Flaxseed is a product of the flax plant (Linum spp), which includes close to 300 species of annual or perennial flowering herbs. Flax seeds are a rich source of fiber (soluble and insoluble), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (an omega-3 fatty acid), protein, and phytoestrogens (a type of lignan). Flaxseed often acts like a laxative because of its fiber and mucilage content. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important in the development and maintenance of a healthy brain, liver, heart, and immune system for all animals, including poultry. Specific applications studied in poultry include:
Antitumor: A reduction in the severity of ovarian adenocarcinomas was found in laying hens fed a flaxseed-enriched diet. Hens also had more early stage ovarian tumors which were still confined to the ovary. Feeding hens a daily diet of enriched flaxseed reduces the severity and incidence of ovarian cancer in hens.
Caution - Toxic Properties
Flax plants have the potential to produce toxic cyanide.