Sunflower Seeds

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rgrillo, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. rgrillo

    rgrillo Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2010
    I have two hens that I raised from chicks that are now about 18 weeks old. They are out foraging for large parts of the day. They have a good quality feed on hand at all times but just seem to pick at it (unless they are going at it when I am not watching). I give them healthy treats a couple of times a day, usually vegetable or fruit scraps and sunflower seeds. They go crazy for sunflower seeds, so much so that I wonder if they would eat nothing else but sunflower seeds if they had a choice! It has led me to wonder how much may be too much of a good thing. The seeds I am giving them so far are raw shelled and unsalted seeds that you find at health food stores or sometimes supermarkets.

    So, if they love these seeds so much, should I let them go at it or should I limit them as a treat? And what kind of sunflower seed is the best for them: black or other and shelled or unshelled??
     
  2. rrgrassi

    rrgrassi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To save money, you could go to the feed store and buy a 50 pound bag of sunflower seeds.
     
  3. bburn

    bburn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2010
    Delaware, Arkansas
    But.....I think the most important thing they need is the feed because of the protien content. I treat mine also....but usually just once a day after the morning feed and before the evening feed.

    I think we are supposed to limit the treats. Although, mine are 21 weeks now and I am treating with cottage cheese about three times a week....want to make sure they are getting their calcium.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If they're free ranging, they're getting plenty of protien. I'd rather they eat what they find and the scraps I give them.

    I don't know if they'd gorge on the shelled seeds. Personally, I'm too cheap to buy them shelled. I buy the bulk bags from the feed store and throw out a couple handsful maybe twice a day. I use more if I have an area I want the chickens to scratch more, like I'll toss some seeds or cracked corn out in the horse paddock to encourage the girls to turn that over for me [​IMG] I've never let them have enough that they leave any. I'd think they'd self-regulate after a day or two? But, like for us, variety is the best!
     
  5. rgrillo

    rgrillo Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2010
    So, it sounds like most people are feeding them sunflower seeds in the shell. I wasn't sure they could crack open the shells but obviously they can. The wild birds do this well.
     
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:They don't crack them like wild birds, they eat them whole.
     
  7. Jx2inNC

    Jx2inNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I throw out wild bird seed with shelled sunflowers.
    They aren't still on the ground the next time I come back, so either they eat them or they have some deal going on with the backyard squirrels... [​IMG]
     
  8. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    BOSS...black oil sunflower seeds. At TSC they have 40 or 50 lb bags for around $10 bucks. I got mine on sale...I've heard others say it's more like $15 in their areas. Let the birds eat the seeds whole. There are supposed to be numerous benefits to feeding them this treat.

    When your birds free range...they are likely getting everything they need during the day. I mix one scoop of BOSS in with 6 scoops of layer feed...some people do 50/50. The food is GONE by the end of the day...even with their foraging.
     
  9. rgrillo

    rgrillo Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2010
    Thanks for your advise. So just to be clear, Muggsmagee, you are mixing in the black sunflower seeds IN THE SHELL with their feed, correct? Or are they sold already shelled?

    On another subject, I've been giving the girls some really small cherry tomatoes which to my surprise they have often swallowed whole! Should I be cutting things up for them in bite size pieces or just throwing the scraps out these as is?
     
  10. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    Quote:Yes...in the shell. They eat them whole.

    Don't cut them...too much work. They love grapes, too!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010

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