You Won’t Believe If Chickens Can Eat Flax Seeds!



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When I first got chickens a few years back, I was determined to give them the healthiest diet possible. I filled their coop with all sorts of organic grains, veggies scraps, and other superfoods.

But one day when I was making my morning smoothie, it hit me – flax seeds are so good for us humans, why not give them a try for the chickens too? Boy was I surprised by their reaction!

Chickens can absolutely eat flax seeds as part of a balanced diet. Flax seeds are an excellent source of fatty acids, fiber, and other nutrients that support a chicken’s health.

I tossed a handful into their run that morning to see what would happen. At first the chickens just stared at the tiny little seeds all over the ground, unsure of what to make of them.

But then one brave Buff Orpington named Clucky gave one a peck. Her eyes got real big and she started going nuts, pecking up seed after seed faster than I ever seen her eat before.

Before I knew it, the whole flock led by rooster Jonny was in an all-out frenzy pecking all over trying to gobble up all them flax seeds. It was funny to see ‘em scramble around like that. Never saw chickens act like that over food!

Flax Seeds are Superfoods for Chickens

Flax seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats support a chicken’s skin, feather, and immune health.


The protein and fiber in flax seeds also help sustain energy levels and promote digestive regularity.

Chickens need omega-3s to keep their feathers shiny and soft. The omega-3s in flax seeds are also good for a chicken’s brain development which is important since chickens may not be the smartest animals.

The fiber in flax seeds is great for keeping a chicken “regular” if you know what I mean. It helps everything move through their digestive system which is super important for their health and growth.

My chickens really showed how the flax seeds were improving their health and appearance. Their feathers got so fluffy and colorful like you wouldn’t believe. And their poops really firmed up and weren’t stinky anymore which made cleanup a whole lot easier.


I even noticed their eggs were bigger and had thicker shells after adding flax seeds to their diet. The omega-3s must have been real good for production. I was amazed at the difference it made with such a small addition to their feed.

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Tips for Feeding Flax Seeds

When first introducing flax seeds to your flock, start with a small amount like 1/4 cup per 5 birds so their system can adjust. Ground flax seeds are easier to digest than whole since chickens don’t chew much, they peck and gulp.


You can also soak ground flax overnight in a Mason jar of water before serving to help release more of the nutrients. This “pre-digests” them a bit. I like to mix the soaked flax with their regular feed each morning.

Chickens aren’t too bright, so scattering whole seeds in their run is a fun way to entertain them as they search and peck. Just be sure to offer some feed with the crushed seeds too so they don’t forget to eat. I’ve seen hens get so focused on the whole seeds, they ignore their flockmates squealing for food!

You can also toss a handful of flax into their dust bathing area. As they dust, they’ll end up accidentally eating seeds and getting the benefits.

Just don’t overdo it or they may get too “regular” if you catch my drift! Only use 1-2 tablespoons initially until you see how it affects each particular flock.

  • Sprinkle whole or ground flax into their regular feed
  • Mix into their mash if giving table scraps like melon rinds or bread
  • Scatter whole seeds in their run for extra activity and entertainment
  • Add a tablespoon to their dust bath

One Flock’s Favorite Snack!

From that day on, my chickens went absolutely bonkers for flax seeds.


I even caught rooster Jonny trying to hide some under his wing feathers like he was squirreling away nuts for winter, which was downright silly behavior since it was the middle of summer! It quickly became their most favorite treat to gobble up.

When I’d pull out the big jar of flax seeds, they’d all start clucking and crowing in excitement. Nothing got my birds more riled up than the promise of flax seed time. I like to think of flax seeds as “chicken crack” – they just couldn’t resist pecking them up.

And man, did it ever show in their health and eggs! Within a few weeks, their feathers had never looked so bright and fluffy. I’m telling you, those flax seeds must have magic or something the way they transformed my chickens.

They started laying jumbo sized eggs too with shells so thick I could barely crack them. Their combs were bright red and sassy looking. It was plain to see the flax seeds were boosting their whole systems in a big way.

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So if you want chickens as happy and productive as mine, don’t be afraid to make flax seeds a regular part of their diet. Even the pickiest peckers won’t be able resist their charm!

An Interesting Flax Seed Fact

Did you know humans have been cultivating flax for over 7,000 years making it one of the oldest crops? The earliest archaeological evidence of flax domestication comes from ancient Mesopotamia between 5000–3000 BCE.

Flax was incredibly important back in those days. folks used it to make linen for fine clothing, linens for the home, cordage for fishing nets and much more. So chickens have had a good long time to get accustomed to flax seeds just like us people.

Generations of chickens have enjoyed the oily nourishing seeds alongside their human keepers for millennia. It’s practically tradition at this point for chickens and flax seeds to go together if you think about it!

How Much Flax to Feed

When first introducing flax seeds to your flock, it’s best to start slow. A general guideline is to give no more than 1 tablespoon of ground flax per 5 birds per day. This may not sound like much, but chickens are small and you don’t want to upset their bellies. Ground flax is easier for them to digest than whole seeds too.

Over time, you can increase the amount if your chickens seem to handle it well with no runny poops or other issues. Most folks top out around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of ground flax per day total for a small backyard flock of 6-10 hens. At our farm, we feed over 100 chickens so we give them a whole pound of ground flax mixed into their layer feed daily.

It’s important not to go overboard, especially if you’re also giving other “extras” like table scraps, veggies from the garden, or special treats. Flax seeds are very calorie dense so don’t let your chickens get portly! I always adjust amounts based on how much else they’re getting and how their poops look. As long as the poops stay firm, you know the flax levels are good.

Best Way to Grind Flax

When it comes to flax seeds, smaller is definitely better for optimal digestion in chickens. That’s why it’s worthwhile to grind whole seeds into a powder. The easiest way is using a basic coffee grinder dedicated just for flax. Dump in a handful of seeds and run it for 30 seconds—voila! Perfect powdery flax.

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An old-fashioned mortar and pestle works too if you don’t mind the muscle power. You can also find pre-ground flax seeds at most health food stores, but it’s cheaper to grind your own in bulk. Just be sure whatever grinding method you use produces a fine powder, no bigger than a grain of sand. Chickens don’t chew—they peck and swallow—so small size is key for easy digestion.

Make sure to store the ground flax in an airtight container like a glass jar. It will last about 3 months like that before starting to oxidize and lose nutrients. Mark the date on the container so you know when it’s time to grind a new batch. Properly stored ground flax is the best option to maximize benefits for your chickens.

Flax Safety

In moderation, flax seeds pose no harm to chickens. However, there are a few precautions to keep in mind. Whole seeds could potentially cause an obstruction if one got impacted in a chicken’s crop. That’s why it’s safer to feed them ground. Also, too much at once may cause runny poops until their systems adjust. Go slowly when first introducing flax.

It’s also not a good idea to rely solely on flax seeds as a protein source. Chickens still need a balanced feed with a proper calcium to phosphorus ratio to support strong bones and egg production. Variety is best—flax seeds can be part of the mix alongside other grains, seeds and natural supplements.

Additionally, store flax away from heat and light which can cause the fatty acids to degrade more quickly. Use within a few months of grinding for maximum health benefits. When introducing any new feed item, always watch birds closely for possible reactions like diarrhea or lethargy and discontinue use if issues emerge.

Overall, following dosage guidelines and common sense handling, flax seeds are a safe and healthy addition to backyard chickens’ diet. They are nutritious superfoods that are sure to keep your flock feeling their best!

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