You’ve been wanting to add something new to your chickens’ diet. If you are wondering whether chia seeds are an excellent substitute feed, continue reading this article!
From your experience with chickens so far, it’s clear that these animals are 100% omnivores and that their food choice is very diverse. Including new food in your chickens’ diet can be both beneficial and dangerous. So, how about some new seeds.
Can chickens eat chia seeds?
They can actually, and there’s more to this nutritious ingredient. In case you were wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of including some chia seeds in your chickens’ food bowl, we’ve got the information you are looking for.
Scroll down and learn more about enriching your hens’ diet.
Chia Seeds – Approved
You’re in luck because chia seeds are a great addition to your chicken’s diet. Unlike some other grains that can be toxic, you can rely on this nutritious supplement.
But just knowing that you can use it is not enough. You should know its nutritional value, how many times you are allowed to feed it to your chickens and if there are some red flags you need to look out for.
Chia seeds are the tiny black fruits that come from chia trees. This fruit can be freely included in your chickens’ daily intake.
Chia seeds hold three essential advantages:
- Improving egg quality and production
- Boosting energy levels
- Maintaining bone health
Egg quality and production: You should definitely include a certain amount of chia seeds in feeding hens that are in the process of laying eggs. The quality of this food and vitamins will boost their egg production and quality.
The eggs that your hen hatches after consuming chia seeds will be visibly bigger, stronger, and much healthier.
Energy levels: Chia seeds are known to be excellent energy food. Chickens all the energy they can get, and including chia seeds in their morning meal. The proteins contained in chia seeds are great health-boosters.
Bone health: One of the most important benefits of this fruit is that it helps maintain bone health. With chickens and their fragile leg and wing bones, this is essential. A fair amount of calcium and magnesium will strengthen their bones and prevent breakage.
Let’s take a closer look at what exactly chia seeds are made of:
Chia Seeds – Nutritional Value
Also, here is a detailed review of the most important fats contained in chia seeds:
We have also mentioned that the amount of proteins and minerals contained in chia seeds contributes to egg production and bone health. Here is a list of them:
- Manganese – improves metabolism and growth
- Phosphorus – improves bone health and tissue maintenance
- Copper – good for the heart
- Selenium – an essential antioxidant
- Iron – enhance red blood cells development and oxygen levels
- Magnesium – good for bone health and the immune system
- Calcium – strengthens bones, muscles, and nerves
So far, there haven’t been any significant side effects noted when consuming chia seeds. Nevertheless, experts will still warn you about the sear of this fruit.
If you do decide to go through with including chia seeds in your chicken’s meals, make sure that they consume a lot of water after eating them.
The dryness can create an unpleasant feeling, so it would also help if you pre-soaked them. That way, it would make it a lot easier for chickens to digest them.
So, how often should you include this nutrient in their diet?
The great thing about chia seeds is that you can include them every time you head out to feed your chickens – no matter if it’s the first meal in the morning or leaving some treats overnight.
As long as you take into consideration the number of chia seeds and stick to a reasonable quantity, your chicks can peck this treat anytime.
But what is considered by “a reasonable quantity?”
Adding 300gr of chia seeds per meal would be enough to meet nutritional needs.
Growing or Buying
The fact is – chia seeds are incredibly healthy, and you can benefit from them in more ways than one. The only choice you have to make is whether you want to grow them by yourself or go the easy way and buy them.
We are here to discuss both options.
If you’re a devoted farmer who is looking after their poultry, you might be aiming for more extensive stocks than those you can get at the store.
In that case, you should definitely start growing chia seeds on your farm. The question is – is it difficult?
No, it’s actually pretty easy, and you are not obliged to some hard work.
You won’t have to dig some large hole – all you need to do is lightly ruffle an area on fertile land and arrange the chia seeds by separating them so that they have space to grow.
It would be best if you watered the seeds daily, and in a short period, you will be able to see a hint of chia spout.
This fruit thrives in an organic environment.
You can also plant it inside, but make sure it has space to grow.
For those who decide to plant this in their garden, the following facts might come in handy:
|Mature size||5 feet|
|Sun exposure||full sun exposure|
|Soil type||tolerant to all soil types|
|Bloom time||early summer|
|Native areas||Mexico, Guatemala|
We mentioned that by growing chia seeds, you could benefit in more than one way. Here’s where chia seeds come in handy, besides food for chickens:
- Soaking and drinking them
- Adding to milkshakes and smoothies
- Making chia tea
- Adding to bread
- Feeding other animals like (pigs, goats, sheep)
Of course, not everyone has the time to insert growing chia seeds into their schedule. That’s no reason to give up. There are dozens of popular and high-quality brands that produce 100% healthy and organic chia seeds.
We are here to list down the most popular brands.
|“Viva Naturals Chia Seeds”||comes in 2 pound bagstotally organic, non-GMOcan be used for food toppings|
|“Healthworks Chia Seeds”||best bulk buy on the marketcultivated on natural land (Mexico)no additives|
|“Better Body Foods Organic Chia Seeds”||best jar purchaseUSDA organic and non-GMOaffordable price|
|“Navitas Organics Chia Seeds”||smart small purchaseeco-friendly packageUSDA organic|
|“Bob’s Red Mill Organic Chia Seeds”||packed in 12 ounce bagsgluten-freeaffordable price|
|“Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Chia Seeds”||white seeds with good nutritional valueavailable in 1-pound bagsUSDA organic|
|“Spectrum Essentials Chia Seeds”||100% organicbest customer ratingnon-GMO|
|“Barlean’s Organic Chia Seeds”||both black and white seedsmeant for larger stocksgluten-free|
As you can see, there are two options, and both of them offer promising results. You can either start your own plantation of chia seeds and make great supplies, or you can choose some promising high-quality brands from above.
All in all – it’s a win-win situation – both for you and your chickens.
How About Other Seeds?
Although chia seeds might be on the top of your list right now, they are certainly not the only ones that your chickens would love to peck.
If you’re out of chia seeds, you can turn to
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Your chicks will enjoy any of these regardless!
Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into the nutritional benefits of each of them with which they are composed.
First, we have pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are very easy to obtain, and they are a great addition to your chickens’ dietary plans.
Here are the benefits of including pumpkin seeds in their nutrition:
- Vitamin A – Regenerates red and white blood cells and boosts the immune system. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to severe respiratory problems in chickens.
- Vitamin B – This is a crucial vitamin that helps keep energy levels up. It can also be beneficial to those hens that have hatching problems.
- Vitamin C – This may be unfamiliar, but chickens produce a lot of vitamin C, and they need to compensate for this deficiency somehow.
- Vitamin E – This vitamin is essential for the neurological development of the chicken. Including this vitamin in their diet protects them from coccidiosis.
You can also turn to the store-bought version of this nutritious ingredient. If that is the case, make sure that you look for the following brands:
- “Sorich Organic Pumpkin Seeds”
- “True Elements Raw Pumpkin Seeds”
- “Berries and Nuts Raw Pumpkin Seeds”
- “Raw Essentials Authentic Raw Pumpkin Seeds”
- “Urban Platter Salted Pumpkin Seeds”
You can find these and many more in almost any animal feed store or in your local market. They come in large quantities at an affordable price.
How about sesame seeds? These are as common as pumpkin seeds, but that doesn’t diminish their nutritional value.
Sesame seeds are packed with nutritional value. Here is a list of them.
|Calcium||18% of RDI|
|Magnesium||16% of RDI|
Some major benefits of consuming sesame seeds are that:
- They are rich in antioxidants – these antioxidants prevent damage and the decay of blood cells in the organism.
- They improve blood pressure – consuming moderate amounts of sesame seeds can keep the blood pressure rate steady and protect your chickens from heart attacks.
Lastly, we have sunflower seeds: This type of seed might be the most common and easiest to obtain. A larger farm surely has a plantation where they grow sunflowers.
Harvesting sunflower seeds and later feeding them to your chickens is again a win-win situation. This way, you can save some money on food because you already grow it. And besides that, chickens love it, and it’s good for them.
Here is why sunflower seeds are a great investment:
|Iron||6% of the RDI|
Including sunflower seeds in your chicken’s meal will
- Boost their protein intake (especially during the fall when they need it)
- Keep their energy levels up
Just like with the other two, you can either choose to harvest sunflower seeds or buy them at the nearest animal feed store or the market.