Chickens can and will eat breakfast cereals like Cheerios. Cheerios are a carbohydrate and sugar rich food which has been supplemented with human levels of vitamins and minerals which is not good for chickens in large amounts. Feeding Cheerios and other breakfast cereals should be limited to once a week at most and no more than a tablespoon per chickens at any one time.
Can you feed Cheerios to chickens?
This is a common scenario with chicken keepers. We all dislike waste and we have a box of breakfast cereal that has been open to the air a bit long and has gone stale. Can and should we give our chickens or ducks cheerios?
Below: One of my cockerels eating cheerios from my hands.
Yes, you can feed breakfast cereals like cheerios to chickens as a treat but not as an only feed. It does require some restraint for 3 reasons:
- The sugar and starch content. On my packet of cheerios it states the sugars are 18 grams per 100 and the carbohydrates are 72 grams per 100. Both these figures are high especially for a bird that need considerable protein in the diet for laying eggs.
- The added vitamins and minerals are for human consumption and too much for chickens. You could overdose your chickens if your not careful. A 30 gram serving contains 51% of a humans vitamin D requirement so a chicken could be getting 14 times its maximum from eating cheerios.
- Cheerios are only 7.1% protein and chickens need a diet with a minimum of 16% protein.
You should limit chickens to a couple of cheerios at any one time. I have fed cheerios to my chickens and ducks and they do seem to like them.
Don't feed them in the evening before roosting time, chickens need something that takes a bit longer to digest when they are roosting at night.
Can you feed chickens honey nut Cheerios?
On the face of it honey nut cheerios might seem a better idea as they have nuts in but in reality this is getting into the realm of not a good idea. The carbohydrates are up to 74 grams in 100 and the sugars are up to 22 grams in 100 and the protein is even lower that standard cheerios.
Below: A Silver Sebright Bantam eating a cheerio.
The standard advice stand here as well, a few every now and then won't do your backyard flock any harm but too many too often may end up effecting your egg production.
Can chicks and baby chickens eat Cheerios?
So what about baby chickens or chicks.
Well, I would avoid this if you can. 1 or 2 cheerios broken into a few parts can be an amusing distraction for the chicks but they are growing fast and need a more nutritious food.
I personally would not feed baby chickens cheerios.
Can ducks eat Cheerios?
Ducks can and will happily eat as many cheerios as they can, they do prefer them wet though. The same applies - too many will end up causing problems.
Below: A duckling eating cheerios.
Ducks seem to prefer them to chickens and now mine have had them on a few occasions when they realise what treats I have brought for them I generally get stampeded.