Over the years, breakfast cereals have provided us humans with the right amount of nutrients to jumpstart the day. That’s why most chicken owners want to ask if the same applies to chickens.
In this article, we will explain the answer to the question “Can chickens eat cheerios?”
What are Cheerios?
Before we find out if chickens can eat cheerios, it’s important to know more about the breakfast cereal first. Cheerios is a brand of breakfast cereal that was first introduced in 1941 under the name CheeriOats. Over the years, they have created a number of variations to their original cereal to cater to different people.
The first thing you should always keep in mind is that Cheerios is processed food. While many of its ingredients are naturally good for chicks, those that were added in the process are not as good. It’s rich in sugar and carbohydrates but it also has a lot of preservatives and additives.
Can Chickens Eat Ordinary Cheerios?
Cheerios are healthy breakfast cereal, that’s why chickens are allowed to eat it. However, when feeding Cheerios to your chicken, you should be cautious about the amount you’ll be giving them. Breakfast cereals are made with a high starch content that humans need, which may seem a lot for adult chickens. Here are some restrictions on how to feed Cheerios to your chicken.
Chickens need 16% or more protein in their diet to help them grow properly. There is only 7.1% protein content in Cheerios which is less than 50% of the protein that chickens need. That’s why it’s only good as a snack and not a whole meal. If you want to serve it as a part of your chicken’s diet, you may want to add fruits or vegetables to it to balance out the cereal and add more protein.
Vitamins and Minerals Overdose
As mentioned before, cheerios and most other breakfast cereals are made to boost energy for humans. It has a lot of added vitamins and minerals that can be too much for your chicken.
For example, a 30 gram serving of Cheerios has a 51% vitamin D requirement for humans. Chickens only need 3 to 4% vitamin D in their diet so they would be getting over 14 times their maximum vitamin D requirement.
In a Cheerios label, the sugar content in every 100 grams is indicated as 18 grams while the carbohydrates in every 100 grams are 72 grams. These numbers are very high considering that your chicken needs more protein in order to lay eggs every now and then. That’s why you should limit their cheerios consumption occasionally.
Advantages of Feeding Cheerios to Chickens
In this section, we will talk about the advantages of feeding your chickens with Cheerios. Some chick owners may think that there are only one or two advantages of feeding breakfast cereal to chickens but you’ll be surprised. Find out the reasons below.
Breakfast cereals like Cheerios are made to give humans the energy and nutrients they need to start their day right. Cheerios has 12 essential minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, that can help boost your chick’s health.
This breakfast cereal has soluble fiber which can help reduce weight gain for chicks and reduce cholesterol intake. Some vitamins and minerals in this food can also help your chick’s digestive system and regulate their blood sugar level.
Cheerios are created from Whole Grain Oats
Whole grain oats are one of the ingredients found in Cheerios and it’s known to be very beneficial to a chicken’s health. Fun fact: most chicken feeds are primarily made with cereal grains, without all the processing and stuff.
Fast and convenient
One of the best advantages you can get with feeding Cheerios to your chicken is that it is easy to serve and convenient. All you need to do is open a pack of Cheerios and you can directly feed it to your chicks or you can mix it with other healthy foods.
Can Chickens Eat Multigrain Cheerios?
As most people know, any type of grain is good for chickens. When we see multigrain, we may think that it’s a great food to feed your chickens. However, keep in mind that the product is processed food which means that it may not necessarily be good for your chickens.
The Multigrain Cheerios are made up of five different whole grains namely corn, sorghum, oats, millet, and rice. Essentially, these grains are good for chicks however, since it is a processed food, most ingredients are added sweeteners which can be harmful to chickens. Yes, it is better than the ordinary Cheerios but it still needs to be taken in small amounts.
Can Chickens Eat Honey Nut Cheerios?
If we base it on the name, Honey Nut Cheerios may seem like good food for chickens, but they’re actually not that good. The protein content is much lower here than what is found in ordinary Cheerios. It also has a higher carbohydrate content of 74 per 100 grams and a sugar content of 22 per 100 grams.
For this type of Cheerios, it’s better to refrain from feeding this to your chickens. While it may not be harmful in a big way, your chick’s egg production can still be affected and it may weaken your chicken in the long run.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Cheerios?
While Cheerios are a good snack for adult chickens, I wouldn’t recommend them for baby chickens. The first reason is that it may be hard to digest for chicks so you would need to break each cereal into half. And if you’re trying to feed them only as a snack, breaking them in half will take some time only for them to eat it in a few minutes.
Second, your chicks are growing fast to become egg-laying chickens in the future and they would need all the nutrients that they can get from healthy foods. The sugar and carbohydrates in Cheerios are not exactly a great feature, especially for chicks. It’s recommended to feed them chopped fruits and vegetables so they can get the right nutrients they need to grow.
Lastly, keep in mind that all the nutrients and minerals in this breakfast cereal are overwhelming enough for a grown chicken, just imagine how a baby chick would be. Too many nutrients and minerals can also be very bad for their health. Find a balanced diet that will ensure their proper growth. Recommend Read: What Do Baby Chicks Eat?
Can Ducks Eat Cheerios?
Yes, Ducks can eat Cheerios too if they want. However, most duck owners realize that they would prefer it wet rather than the usual, dry cereal. Since the same applies to chickens and ducks, make sure to feed them a small amount only at a time. You can put the breakfast cereal in high-protein milk so that it’ll still be a nutritious meal for them.
Ways to Feed Cheerios to Chickens
Now that you know that your chickens can eat Cheerios, it’s now time to figure out how exactly you should feed the breakfast cereal to them. There are a lot of ways in which you can feed Cheerios to your chicks, from the regular Cheerios snack to mixing it with other fruits and vegetables. Check out all the different ways to feed Cheerios to your chickens below and choose the one that suits you better.
Snacks in a minimal amount
The most recommended way to feed Cheerios to your chicken is in small amounts. It is not recommended to feed them Cheerios in large amounts mainly because it’s still considered a processed food with high sugar and starch content.
You can make it a daily snack for your chicks and not more than a tablespoon per chick. There are also many ways in which you can feed this to them like putting the cheerios in your palm or mixing it with their regular feed for variations.
Combined with fruits and vegetables
Since Cheerios are high in sugar but lack protein, one better way to serve them to your chicks is by mixing them up with fruits and vegetables. Doing this will increase the protein content of the meal and balance it out. This way would also be a great option to serve Cheerios as a full feed for your chickens. Here are some of the fruits and vegetables that you can mix with Cheerios to make it better for your chicks.
- If you want to increase the protein in your chicken’s diet, you can mix Cheerios with non-yogurt or high-protein milk and nuts or nut butter. This will help you reach the minimum required protein for chickens.
- If you want to boost the vitamins and minerals in your chicken’s diet, you can mix Cheerios with chopped fruits such as berries.
- If you want to add fat and fiber to your chicken’s diet, you can mix Cheerios with chia seeds or flax. You can also break the Cheerios in half so that they will all look small and easy to digest for chickens.
To the question, “Can chickens eat Cheerios?” the answer is yes. You can feed your chicks cheerios but be mindful of how much you’re feeding them as it can also be harmful to them in large quantities.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.