Sunflower seeds are the seeds of the sunflower plant. These seeds are helpful in a number of ways in our lives. As they give us edible oil and also a good source of proteins. However, we can offer them to our birds as well. As birds love to eat seeds and seeds, they make their food’s primary part that’s why several birds used to eat sunflower seeds. Moreover, as birds cannot open them and they have to swallow the seeds along with shells. And the same goes for sunflower seeds. But what about the chickens? Can chickens eat sunflower seeds with shells?
As chickens are also birds, and their food is also consisting of several kinds of seeds. That’s why they can eat sunflower seeds as well. However, these seeds are healthy for chickens because they are a good source of proteins and oil.
And because of it, several people are used to growing their sunflower seeds for their chickens. However, not only birds but many animals also like to eat sunflower seeds like horses and squirrels.
Now let’s have a look at how chickens can eat sunflower seeds with shells and are they healthy for them? Not only this but let’s discuss several other myths about feeding sunflower seeds to chickens. So let’s dig into it.
Can Chickens Eat Sunflower Seeds with Shells?
Chickens are domestic birds and give us eggs and meat for our food. That’s why several people used to raise them on their own. However, they are omnivores and can eat both plant and animal based food. For example, they can eat insects, worms, seeds, fruits, and vegetables as well.
However, seeds make their foods primary part, but we have to offer them different foods like fruits, insects, and vegetables into fine pieces.
And in seeds, sunflower seeds are healthy for them. So due to which many people used to grow their sunflower plants to get seeds for their chicken’s food. Sunflower seeds are beneficial because they are a good source of proteins and vitamins like vitamin E.
And also, nutrients and minerals in sunflower seeds help chickens to lay healthy eggs. As vitamin E in these seeds are helpful for the production, fertility, and hatchability of eggs.
Now let’s discuss that can they eat their shells too. However, as we know that chickens are not able to open these seeds, and also they are not able to chew them because they don’t have teeth. So that’s why they have to swallow them.
Amazingly their digestive system is efficient to digest these seeds without any issue. However, not only chickens like to eat sunflower seeds but they are healthy for them as well. But we don’t have to feed them only seeds, either they are sunflower seeds or other seeds.
Because no doubt seeds are healthy for them, but they cannot provide them with all the necessary nutrients and minerals. That’s why make sure that you are feeding healthy diets to your chickens.
How To Feed Sunflower Seeds to Chickens?
However, there is no specific method to feed sunflower seeds to chickens. For example, many people used to sprinkle on the ground so that they could peck them quickly. However, you can also offer them these seeds with other foods.
Moreover, it’s not necessary that you have to offer them whole seeds, but you can grind them and then mix them with other foods. As, it will be easy for them to eat these seeds.
And the other method to feed them sunflower seeds is that let them forage for it. However, chickens are natural foragers, and they can find their way to eat these seeds.
Can Feeding Sunflower Seeds Harm Chickens?
However, sunflower seeds are not harmful to chickens as they offer a healthy meal to them. Not only this but chickens also love to eat sunflower seeds. But as we know, that overabundance of each food is bad for chickens. So that’s why don’t feed them only these seeds but try to feed other foods as well.
As chickens are omnivores, and they can eat both plant and animal’s flesh. So try to give them other foods as well.
However, excess sunflower seeds can cause heart issues because they contain a good amount of oil which can increase cholesterol levels in chickens.
Myths About Chickens and Sunflower Seeds:
As the normal dose of sunflower seeds is not harmful to chickens but still, there are several myths about feeding sunflower seeds to chickens. So now, let’s dig into all such myths.
Sunflower Seeds Can Kill Chickens:
However, this myth is due to the high fat content in these seeds. As sunflower seeds contain a good amount of oil, they can enhance their cholesterol level in the body. That’s is harm for their heart’s health. But you can avoid this risk after feeding sunflower seeds to a moderate level.
However, crop impaction means the blockage of food passage. As chicken’s food firstly, stores into their crop which is temporary food storage for them. And shells of sunflower seeds can cause it. As chickens are unable to remove these shells and they have to swallow them.
However, they can get crop impaction from any food when they eat it a lot without any grit. And sunflower seeds are not the single food that can cause crop impaction, but any food can cause if they eat it in excessive amounts.
However, you can save your chickens from crop impaction by feeding them food into fine pieces, as food in fine detail will be easy for them to digest.
Read also: Why Do Chickens Have Wings ?
Can Chickens Eat Too Many Sunflower Seeds?
A precise answer to this question is that yes, they can eat too many sunflower seeds. However, there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, they love to eat sunflower seeds and secondly, sunflower seeds and many other seeds make a significant part of their food.
However, eating too many sunflower seeds is not healthy and safe for them. Because due to high fat content, they can cause obesity in chickens which is not beneficial for them. However, if you want to increase their weight, you can give them more sunflower seeds but try to offer them into fine pieces to avoid crop impaction.
A Final Thought:
However, chickens not only can eat sunflower seeds, but they can eat their shells as well. As they love to eat these seeds. But these seeds give them a good amount of proteins and vitamin E, which is helpful for the fertility and hatching of eggs.
As chickens love these seeds, that’s why they can eat them in too much amount, but this can be harmful to them. As the shells of sunflower seeds can cause crop impaction if chickens eat them in large amounts.
Moreover, high-fat content in sunflower seeds can cause obesity in chickens, and high salt content can cause dehydration and constipation. So avoid feeding them too many sunflower seeds, as moderation is the key to good health.