Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) is a commonly grown plant that is a member of the mint family. It is mainly known for it's seeds, as they supply an excellent source of dietary fiber and fatty acids. Chia seed is composed of 15-25% protein, 30-33% fat, 26-41% carbohydrates, 18-30% dietary fiber, 4-5% ash, and 90-93% minerals, vitamins and dry matter. The fiber component in chia seeds is predominately insoluble, meaning that it absorbs a large amount of water, similar to psyllium husk. The seeds contain 25% to 40% oil with 60% of it comprising omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and 20% of omega-6 linoleic acid. Active flavonols and phenolic acids in chia consist of myrictein, quercetin, kaempferol, and caffeic acid. Chia has demonstrated to be a good substitute source of PUFA to fish and other seed oils. Chia also contains a high amount of antioxidants.
The safety of chia added as a feed ingredient was evaluated by the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies within the European Food Safety Authority in 2005. The study concluded that there was no evidence of adverse effects of whole or whole ground chia seeds.
Egg Quality: Adding 300 g/kg of chia seeds to your hen's diet as been shown to be beneficial for increasing levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their eggs.
Bone health: Chia seeds contain a good source of calcium, which is fundamental in maintaining bone strength and mass in laying hens. Chia also contains boron, which helps to metabolize calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for healthy growth of bones and muscles.