Niger Seeds: Ultimate Guide (2020)

One of my favourite aspects of conservatories is the ease of sitting on your chair or garden storage bench in the warm with our best conservatory heater and watching all the wildlife in my garden while enjoying a cup of tea and the latest fictional best-seller. We created a review about the best bird tables recently that may also be of interest. As the season turns, the lack of critters has always left me rather depleted and makes my garden look rather lonesome.

We go into quite some depth about niger seeds below, so jump to a section of your choice:

  • Where Do Niger Seeds Come From?

  • What Are Niger Seeds?

  • Extra Select Niger Seed Wild Bird Food – Review

  • Benefits of Niger Seeds

  • Niger Seed Nutrition

  • What Birds Eat Niger Seeds?

My garden has been graced with a plethora of creatures, numerous squirrels, nighttime foxes, and even the occasional deer. But my favourite visitor will always be birds, but they seem to hide the most during the cold. We reviewed a variety of mesh bird nettings, as these can be ideal for keeping them out of your pond. Why not consider adding in a cascading water feature, giving birds an additional avenue for them to bath in.

So, I need to entice them onto my property with something delicious. Unfortunately, the birds in our postcode seem to be particularly picky, aside from the pigeons, and only the best will do for them.

After a lot of trial and error, I was recommended by a friend to try niger seeds. I had never heard of them before so I thought I’d do a bit of research as I had already spent so much just to make the chubby pigeons on my garden even plumper.

We also reviewed Sunflower Hearts bird food if this was of particular interest as well.

Where Do Niger Seeds Come From?

To avoid any confusion, niger is also known as nijer and nyger. They come from the niger plant which originates in the Ethiopian highlands, so it is probably the most exotic item in my garden!

What Are Niger Seeds?

Niger seeds are very fine and tiny seeds, they are black in colour but will surprise you later. What do niger seeds grow into? When the plant blooms, they give the most amazing shade of yellow flowers. Apparently, they are often mistaken for thistle seeds. One theory to the confusion may be that finches’ favourite food is niger and thistle seeds.

Extra Select Niger Seed Wild Bird Food – Review

When I was looking for niger seeds online, I was certainly met with plenty of options. After reading a few reviews, I decided on niger seed from Extra Select. I’ve added the best sellers below, should you be interested.

Extra Select Niger Seed Wild Bird Food,...
  • Complementary wild bird feed
  • Regular source of vital protein
  • Vat free
  • Easily digestible
  • Requires special feeder for niger seed

You can buy this in 1kg, 2kg, 12.75kg and 20kg. I was a little worried about ordering 20kg for the price of £39.99 but decided to take the plunge as it works out at the best value. I have several bird feeders and tables in the garden so once my order arrived, I swiftly began filling them.

My mistake was assuming these seeds were suitable for all feeders. Feeders with larger gaps, typically filled with peanuts, simply poured out. These seeds are even finer than I anticipated but thankfully fit in my plastic feeders and table without issue.

It took a little while for the local birds to realise there was a feast awaiting them but, once word got round of my new ‘Michelin Star’ garden restaurant, we were swarmed with birdie ‘bookings’.

Notably, goldfinches really love these seeds and being such fussy little birds this came as a surprise to me. If you are wanting to attract goldfinches to your garden, I can not recommend them enough.

I did have a few concerns with my purchase, I didn’t realise there is a shell on these seeds and from previous experience of sunflowers seeds, I was apprehensive about the mess my little friends would leave behind. Truthfully, they do leave these shells behind but due to the colour and the size you really do not notice.

I had also read (after placing my order) that once these seeds lose their ‘freshness’ or get too damp then birds will turn their nose up at them. With 20kg on its way to me, I thought there would be a lot going in the bin after a few months.

Fast forward a few days after filling my feeders and they’re empty! They are like kids in a sweet shop, I don’t think there’ll be any left before they go ‘stale’. In hindsight, I am very glad I chose the larger bag, I will also be ordering another as I don’t want to risk running out and risking a bird-wide protest.

The product is also packaged incredibly well, the plastic bag is thick and sturdy enough to not worry about splitting. I have placed it in my shed, which is filled with sharp tools poking around, and it seems to be going strong. I also can’t see any damp or mould forming which I have previously experienced from other bird food.

Bestseller No. 1
RSPB Nyjer seed Wild Bird Food 900...
  • Tiny, oil-rich & energy-giving black seed
  • Highly nutritious
  • 100% of RSPB profits help save birds & wildlife
  • We recommend using a special nyjer
Bestseller No. 2
Premiun Niger Seed, Wild Bird Food, 2.5L
20 Reviews
Premiun Niger Seed, Wild Bird Food, 2.5L
  • Introducing Hungry Wings Niger Seed Wild Bird Food – the petite powerhouse of nutrition...
  • Our premium wild bird food features the finest-quality niger seeds, meticulously chosen to...
  • Tiny in size but mighty in nutritional value, niger seeds are rich in essential oils,...
  • Hungry Wings brings you the purest and freshest niger seeds, ensuring that your avian...
  • The convenience of our easy-to-use packaging makes it a breeze to offer these...
Bestseller No. 3
Premium Niger Seed Wild Bird Food 3L Tub
  • Rich in oil content and highly nutritious, treat the Goldfinches in your local area with...
  • Birds love Niger seed, it’s a firm favourite amongst many varieties of garden bird
  • If you aren’t already feeding it to your garden birds, we recommend giving it a try.
  • Most birds will eat Niger Seed, however some favour it more than others. One of the most...
  • Stored in a high quality re usable Tub

Benefits of Niger Seeds

What exactly are the benefits of niger seeds? As previously mentioned, these seeds can grow into spectacular flowers. Most bird food seems to find its way into flower beds and start to sprout. With niger seeds, I doubt you will mind seeing this little sunshine flower pop up around your garden.

They also seem to be the choice for smaller songbirds. The pigeons who frequent my bird tables do not seem to care for them, perhaps they are too small, meaning I am not longer funding their greedy eating habits. Though at least they are going for the bird table instead of the retractable washing line.

Their shells are not as noticeable as other birdseed so when your guests leave without clearing up after themselves, you hardly notice, if at all. If you have your feeder above flower beds, instead of lawns or patios, they blend seamlessly into the earth.

Niger Seed Nutrition

We want to make sure our little birds are nice and plump for the cold months and niger seeds certainly help does the job. Per 100g, niger seed nutrition consists of:

Calories 515
Fat 39g
Sodium 0mg
Potassium 0mg
Sugar 0g
Fiber 11g
Protein 24g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 300%
Iron 57%

It seems birds are very health conscious and know what to pick to help them through the winter.

What Birds Eat Niger Seeds?

For many, this is the most important question. From my research and witnessing visitors to the garden, here is a list of what birds eat niger seeds.

  • Finches
  • Siskins
  • Sparrows
  • Redpolls
  • Doves
  • Nuthatches
  • Woodpeckers
  • Chickadees

Overall, niger seeds seem to be the best solution for what I want in my garden. Long gone are my childhood days of smearing peanut butter on a pine cone. With the ideal nutrition, little mess and hassle and flocks of beautiful songbirds filling my garden daily, I will definitely be making the permanent switch to niger seeds for my little feathered friends.