How to "keep" Sunflower seeds grown in my garden for winter feed for chickens.


Mar 29, 2008
Roanoke, VA
I have grown a number of sunflowers in my garden and after harvesting them, I wanted to know if I should roast the seeds before feeding them to my chickens. I am worried that the raw seeds could mold and spoil over time, and I don't want that to happen. I want to have them to feed to my chickens throughout the cold weather months. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations?


Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
They won't mold if you dry them sufficiently before storage. Place the heads out in the sun till the seeds fairly easily fall out of the segments.
The commercial seeds you buy for feeding birds aren't roasted because you can sprout them.

Contrary to what a lot of people will tell you, whole sunflower seeds don't end up being that high in protein because they are so high in fiber. Chickens should get about 5% fiber in the diet. Sunflower seeds are about 20-23% fiber. So most of the nutritional value is used up digesting the fiber.
One thing you can do though is to sprout them and much of the hulls will be shed in the process.
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Aug 29, 2016
Northeast Texas
I grow my own sunflowers, too, because it's fun & they're pretty! When I harvest the flower heads, I place them in an herb drying rack for a couple of weeks, or until the seeds remove easily. (I keep the rack out in the storage side of the chicken coop, where it's hot & dry - Texas - but very well-ventilated.) I might let them hang out in the rack a couple more days, but it's probably not necessary; then I store them in the fridge long-term, until I mix them into the scratch bin. I don't grow a huge amount, but it usually lasts all winter, no spoilage so far.

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