So I just bought some Amaranth seeds, think this would be a good grain to grow to supplement the diet of our chickens, they could even peck at them as they free-range at times.
Then I found this article on Amaranth:
We phoned Dr. Cheeke to get his perspective on the seriousness of these negative results. He told us that there are
definitely toxins and/or anti-nutritional factors in the raw grain, and that it is less of a problem with cooked grain.
He said that a scientist in Australia had been feeding raw amaranth seed to poultry as the major component of the
diet. He found that chickens went into spasms, convulsions, and finally died. This unidentified factor causes liver
damage. Other problems are caused by saponins, including unpalatability. But to keep this in perspective, Dr.
Cheeke pointed out that there are few raw foodstuffs that do not have problems. Raw soybeans contain 10 kinds of
toxins. Raw kidney beans will kill rats, but cooking eliminates the problem. The key seems to be to use the grain
in moderate amounts, and to cook it. We asked whether we could say that there would be no problem unless people
had little other than amaranth to eat. He thought that this was probably a fair statement. It is our opinion that more
research needs to be done before we can recommend amaranth grain as a major ingredient in animal feed. To our
knowledge it has not been shown whether these factors decrease the value of amaranth in human nutrition. Until
more work is done, however, the feeding trial results must moderate our otherwise enthusiastic promotion of grain
Full article here: http://www.echotech.org/technical/technotes/amaranth.PDF
Any thoughts on this? Should Amaranth be cooked before it is fed to chickens if at all?
Edited by beavis - 12/18/08 at 8:31pm