Feed Oats (Avena sativa) Quick View

Oats (Avena sativa) make up part of a daily diet for horses, about 20% of daily intake or smaller, and are regularly fed to cattle as well. Oats are also used in some brands of dog food and chicken feed.

Oats is an ideal grain for starting cattle on feed because of its high hull and fiber content. Many experienced cattlemen prefer to start weaned calves on oats as the only or major grain, gradually shifting over to higher-energy grains as the animals become adapted to grain consumption. The greater bulk and lower energy density of oats compared to other grains is particularly valuable for helping calves learn to eat and getting older cattle started on grain safely.

Oats are a palatable feedstuff and may be safely included at high levels in the grain ration. They should be fed rolled or ground for maximum utilization. In grain mixtures where a high level of energy is required, such as for high-producing cows, oats should not be the major ingredient due to their lower energy value relative to corn and barley. In this case, they should make up no more than 33 percent of the grain mix. Calves can digest whole oats effectively because they chew their feed more thoroughly than cows.