Black Oil Sunflower seeds - how much?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by PDXChickGirl, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. PDXChickGirl

    PDXChickGirl Chirping

    Sep 12, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    One of my girls is plucking the downy feathers of the others and eating them. I read on other posts that black oil sunflower seeds are supposed to help.

    How much do I feed them and how often?

  2. I use it in a scratch mix. About a handful a day of seeds (unhulled) every few days for six. If you search BOSS you'll find a pajillion threads.

    I've also read that folks use dry cat food for the problem you're having (protein deficiency).
  3. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    I read somewhere that sometimes the eating of others feather could indicate a need of protein. Not sure how much protien sunflower seeds have in them, but I'm sure it can help. Also try wet cat food or Avia Charge 2000 to add to water as an overall aid.

    I give sunflower seeds to the girls every other day and for 5 hens I give about 1/2 cup a day. You can also try flaxseed.
  4. horsewishr

    horsewishr Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    I never thought I could be overdoing the seeds. I toss out about 3-4 handfuls every morning. I only have 4 hens. Do you think that's too much?

    FYI: I just looked up the protein content of sunflower seeds. They're quite high: 8.2 grams in 1/4 cup. (Compare to 12.5 grams in an egg.)
  5. PDXChickGirl

    PDXChickGirl Chirping

    Sep 12, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    I don't think protein is the problem - their food is 19%, and the other 3 don't eat each others feathers - just one of them. I did some searches on BOSS, but I just couldn't find the quantity.
    Or if the amount matters.
  6. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    Sunflower seeds contain methionine---a very important nutrient needed for feather growth.

    I have no data on how much you might need....I can only say that when I rescue chickens and they are eating feathers I give them a handful a day and their problem is usually gone by day 3.....

    Good luck
  7. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Why unhulled sunflower seed? I am feeding my little gals laying pellets and mix in a little of the sunflower seed (hulled). Is that a problem? [​IMG]
  8. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Quote:you are correct in that "protein" in general is not (protein=composed of several different aminoacids) but a lack of a specific amino acid >METHIONINE< is... do not feed catfood to try and correct this (cat food is not formulated for birds and will have throw the balance of nutrients and crucial ratio of each to each other out of whack) but get a bird molting supplement (petstore) which will have extra methionine in it usually.
    "...The most common reason that feathers do not develop is a deficiency of a critical protein constituent (amino acid) from the diet of the birds. The feathers of birds contain high levels of a subunit of proteins called "methionine." Methionine is one of only a few amino acids that contain sulfur, and sulfur is a major constituent of feathers. If bird diets are deficient in any single amino acid, it will most likely be methionine. An adequate level of methionine is required in the diet and a deficiency results in reduced growth and feather development. A methionine deficient bird will tend to eat feathers in an attempt to satisfy a craving for this amino acid. A bird may even pull them from its own body...."

    ETA: I believe I read that the amount of BOSS should not exceed 5%
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2007

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