Birds are known to be omnivores that have a varied diet that consists of almost any kind of food. However, plenty of different birds are actually primarily grain and seed eaters even though they may sometimes eat meat as well. That said, if birds are fond of different kinds of grains and seeds, does that mean that they can eat any kind of seed? For example, can wild birds eat chia seeds, which are known to be some of the healthiest seeds you can find?
Wild birds can eat chia seeds. In fact, in places such as Mexico and Bolivia, where Chia seeds originated from, plenty of wild birds eat these seeds on a regular basis because it provides them with a complete nutritional profile. Chia seeds are great for pets and wild birds alike.
We usually look at chia seeds as amazing superfoods that athletes and health buffs eat on a regular basis. However, because chia seeds are completely safe and are full of natural nutrients that are great for birds as well, even wild birds can benefit a lot from what chia seeds have to offer from a nutritional standpoint.
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are tiny seeds that come from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to some parts of Mexico and Bolivia. That is why chia seeds are historically produced in those countries. These seeds have been part of a human’s regular diet for a very long time as chia seed consumption can be traced back to the time of the ancient Aztec people.
As mentioned, chia seeds have always been a staple part of the Aztec diet because these seeds are completely edible. That means that they can be consumed without having to go through any other process. You don’t even need to cook chia seeds as you can eat them as they are. This is what has made them great a great food source not only for people but also for other animals that eat seeds.
Consumed raw, chia seeds provide a ton of nutrients that any human or animal needs on a regular basis because of how complete these seeds are in their nutritional profile. They are great sources of protein and healthy fatty acids that are beneficial to your overall health. This is why it is widely believed that including chia seeds as a regular part of your diet can reduce heart-related diseases and may improve cardiovascular health. Of course, the same holds true when we are now talking about animals that can also safely consume chia seeds.
Because of how healthy chia seeds are, they are usually consumed by fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike as regular parts of their diet because of the amazing nutritional profile that these superfoods have. Of course, athletes are not the only ones who have been able to take advantage of chia seeds as horses are also fed with these superfoods to improve their athletic performance.
All that considered, chia seeds are healthy, nutritious, and very easy to eat. That is why it is no wonder why they have been consumed by humans and animals alike for thousands of years as chia seeds provide a complete nutritional profile that makes them superfoods.
Can wild birds eat chia seeds?
Now that we know more about what chia seeds are, you probably understand that these seeds can be a good part of a human’s diet. You should also know that chia seeds were primarily brought to American so that they can be a good part of a horse’s diet considering that they provide all of the nutrition that a horse needs to excel. So, if a horse can eat chia seeds, you might be wondering if wild birds can also eat chia seeds. With that said, let’s look at the background of wild birds and how they may have included chia seeds as part of their diets.
As mentioned when we introduced what chia seeds are, these seeds come from plants that are grown in warmer countries such as Mexico and Bolivia, which are both South American countries. If you must know, South America, due to its tropical climate, is rich in a lot of different wildlife. In fact, there are plenty of exotic birds that can be found in South America due to how rich and diverse its wildlife is. So, in that sense, different birds have a wide range of different foods to eat in South American countries such as Mexico and Bolivia, where you can find chia seeds.
Birds are omnivores that have a wide range in terms of the types of food that they eat. That’s why birds can safely consume plants and animals alike. However, there are plenty of birds that are primarily grain and seed eaters even though such birds can and will still eat animals from time to time. Still, most wild birds will favor eating grain and seeds whenever they can instead of hunting for animal-based foods.
So, if we were to put two and two together, you must know that different wild birds in South America have the opportunity to eat different grains and seeds that are available to them because of how diverse the plant life is in that region. This only leads to the conclusion that wild birds found in Mexico and Bolivia have also been eating chia seeds for thousands of years already as well as chia seeds could have also been some of the types of food that birds eat whenever these seeds are available to them.
In fact, because of the complete nutritional profile that chia seeds can provide to wild birds, it would be impossible for birds to not want to eat chia seeds as they will have everything they need from a nutrition standpoint if they eat chia seeds.
However, there really is no certainty that chia seeds are some of the favored food items that birds eat because of how chia seeds are not as common as other grains or seeds considering that these seeds can only be found in select regions and how chia seeds are considerably more expensive compared to other types of seeds.
Studies have shown that, among the different types of seeds that seed-eating birds eat, sunflower seeds are still the most favored while flaxseed is usually the most ignored seeds. Chia seeds were not part of the study because of how these seeds are rarer and more expensive than most other seeds.
Still, there is nothing about chia seeds that will make them inedible to birds as these seeds are edible to most any type of herbivore or omnivore around. This is why chia seeds may have formed a part of the regular diet of wild birds that can be found in regions where chia seeds naturally grow. Of course, chia seeds can also be a good part of a pet bird’s diet as well.
What are the benefits of chia seeds for birds?
Chia seeds are nothing short of nutritious not only for humans but also for birds. If they are healthy for us, it also follows that they are full of nutritional benefits for seed-eating birds. And there are plenty of different reasons why.
When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are some of the best natural sources of that. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that are great for the heart. Chia seeds are rich in those fatty acids, which cannot be manufactured by the body of a bird. That said, eating chia seeds will allow a bird to consume these healthy omega-3 fatty acids and other types of antioxidants that are great for the body.
Another benefit that birds can get from eating chia seeds is that they can get plenty of fiber from them. Fiber can be good when it comes to a bird’s digestive health. Moreover, chia seeds contain minerals that a bird won’t be able to get from other grains or seeds. These minerals include calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese, which are great for bone health improvement.
Of course, chia seeds are great in terms of their vitamin profile for birds. Chia seeds contain vitamins such as folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. They even contain twice the niacin of sesame seeds, which can also be good seeds to feed your birds. And because chia seeds are gluten-free, they can be great for birds that are allergic to gluten.
But the most important reason why birds can eat chia seeds is that these seeds provide them with the energy they need to do their regular daily tasks. Unlike the pellets that you feed your birds from time to time, chia seeds are completely healthy and unprocessed. This means that these seeds are amazing sources of natural energy.
With no added ingredients and as great as they when they are eaten raw, chia seeds are rich in essential macronutrients that a bird needs on a regular basis. This includes protein, healthy fats, and a good amount of carbohydrates.
How to include chia seeds in a pet bird’s diet?
The great part about chia seeds when you are feeding them to your pet birds is that they don’t need to be cooked or processed. In fact, they can be feed to birds the way they are because these seeds can be eaten raw. And because of how small chia seeds are, they don’t need to be ground up or processed for them to be safe to feed for birds.
There are plenty of different ways you can feed chia seeds to your birds. In the simplest way possible, you can just sprinkle the chia seeds on their usual food as they are small enough to be added to any kind of food that your birds eat on a regular basis. You can also add chia seeds to grain bake or sprinkle them on top of any other meal so that they can improve the overall nutritional profile of their meals.
There are some who actually also make pudding for their birds using chia seeds. While you don’t need to soak chia seeds in water, some bird owners soak them for about an hour or two to make them softer and to give them a pudding-like consistency. By doing so, they will be easier to eat for birds because of how soft they are. After soaking the chia seeds in water, you can add a few chopped fruits, a few chop nuts, and almond milk so that your pet birds will eat them.
The pudding-like texture that this concoction will be appetizing to some pet birds as there are some bird species that tend to be picky when it comes to the texture of what they are eating and not when it comes to its smell or taste. So, by making your chia seeds into a pudding-like concoction, the different consistency might make it more appetizing for birds similar to how some birds tend to feed their young with regurgitated food because it’s softer and easier for them to eat.
While chia seeds used to be rare, they are now more common than they have ever been. You can easily find them in different stores or you can check online to see where you can order chia seeds. And there are different varieties of chia seeds you can choose from but there are hardly any differences in terms of their nutritional profile.
However, just be aware as early as now that chia seeds are not the most affordable seeds. These seeds can be quite expensive in comparison to other seeds. That’s why bird owners who feed chia seeds to their pet birds don’t use chia seeds as their birds’ main meals but only sprinkle the seeds on the birds’ usual meals to improve their nutritional benefits. But if you can afford to do so, you can probably make chia seeds your pet birds’ primary food source.