Nyger Seed, also known as Niger, Nyjer or Thistle Seed, is an oil-rich seed found in Africa, India, and some parts of southeast Asia. In those parts of the world it is predominantly used in cooking but here in the UK we've found a different use for these little seeds - bird feeding!
Nyger Seeds are high in healthy oils, proteins and fibre, making them an ideal seed for a variety of birds, particularly in the winter when birds need to pile on the pounds to help them through the cold nights. The soft husks around Nyger Seeds makes them easy to crack through so soft billed birds like Robins, Wrens and Song Thrushes will appreciate a peck at these seeds.
However, Nyger Seeds are most famous in the UK for attracting birds in the Finch and Tit families. Here on our farm we see an abundance of Goldfinches and Blue Tits around our Nyger feeders. Specialised feeders have been designed to accommodate the tiny size of the Nyger Seeds which means that only birds with the tiniest of beaks can get to them. This is great if you're looking to exclude larger or more common birds (like Pigeons or Magpies) from feeding in your garden.
An added bonus of the Nyger Seed is that they are non-sprouting/no-grow, which means you don't need to worry about the odd stray seed dropping on the floor and growing unwanted plants in your garden. (However, we would still recommend using a tray under your feeder to catch the husks. It's quite the clean-up task otherwise!)
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