Given the crop, gizzard, and grit, chickens are seed eating machines. Mine forage daily. I have watched them eat the seeds off of almost everything in the yard. I give them black oil sunflower seeds as a treat from time to time.
I don't know about intentionally giving them other types of seed specifically, such as flax seed or wheat. I rely upon the commercial feed and their foraging.
I sprout bird seed and feed them the sprouts, they love sunflower seedlings. Mine will not eat the sunflower seeds when I throw them out but I have a feeling they do eventually eat them while scratching. But they will fight over a sunflower sprout. Often I will take a large nursery pot and grow bird seed, when they get to about 2 inches I put the pots in the run and watch them fight for a place to eat and scratch in the pot. I also grow the bird seed in the pots of my larger trees just to pick them and throw them in the run for the birds lower in the pecking order who can't find space in the pots.
I also mix bird seed (including the black oil sunflower seeds) in my scratch grains, the hens will ignore the bird seed when I throw them out but eventually they will bury them while scratching and eat the sprouts that come up days later.
Are the sprouted seeds considered a snack? In other words, should I limit the amt I give them? I don't limit what they forage for greenery when free ranging...so my question is...how does a sprouted seed differ from a blade of grass or weed nutritionally?
Thanks for any info....I'm really having fun learning, planning and experimenting with alternatives to dry feeds while I wait for my hens to start laying.
Mine LOVE black sunflower seeds and seedlings. I do not know about limiting it. I give them to them probably twice a week because I give them other things on other days. I'm thinking they eat so many greens when foraging... they know when to stop?