Are sunflower seeds with shells ok?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 8, 2010
Monterey Peninsula, CA
I'm new here and have benefited greatly from your expertise. Until now, all of my questions have been answered by other posts.

Now for the question: This summer I grew sunflowers and I'm saving the seeds. I would like to feed them to the chickens, but I'm not sure if I'll need to remove the shells first... What say ye?

Thanks in advance!
My chickens get pretty mouthy in the morning until they get their couple hands full of black oil sunflower seeds, shell and all. They digest them without problem.

I'm not sure if they can manage the striped sunflower seeds as their shell is much bigger and thicker.
I was given a huge striped sunflower seed head... must have been almost 2 feet across, and loaded with seeds. I hung it by the long stem about a yard off the ground, face down, and the chickens jumped up and nabbed seeds from it for two days, having the time of their lives.
They love the black oil seeds too.
Mine go nuts for them shell and all. The bantams won't eat the big striped ones, I think they are too big for their beaks.
I grew them also, and I just dried them and then put a big head in there with them. At first they were leery but once they had a few bites, they went to town with it. It was cleaned out in about 2 days.

They were the striped kind.

Thanks so much, everybody, for your replies. I have both the big, striped seeds and the smaller black ones. The hens have access to oyster shells and the backyard is very sandy, so I believe that should be a good grit supply. (Please correct me, if I'm wrong.)
Boo-Boo's Mama :

Oyster shell does not do the work of grit. Grit is granite type stone that works in the gizzard to grind the food up. The oyster shell I feed is pretty soft.

True, but the sand and, if present, gravel bits will work. If you're concerned buy the smallest bag of poultry grit you can find and scatter some in their run where they can pick it up. A small bag will last forever.​

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