Chia Seeds: How Do They Benefit My Pet Bird?

chia seeds
Select Black or White Chia Seeds. Tetra Images/Getty Images

Chia seeds are now found everywhere. The health food stores, grocery stores and you’ll find them as a choice when you order a smoothie. They have been added to the list of superfoods that have taken the world by storm recently.

But the truth of the matter is, chia seeds have been around a long time. 

The Aztecs harvested these tiny seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant in ancient times and it was one of the principle foods they consumed.

They benefited from these seeds due to the high fiber content, the omega three fat acids that assist healthy heart function and reduces inflammation. Chia seeds also contain anti-oxidants as well as a goodly amount of calcium. 

Primarily grown in Bolivia and Mexico, they were generally imported, but one enterprising company saw some potential and that company began growing chia seed in the United States in 2014. Originally thought to be a source of food for horses, this changed when research revealed the protein, vitamins and minerals, the fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats they contained. This research opened up the door to a possibility of a market geared to human consumption rather then just creating Chia Pet planters. 

This is advantageous when feeding them to pet birds. Birds don’t tolerate dairy products very well and tis is a great way of ensuring they are getting the amount of calcium that they require.

Daily is also usually higher in fat than many other products so the substitution of chia seeds for dairy as a calcium source is beneficial to bone health. 

Chia seeds are also high in protein. So high in fact that many professional athletes rely on chia seeds to maintain their required levels of it.

The best part of this is the fact that the amino acids they contain helps to break down the protein to make it more readily absorbed and used immediately instead of simply being stored. Chia seed does indeed contain fat. But that fat is going to help with maintaining brain function

Chia Seeds Provide Energy

When you are low on energy, you tend to make food choices rapidly without giving any real consideration to what you are putting in your mouth. Many times the foods we choose are processed foods that tend to be high in preservatives .What chia seeds do in providing energy is that they give you as well as your pet bird an energy boost without supplying any harmful ingredients in the process. Chia seeds are a healthy raw food with no other added ingredients. They are not processed like many manufactured treats so you can dredge a piece of fruit through some chia seeds and offer it to your pet bird with worrying about what else is in it. 

Despite their small size they pack so much nutrition for your flock. And they don’t have to be ground up to deliver the benefits like people must do with flax seed if they want to reap the benefits. Chia seed producers are going head to head with the flax seed producers in several ways.

Aside from the fact that the product doesn’t have to be ground as is recommended to get the full benefits of flax seed, they can be put in dry storage for up to two years without being refrigerated and they won’t go rancid. However a good way to store these is to either freeze them or vacuum seal them for dry storage in your pantry when buying in bulk. 

A Nutritional Bonanza

They are considered to be one of the best sources of omega three fatty acids on the market They have a very high concentration of these fatty acids which must be consumed. Essential fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body. Chia seeds contain these omega-3 fatty acids as well as anti-oxidants, a good hit of fiber which is important for digestive health, and a nice array of minerals including magnesium, manganese, calcium and phosphorous.

These important minerals provide a way for the body to improve bone mineralization as well as red cell production.

The vitamin factor is pretty impressive as well. Chia contains riboflavin, folic acid, thiamin and niacin, a B-complex vitamin. In fact they have twice the amount of niacin as sesame seeds. 

And as they are gluten-free, they are becoming popular with people who are allergic to gluten as well as those looking for that calcium boost due to lactose intolerance. 

A Versatile Addition To Recipes

Chia seed can be fed to your birds in a myriad of ways. The simplest way is to sprinkle some on their Chop. Adding it to a Grain Bake  or sprinkling them on as a topping to Chop  or as a fresh topping on any meal is an easy way to boost the nutrition. 

You can actually make a healthy pudding for your birds using chia seed. When chia seed is soaked in water for an hour or two, it becomes rather gelatinous and it turns into a tapioca pudding-like consistency. Chia seeds are capable of soaking many times their weight in water when soaked for an hour or two. Soaking some of this seed and adding fresh chopped fruit, some almond milk and some slivered nuts might entice your bird to eating it. With some pet birds, it’s all about texture and may this unusual pudding texture might be appetizing to your flock. 

You can also add those chia seed to a smoothie for your bird as well as adding them to healthy frozen fruit pops for birds. 

Chia seeds are readily available in stores everywhere and you can also order them online. While you can purchase either white or black chia seeds, bear in mind there is little nutritional difference in the two.  They are an easy way to boost the nutrition of many dishes for your birds. Take advantage of this tiny seed and find ways to introduce them into your pet bird's diet.