Flax seeds are a trendy food. You can find hundreds of online sources stating their superb nutritional benefits. It seems they are a modern superfood necessary for the human diet.
And as anything highly beneficial, we want to share it with our pets. But is this the right kind of seed for your bird? Let’s find out.
To cut the chase, yes, flax seeds are healthy and beneficial for all parrots. Besides, birds like their taste. So you “kill two birds with one stone” – health and deliciousness. Adding a pitch of flaxseed to a parrot diet regularly will boost its immune and cardiovascular system. First, though, keep the number of seeds in moderation as they are fatty.
Flax seeds have been used for centuries in medicine and healthy diets. But, unfortunately, the mass population is a relatively recent thing for this ingredient.
Thus, a few people know about these seeds’ benefits, both for humans and pets.
So, let’s check why exactly they are good for parrots and how much is not too much.
What Are the Benefits of Flax Seeds for Parrots?
In fact, flax seeds are one of the oldest crops. People have been using it for centuries, if not millennia! As far as precise records of old times go, people have been using these seeds for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Even its Latin name can be translated as “the most useful.” Such an honor has been bestowed only on the best crops.
If we consider all its benefits, we can ensure that ancient doctors knew what they were talking about.
Note that you’ll find two types of flax seeds in stores – brown and golden. There is little to no difference between them when it comes to feeding parrots. Both are highly beneficial.
Flax seeds contain the following elements.
- Omega-3 Fats. This is one of two primary fatty acids essential for your pets. They protect your blood vessels and heart from cholesterol and strengthen the immune system.
- Lignans. These are antioxidants that have proven to be an effective cancer preventative compound.
- Fiber. Fiber is an essential element for the healthy digestion of any animal. Considering that parrots have a weak stomach, the inclusion of fiber-rich foods is obligatory.
- Protein. When there is an opportunity to provide your bird with high-quality protein outside of animal meat and dairy, grasp it immediately. Yes, I’ve mentioned that you can feed meat to a parrot once in a while as it’s a rich source of protein, but plant-based sources are better as they are a part of the bird’s natural diet. If you want to know more on whether parrots can eat chicken, turkey, or sausages, you know where to find the info!
These are the most evident beneficial elements in flax seeds. Of course, they are also full of other essential elements in minor doses:
- vitamin B1
- vitamin B6
What Are Flax Seeds Effects on Parrots?
But how exactly do these elements work combined? What are the benefits of practice?
After including flax seeds to your parrot’s diet, you’ll see improvements in the following aspects:
- cardiovascular system
- stronger and shinier feathers
- lower blood pressure
- immune system
- cancer and tumor prevention
- digestion (eating less due to the feeling of fullness)
- lowered blood sugar levels
Plus, one of the major benefits in practice is their nutty taste that can easily trick a parrot into changing their favorite treat. While nuts are healthy and useful, they contain more fats than flax seeds and bring similar benefits. So, if your parrot needs to lose some fat, you know what to choose! The compounds and benefits are similar, but flax seeds are more “diet-friendly.”
How to Give Flax Seeds to Parrots?
Flax seeds are sold whole, as tiny seeds with a hard shell. To make it easier for parrots to consume such seeds, it is recommended to grind them first. Even if your bird has a strong beak, the small size will make it hard to crush it.
Instead, it’ll take a mere 5 seconds to grind the seeds in an electric grinder. In the worst-case scenario, use pestle and mortar.
Later, you can store the powder for months in a cool, dry place. It’s a perfect “spice” for any food bowl you offer the bird. Plus, it’ll become a hit in summer when you make fresh juices for your pet – add half a teaspoon of flax seed powder as well. But should avoid feeding them more than once a day.
Another option is to soak the seeds for an hour or two. Then, the seeds will become soft and can be given with any soft food! Plus, if you use parrot’s drinking water for soaking, it’ll be “infused” with useful elements as well.
But what is the exact “dose”?
How Much Flax Seeds Is Safe for Parrots?
Though flax seeds contain fewer fats than nuts, they are still more fatty than veggies and greens.
In general, it is recommended to offer flax seeds no more than once a day. The general amount should not be higher than the usual amount of nuts. If you’ve given the latter that day as well, just sprinkle some pellets with flax seeds as you would sprinkle your salad with sesame seeds.
In general, the bigger the bird, the more seeds it’s allowed.
Can You Give Flaxseed Oil to Parrots?
No, you should avoid oil on most days. If you have only it and would like to enrich the day with Omega-3, give no more than 5 drops at a time.
But I generally prefer to avoid all kinds of oils when it comes to my parrots. Nuts and seeds are already full of saturated fats.
Are Flax Seeds Harmful for Parrots?
Unless you overfeed your parrot, nothing in flax seeds is harmful for parrots.
Too much of these seeds may result in obesity as they contain fats. However, the same can be said about all seeds, nuts, and fruit (due to natural sugars.)
There is one more danger of eating too many flax seeds – cyanogen. This is a compound found in flax seed in tiny doses. In general, it won’t harm your bird. But its access can prevent the bird’s thyroid from absorbing iodine. But I guarantee that your pet won’t even be willing to eat so many seeds to cause it.
So, you are safe while you keep to moderation with foods.
How to Store Flax Seeds?
Whole seeds have a moderate shelf life. However, they spoil faster than many other seeds and nuts. So it’s better to keep them in an airtight container in a dark place. Or in the fridge.
It’s also easy to know when the seeds have gone wrong. You’ll immediately notice the rancid smell to them. And your bird will surely refuse them!
Also, remember never to place ground seeds into metal containers as they can lead to fatty acids breaking down! The same rule concerns all ingredients within Omega-3.
Flax seeds have gained an essential place in our kitchen in recent years. And while we enjoy all the benefits of this “the most useful” seed as ancient Greeks knew it, let’s share it with our pets.
Parrots would enjoy the same benefits of flax seeds as we do!
The main rule to remember is to limit flax seed to only one meal a day only!