thistle seed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ladyj, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. ladyj

    ladyj Out Of The Brooder

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    a friend of mine gave me two big bags of thistle seed thinking that as my babies are ( pigs with wings)[​IMG] as dh calls them would eat it, have tried mixing in with their morning scratch but silly girls pick everything else out and leave the thistle, question is if it sprouts would it be dangerous for the girls to eat the plant or should i rake it out and and spread in pasture as the wild birds love to be with the horses and they would get a great treet.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If you spread the thistle seed on the pasture, you will get a lot of thistle plants in the pasture. The horses will not be able to eat the grass around the thistle plants. The thistle needles will be a danger to the horses and any other livestock in the pasture. The thistles will spread to neighboring fields and contaminate any hay fields they grow in. Thistle is considered a noxious weed in many if not most jurisdictions and you are required by law in those jurisdictions to control it. People have lost lawsuits in a court of law because they did not control thistle on their property and infected neighbor's fields.

    I consider it an extremely bad idea to give the thistle any chance to either get established or to spread at all if you already have some thistle in your area. I spent way too many hours of my youth in the heat of an August cloudless, windless day patrolling pasturefields digging up thistle to try to keep it from taking over.

    Personally I would burn the thistle seed, but I admit to being prejudiced against it. If you feel you must use it, I would suggest using it as bird feed this winter in an area of your yard that will be mowed regularly next summer to try to keep it from ever coming to a bloom and spreading and infecting other areas.
     
  3. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    My winter birds love thistle seed. We hang it in 'feeder socks' outside the living room window and spend hours watching dozens of finches!!
     
  4. SurprisingWoman

    SurprisingWoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it is birdseed thistle (or niger) then it is non-sprouting.

    I agree, it is fun to watch the finches and siskins feed during the winter. I would save it for cold weather and have fun with the small ones. [​IMG]
     
  5. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Monroe, North Carolina
    Quote:niger is non-sprouting????? How does that work?? curiosity is killing the possum here![​IMG]
     
  6. Echos_dad

    Echos_dad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here in Colorado, it's spelled nyjer. Goldfinches love it. It's pretty expensive for chickens. Mine just looked at it, then at me. Then they demanded some scratch.

    It's heat sterilized (cooked) to prevent germination because it is so invasive. They import it from either Africa or India.
     
  7. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    I have had niger sprout under bird feeders. It is similar to our invasive thistle, but not so picky. It has never wintered over. I have always assumed it was noninvasive becaue of the cold weather here.
     
  8. Equus5O

    Equus5O Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just wouldn't consider feeding thistle to my flock. It's expensive enough to buy it for the finches, but for chickens too? EEK! Even the sunflower seeds are costly. So, I bought a bag of safflower chips to mix in with the scratch. It's far cheaper than the sunflower. It may not have the alleged benefits of black oil sunflower seeds, but it does give them variety when scratching around in the run.
     

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