I love feeding my backyard chickens seeds, it’s just one of those foods that they love, with the added benefit of them being a superfood for your chooks. Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods you can add into your chicken’s diet, whether it’s as a treat, or as an additive to their normal seed mix to buff it up a bit.
So, it’s no surprise that chickens can eat chia seeds safely. But, here’s everything you need to consider when feeding your chickens chia seeds, including the health benefits to chickens and how to add it to their diet!
Can Chickens Eat Chia Seeds?
As a general rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong feeding your chicken’s seeds so long as it’s in moderation. Particularly when it comes to well-balanced seeds like chia seeds.
So yes, chickens can eat chia seeds safely. As a matter of fact, they’re among the healthiest snacks you can feed your feathery friends. They’re nutrient-dense, and contain a great balance of various vitamins and minerals too– which is why they’re considered superfoods.
Chia seeds are best known for their high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent chronic diseases and enrich the yolks of the eggs, much like flax seeds. Not only that, but they also contain a high content of calcium, fibers, and minerals.
On top of that, they contain a considerable amount of calcium which is perfect for egg production for regular laying hens, and they have antioxidative properties great for general immunity and health.
Your chickens can eat chia seed daily as long as their other dietary needs are being met.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Chia Seeds for Chicken
Chia seeds are highly beneficial for your chickens for so many reasons. The fact your chickens love to eat them is just the icing on the cake. Here’s a full breakdown of their benefits, so you can feel proud feeding them to your chickens, knowing they are getting a nutrient-rich health boost.
High Content Of Calcium
Chia seeds have a high content of calcium, which is vital for the chickens to maintain healthy bones. It’s also essential for laying hens because they need more calcium than average to continue producing the shells that form around their eggs.
As you probably already know, eggshells are almost entirely made of calcium, so the hens need sufficient amounts for regular production. If your chickens begin to lay soft eggshells then adding chia seeds to their regular diet is a perfect way to improve the quality of eggs!
High Content Of Fiber
Your chickens need fiber so they can continue regular digestion and exact the nutrients out of their foods. Chia seeds contain a lot of fiber, which ensures your chickens can easily digest what they eat.
If you notice a change in your chicken’s droppings, being very solid or larger than normal, then it may be a sign of constipation. If this is the case, feeding them more fibrous foods in their diet will easily combat this problem, and chia seeds are perfect.
Chickens are particularly vulnerable backyard companions, both from predators and also from common avian diseases, particularly of respiratory nature. Chia seeds contain a lot of antioxidants, which prevent cell damage and help fight off disease and infection.
Antioxidants also fight free radicals, preventing the body from producing them, thereby providing protection against lots of diseases including cancer.
High Nutritional Value
Aside from all these properties, they simply have such high nutritional value it’s hard for other foods to compete.
Chia seeds have a lot more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, which says a lot about their nutritional value. They also have more iron than spinach and more calcium than most dairy products. That’s why it’s no wonder they’re considered superfoods.
Aside from these nutrients, chia seeds also contain quercetin, caffeic acid, kaempferol, cinnamic acid, and myricetin.
To promote healthy bones, chia seeds contain boron. It’s known for its ability to metabolize magnesium, calcium, and similar minerals to encourage muscle and bone growth.
How To Feed Chia Seeds To Chickens
Because chia seeds are so nutrient-dense and contain nothing harmful to your chickens, they can be provided to your chickens as a treat or as an additive to their normal daily diet.
One way I feed chia seeds to my chickens is to simply take half a cup and throw it into my yard while my chickens are foraging. I can see them finding them all day long, which encourages more foraging and exercise for a happy and healthy chicken.
Another way to give them a quick nutrient boost is to prepare a fruit and vegetable table scrap mix for them once a week. I use this time to also add a few nutrient-rich seeds into their diet, like adding poppy seeds, or safflower seeds, for example. Adding root vegetables like beetroot or parsnips goes a long way for their health too!
If you want to make chia seeds a regular part of your chicken’s diet, then simply add up a few cups to their regular seed mix or layer pellet mix. Chia seeds can make up to 5% of their daily seed mix due to their nutrient-rich contents.
If you do feed your chickens more chia seeds than 5% of their diet, it won’t necessarily be bad for them, but it may fill them up so they won’t consume as much protein or carbohydrate that day which could eventually lead to nutrient imbalances. So, just like when feeding your chickens anything, moderation is key.
To Wrap Up
So chickens can eat chia seeds. Plus, they are one of the few select nutrient-rich foods that they can actually have on a daily basis. Chia seeds however are a bit more expensive than your everyday seed mix for your chickens, so you can choose whether you want to feed chia seeds to your chickens just as a treat, or if you want to add some to their daily meals.
But, whenever you are feeding chia seeds to your chickens, you can be proud, knowing they are getting a huge nutrient boost so they can continue their busy days as backyard chickens!