Can Birds eat Chia Seeds? The Answer may surprise you

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Can birds eat Chia Seeds

Bird lovers are constantly on the lookout for other foods to offer their birds, whether indoor birds kept as pets or feeding wild birds outside. Chia seeds are considered a superfood for humans, but can birds eat chia seeds too?

Can Birds eat Chia Seeds?

Most seed-eating birds can eat chia seeds, and these tiny seeds can benefit your bird’s health and overall condition. Chia seeds are packed with many valuable beneficial nutrients for wild and domesticated birds. They can eat them directly from the plant or when offered as raw or dry chia seeds at feeders.

Chia is a food rich in nutrients and benefits for birds, but as with any food offered to your birds, the main objective must be a balanced diet rather than too much of a single food item.

Some care should be taken in how much chia seeds are offered to birds since too much of a good thing can have negative consequences!

It is always better to do your research before introducing new bird food items into your bird’s diet, which is what we love to do so that we can help fellow bird lovers.

Our extensive research on this topic will help you discover the best food and treats for your birds, including chia seeds!

Are Chia Seeds Good For Birds?

For those bird people who have never heard of chia seeds, it would be an advantage to learn a little about them and where they are grown.

Chia seeds are the seed of the Salvia hispanica, or the chia plant, which is a member of the mint family, although it smells nothing like mint!

The chia plant originated in Mexico and Guatemala, but it is a robust plant that can grow in almost any location.

It is an important food crop for humans due to the dense nutrients packed in the tiny seeds, leading to the chia being considered a superfood for humans.

As we all know, food for people is not always good for birds and other animals, but chia seeds have health benefits for most wild birds and humans.

Nutritional Benefits Of Chia Seeds For Birds

Chia seeds are healthy and nutritious for birds, making them a great food supplement for your house or backyard birds!

Chia seeds contain high levels of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, fiber, omega 3, and omega 6, making them an excellent balanced food source.

Chia seeds provide additional vitamins and minerals such as manganese for healthy growth, phosphorous for healthy tissue and bone health, and copper for healthy hearts. 

Chia also contains folate (folic acid) for healthy brain function and egg production and an abundance of antioxidants that promote liver and heart health in the birds.

Are All Chia Seeds Beneficial For Birds?

From our research, we have established that chia seeds offer a good source of nutrition for birds, but can you use any chia seeds for birds to eat?

The best chia seeds for your birds are organically grown dry chia seeds for human consumption, generally found in health shops or pharmacies.

These will usually be free from pesticides and chemicals that could harm or cause illness to pet or wild bird species.

Never feed chia seeds from plant nurseries or garden supply shops to birds.

The seeds supplied from these sources are intended for planting and are often treated with growth hormones and other chemicals to promote seed germination.

The chemicals added to these seeds can cause serious health problems in your birds and may be toxic in some cases.

The best way to control the quality of chia seeds as a food source for your birds is to grow your chia plants. They are easy to grow in pots or containers directly in the garden. Just be sure to check whether you are located in an area suitable for outdoor growth, otherwise you may have to grow your plants indoors.

Chia plants are prolific seed producers, so you only need one or two plants to give you a good supply of raw chia seeds.

Serving Chia Seeds To Your Birds?

Due to the nutrient density of chia seeds, a little goes a long way when giving them to birds. Too much of a good thing, especially in domesticated birds, can cause more harm than good.

Feeding your birds too many chia seeds can result in captive birds becoming overweight due to their lack of exercise.

You can add chia seeds to your bird feeders outside for wild birds. A teaspoon is usually sufficient and will go a long way in helping your wild birds thrive, which means more birdwatching for you!

For pet birds, such as parrots, budgies, and cockatiels, sprinkling a few raw chia seeds on wet fruit, such as banana, or cucumber, is enough to supplement their regular diet and give them some extra beneficial nutrients.

Quick Tip: Using wet or moist food allows the raw chia seeds to stick to the food, making it easier for the birds to eat.

Sprinkled chia seed on banana for birds to eat

Dangers Of Giving Birds Too Much Chia Seeds

One of the biggest problems with giving birds too much chia seed in their diet is the hydrophilic nature of the seeds.

Chia seeds readily absorb water and can expand to 12 times their original size!

If your birds consume chia seeds without any other foods, they may overeat the raw seeds, which can expand in their crop or gut, causing blockages, discomfort, or in extreme cases, may cause the bird’s death.

If you are concerned about your birds having this issue with chia seeds, you can use another method to provide the seeds and avoid these problems.

Ways to serve chia seeds to birds

Chia Seed Pudding Bird food style

  1. Soak a teaspoon of seeds overnight in water in a glass container. The seeds will absorb the water and form a gel-like substance.
  2. Scoop some of the gel out of the container and give it to your birds. Since the seeds have already absorbed water, they will not swell inside your birds after ingestion and avoid any issues with birds eating too many chia seeds.

Dry Chia Seeds added to bird feeders

  1. This one is simple; add a teaspoon of raw seeds to your bird feeder outside. Be sure better to mix with other bird seed.

Hard raw chia seeds on fruit

  1. Especially useful for indoor pet birds or fruit-eating wild birds. Sprinkle some raw chia seeds on the moist fruit like sprinkles on ice cream!
  2. Bananas, Oranges, Berries, apples, and grapes are all great options!

Go natural and plant some Chia!

  1. A great option if you want to go the hands-off approach or if you are lazy and want the garden birds to do all the work.

What birds eat chia seeds?

Chia seed can be a good food source for birds, but it may also be helpful to know which birds will eat chia seed when offered.

Most seed-eating birds will enjoy chia, whether they are indoor pets or wild garden birds. However, if you have a backyard bird feeder, you ought to know which birds are more likely to visit and eat your bird feed.

Garden birds that eat chia

Various finch and bunting species are everyday seed eaters and have beaks designed to consume different bird seeds, but the following are just a few common backyard feeder birds that you can feed chia seeds to:

  • American Goldfinch
  • Cassin’s Finch
  • Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Mountain Chickadee
  • House Finch
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Painted Bunting
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • Mourning Dove
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Pine Siskin
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Evening Grosbeak

To Conclude whether birds can eat chia seeds

Chia seeds are good for birds and offer many nutritional benefits as a supplement to your bird’s diet.

This means birds can eat chia seeds and benefit from the nutrient-dense superfood as much as humans.

Chia seeds should be mixed with other food in small quantities to supplement rather than entirely replace any regular food in the bird’s diet. 

Remember: Captive birds that are fed too much chia can become overweight and unhealthy.

If you have questions about feeding birds chia seeds or have seen an adverse reaction in some birds to these seeds, let us know! We would love to hear from you! It adds value to the information our readers receive!

Remember to check out our other blog posts for more information about birds, birding, and nature. Also, remember to share this post with your friends, family, or other bird-crazy people!

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I am an avid birdwatcher with a passion for learning all I can about these fantastic creatures. I love finding new species of birds in my backyard, neighborhood, or when I travel. I enjoy sharing everything I learn about how these creatures live their lives; feedback and experience is much appreciated!

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