In Reward of Hulled Sunflower Seeds (the MVP of Chicken Meals)

I’ll be the primary to confess that I’m now a chicken nerd. And never that I didn’t admire birds earlier than, however as quickly as I put in a chicken bathtub and a chicken feeder, the sport modified. Now I fortunately sit and watch the avian motion, admire the feathers and frolics, and attempt to establish the totally different guests. (I geek out with Sibley’s Yard Birds of Northern California  information). I’ve additionally experimented with totally different store-bought chicken meals, noticing what made a complete mess, what the birds appeared to devour, and what wasn’t cost-effective. This seed journey has led me to the almighty sunflower seed—after which finally to the no-waste cracked sunflower seed.

A great tit plucking a seed from a sunflower. Photograph by @hedera.baltica via Flickr.
Above: An ideal tit plucking a seed from a sunflower. {Photograph} by @hedera.baltica by way of Flickr.

What are cracked sunflower seeds?

These are sunflower seeds (both black oil or white striped) which have the arduous, inedible shells eliminated, so it’s simply pure meaty goodness that has been damaged into smaller bits. Cracked sunflower seeds are also referred to as sunflower chips. You can even discover entire, hulled sunflowers seeds however I just like the cracked ones as a result of the tiny items are simpler for the small birds to eat. Finches, for instance, aren’t geared up with massive highly effective payments to open robust hulls.

What birds like them?

A nuthatch at a feeder filled with whole sunflower seeds, also called sunflower hearts. Photograph by Trevor King via Flickr.
Above: A nuthatch at a feeder crammed with entire sunflower seeds, additionally known as sunflower hearts. {Photograph} by Trevor King by way of Flickr.

Most birds appear to like these items. The birds that I see go to my crammed feeder are goldfinches, pine siskins, sparrows, western scrub jays, oak titmouses (titmice?), and home finches. That is the number of guests at my Northern California backyard, however elsewhere you may count on birds similar to Carolina wrens, pine grosbeaks, white-throated sparrows, and a wide range of woodpeckers.

Why are these sunflower seeds higher?

A feasting siskin. Photograph by Jeannie Debs via Flickr.
Above: A feasting siskin. {Photograph} by Jeannie Debs by way of Flickr.

Like I discussed, not solely does this seed appeal to a wide range of birds, however there isn’t all of the waste and mess related to different chicken meals mixes that add filler meals like milo and millet (numerous birds toss millet apart) or incorporate sunflower seeds with the shells on that finally find yourself scattered under the feeder. I used to be by no means keen on sprouts rising under my feeder from these different chicken meals mixes. As well as, I wish to appeal to birds, not rats. No matter little bits of sunflower seeds that fall to the bottom are instantly devoured by different birds.

One other profit to cracked sunflower seeds is that sunflower seeds, typically, are a superior supply of fiber, fats, protein and nutritional vitamins, plus as a result of they’re shelled, the birds spend much less power making an attempt to take away the hulls. That is particularly essential within the winter when power is at a premium for our winged mates.

Will cracked sunflower seeds appeal to squirrels?

A wily squirrel. Photograph by George Thomas via Flickr.
Above: A wily squirrel. {Photograph} by George Thomas by way of Flickr.

You betcha. Nonetheless, I’m a kind of professional squirrel individuals who admire their acrobatics, their spazzy conduct and the truth that they appear to take turns consuming with the little birds.

Downsides to cracked sunflower seeds?

Effectively, as anticipated with most premium gadgets, these seeds are dearer than entire seeds as a result of labor concerned eradicating the shells. Nonetheless, most chicken seed is bought by weight—this manner, at the least you aren’t paying for the inedible shells. Additionally, with out their shells, these seeds sadly are extra susceptible to warmth and moisture and spoil shortly. This implies open platform feeders usually are not suggested. I take advantage of a tube feeder and clear it frequently to take away sticky and clumped up seeds. However actually, the additional work and cash is price it.

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