Question about Bird Seed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by luvliebee, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. luvliebee

    luvliebee In the Brooder

    Jul 7, 2014
    Union, Missouri
    My Coop
    We were wondering, is it dangerous or overly unhealthy to feed chickens bird seed?

    This would not be their main source of food, we use layer feed.

    The bird seed idea came when we pondered what we could give them when there is snow on the ground or use the packed blocks in the coop during winter months.

  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Bird seed is not dangerous to chickens. However it may be more expensive then buying a scratch feed. A lot of bird seeds use only the smaller grains like millet and leave out things like oats which a larger bird like a chicken can use. There are products called flock blocks out there for poultry to peck at. There are even recipes for making them at home.
  3. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    Bird seed is expensive, in general terms, because it is often higher in protein. I've seen 28% and up on some bags. The little wild birds never know when they will get their next meal, so they are best served by a high protein diet, and seed size more to their scale.

    Chickens most often get fed every day, and a lot have free choice in front of them 24/7. As such they can get along with a little less protein, as the feed source is constant. My personal belief, and it is just that, is that the protein levels for our chickens is more in the 'can get by range.' Not the thrive and excel ration that is only offered in a show mix or flock booster bags, and they are quite small, while at the same time costing quite a bit.

    Common lay feed is at 16% protein and I like to offer around 20% to my birds. So giving them the bird seed you have found would be just fine. And they will love the size and the bump in protein will do them a lot of good in my book. I feel feeding more than the minimum protein level is an ok thing to do.

    Best to you and your birds,

  4. First off any seed mix should only be a treat not their primary diet...

    IMO just get some scratch grains for treats, I can get 50# of scratch for about $8 while 50# of bird seed is generally $15-$20 and to be blunt the $15-$20 bird seed has pretty much the same seeds as the $8 scratch less the few sunflower seeds they toss in to the bird seed to make it look different... Now of course the $20+ bags of bird seed have more seed variety but again to be blunt, my chickens don't give a hoot about the variety of seeds, they just gorge on it like it's candy...

    I also use the scratch for my wild bird feeders, I just mix in a hand full or two of sunflower seed to draw in the songbirds and they are all happy...

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