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Can Chicken Eat Flax – Is It Safe?

Raising chickens isn’t as easy as it may seem. There are many considerations to always remember, especially when it comes to feeding the chickens. As a chicken farmer, you need to ensure the chickens get all the minerals and vitamins they need to grow healthy. Flax is a good resource, but there are some questions about adding it to chickens’ diets.

Chicken Eating Feeds ing a rectangle container

Chickens can safely eat flax, you just need to make sure they don’t eat too much of it as it can lead to a lack of appropriate weight gain. Still, many chicken breeders encourage the practice of feeding chickens flax, and as frequently as is feasible. 

Some of the commercial chicken feed options used by farmers come with raw flax seed included in the mix, typically about 10% of the feed. You should ensure that this ratio does not exceed 15% because this can actually change the taste of the chickens’ eggs and meat.

Is It Safe for Chicken to Eat Flax, Should Your Chicken Have It?

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Chickens need a balanced and healthy diet so they can grow big and be worth their weight in money (so to speak). That’s why they need calcium, protein,  and mineral-rich additives as part of their daily diets.

Flax is safe for chickens to consume, and it’s recommended by most chicken farmers because it can ensure the health of the poultry as they grow and thrive. Egg-laying chickens especially need flax in their diets, mixed in with other nutritious elements.

Egg-laying chickens need about 17% to 19% of protein in their daily feed so they can be healthy enough to lay quality eggs. Flaxseed offers sufficient protein, but the chickens’ feed should be balanced with other nutrients as well. 

If chickens have too much flax in their feed, they can gain too much weight and become unhealthy. As such, flax is considered a good supplement but shouldn’t serve as an important food source for chickens.

What to Look Out for When Feeding Chicken With Flax

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Although adding flax to chickens’ diets is a good idea because it’s a rich source of protein, it should be done with caution as there are several things that could happen when chickens regularly eat flax.

Adding flax seed to chicken feed can prove to be unhealthy when it’s done at too high levels because it contains Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids can lead to unhealthy chickens that experience sudden death due to abnormal heartbeats.

Another element to keep in mind is oxidation. Flax seed can, unfortunately, go rancid rather quickly. For this reason, chicken farmers should keep their seeds in dark cupboards and only store them in non-reactive containers.

Also, try to keep the seeds in their whole seed form if possible, rather than storing them in their crushed or ground forms. Feeding chickens whole flax seeds can also prove better than ground seeds because this helps to minimize the oxidative effect.

Make sure that you only supplement your chickens’ food with 10% flax. This is the recommended amount that will ensure that your chickens get all the nutrients they need with no negative side effects. If egg-laying chickens consume too much flax, it is possible that their eggs will have very thin shells.

Are Flax Seeds Good for Chickens?

Brown chicken eating feeds

Not only are flax seeds safe for chickens to consume as part of their daily diets, but they’re also actually good for them.

Flax seeds can be very good for chickens’ health and should be something they eat regularly. For example, flax can help prevent skeletal problems. These seeds are also great for their eggs as eating flax increases the Omega-3 fatty acid levels in the eggs.

As long as chicken farmers stick to feeding their chickens flax in moderation, they won’t have anything to worry about. This moderation doesn’t mean the chickens can’t eat flax every day, they just shouldn’t be given a lot at a time.

It’s for this reason that it’s recommended that chicken farmers ensure flax is only at most 19% of their feed mixture. Exceeding this ratio isn’t good for the chickens and won’t be good for their eggs either.

Feeding chickens flax seeds can also help improve the general appearance of the chickens, which will help them get better prices if you plan to sell them.

Can Chicken Eat Flax Seeds?

Chick eating in a hand

Flax seeds are highly nutritious and should definitely be part of chickens’ diets so they can be healthy and able to fight off any possible diseases or health problems that affect the quality of their meat.

Chickens can certainly eat flax seeds, and it’s actually recommended that they eat whole seeds rather than ground or crushed seeds. The whole seeds won’t oxidate as easily and go rancid, making them less likely to be bad for the chickens.

As long as moderation is kept in mind, chicken farmers can feed their chickens flax seeds to keep them healthy without worrying about negative side effects such as a hemorrhagic liver.

Can Chicken Eat Flax Meal?

Two chicken eating in a metal bowl

Flax meal, the ground form of flax seeds, is very healthy for humans and is easier to digest than whole seeds. That means we get more nutrition from the seeds and they benefit us faster. However, the same isn’t true for chickens.

Chickens should not eat flax seed meal because this form of flax can oxidize rather quickly because of its high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid. When that happens, free radicals can form, and that is highly undesirable.

Can Chicken Eat Flax Plants?

Flax seed scattered

Flax seeds come from the flax plant, which is also known as Linum usitatissimum, and are recommended as part of feed mixtures for chickens. 

Chickens should not eat flax plants because that’s not where the good nutrients they need come from. In fact, no one should eat flax plants, only the seeds and oil that come from the plants.

This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on November 19, 2022.

Flax is used to make linen fabrics like sheeting, damask, lace, rope, and even rolling paper for cigarettes, and offers no nutritional value to chickens or humans.