Are sunflower seeds okay to give to your chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering' started by ChickensSayMoo, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. ChickensSayMoo

    ChickensSayMoo Junior Member

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    I recently was talking to some friends who also have chickens, and one friend said to never give sunflowers seeds (in their shells) to your chickens, as it can cause crop impaction. My other friend said she actually grew sunflowers for her chickens to enjoy! :confused:

    I would be curious to know what people think...as I would have thought sunflower seeds would be ok, as long as you dont feed too many at once (they have a high fat content anyway) and supply your chooks with plenty of grit.
     
  2. 7chicks

    7chicks New Member

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    I've given them to mine for 2 years with no problems. A friend of mine who has had chickens for years has always given them to hers. Said it helps with their egg shells.
     

  3. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Flocker

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    I grew the big huge ugly ones here, just because I like the looks of them. In the fall, I would cut the head off the flower, and throw it in the coop. The chickens were afraid of it for awhile, but when it dried and the seeds started to come off, they would eat some, but not alot.
     
  4. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    I give mine some black oil sunflower seeds mixed in with their scratch. I know many people who do and grow their own for their birds. I think as long as it is in moderation and they have lots of grit and water it is a good thing.
     
  5. ladyt

    ladyt New Member

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    Hello, I give mine sunflower hearts which I buy for my feed suppliers.. I mix them in with there corn for there afternoon treat... They really enjoy them and there have been no problems so far, they also like linseed and white millet...
    You should be ok giving them sunflower hearts as there quite soft, ask at your feed suppliers next time your there, they will probably be losed not bagged up, I get 1kg every 2 weeks..x
     
  6. rob

    rob New Member

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    i gave mine sunflower seeds, they didnt like them very much. they love mixed corn though.
     
  7. Bird_slave

    Bird_slave Junior Member

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    Black oil sunflower seeds are one of the best treats you can offer a chicken, in my opinion. High in protein and make for some beautiful plumage.

    You might run into crop problems if BOSS were the primary ingredient in their diet, but as a treat? No problem. They do need access to grit - naturally or supplemented - to digest them; just like they would any hard grain.
     
  8. ChickensSayMoo

    ChickensSayMoo Junior Member

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    Thank you everyone for your replies :)

    My chickens love sunflower seeds too....so I was hoping that they wouldnt be a problem!

    Thanks again all :)
     
  9. mcderry1967

    mcderry1967 New Member

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    My chickens get BOSS everyday along with scratch. They free range all day until they roost. And layer feed is available which sometimes they eat and sometimes they ignore. Their plumage is so shiny and they seem to glow. Our first eggs are nicely shelled. My question :confused: why would you run into crop problems if the flock consumes big amounts of this seed?
     
  10. lorindaeb

    lorindaeb Junior Member

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    My girls love black oil sunflower seeds!! I usually mix their layer feed, the sunflower seeds and scratch all together for their everyday food. I also put a little oyster shell in, but not much. They free range all day in the backyard. They eat their regular food here and there but seem to be happier finding random bugs and plants in my yard. I also give table scraps once in a while but try to keep the fat and salt content to a minimum.
     
  11. Bird_slave

    Bird_slave Junior Member

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    Supposedly you can run into crop impaction issues if they are fed so many that they gorge themselves on them.
    I don't feed traditional scratch anymore. A couple of years ago an outlet store for a semi-local feed mill opened near us. They sell something called Black Rooster which they call a game bird feed, but is really a high protein mix of 7 different grains (and various other nutrients), i.e, scratch grains. It's the primary food I feed my waterfowl and what I use in place of scratch (corn) which is relatively low in protein and more fattening than anything else. This black rooster has plenty of BOSS in it and I've never run into a problem with crop impaction. *knock on wood*
     
  12. bountyhunter69

    bountyhunter69 New Member

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    my pullets are 5-6 months old.are they old enuff for cracked corn?
     
  13. piglett

    piglett Senior Member

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    my understanding is if you feed TOO MUCH BOSS the hens may stop laying
    however i give my flock some & they lay great
    maybe if that's all they had to eat it would be a problem???
     
  14. CharlieEcho

    CharlieEcho Junior Member

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    Plenty old enough;

    At five or six months our hens were runnning with the rest of our chicks and picking through their feeds as they chose. Cracked corn?, sure.

    I picked up some extra sunflower seed, black, just Monday since reading this thread. We feed birds sunflower seeds year around anyhow. I spread a little BOSS out with the regular scratch Tuesday. They haven't taken a liking to it yet. As it was still on the ground last night. They pick around the oats too.

    I keep the feeder in the hen house filled with layer supplemented feed and cracked corn. The feeder in the barn with a mix of supplemented, cracked corn, oats and scratch feed. Each morning I five them a scratch mix thrown in the pasture. My wife is much more generous than I am with the morning feed.

    We have a light on a timer in the hen house that wakes the birds up earlier than sunrise. The hen house is in the shadow of our barn too. They usually hit the supplemented feed in the hen house very early in the day. The feed in the barn lasts a while and only needs a little added once in a while. I expect this to change once we get the cold weather and maybe some snow. Not that I'm complaining.

    If they don't take to the sunflower seeds, we can always feed the other birdies. I've recently taken an active fight to keep the Sparrows out of the barn that seems to be working. That's another story.
     
  15. donkeykongbeard

    donkeykongbeard New Member

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    With my normal feeding routine I also buy a pecking block. It has extra vitamins and and calcium and some other suplimental stuff. They love it but they are not on it constantly. The one thing they all try and get is the black sunflower seeds.
     
  16. Kokoschicks

    Kokoschicks New Member

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    What's boss?? I've never heard of it. And should I be feeding it to my chickens?
     
  17. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    It is black oil sunflower seeds. I don't know if you 'should' be feeding it to your chickens but you can. I mix it in with my scratch for some extra fats and calories. It's been very cold here most of the winter so I give it to them twice a day. When our highs were -20 F I gave it to them 3 times.