Sunflowers are not only beautiful, but they are functional on many levels. They help provide shades for other plants, provide foods for birds, and brighten up the garden with their colors. When it comes to food, if birds can eat sunflowers, you may be wondering if chickens can eat sunflowers too.
Can chickens eat sunflowers? Yes, chickens can eat sunflowers, which includes the stems, petals, and seeds. Sunflowers are very nutritious and contain all the important vitamins and minerals that the chickens need. There’s no toxin in any parts of the sunflower so it’s safe for them to eat.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Sunflowers?
Sunflowers are pack with many nutrients into a tiny seed. They are high in vitamin C and selenium. These function as antioxidants to the chicken’s body from free radicals.
Also, the sunflower seeds are a good source of fiber, iron, and phosphorus. All of these nutrients are beneficial for chickens.
Below are some of the health benefits of eating sunflowers for chickens:
Support Healthy Digestion
Sunflowers contain a high amount of fiber in them, especially the seeds. Fiber is important for chickens as it helps them to maintain a healthy digestive system.
Fiber also helps to regulate bowels by regulating digestion, absorption, and metabolism.
Limit Cell Damage
Sunflowers have a lot of vitamin E content. This vitamin is important as it helps aids in normal nerve function and maintains the proper functioning of the immune system.
Vitamin E is also known to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect the bost from cell damage created by free radicals.
Free radicals occur naturally from the food chickens eat. Besides food, cigarette smoke and radiation also contribute to free radicals in the body.
Can Chickens Eat Sunflower Seeds?
Yes, chickens can eat sunflower seeds. These tiny seeds are high in vitamin B and a great source of calcium. Vitamin B aids the immune system and strengthens it. Calcium, on the other hand, helps strengthen the bones and beaks of chickens.
Also, sunflower seeds are full of healthy fats. For hens, this nutrient is very important to the quality of the eggs. Chicken fed a diet of sunflower seeds will lay eggs that are colorful, shiny plumage, and dark rich egg yolks.
As with any other treats, sunflower seeds should be given to them in moderation.
Can Chickens Eat Sunflower Stalks?
Yes, chickens can eat the sunflower stalks. Once you’re done harvesting the sunflower seeds or gardening season is over, break the stalks into smaller pieces and feed them to the chickens.
Sunflower stalks have tough fibrous cells which could make it difficult for chickens to eat them. You’ll want to cut them into smaller pieces to make it easier for the chickens to eat them.
Sometimes, you can simply give them the whole stalk. They’ll have fun pecking at it until some pieces of the stalk come off and then eat it.
Can Chickens Eat Sunflower Petals?
Yes, chickens can eat sunflower petals. These leafy greens are nutritious and safe for the chickens to eat. To feed them to the chickens, you can either give them the whole petal or cut them into smaller sizes.
Due to their soft texture, the chickens will peck at it and eat it a small piece of it at a time.
How To Feed Sunflowers To Chickens
All parts of the sunflower plant are edible and can be eaten by the chickens. Most parts of the sunflowers are tough.
Feeding Sunflower Seeds To Chickens
There are 2 ways to feed the sunflower seeds to the chickens. You can either harvest the seeds from the seed heads or give them the entire seed heads and let them peck from it.
If you’re planning to harvest the seeds, you’ll need to let the seed heads dry first. By drying it first, it will be easier to harvest the seeds. To do so, let the seeds dry on the stalks first. Once it’s fully dried, cut the seed heads off and leave it for a couple of days to dry. Either place it in a shed or the garage. This will prevent the birds from eating the seeds. Once dried, pluck the seeds out or rub your hands over the head and the seeds will fall out.
When it comes to feeding them the seeds, you can just leave the shell on the seed. Chickens are smart animals and will peck at it until the shell breaks. Then they’ll eat the tasty seeds inside.
Feeding Sunflower Stalks To Chickens
The stalk of the sunflower plant is tough and will be difficult for them to eat. To make it easier for them to eat the stalk, you can cut them into smaller pieces.
However, feeding the whole stalk is also an option. It’s a great way to keep them busy by letting them peck at it. Due to the strong beak, they will tear a small piece of the stalk and eat it.
Feeding Sunflower Petals To Chickens
The petals or leaves of the sunflower plant is soft and edible for the chickens to eat. You can either cut them into smaller pieces or simply give them the whole petal.
Giving them the whole petal will keep them busy as they’ll peck at it and eat a small piece of it at a time.
How Many Sunflowers To Feed Chickens
Sunflowers, whether it’s the stalk, seeds, or petals should be given to the chickens in moderation. Too much of it can be bad for them.
Sunflowers don’t have the proper amount of nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary needs. By feeding them just sunflowers or too much of it can cause them to not have nutrition. The result will be the chickens not being healthy and could lead to health issues.
Instead, chickens should be fed quality commercial feeds. These feeds have been formulated with the right amount of nutrition to meet the diet requirement of the chickens.
Therefore, sunflowers should be given to them as treat to supplement their feeds. Once or twice a week is enough sunflower for them.
Other Plants That Chickens Can Eat
Marigolds are one of the flowering plants that are high in antioxidants. Also, marigolds help promote the growth of new skin tissue.
For hens laying eggs, marigolds that are fed to them will result in bright yellow yolks.
Violets are not only beautiful, but it’s great for feeding to the chickens too. The edible flowers are high in nutrition. It’s known to help with circulation and stop inflammation of the arteries.
Bee balm is a flowering plant whose leaves have antibacterial properties. This plant is an excellent remedy to clear respiratory problems in chickens.
Dandelions are not only a nice addition to salads, but they can be fed to chickens too. Dandelions are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially iron, calcium, and vitamin A.
All parts of the dandelions are safe for the chickens to eat. Make sure to cut them into smaller pieces before feeding them.
Roses are not only beautiful, but they’re a great treat for chickens too. Roses help cleanse blood toxins and act as antibacterial and antiseptic agents for them.
All parts of the rose are edible and safe for the chickens to eat. However, you’ll want to cut them into small pieces so it’ll be easier for them to eat and digest.