Using Oats in Poultry Diets
Oat grains are composed of about 20% hulls, resulting in a high fiber/low energy grain. The hull-less or naked oat, however, has a feeding value similar to that of corn. The energy content of naked oats is 17% and the energy content is similar to that of wheat. Oat lipids have a high proportion of palmitic acid leading to a “harder” fat being deposited in the chicken carcass.
Oats (both regular and naked) contain beta-glucans, which can cause digestive problems and sticky litter when fed to poultry. Researchers have reported that up to 40% of naked oats could be included in broiler diets with no adverse effect on growth, feed efficiency, shrinkage, dressing percentage or bone strength.
At 50% inclusion in broiler diets, naked oats have been shown to have a negative effect on some sensory quality parameters (tenderness, juiciness and to some extent stringiness and rubberiness). This was not found at the 25% inclusion level. Some research reports indicate that up to 66% of naked oats can be included in layer diets with no adverse effects on egg yolk, feed intake, egg weight, or egg production.
Oat groats are made by dehulling oats and removing all fines and broken kernels.