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Old 02/02/07, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northeast Kingdom of Vermont
Posts: 2,680
Nutritional Benefits of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds

I read this on another goat forum and thought bit worth bringing over here:

Black sunflower seed, which has an oil content of 40-45%, is used for cooking
oil and birdseed. Confectionery seed is sold as birdseed or for human
consumption, depending on the quality and size of the seed. The small
confectionery seeds are used for birdseed. The medium size confectionery seeds are dehulled for the baking of the kernels, used in salad topping or snack food. The larger size seeds are used in the snack food market. The seeds are roasted, flavoured, and packaged as great tasting Spitz.

Nutritional Information

The sunflower seed is a great source of quality protein, vitamins and

It has particular high quantities of thiamine and niacin. It's main mineral
ingredient is iron, which is a difficult nutrient to obtain in sufficient
quantities. Sunflower seeds contain 31% more iron per gram than raisins,
another popular source for iron. Overall, sunflower seeds are a good source of
a number of important nutrients.

Feeding Sunflower Seed May Prevent Enterotoxemia

By George F. Haenlein, University of Delaware, College of Agricultural
Science, reprinted from Dwarf Digest, Summer 1998

Enterotoxemia is one of the major problems in dairy goat husbandry. The usual preventive treatment is vaccination against the offending clostridial
perfringens microorganisms with bacterin toxoid type C and D at least twice annually. However, enterotoxemia is also known as overeating disease or toxic indigestion. It occurs after excessive feed intake by baby kids and adult goats especially when feed is very palatable; when the animals are hungry; when they stuff themselves with concentrate feeds, shelled corn, oats, oilmeals and pellets, and when the feeds don't have long fibers.

Under such circumstances, the fermentation in the rumen is more rapid than
normal due to the high presence of feed starch; the pH in the rumen falls to
lower than normal levels and a condition know as acidosis sets in, which alters the normal microflora of the rumen and changes the level of production of Normal rumen fermentation products whech are vital for proper nutrition of the goats. Since acidosis is usually a predisposing precursor to nterotoxemia, it seems logical to prevent the one by preventing the other.

Any management procedure which assures feed intake at more frequent intervals with relatively smaller amounts at somewhat lower palatability, less
digestibility and lower starch concentration should be helpful. More fibrous feeds are thus called for. Hay would be the answer if goats would eat it in more than selective amounts and with less waste. Obviously, hay pellets would be the answer if they were available with greater fiber length than the usual pellets which are made from hay that was ground too fine.

However, nature made a neatly packaged feed which is palatable to goats
without being too palatable, and which as a highly nutritious content inside its very useful fiber wrapper. This is the suflower seed. It was not routinely
available commercially in this country until recent consumer interest developed in sunflower oil, in shelled, salted or toasted sunflower seeds in natural food store snacks, and in sunflower seeds for winter wild bird feeding. The price for 100 lbs. of sunflower seed is presently usually higher than that of 100 lbs. of the usual goat feeds, although at the end of the winter bird feeding season, leftover stocks in grocery and feed stores may be available at a discount. Even at the higher price, sunflower seed might be economical if it is successful in preventing acidosis and thus enterotoxemia.

Not much technical information is available in the scientific literature on
the nutritive merits of sunflower seeds probably because they are so relatively high in fiber. This is, however, an advantage when it comes to feeding fastidious goats and preventing their inclination to overeating disease. Instead of wasting much of the offered hay as a preventative, goats - even nursing kids - do eat sunflower seeds readily. Sunflower seeds can be mixed and dispensed with any kind and amount of grain rations, thus giving the grain ration a fiber content and properties as if it were a complete
feed ration. In my experience, milking Saanen does and kids can be kept successfully for months without hay or straw when sunflower seeds are part of a ration consisting of hay pellets (in.), cracked corn, oats and minerals.

The bulk density of sunflower seeds is much less than for the other seeds, which might be another advantage against overeating disease; it takes more time for goats to eat 1 lb. of sunflower seeds than to eat 1 lb. of shelled corn. However, due to the very high fat content of sunflower seeds, exceeding even soybeans, the total digestible, metabolizable and net energy contents for lactation are even higher than for oats and are not much less than for corn or soybeans. The mineral contents of sunflower seeds are higher than for corn; for calcium, phosphorus and potassium, sunflower seeds are much higher than either corn or oats; and the protein content is much higher than for corn or oats.

The main value of sunflower seeds, to date much overlooked in the nutrition
and management of dairy goats - of dairy cows, too - is the high fiber content without sacrificing energy, mineral and protein values. If the price is right, sunflower seeds could be valuable in dairy cattle nutrition, especially for high yielding cows which often produce milk with very low fat test due to a relative deficiency of fiber in their daily ration. But more immediately,
sunflower seeds could be valuable in preventing dairy goats from getting overeating disease while maintaining their production.

According to Ensminger and Olentine

Black oil sunflower seed is good for them and helps with glossy coats. BOSS
can be bought in the bird seed form or raised. Goats like the whole
sunflower plant if they can get it. However, if you are milking goats, it can
suppress their milk. We checked this out on our does and found that it was better to give them just a little cotton seed with their feed. Not much, but just a little. Their coats are so shiny it almost looks like we put oil on them.

written by Esther
I think the last paragraph was added, I am wondering how exactly sunflower seeds would suppress lactation? Doesn't seem reasonable to me...good nutrition and a rumen that is functioning optimally should equal good lactation.

Discussion, anyone?

Oh, here's the other link to nutritional data on sunflower seeds---gives a very thorough analysis. Apparently these babies are very high in selenium, copper, zinc and iron too.

Last edited by Jillis; 02/02/07 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 02/02/07, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NY
Posts: 3,177
I have not found ill effects in milking from feeding it. I cannot figure out wht the science behind that statement would be. I mix my own feed and goes as follows 4 scoops oats , 1 scoop corn and 1 boss . Major science going on here ! the get all the hay they want . I also fee alfalfa pellets on a limited basis along with a good mineral mix.

My feed may not be perfect but is working just fine . I can also feed it to everyone horses , chickens , ducks and sheep.

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Old 02/02/07, 09:16 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 14,962
Thanks for the article.
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Old 02/02/07, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,370
I have wild sunflowers - don't know if they are really related or not. My girls love to eat them. Unless there is something in the plant, the only thing I can think of is that the goats would fill up on the sunflower plants, and not eat enough dairy ration, or alfalfa, resulting in a drop in milk production.

I think the comment was about the 'whole sunflower plant' suppressing their production, not just the seed.

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