Yes, chickens can eat poppy seeds. Adding a cupful of these seeds to their regular diet will provide them with enough iron and calcium.
Chickens tend to make a meal of anything dropped on their feet. As a poultry owner, you might be wondering can chickens eat poppy seeds. Your concern is right if you want to feed them items containing poppy seeds like everything bagels or poppy seed muffins, etc.
Here is everything you need to know about feeding chickens poppy seeds.
Can Chickens Eat Poppy Seeds?
Poppy seeds are rumored to contain opium and hence, are quite controversial amongst poultry owners. A chicken enthusiast is right to feel concerned about his flocks ingesting opium while pecking at these seeds.
The fact is that opium is only released when the green pod is cut open. It flows out in the form of sap. Poppy seeds do not actually contain any opium but only have opium alkaloids (Source).
Poppy seeds are high in fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Feeding poppy seeds to your flock will ensure a healthy overall growth.
So, chickens can eat these seeds safely. In fact, these seeds are highly beneficial and helpful in fulfilling their daily nutrition requirements.
Nutritional Benefits of Poppy Seeds for Chickens
Just like humans, chickens need a daily balanced diet with a good mix of carbohydrates, good fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Poppy seeds can be given as healthy treats to your birds or can be added to their regular diet. These can be given to them weekly twice, or thrice to ensure a balanced diet. Here are the benefits of this seed for chickens.
Good for Digestion
Poppy seeds are quite beneficial for a chicken’s digestive system. These seeds are rich in fiber and vitamins that boost gut health. Eating these regularly ensures easy bowel movement, thereby preventing constipation in birds.
Rich In Vitamins And Minerals
Poppy seeds are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
Iron helps prevent anemia and regulates better blood flow. Vitamin A & C boost the immune system and the functioning of the brain and kidneys.
This seed is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that help the chicken produce healthy eggs.
Perfect Food For All Ages
Poppy seeds are the perfect food for starter, grower, breeder, or layer birds. They are rich in essential nutrients that are found in flax seeds or chia seeds. These also boost egg production in hens and improve the quality of eggs.
Avoid Giving These Seeds to your Chickens
While there is no harm in giving poppy seeds to your flock either raw or in foods like poppy seed muffins or everything bagels, you must know that there are certain foods that chickens cannot eat. These are:
- Apple seeds
- Pits of apricots, cherries, plums, pears, and avocados
- Tomato seeds
- Lychee seeds
The pits contain traces of cyanide that can kill your chickens. The seeds of these fruits contain toxic enzymes that can endanger their health. These seeds contain certain toxic elements that can prove fatal for chickens. A chicken eating these toxic substances can die immediately.
How to Feed Poppy Seeds to Chickens?
Poppy seeds can be fed to chickens of all ages, whether the bird is a starter, grower, breeder, or a layer. There are several ways of feeding poppy seeds to chickens.
- You can give them everything bagels that contain a good quantity of these seeds. Bits of bagel can be broken and given to them as a treat food.
- You can also treat them with poppy seed muffins once in a while. But, these should not be fed in large quantities because of the high amount of sugar in the muffins.
- A cupful of raw seeds can be added to their regular food. You can top up their feeders with these great foods.
- These seeds can be sprinkled over their ration of fruits and vegetables to ensure better health and growth.
- You can even throw a handful of these in their foraging area to encourage your free-range chicken into eating them.
To Wrap it Up
Do not worry about feeding opium to your chickens when you give them poppy seeds. It is only found in the sap, and the seeds are quite healthy for your flock.
Chickens love munching on this great superfood, and it should be included in their diet from time to time. It has many health benefits for your flock.
Starter, grower, breeder, or layer birds can all eat these seeds without any harm. Chickens love eating fruits, vegetables, and other foods mixed with these seeds.