Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunflower Seeds for the Hens

In my quest to become more self sustainable, feeding my hens is an area I'd like to improve on instead of relying on bagged feed. Mammoth sunflowers are something that I grow every year and then leave the heads for the wild birds. While I do like the wild birds, my hens were first in line this year to receive the sunflower bounty.

Sunflowers drying on the nesting rack.
The heads were collected and tied together in bunches to be dried in the hen house. I hung them from the ceiling and on the tiered rack above. The metal rack is one I picked up a tag sale a few years back for $1. It's filled with hay and the hens use it instead of the laying boxes - it's fancier - that's why they like it better.

The sunflower harvest was impressive this year. I thought they'd last for quite a while to have a daily treat. Plans for next year are to double the amount of sunflowers.

Rosie-Posie pecking the seeds off the ground.

Most mornings, I scrape the seeds out of a sunflower head or two on to the ground and let the girls scratch them out of the hay.

Rosie-Posie and Butternut.

Little did I know, someone was helping herself! This little lady below has a bad leg after surviving being attached by dogs last winter. She limps around most of the time. Who knew she could still jump so high? So much for the sunflowers lasting the winter!

Rosie-Posie helping herself.
Enjoy the day-

This post shared at Barn Hop #83, Clever Chicks #4., Tilly's Nest, Frugal Days/Sustainable Ways, and Backyard Farming Connection.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I have been thinking along those lines too!
    I have been feeding my hens all the sunflowers that came up wild by the bird feeders. I enjoyed your pictures! Hope you are feeling better!
    Have a great day!
    Love and prayers,

    1. Thanks Mary! I'm thinking about growing millet and amaranth next year too. I'm just going to have to hang them higher to dry.

  2. Love hearing about this - I saved sunflower heads for the chickens too, only I put them in a bucket and forgot to hang them - one bucket got really mucky. I must remember to hang them!

    1. Last year I left them too long in the garden and some little worm got in there and ate the seed! Live and learn - right?

  3. Hi there! We keep chickens too and are always looking for new ideas for them. New fan here! I found you through Frugal Days. I would love for you to come share on my Farm Girl Blog Fest:

  4. Hi, I found you through Tilly's Nest. Your girls look happy and healthy and if they could smile I'm sure they'd be grinning from ear to ear! lol

  5. Great post! I don't see our ladies eating the sunflower seeds, they scratch around the bird feeders all the time but seem to leave the sunflowers alone. I wonder if they'd enjoy them more right off the heads? I always grow Russian Mammoth sunflowers, next year I'll save some of the heads for them. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Saw you linking at Tilly's Nest.
    Debbie :)

    1. It's funny because not everyone's flock loves the same foods. My girls are picky about things that friend's flocks love.

  6. Great post, Wonderwoman! Featuring this tomorrow on the Barn Hop! Be sure to grab a button if you're so inclined. Thanks for linking it up.

  7. It's remarkable how resourceful they can be when they are properly motivated, isn't it? :)

    Have a great week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  8. In answer to dewdrop Gardens, try the BLACK seeds, they are smaller... and I have read that the giant gray sunflowers are for some reason not the right kind for chickens (you will observe ONLY the black oil sunflower seeds in wild bird feeds). I now a cue from what I see inside packages of bird seed. If a bird can eat it, then likely the chickens can and will. Maybe not the song bird type birds - theirs include things I think are too large like nuts.


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