Add to My MSN

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds for your Chickens

9/12/2013 12:15:00 PM

Tags: Sunflowers, Seeds, Chickens, Backyard Chickens, Harvest, Fresh Eggs Daily


Each spring I plant sunflowers along the back of my herb garden. Not only do the tall stalks and large leaves provide shade for the herbs during the height of summer, the sunflower seeds make a nice, inexpensive treat for our chickens each fall. [Read here to find out how to start your seeds using eggshells]

Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein that will help your chickens through the fall molting season. To harvest your seeds once the blooms are spent, you only need some cheesecloth, twine and small paper bags.

cheesecloth and twine

Once the petals have fallen in late summer, cover each seed head with a double layer of cheesecloth, securing around the base of the stem with the twine, to prevent wild birds and squirrels from eating all the seeds.  Let dry completely (at this point you can cut the heads off the stems and dry in a garage or mud room, if you wish). 

cover each seed head

Once the seeds are completely dry and the head is brown, remove the cheesecloth. Holding each seed head over newspaper, rub your hand over the seeds to allow them to drop.  Store the seeds in brown paper bags in a cool, dry spot and use as treats for your flock.

bagged sunflower seeds

Chickens can eat the seeds hulled or in the shells, so there's no need to shell the seeds for them if you don't want to. Compost the spent seed heads, leaves and stalks, but remember to save a few seeds to plant the following spring.


FED logo

Visit me on Facebook or my Blog for more tips and tricks to raising happy, healthy chickens naturally!

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


9/23/2013 3:15:22 PM
Lisa, nice sunflowers. I tried to grow some sunflowers this year but the resident groundhog kept eating the young plants. Nature has a way of giving me what I want and so the next property over grow a whole field of wild sunflowers. Go figure. The groundhog likes mine better, I guess. Have a great sunflower day.

Recent Posts

What we're reading

Pay Now & Save 50% Off the Cover Price

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $14.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $19.95!

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here