Can Chickens Eat Poppy Seeds?

One of the funniest things about chickens is that they’ll try to eat whatever you drop at their feet. It could even be pieces of foam or cardboard and those little feathery creatures will still try to make a meal of it.

For that reason, it’s always important to double-check what chickens can and can’t eat safely.

If you’ve got some raw poppy seeds or foods that contain poppy seeds like everything bagels or poppy seed muffins you may be wondering if your chicken can eat poppy seeds.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Can Chickens Eat Poppy Seeds?

For those who are worried about their little friends ingesting opium while munching at the seeds, you don’t have to worry. Opium only comes out when the green pod is cut open, and it appears in the form of sap. Poppy seeds do not actually contain opium, only opium alkaloids.

The truth of the matter is poppy seeds are rich in fiber and have a good mix of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, all perfect for maintaining a healthy balance in your backyard chickens.

So, chickens can eat poppy seeds safely. Not only that, but these seeds are also nutritious enough that many people choose to include them in their chickens’ regular diets.

What Are The Nutritional Benefits of Poppy Seeds for Chickens?

So why give chickens poppy seeds? Well, when you look at what chickens need for a balanced diet, it’s a good mix of protein, carbohydrates, and good fats. 

This is precisely why poppy seeds are so good for chickens, whether it’s simply as a treat or whether you’re adding them to their regular diet. Let’s break down all the benefits of poppy seeds for your chickens.

Good for Digestion

One of the best qualities about poppy seeds is that they’re highly beneficial for your chickens’ digestive system. Because they’re rich in fiber and contain a balance of other vitamins they can improve gut health to a wonderful degree.

A chicken with a high fiber diet will have no problems going to the toilet, and will remain happy and regular!

Rich In Vitamins And Minerals

Another great advantage of feeding your chickens poppy seeds is that they’re loaded with countless vitamins and minerals. For example, they include:

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

Because they contain high amounts of iron, poppy seeds can help prevent anemia. In addition to that, they can improve the overall health of your chickens because more iron equals better blood flow.

Vitamin A & C are found in many foods, and in general are great to keep a healthy immune system and the function of kidneys, brain, and blood pressure. 

If you want a good vitamin boost consider feeding your chickens mango or feeding your chickens beets.

Perfect Food For All Ages

Last but not least, poppy seeds aren’t tailored for one type of chicken or a certain age group. They are so well balanced that these delicious seeds can be a good choice for a starter, breeder, a grower, or even for your old girls! Poppy seeds contain a good amount of protein and good fats, similar to when feeding your chickens flax seed, or even chia seeds which are considered superfoods for your chickens!

Although you wouldn’t want to feed your chickens poppy seeds solely, they are one of the best seeds containing a well-balanced range of nutrients necessary for fitness and egg production, but also many essential vitamins and minerals for general health.

What Are Some Seeds To Avoid Giving Your Chickens?

Unlike poppy seeds, some seed types aren’t safe for your chickens to eat. To stay on the safe side, always try to avoid these toxic or unhealthy seeds to ensure that they don’t find their way to your little fluffy-butted buddies. 

  • Apple seeds
  • Pits from different fruits: apricots, pears, plums, cherries, etc.
  • Tomato seeds
  • Raw kidney beans
  • Lychee seeds

Although these seeds can be safe for your chickens to eat in very low amounts, they aren’t considered safe or healthy so it’s best to avoid them entirely if possible.

To Wrap It Up

If you’ve got a little bag of poppy seeds in your cupboard it’s time to get it out. Not only can chickens eat poppy seeds, but they’re amazingly healthy for them, and your chickens will love them (like most foods we give them!).

There is no risk of opium poisoning as they only contain small traces of opium alkaloids, and at this low level there is just simply nothing to worry about.

Poppy seeds are great to use as a treat for your chickens, or can even be added into their regular diet by adding a cup of seeds to the feeder every time you top it up with chicken feed, pellets, or other chicken seed mixes.

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