Chia seeds are well-known as a superfood for humans, but the question is can chickens eat chia seeds every day? The answer is yes, and you can offer your poultry a tablespoon of this highly nutritious food daily without hesitation. However, avoid overfeeding to prevent possible digestive health issues.
These seeds are an excellent source of omega-3, proteins, fiber, several vitamins, and minerals, making them healthy. Additionally, they are suitable for chickens thanks to the optimal concentrations of antioxidants. Besides being nutritious and healthy, they are flavor enhancers that make other food more delicious.
Chia seeds’ nutritional value in 3.50 ounces (99 g)
|Proteins||0.60 ounces (16.5 g)|
|Carbs||1.50 ounces (42.1 g)|
|Sugar||0 ounces (0 g)|
|Fiber||1.20 ounces (34.4 g)|
|Fats||1 ounce (30.7 g)|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||0.65 ounces (17.83 g)|
|Omega-6 fatty acids||0.20 ounces (5.84 g)|
|Trans||0.005 ounces (0.14 g)|
|Saturated||0.12 ounces (3.33 g)|
|Polyunsaturated||0.85 ounces (23.67 g)|
|Monounsaturated||0.08 ounces (2.31 g)|
|Vitamin B6||0.473 mg|
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia Seeds come from a desert plant belonging to the mint family. These tiny gray seeds with whitish and black spots have only 0.08 inches (2 mm) in diameter. However, they bring 486 calories and are packed with numerous nutrients.
Besides proteins, this superfood is rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and trace elements like iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and selenium. People often add them to their meals, salads, and smoothies because of the antioxidants, choline, and folate they contain.
Can Chickens Eat Chia Seeds?
You can feed your chickens with Chia seeds since they are an excellent source of nutrients and energy. They contain valuable protein, vitamin B6, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Besides, these tiny seeds provide 23% magnesium, 17% calcium, and 12% iron of recommended dietary intake.
Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, valuable omega-3 fatty acids prevent chronic diseases in chickens. They also increase yolk quality, while protein helps build strong muscles, bones, and feathers.
Fiber promotes healthy digestion, and a high calcium percentage allows hens lay eggs with hard shells. Even though this food type has no sugar content, you should treat it as a treat to prevent digestive health issues in chickens.
Therefore, offer seeds in moderate amounts, meaning one tablespoon is enough for adults daily. On the other hand, chicks can safely ingest approximately one teaspoon in a few days, divided into several meals.
However, you should wait approximately four weeks before introducing this food type to their diet. Youngers have insufficiently developed digestive systems for proper Chia seed digestion. Introduce seeds gradually and carefully monitor their behavior to prevent possible choking, particularly when offering them dry.
Unlike commercial bird seeds, there is no need to grind Chia seeds. You can soak them and let them expand about twelve times relative to the original size. That will reduce the necessary amount per meal and facilitate their digestion.
The only thing you need to take care of is to avoid offering exceeded amount. Ingesting too many seeds may cause stomach pain, bloat, and diarrhea. Fortunately, these symptoms disappear on their own within 12 to 24 hours.
Ways to Feed Your Chickens with Chia Seeds
As mentioned, you should never offer Chia seed as a primary chicken feed. However, they can be delicious treats that enrich meals and add nutritional value to chickens’ everyday food. There are a few ways to offer them, including:
1. Raw Chia seeds
Feeding chickens with raw and uncooked Chia seeds is a convenient, entirely safe, and healthy way to provide delicious and nutritious food. However, you should be careful when offering seeds to chicks for the first time and monitor them while getting used to the new food type.
As I have already mentioned, adults go well with one tablespoon a day, while the limit for chicks is one teaspoon in the same period. That can be challenging when you have a large flock since you can’t be sure whether each bird consumes enough seeds but not too much.
To ensure the chickens consume all the ingredients evenly, you can include Chia seeds in the pellet mix, but never more than 5% of the total amount. Then, stir it thoroughly and serve your poultry with enough water to help them avoid choking.
2. Cooked Chia seeds
You can cook Chia seeds like oatmeal and safely feed your chickens, facilitating digestion. It will be enough to soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes.
This process will reduce the possibility of digestive issues and overeating. Never add ingredients, particularly sugar or salt, to seeds to prevent unnecessary health issues.
Cooked Chia seeds are safe for chicks, increase their energy levels, and improve their growth. Additionally, served this way, they won’t cause severe bloating like raw seeds.
3. Chia seeds with fruit mix
When your chickens need a quick nutrient boost, you can prepare a mix of fruit and veggie scrap with a handful of these seeds once a week.
They will improve the nutritious value of apples, parsnips, and beetroot leftovers, which are a yummy addition for chickens. Be careful and never add more than recommended 5% of Chia seeds to the final meal.
4. Chia sprouts from Chia pets
You can also offer sprouts from an old Chia pet, an American-styled terracotta figurine, to your chickens. Growing sprouts this way is an excellent option to produce food without harmful chemicals, particularly pesticides.
Growing sprouts in a Chia pet and adding them to your chickens’ daily meal is fun, keeps their beaks healthy, and provides plenty of essential nutrients. Additionally, it is a convenient way to feed your poultry with this yummy treat without additional expenses, particularly when you have a large flock.
Chia Seeds Nutritional Value
Feeding your chickens with Chia seeds is highly beneficial, primarily because of their high nutritional value. They contain numerous nutrients that help poultry stay healthy and grow fast and provide enough energy for their everyday activities.
Results of a few studies show that daily consumption of these seeds may reduce inflammations in humans by 40%. There is no reason to doubt they have a similar effect on chickens.
Chia seeds are full of antioxidants that protect cells, boost the immune system, and prevent free radicals from causing various diseases in poultry. The most potent are:
- Kaempferol with anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and cardiovascular properties
- Quercetin with the primary function of protecting chickens against cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and cancer
- Caffeic acid with high neuroprotective properties
- Myricetin with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic properties
The high content of this fatty acid benefits cognitive function, reduces inflammation, and promotes heart health and healthy brain function in chickens. Additionally, hens consuming Chia seeds lay eggs with high content of omega-3, making them beneficial for consumers.
The high content of vitamins B1, B2, and B3 supports a healthy immune system, breaks down carbs, and enables food to convert into energy. Besides, Chia seeds are an excellent source of:
- Vitamin C for wound healing and promoting collagen growth
- Vitamin A for keeping eyes healthy
- Vitamin E for cell protection
A high fiber content allows healthy digestion, prevents constipation, regulates cholesterol levels, and speeds up nutrient extraction from food.
Chia seeds are packed with minerals, making this food crucial in your chickens’ diet.
Calcium – Thanks to a high percentage of calcium, Chia seeds help hens lay eggs with hard and thick shells. Besides, this mineral maintains healthy bones in chickens.
Boron – This so-called superfood contains this mineral, which is crucial for metabolizing calcium and magnesium. It also indirectly promotes muscle and bone growth.
These seeds also include Cinnamic acid, which adds flavor to the food. Besides, they contain other beneficial minerals, including trace elements, like:
- Manganese for chicken growth and healthy metabolism
- Phosphorus for bone health
- Copper for heart protection
- Selenium for improving overall health
- Iron for enhancing oxygen levels in cells and red blood cells development
- Magnesium for the immune system boosting and bone health
Moderate consumption of Chia seeds is beneficial, without significant side effects. However, you should control their daily intake and provide enough water during the meal to prevent choking. Remember that pre-soaking makes seed swallowing easier.
The Best Chia Seed Brands
A list of the most popular brands includes:
- Organic, gluten-free Barlean’s black and white Chia seeds
- Organic, non-GMO Viva Naturals Chia seeds in a bag of 2 pounds (0.9 kg)
- Organic, non-GMO Spectrum Essentials Chia seeds
- Eco-friendly, USDA organic Navitas Chia seeds
- Healthworks Chia seeds cultivated in Mexico without additives
- Organic, gluten-free Bob’s Red Mill Chia seeds in a bag of 12 ounces (340 g)
- USDA organic Terrasoul white Chia seeds in a bag of 1 pound (0.45 kg)
- USDA organic, non-GMO Better Body Chia seeds at an affordable price
Chia seeds are some kind of superfood you can offer your chickens to balance and enrich their diet. Their high nutritional value makes them healthy when offered in recommended amounts. However, you should never use them as an alternative to regular chicken feed.