Flax seed and eggs

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by spook, May 29, 2008.

  1. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Has anyone seen the article regarding the feeding of Flax seed to help our cholesterol? In another topic I noticed that feeding your flock Olive Oil, will help with circulation, easy eggs (one reported) and happy chickens, perhaps we would be best to feed less corn (although it gives great color to the yolk and its thickness) and more veggies, fruits, flax seed and olive oil! Then we can become healthier with owning our chickens.
    Most of us Chicken people know that what you feed the front end, your girls will produce quality from the back end.
    Glad science has caught up with us!
     
  2. DLS

    DLS Chillin' With My Peeps

    I see flax seed in the grocery store it is expensive. can we buy it at the feed store? it is small how would it be fed?
     
  3. Crunchie

    Crunchie Brook Valley Farm

    Mar 1, 2007
    Maryland
    I read a study somewhere (sorry, can't remember where but if I find it I will post the link) about feeding flax to your layers boost the omega-3 content of your eggs. I would think that it would be a healthy addition to their diets, even if it didn't do anything for the nutrition of the egg on our end.

    There is a lot of hype about flax lately, so no surprise it's expensive at the grocery store. Do you have a health food store locally that sells bulk products? I buy my flax out of the bulk bins at the health food store I work at. I think it's $2-and-some-change per pound right now.

    There's a ton of debate about whether to feed flax whole or ground (to humans or animals). I don't know about chickens; I would imagine, out of all of the critters we might feed it to, that the chicken's way of digesting would probably be the best to break down flax seed and I would probably feed them whole. But for yourself, horses, etc., I say GRIND IT. If you've ever gotten a flax seed wet, you will know why. When wet (think, when it contacts saliva/stomach "juices") it forms a very gelatinous, slippery coating (which is why it's so great as an egg substitute in baking). Stomach acid doesn't break this coating or the seed down very well--the whole seeds will literally slip right through you and come out the other end whole. Not to be too graphic, but, um, you can see the evidence of this later if you ever eat them whole (or have fed them to your animals).

    The oils in flax seed go rancid very quickly. It's best to store the seed whole and in the fridge or freezer. If you're going to grind it, only grind what you are going to use in a few days and store the ground seed in the fridge. IMO, it's a waste to buy the pre-ground stuff unless it's been kept refrigerated from the start. It's also more expensive. A simple coffee grinder will grind it just fine. Of course, like I said, this is if you're grinding it at all...I don't know about grinding it for chickens.

    ETA: here are a couple of links about feeding flax to chickens to boost the omega-3 content of the eggs....
    http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/04/30_hetlandc_omegaeggs/
    http://www.flaxcouncil.ca/english/index.php?p=food6&mp=food
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  4. texasreb

    texasreb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2008
    There is no doubt that the addition of flax seed to a chicken's diet increases the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids in the egg, but so does eating the product yourself.

    Why not buy the flax and eat it yourself and and also eat an occasional piece of salmon and save the time, effort and money of feeding it to your chickens.

    Surely not all of the Omega 3 that goes into the bird's mouth is going to come out in the egg. I'd imagine that a fair amount is used by the chicken and/or pooped out.

    My .02 says save your .02 and eat the flax.
     
  5. utahmethodist

    utahmethodist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    SLC, UT
    I agree with texasreb. Many leafy greens are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids so if you're free-ranging your birds they're going to have access to a great FREE source of omega-3. You can buy special eggs at our Costco that are higher in omega-3 because the hens have been fed flaxseed but, as we know, those poor gals have never seen so much as a blade of grass in their lives so they're given the flax to boost the omega-3 in their eggs. If you can provide access to natural greens I see no reason to go to the expense of feeding them flaxseed as well. Save the flaxseed for yourself.
     
  6. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    My organic feed has flax seed already in it.... but I agree that the foraging probably adds Omega-3s in a better way, plus tons of other essentail acids and micronutrients and all that stuff!!!
     
  7. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you so much! I have always heard that a hens egg was lower in cholesterol if it is fresh, breaking down in storage after a week on the shelf, the cholesterol adds up. Not sure how true that is, but fresh eggs are so much better tasting then store bought!
    Either way, eating the flax seed ourselves is probably wiser. My girls do get out and eat a lot of greens, also munching on our veggies from the house.
    I do feed the girls a bit more garlic in the spring to help prevent the bugs from biting them. "Skeeters" and black flies do not care for the flavor of garlic. (and we eat enough garlic that we do not taste it in the eggs!)
     
  8. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    I have been feeding my girls a special mix since they were two weeks old...

    My food mix for them:

    Chick starter 10 lbs.
    2 cups of whole flax seeds
    1/2 cup of rolled oats (chopped slightly in the coffee grinder)
    1 cup of oat bran
    2 cups of winter red wheat berries whole
    (all items are organic)

    I just mix it all up and feed them as usual. The flax seed have great Omega 3's and that is great for the feathers. My parrots used to have great feathers and molted very easily and cleanly, so I give it to these girls. I started them on the mix at about 2 weeks old.


    At 5 weeks old I changed the mixture a bit and made it:

    25 # chick starter
    4 - 5 cups of whole Flax seeds
    2 cups of oat bran
    1 cup of wheat bran
    2 cups of raw black sunflowers seeds
    1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
    3 - 4 cups of winter red wheat berries, whole

    The girls get steamed broccoli, plain baked yam, steamed rice (their favorite but no nutritional value), boiled egg, applesauce, watermelon and salad greens. Plus they get to forage in good weather. They are over 10 weeks old and doing great. Very healthy, have great feathers, no digestion issues and spoiled!

    They get grit from outside and I supplement them when they cannot get outside that day. I use apple cider vinegar in their waterer.

    I think it is important that we feed them good stuf to get even better eggs from them. I will check out the olive oil thingy too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  9. Penske

    Penske Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 28, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Cetawin,

    So now your girls are about 14 weeks old...?

    Did you change the mix? How are they now?

    I loved reading your post!

    Where do you get raw pumpkin seeds?

    Sunflower seeds in the shell? I have hulled-they love those!

    Mine are 13 weeks old.

    Lisa
     
  10. Lea71

    Lea71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The organic chick starter I use also contains flax seed. But the mill I buy from also has 50 lb. bags of flax seed for $30.00. Definitely a lot cheaper than at the grocery store.
     

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