While its cereals are part of the human diet, especially as breakfast cereals, livestock feeding is one of its crucial use, others being green fertilizer, as a ground cover, brewing, and the straws may be bedding to cows and horses.
Finally, oats are nutrient-rich with proteins, dietary fiber, vitamin B, manganese, fats, carbs, zinc, iron, phosphorus, among other nutrients. They are also lower cholesterol, thanks to their high fiber.
Can rabbits eat oats and oatmeal?
Yes. Rabbits can eat oats and oatmeal in moderation. Give them as a treat, not a meal replacement with typical amounts being a teaspoon per bunny weighing two pounds once in a while.
This amount can include thick rolled ones like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled, Quaker, groats, and steel-cut oats, so long as they don’t have additives or preservatives. However, avoid instant ones as well as cakes, cookies, milk, or bread if they have any additives.
Since they are higher in carbs and sugars, if fed often or in large amounts, the higher levels of carbs and fats may throw out of balance these pet’s gut microflora balance causing diarrhea and enteritis.
Furthermore, expect weight gain (obesity), since they are highly calorific and don’t feed them to any rabbit that is already overweight. Doing so will only worsen things.
Finally, while they have some fiber, it is way far below what their main diet, the grass hay have. This low amount of fiber further explains why your pet cannot have too much of these cereals.
Can rabbits eat oat hay?
Yes, rabbits can eat oat plant, including its hay. If giving it this plant while still fresh, it should be part of their greens and veggies. However, for the case of oat hay, they can have it just as they eat other grass types.
Like wheat and barley hay, harvesting occurs while the seeds are still in their milk stage before their kernel matures. Instead of seeds, the cores have husks made of fiber. However, they have the appealing aroma of mature oats, making them more attractive.
Most bunnies and other small herbivorous pets like guinea pigs, chinchillas, prairie dogs, and so on will love its smell and have the foraging mental stimulation while eating this hay. Bunnies prefer the heads and not the stalk but will also eat these stems.
Nutritionally, this hay is more or less like any other grass hay with comparable in its composition of calcium, proteins, and fiber with others like Timothy, meadow, orchard hay, and so on.
The fiber will help prevent GI stasis and aid digestion. However, there might be a slight color change in their poop, something that shouldn’t worry you.
If you want to give it a try, one great brand that will not let you down is the Oxbow Animal Health Oat Hay for Pets that has a crunchy texture, doesn’t have artificial flavors, preservatives or colors and have a great taste that your pet will love.
Also, the Small Pet Select Oat Hay Pet Food is another great brand you can add to small herbivores’ diet.
Finally, once the seeds are ripe, and the plant begins turning golden brown, it is less nutritious. Only use it as straw bedding for your furry friend and not as food.