Can Birds Eat Oats? Nutrition & Portion Size

Find out if oats are a suitable food for your feathered friends! Learn about the benefits and risks of feeding oats to birds, as well as recommended portion sizes.
Can Birds Eat oats?

Yes, birds can eat oats. Oats are a nutritious and tasty food for birds, and many species of birds enjoy eating them. However, it is essential to remember that oats should be served in moderation and should not be the only food source for birds. A balanced and varied diet is crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of birds.

Nutritional benefits of oats for birds


Oats are an excellent source of carbohydrates, providing energy for birds to stay active and healthy.


Oats contain a significant amount of protein, which is essential for the growth and repair of body tissues in birds.


Oats provide dietary fiber, which is necessary for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients in birds.

Vitamins and minerals

Oats also contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, vitamin E, and minerals like magnesium and zinc.

Different types of oats and how to serve them to birds

Whole oats

How to serve

Whole oats can be scattered on the ground or in a feeding tray for wild birds to enjoy.

Pros and cons

Whole oats are the least processed form of oats, retaining more nutrients. However, they may be harder for some birds to crack open and eat.

Rolled oats

How to serve

Rolled oats can be mixed into a birdseed blend or offered as a standalone treat for pet birds.

Pros and cons

Rolled oats are easier for birds to eat, as they are flattened, but they may lose some nutritional value during processing.

Oat groats

How to serve

Oat groats can be soaked in water to soften them before being served to birds.

Pros and cons

Oat groats are nutritious and easy to digest, but they may require more preparation time compared to other oat forms.

Oats for different bird species

Wild birds

Common species that enjoy oats

Many wild bird species enjoy oats, including sparrows, finches, and jays.

How to incorporate oats in wild bird feeding

Oats can be added to a bird feeder or scattered on the ground, along with other bird-friendly food sources.

Pet birds

How to introduce oats to pet birds' diets

Oats can be gradually added to a pet bird's diet, ideally as a treat or supplement.

Oats as a treat or supplement

Oats can be served as an occasional treat for pet birds, alongside a well-balanced diet of other grains, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

Potential risks and precautions

Allergies and sensitivities

Some birds may develop allergies or sensitivities to oats. If a bird exhibits signs of discomfort or distress after eating oats, consult a veterinarian.

Mold and spoilage

Uneaten oats can become moldy, which can pose health risks for birds. Always clean up any uneaten oats.

Overfeeding and obesity

Feeding birds excessive amounts of oats can lead to obesity and related health issues. Stick to appropriate portion sizes, and consult a veterinarian or bird care expert for guidance.

Alternatives to oats in bird diets

Other grains and seeds

Alternative grains and seeds that can be included in a bird's diet are barley, quinoa, millet, and sunflower seeds.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables also provide essential nutrients for birds, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Insects and other protein sources

Insects, like mealworms and crickets, can be offered as a protein source for birds, especially for insectivorous species.

Expert advice and resources

Consultation with veterinarians or bird care experts

Consult a veterinarian or a professional bird care expert to determine the appropriate portion size and inclusion of oats in a bird's diet.

Books and online resources on bird nutrition and feeding

Numerous books and online resources offer information on proper bird nutrition and feeding practices.

Local bird clubs and organizations

Join local bird clubs or organizations for additional guidance, advice, and resources on bird care and nutrition.

Medically Reviewed by Ibrar Ahmed, DVM

Dr. Ibrar Ahmed is a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) who took a Master of Philosophy in Animal Nutrition. He is looking after 2 dog shelters and a well-established dog research center in terms of food and care since 2019.

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