Foraging chickens eat grains and seeds regularly, and they are a simple addition to your chicken’s feed that can boost their immune system. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, oats, barley, malted grains, corn, and wheat berries are some of our favorites, and here’s why.
Sunflower seeds have lots of vitamin E and contain methionine, which is an important amino acid for birds.They are high in magnesium content which benefits a layer hens calcium metabolism and muscle tone. We often mix FLYGRUBS and sunflower seeds together and our girls love it! Since chickens, unlike songbirds, swallow the seeds whole and grind them up in their gizzards, the type of sunflower seed that you give your flock doesn’t really matter. Many farmers agree that pumpkin seeds (especially ground pumpkin seeds) are a natural dewormer. The pumpkins themselves contain vitamins: A, B, and C, as well as zinc. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamin E.
Flaxseed is the richest plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, one type of omega-3 fatty acid. Studies have shown that flaxseed discourages the formation of colon, breast, skin and lung tumors. A not so fun fact: the chicken is the only animal that spontaneously develops ovarian cancer on the surface of the ovaries like humans. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that a diet enriched with flaxseed decreased the severity of this cancer and increased the hen’s survival rates. Read more about that here.
Oats, barley, malted grains, corn, and wheat berries. Not only will your chickens love them, but grains are a great source of protein and immunity boosting minerals.
Remember that none of these are a complete feed and should only be used as a treat for your flock! Happy farming!