Lately flax seeds have become a popular new addition to many people’s diets.
Flaxseeds are emerging as a new “super food,” but rather than being another fad diet that is only popular for a short time, flaxseeds have actually been eaten for centuries due to their numerous health benefits.
Some of these benefits include lowering blood pressure, being a great source of plant-based protein, and containing tons of nutrients!
With all the talk of “super foods,” you may be wondering if flaxseeds would be beneficial in your parrot’s diet.
To answer this question… yes, flax seeds are safe for most parrots to eat. In fact, most parrots enjoy eating grains and healthy seeds will contribute to the health of your parrot. Flax seeds in particular are an especially good addition to your parrot’s diet.
In general, a healthy diet for your parrot consists of fruit, vegetables, pellets, and seeds.
Both you and your parrot can enjoy the enormous health benefits from eating flax seeds, and even share a snack.
However, just like any nuts or seeds, flax seeds have a high fat content and should only be given to your parrot in moderation.
Let’s dive deeper into the subject of flax seeds and find out why they are so good, how often your parrot should eat them, what form they must be eaten in and how to safely store your flax seeds.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 1 Why are flax seeds so good for parrots?
- 2 How do flax seeds help your parrot?
- 3 How to use flax seed in your parrots diet?
- 4 How much flax seeds should my parrot be getting?
- 5 Can too much flax seed hurt my parrot?
- 6 How should I store flax seeds to keep them fresh?
- 7 How often can parrots eat flax seed?
Why are flax seeds so good for parrots?
Even though flax seeds are having a moment right now as a possible “super food,” they have actually been around for centuries, and been eaten for just as long.
As one of the oldest crops, flax seed crops have been grown since the very beginnings of civilization.
Flax seeds Latin name is Linum Usitatissimum, literally translating to mean “the most useful.”
This is certainly true if we consider how healthy they are!
There are actually two types of flax seeds, brown and golden, though both are equally nutritious and can be eaten by parrots.
These tiny seeds are a perfect healthy snack! Each seed is packed full of nutrients, B vitamins, plant protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
They have many protective qualities which can help regulate essential fatty acids, even in birds.
No wonder they have been eaten and treasured for so long!
Plus, with a pleasant nutty flavor that is very popular with birds, parrots can love eating their healthy flax seeds.
How do flax seeds help your parrot?
Since they are so full of many essential nutrients, flax seed is amazing for the overall health of your parrot.
Flax seeds are also especially helpful if you have a bird that plucks its feathers.
The flax seeds improve feather and skin condition to reduce the urge in your parrot to pluck.
To restore any imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids in your parrot’s diet, it is recommended you include flax seeds.
Omega- 6 can be very damaging to your parrot’s health, and can cause clotting and a high risk of heart disease in both humans and birds.
Many parrots love to eat nuts, and nuts are a recommended part of a parrots diet.
They are high in vitamin B, and have lots of minerals. However, nuts are also very high in saturated fats, which is the kind of fat that can result in obesity, raising cholesterol levels and even heart disease.
Given how much many parrots love nuts, if they are overfed, the high saturated fat rates can result in a very chubby bird.
One of the best ways to help reduce cholesterol in your parrot is by increasing omega-3 fatty acids in their diet, and flax seeds are full of omega-3’s.
Flax seed can even prevent cholesterol from being deposited in the blood vessels of the heart, and reduce the chance of heart attack.
How to use flax seed in your parrots diet?
It is better to feed your parrot flax seeds instead of flax seed oil because the oil does not contain the same amounts of protein, fiber, minerals and omega-3 that the seeds do.
The oil is not harmful for your parrot, but if you are going to use the oil rather than the seeds, be sure not to use too much.
Flax seed in any form is high in fats and in an oil form it is easier to give too much.
Everything in moderation!
The most important trick is that the flax seeds must be ground because the seeds are so tiny and have a rather hard shell.
Grinding the flax seeds also makes it most effective to be digested properly and easiest to add to your parrots diet.
If you do not grind flax seeds, your parrot may shell the hard flax seed and then lose much of the nutritional value.
It is best to buy flax seeds whole, as they have a short shelf life if already ground, and then grind them yourself.
As well, pre-ground flax seeds you can buy from the store will not contain the same amounts of healthy fats, such as the omega-3 fatty acids.
Flax seeds can be ground up using as electric coffee grinder, but be sure to thoroughly clean the grinder of any coffee residue before grinding up flax seed to give your parrot!
You may also use a small food processor to grind flax seeds, but always be sure to thoroughly clean it each time you use it to prevent your parrot ingesting anything that may be harmful to them.
Once the flax seed is ground, simply sprinkle it over your parrot’s food once a day, that way you know for sure your parrot is getting all the nutrients it needs.
Another way to ensure you are getting flax seeds into your parrot’s diet is by cooking them, or soaking them for at least an hour.
If you cook or soak flax seeds they will get very soft and will be easy to mix with your parrots other wet foods.
How much flax seeds should my parrot be getting?
As earlier noted, all nuts and seeds contain high-fat content and so overfeeding your parrot flax seeds can lead to your feathery friend gaining too much weight.
Your parrot should only be given small amounts of flax seed to aid a healthy diet.
It is recommended to sprinkle some of the ground-up flax seed over one of their meals per day.
Can too much flax seed hurt my parrot?
Anything in excess can be harmful!
With flax seed, they contain something called cyanogen, which in very high doses can prevent the thyroid of you parrot from taking up enough iodine which is very harmful.
However, in small doses flax seed is completely harmless.
Though flax seeds are very good for your bird, your parrot cannot survive on a diet that is only made up of seeds, or even majority seeds.
A diet that mainly consists of seeds can lead to many severe health problems, as seeds lack many of the essential nutrients your parrot needs, and even shorten your parrot’s lifespan.
How should I store flax seeds to keep them fresh?
Flax seeds have a fairly short shelf life.
You will want to give your parrot fresh flax seeds in order to receive the absolute most nutrients from eating them.
In order to keep your flax seeds for as long as possible it is best to store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
If they are not pre-ground, they should be kept in a non-metal container, as metals can lead to the fatty acids breaking down.
Flax seeds will give off a very distinct “off” smell described as “rancid,” if they have gone bad.
If you suspect your flax seeds have gone bad do not feed them to your parrot.
How often can parrots eat flax seed?
Parrots can eat flax seeds every day, just as you can!
Again, it’s all about moderation.
Flax seeds are filled with health benefits for both you and your parrot.
They can be quite yummy and parrots will enjoy the soft nutty flavor added to their food.
Flax seeds must be ground before they are given to your parrot, and only in small doses.
The perfect amount is just a sprinkle of ground flax seeds over daily food.
Be sure to use fresh flax seeds, and keep them stored in an air-tight container that is not made of metal.
For most parrots adding flax seeds daily can ensure your parrot is receiving all the healthy nutrients it needs.