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Bird seed for my chicks

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cristy17, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. cristy17

    cristy17 Songster

    Every once in awhile, I give my flock a handful of mixed bird seed. Since the wild birds eat it, I figured it would be a treat to my flock. Does anyone else do this? Cracked corn is sooo expensive. I can get almost 2x the amount of seed as corn.
  2. vtchickenlady

    vtchickenlady Songster

    Sep 5, 2008
    My crew gets a handful of black oil sunflower seed every day. They love it and the oil is good for them.
  3. CK Chickadilly

    CK Chickadilly Songster

    Sep 11, 2008
    West Michigan
    I rotate.....today they got bird seed, something new for them & they liked it. I also do black oiled sunflower seeds, cracked corn & shelled sunflowere seeds.
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Welcome to BYC, Cristy17.

    Wild bird mixed seed is probably mostly millet. That's a decent poultry feed, to my understanding.

    A handful now and then certainly isn't likely to interfere with the chicken's protein, vitamin, and mineral needs. I'd probably feed them even a little more than that. But, bird seed is highly variable so it would be hard to know the quality.

    I once tried to keep a few pigeons on a couple bags of wild bird mix that were given to me. They grew more and more unhealthy the longer they were fed the seed. Since it was Winter time, I wasn't expecting them to raise young but they just couldn't live on the bird seed even without that extra burden. Probably a poor quality mix . . . and it wasn't going to work as a sole source of feed.

  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I make sure I have a dish of free choice grit for my big girls and free choice dish of baby grit, which is just finer, for my little girls. I use granite grit if I give my birds anthing other than their regular feed. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Chickens do not have teeth. Their food goes, as is, into the crop, where it is slowly funneled into a very small " stomach" for some digestive additives--then to the Gizzard, where it is 'chewed', that is, ground into material that can be digested as it moves into the intestines and so on. The Gizzard is best able to break down whole grains and other chunky bits that they eat when full of grit. Longest lasting grit is Granite, that lasts well. All other rock and stone is so much softer, that it wears down fast and that is why granite grit is best choice, works really well for best utilization of feeds. My baby chicks are given free choice and they choose it with pleasure, baby grit is fine Granite, as soon as they are given anything besides Starter Crumbles. Their tiny gizzards are at optimum function at an early age.
  7. jhm47

    jhm47 Songster

    Sep 7, 2008
    Chickens that are fed a lot of "whole" seeds have a much greater need for grit than those who eat mostly crumbles or pellets. The crumbles and pellets are made up of seeds that have been smashed and reconstituted. When the crumbles and pellets are mixed with water, they quickly dissolve, and are useable for the birds' digestive systems without the need for grit. However, if feeding whole grains, the need for grit is much greater in order for the birds to efficiently digest them.

    As for birdseed, it is mostly millet. There are dozens of kinds of millet, and some are better than others for chickens. Most millet is quite low in protein, so be sure to balance it with another source of protein. Sunflower seeds are great, especially in winter, when the fat is a great source of heat.
  8. cristy17

    cristy17 Songster

    Thanks for all the great advice!![​IMG]
  9. I started giving mine BOSS whenthe weather got cold and I've noticed their feathers seems to have a nicer appearance, rich and glossy.

    Plus they love 'em!


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