One of the common questions we get about chicken feed is if you can feed chickens bird seed. You can feed chickens bird seeds. These are a healthy source of fat and would give them an instant energy boost.
But picking the right bird seed for your backyard chickens may be a bit confusing. There are a lot of options for bird seeds like- wild bird seeds, bird seed mixes, sunflower seeds, etc., making your choices difficult.
Hence, here is a detailed guide to making you aware of different types of birdseed, their nutritional values, and potential benefits. To learn everything in detail, continue reading this article.
Which Bird Seeds Are Best For Chickens?
There are quite a few choices available when it comes to picking bird seeds for chickens. Mentioned below are some of the best picks that have essential vitamins and nutrients, so they make an excellent snack for your poultry.
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Black oil sunflower seeds are great bird food. Black oil seeds are rich in vitamin E and calcium, which help chickens lay healthy eggs. Additionally, black oil seeds contain methionine, an essential amino acid to keep chickens healthy.
But sunflower seeds are high in fat, so you birds should have them in small quantities and in moderation.
Wild Bird Seed
Wild bird seeds are a combination of cracked corn, millet, sunflower seed, etc. Chickens would happily eat the wild bird seed, but again these have very high-fat content but lack enough vitamins and nutrients, so don’t replace them with the chicken’s regular diet.
Such mixed wild seeds are best during winters as the healthy fats in the seeds would keep your chickens warm.
Safflower seeds are a favorite food for wild birds, and your backyard chickens would happily eat them too. Safflower seeds contain vitamin E, vitamin K, and fatty acids that can help boost your chicken’s immune system. Again don’t go overboard and provide only in limited quantities.
Birds like goldfinches love niger seed, but they make a great treat for your chickens as well. Your chickens would love to pack on these seeds while they play in your backyard.
What Are the Benefits of Feeding Bird Seeds to Your Chickens?
Chickens need a lot of energy during winters to stay warm. Since bird seeds have high fat content, they will help keep chickens warm while also providing enough energy.
You might have noticed that chickens either stop laying eggs, or they lay fewer eggs during winters. This is mainly because they use their whole energy to keep themselves warm. The fat content in birdseed mixes works as a great supplement to fulfill their energy requirements.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Bird Seed?
Yes, baby chickens can eat bird seed, but the quantity should be very less. Your chicks need a well-balanced diet that should have essential nutrients, vitamins, protein, and minerals to keep their digestive tract healthy.
Therefore, don’t just feed them bird seed. Include other foods like vegetables, fresh fruit, high quality chicken feed, etc.
How to Feed Chicken Bird Seed?
Feeding chickens wild birdseed isn’t rocket science. Simply throw a handful of them in the yard, and your chickens will happily eat them. You can also use bird feeders or chicken coops if you don’t want to see seeds all scattered around your backyard.
Foods You Should Not Include in Chicken Treats
While the options to feed your chickens are plenty, some other fruits and vegetables are poisonous to your birds. Let’s have a look at them as well-
- Raw or green potatoes
- Potato peels
- Coffee grounds
- Citrus fruits
- Avocado pit and skin
- Dry lentils and beans
- Uncooked rice
- Vegetables from the nightshade family
- Apricot pits and leaves
The mentioned fruits and veggies are extremely dangerous, they may make your chickens extremely sick if fed unintentionally. Bird seeds are also best as an occasional treat since they are only high in fat and lack other useful nutrients required for your chickens’ healthy growth.
Well balanced chicken diets should include a variety of food, so don’t just restrict it to a particular type.