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Can Chickens Eat Quinoa?

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Have you been wondering, “Can chickens eat quinoa”?

It’s a great question, and the short answer is YES, but you have to rinse it first.

Quinoa is a seed that comes from the chenopodium quinoa plant.

While many call it a whole grain, it’s technically not a grain, though it shares very similar nutrients to cereal grains.

It’s more closely related to spinach than grains or grasses.

It’s gluten-free and loaded with nutrients that chickens need, like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, copper, iron, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, Vitamin B5, and calcium.

Chickens can eat quinoa, but it will likely need some prep work from you first – otherwise, your chickens probably won’t want to eat it.

We’ll cover that, plus the many benefits and the nutritional profile of quinoa for chickens below.

Can Chickens Eat Quinoa?  How to Prepare It

Chickens will not likely want to eat raw, natural quinoa because it has a bitter coating called saponins.

Saponin content ranges from 0.14% to 0.73% in quinoa.

Large doses of saponin are toxic, but more than anything, the quinoa is unappealing because of the bitter flavor.

You can simply rinse or wash quinoa before offering it to your birds.

Rinse under moving water in a small-hole colander for about 20 seconds in small portions.

Dump the colander onto a towel, and allow the quinoa to air dry for a few minutes before feeding it to your chickens.

Once this saponin has been removed, your chickens will likely enjoy their new treat.

Can Chickens Eat Quinoa Raw?  

Chickens can eat quinoa raw, but you’ll need to rinse off the saponin coating first.

Otherwise, your chickens won’t want to eat it.

After this, quinoa is incredibly healthy for chickens and contains a lot of protein for their diets.

Quinoa contains the following essential amino acids, which are beneficial for chickens:

  • Histidine
  • Valine
  • Isoleucine
  • Eucine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Methionine
  • Lysine

Can Chickens Eat Cooked Quinoa?

Cooked quinoa will lose a fraction of its natural nutritional value, but it is still a good treat for them.

The cooking process removes the saponin coating and makes the quinoa more palatable for chickens thanks to its tenderness.

Can Chickens Eat Quinoa Sprouts?

Quinoa will sprout in about eight hours after being soaked with water.

This soaking process knocks off the saponin coating and alters the nutritional profile, unlocking a ton of digestible energy, vitamins, and minerals.

It’s an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for laying hens.

In many ways, quinoa sprouts are more beneficial than plain or cooked quinoa.

How Much Quinoa Can a Chicken Eat?

A chicken’s diet should not exceed more than 15% of quinoa.

The Quinoa Nutrition Profile

100 grams of cooked quinoa is:

  • 120 calories
  • 4.4 grams of protein
  • 2.8 grams of fiber
  • 1.9 grams of fat
  • 0.9 grams of sugar

A hundred grams of raw quinoa is:

  • 406 calories
  • 15.6 grams of protein
  • 7.8 grams of fiber
  • 6.5 grams of fat
  • 52 milligrams of calcium
  • 5.1 milligrams of Iron
  • 622 milligrams of potassium

100 grams of sprouted quinoa is:

  • 445 calories
  • 14 grams of protein
  • 6.4 grams of fiber
  • 8.5 grams of fat
  • 8.5 grams of sugar
  • 22 milligrams of sodium
  • 56 milligrams of calcium
  • 7.6 milligrams of iron

The Specific Nutrition Needs of a Chicken

Nutrition Item Amount Present in 100 grams of sprouted quinoa How Much a Chicken Needs Per Day
Protein 14 grams 17 grams for a light breed hen or 23 grams for growing broilers
Fat 8.5 grams 6 grams
Fiber 6.4 grams 3 grams

Quinoa has a similar nutritional profile to the needs of a chicken.

Because of this, it is okay for it to make up a good portion of your flock’s diet– up to 15% is okay.

FAQs related to Can Chickens Eat Quinoa?

Are there any risks associated with feeding quinoa to chickens?

There are no known risks associated with feeding quinoa to chickens, and it can be a nutritious addition to their diet.

However, it’s important to introduce new foods gradually and in moderation to make sure that they don’t cause any digestive issues.

What other types of grains can chickens eat?

Chickens can eat various grains, including corn, wheat, barley, oats, and rice.

These grains can be fed to chickens in their whole form or as part of a commercial feed mix.

Can chickens eat quinoa flour or pasta?

Chickens can eat quinoa flour or pasta, but it’s important to make sure that these products do not contain any added salt or other seasonings that may be harmful to chickens.

It’s also important to introduce new foods gradually and in moderation to make sure that they don’t cause any digestive issues.

Can quinoa be used as a substitute for other types of chicken feed?

Quinoa can be used as a supplement to other types of chicken feed, but it may not be a suitable substitute on its own.

Chickens require a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients, and it’s important to provide them with a commercial feed mix that is formulated specifically for their nutritional needs.

Can Chickens Eat Quinoa: Final Thoughts

In conclusion, yes, you can feed quinoa to your flock, either cooked or raw.

It’s just a matter of preparing them properly so your chooks will love them!

They’re packed with nutrients that are beneficial to them.

However, just like with any other food, quinoa alone won’t make for a balanced diet.

Give them a properly balanced meal, and they’ll surely love you more for it!

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