Because of their granivorous capacity, parakeets are adapted to eat seeds and can eat chia seeds, the problem with this type of food is when it is offered excessively which could cause several problems to the parakeets, this is for being a seed with a high content of fatty acids.
Parakeets in the wild are specialized granivorous feeders, particularly the hardy grasses that survive in the semi-desert climate of Australia, so it is therefore essential to recognize that they are prepared to take maximum advantage of seeds of this nature.
As we are unable to supply the parakeets with seeds from their original territory, however, seeds from other plants which are related to the same species and which now form part of crops in various regions of the world, such as white millet, yellow millet, birdseed and, in lesser quantities due to their low nutritional value, red millet, can be supplied.
The problem with chia seeds, unlike the previously mentioned seeds, is that chia seeds belong to the OLEOGINOUS seed family, meaning that a large part of their composition is fat content.
Although the chia seed is an oleaginous seed, it is different from other oleaginous seeds in its fat content: two-thirds of the chia oil are Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (polyunsaturated), and only 10% are saturated fats.
Are chia seeds really dangerous for parakeets?
Chia seeds themselves do not represent a danger as a food, in this case, the warning applies more when they are offered in excessive quantities.
The fiber present in chia can cause various gastrointestinal discomforts in parakeets, such as inflammation and abdominal distension, up to a reduction in the absorption of calcium, iron and other important minerals for the bird.
Chia is a seed rich in dietary fiber, it should never be eaten in excess and always with sufficient liquid.
All these problems are only possible if the parakeet is overfed with chia seeds.
The reason why some people do not use chia seeds as food for parakeets
While chia seed can be offered sparingly as food for budgerigars, in fact, many budgie keepers promote this food.
Many other people who have budgies prefer not to feed them these seeds, for all the reasons previously mentioned.
Chia seeds, in comparison to the other seeds mentioned in the first part of this topic (millet, breadfruit and canaryseed), offer very little in the way of nutrients.
But the biggest reason why many people avoid using chia seeds as food for parakeets is because of the fat.
As well as the high caloric content of chia seeds, energy that is likely to accumulate in the form of fat, lipomas and other problems).
The parakeets will use the metabolized sugars from the carbohydrates they ingest from the seeds much sooner than the lipids, which will eventually become a passive source of energy that will diminish the health of the bird.
What would be the benefits of chia seeds for a parakeet?
Obviously, not everything is bad in chia as food for parakeets, being a seed poor in water, chia concentrates good nutrients, but it is also concentrated in calories.
This type of food is extremely valuable as a quick source of energy, birds like parakeets require food that provides a large amount of energy during certain times, such as very cold seasons.
Chia seeds have an average of 23% polyunsaturated fatty acids, 18% of which are linoleic acid. This means that chia is the seed with the greatest content of omega-3 fatty acids in the vegetable kingdom.
The omega-3 fatty acids are indispensable for both humans and animals; they increase disease resistance and have excellent anti-inflammatory qualities.
Besides, chia oil is high in natural antioxidants (such as chlorogenic acid or caffeic acid, among others).
What is the ideal amount of chia seeds a parakeet should eat?
To avoid excesses and take full advantage of the properties of chia seeds as food for parakeets, the idea is to make a mixture of food, can be seeds and fruit, where the amount of chia seeds in total is about 5%.
This amount is enough in a mixture as an additional complement to take advantage of the omega-3 fatty acids present in chia seeds.
As a general rule, you can give chia seed to your budgie in different ways:
- A little bit of chia seed in a separate dish once a week.
- As part of the mixture in a ratio of no more than 5% of the mixture.
- Mixed with the breeding paste.