Can Chickens Eat Quinoa? (Yes, But Not Much Study Shows)
As a chicken keeper, you’re constantly searching for nutritious treats for your flock. Quinoa has gained much popularity over the years and has piqued our curiosity. Can chickens eat quinoa? The answer is yes; quinoa can be a valuable addition to their diet. However, research did show that quinoa should not exceed more than 15% of a poultry diet to ensure balanced nutrition.
Let’s find out more about this superfood!
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a highly nutritious pseudocereal known for its edible seeds. While it is often referred to as a grain, it is technically a seed and not a member of the grass family. Quinoa is more related to plants like beets and spinach.
This ancient grain has gained popularity over the years as a superfood due to its exceptional nutritional profile. Beyond protein, quinoa is packed with other important nutrients. It contains elevated levels of energy, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and B vitamins, compared to common grains like corn, barley, wheat, and oats.
Its nutritionally-dense nature makes you believe it is a valuable addition to your flock’s diet, promoting their overall health. But studies have shown you must be careful feeding your chickens too much quinoa.
Can Chickens Eat Quinoa?
Yes, chickens can eat quinoa, and it can be a valuable addition to their diet. Quinoa is higher in protein than most other cereals, making it a great source of essential amino acids for chickens. However, research has shown that quinoa should not exceed more than 15% of their daily diet.
Dangers of Feeding Your Chickens Too Much Quinoa
A study discovered that adding a lot of quinoa to the feed of broiler chickens made them grow slower. This indicates that high levels of quinoa in their diet negatively impact the growth rate of the chickens. To keep your chickens happy and healthy, researchers recommend that quinoa should not make up more than 15% of their entire diet.
This is important and relatively new information and means while quinoa can be a valuable addition to a chicken’s diet, it must only be used as a supplementary source of nutrition.
Can Chickens Eat Uncooked Quinoa?
While chickens can eat uncooked quinoa, cooking or sprouting them before feeding them to your flock is preferable. Cooking and sprouting will also help reduce the bitterness caused by the saponin coating. If you choose to offer quinoa raw, rinsing it may also eliminate the bitter taste.
Do Chickens Like Quinoa?
Most chickens like cooked or sprouted quinoa, but are not fond of uncooked quinoa. Quinoa seeds have a bitter-tasting coating called saponins, which naturally deters birds from consuming the crops in the field. You can simply remove the bitterness by rinsing the seeds before giving them to your chickens.
How To Feed Quinoa To Chickens?
Quinoa can be a good addition to your chickens’ diet, keeping in mind you don’t overfeed it to them and feed it in the right way.
Here are some tips on how to feed quinoa to your chickens:
- Choose the right type of quinoa: Whether you choose the most common white quinoa or red or black does not matter, but always opt for the plain unseasoned variety.
- Rinsing quinoa: Quinoa seeds have a natural coating of saponins, making them taste bitter. Rinse the seeds to remove the saponins.
- Cooking quinoa: Cooked quinoa is more digestive-friendly than feeding it raw. Cook them as mentioned on the packaging, as black quinoa needs more boiling time than white.
- Sprouted quinoa: Sprouting does not only reduce the amount of saponins but also enhances the nutrient availability. To sprout, soak the rinsed seeds overnight and drain and rinse daily until sprouts appear.
- Monitor the amount of quinoa: As mentioned before, quinoa should not exceed 15% of their daily food intake. This way, you ensure that they get the benefits without any negative effects on their growth.
Quinoa can be a nutritious and beneficial addition to your chickens’ feed if you give it to them correctly. Keep the inclusion of quinoa within the 15% limit and make them enjoy all its benefits.
Yes, chickens can eat quinoa, as it’s highly nutritious and a valuable addition to your flock’s diet. Quinoa is high in protein, essential amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and B vitamins.
But keep in mind that studies show to limit the quinoa intake to not more than 15% of the overall daily diet to avoid potential issues with their growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, chickens can eat quinoa, and it can be a valuable addition to their diet. However, research has shown that quinoa should not exceed 15% of their daily diet.
A study discovered that adding a lot of quinoa to the feed of broiler chickens made them grow slower. This indicates that high levels of quinoa in their diet negatively impact the growth rate of chickens.
Yes, but chickens prefer cooked or sprouted quinoa. Cooking and sprouting will help reduce the bitterness caused by the saponin coating. If you offer them raw quinoa, rinsing it may also eliminate the bitter taste.