FOOD FOR THOUGHT -NOT THE GUT... I’ve no science to go on here -just some thoughts and deducing. Just something to consider maybe... My wife is in the habit of throwing handfuls of unshelled sunflower seeds to the chickens in their coops when she is reloading the wildbird feeders. As I thought about it, I said to her that I wondered if there might be a potential problem with that. Her response was what I suppose most folks conclude when they feed their chickens sunflower seeds: “Wildbirds eat them all the time and a chicken is a bird. Therefore sunflower seeds should be as good for a chicken as it is for a Cardinal.” But in coming to that conclusion what I think most folks don’t consider is the fact that wildbirds shell the sunflower seed first and DISCARD the non-nutritious fibrous indigestible shell. Wildbirds do NOT eat the shell of the sunflower seed. They crack it open, eat the seed, and drop the shell which lands in the discard pile below the feeder. Have you ever had a soggy-wet fibrous mass of indigestible chewed-up sunflower shells in your mouth? If so, you get the picture. My concern was that too much shell in the chicken’s crop(craw) or anywhere in the gut could cause problems with impaction or blockage if a mass of wet fibrous nondigestible shell collects there. We have a Silver-Laced Wyandotte hen that for the past 2 1/2 days has some type of mass or impaction in her crop that is very painful to her when it’s touched. And she is lethargic, obviously not feeling well and eating only little. I don’t know if it’s a mass of sunflower shells, an impaction of straw, a tumor, or what, but my wife had thrown a bunch of unshelled sunflower seeds into her coop the evening before she turned up feeling bad and she ate a bunch of them. It was the next morning that we found her obviously not feeling well and it was this afternoon (3rd day of feeing bad) when I discovered the lump in her crop that very obviously pains her when touched. I can hold her, pet her, touch her all over, but when I touch her crop, she starts a non-normal cackling and making a real effort to get away. It’s obviously painful and is the source of her illness. Again, I don’t know what’s in her crop so can’t for-sure pin it on the sunflower shells, but I’ve worried for a long time about the potential for problems with the shells knowing that the wildbirds purposely discard them -and knowing from personal experience what a mass of soggy-wet fibrous sunflower shells feel like in my mouth after I’ve chewed on a handful of them for quite a while before I finally have to spit the fibrous wad out! Just some food for thought (pun intended).