Just the Flax for the Dairy Industry

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Flaxseed in Animal or Poultry Feed

Research shows that feeding companion animals a diet with essential fatty acids (omega-6’s and omega-3’s) can support skin and coat health. Omega-3 fatty acids may also support healthy brain cells and thus, learning ability, as well as nutritionally support the natural healing process. One source of essential fatty acids is flax meal. The oil in flax meal is a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, which is the parent compound of other omega-3 fatty acids.

Cats and dogs benefit from a precise ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids and flaxseed oil or meal contributes to that targeted ratio in pet food diets. Preliminary research suggests that the proper ratio of these fatty acids can help manage inflammatory diseases. Many premium pet foods now contain flaxseed to balance the fatty acid profile that can impact companion animal skin coat and health.

Omega 3 Eggs and Poultry Feed 

Because the typical western diet is high in omega-6 linoleic acid and low in omega-3 fatty acids, experts recommend replacing some omega-6 fatty acids with those from the omega-3 family. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the parent compound of the omega-3 fatty acid family. It is called an “essential” fatty acid because it is required in the diet and humans can not manufacture it. An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids is the omega-3 enriched egg derived from hens fed flaxseed.

In recent years flaxseed has been incorporated into laying hen rations because research has proven that egg yolk lipids can be influenced through dietary fat. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids in the yolk can be enriched by adding flaxseed to laying hen diets.

One large omega-3 enriched egg contains about 7 to 10 times more omega-3 fatty acids than a regular large egg and provides nearly half the optimal ALA daily intake level.

Adding flaxseed to broiler diets also increases the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in poultry meat. Feeding flaxseed changes the pattern of fatty acid composition in broiler meat in a very similar manner to the way egg yolk fatty acid composition is altered by feeding flaxseed to layers.