, grains and dried fruits is a bonus for the birds and will keep them coming back to your yard regularly throughout the summer, particularly during the end of the summer as they prepare for the winter months.