Niger Seeds: Ultimate Guide (2019)

One of my favourite aspects of conservatories is the ease of sitting in the warm and watching all the wildlife in my garden while enjoying a cup of tea and the latest fictional best-seller. But 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:

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.

So, I need to entice them onto my property with something delicious. Unfortunately, the birds in my neighbourhood 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
GardenersDream Niger Seed | Premium Wild...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY - Exotic and highly nutritious oil-rich seeds which are great for smaller...
  • PROTEIN-RICH, FULL OF ENERGY – Highly efficient food for smaller birds, containing high...
  • FEED AS PART OF A HEALTHY, BALANCED DIET – Great as part of a high energy diet, niger...
  • ATTRACTS A VARIETY OF BIRDS – Niger seeds work well in tube feeders due to their small...
  • BIRDS TO LOOK OUT FOR - Brambling, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Tree Sparrow and more.
Bestseller No. 2
Extra Select Niger Seed Wild Bird Food,...
  • Rich in oil content.
  • Highly nutritious.
  • Birds that you may attract with Niger Seed: Collared Dove, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Redpoll,...
  • Another excellent product from the Extra select range.
  • Weight 2kg.
Bestseller No. 3
Birdies Nyjer Bird Seeds - Bird Food for...
  • HIGH ENERGY: this small nyjer bird seed is rich in oil food source making it full of...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: All of the seeds come straight from the mill with long expiry dates. They...
  • WILD BIRDS: this bird seed will attract all of the colour finches including the most...
  • HIGH IN PROTEIN: the high level of protein in the nyjer seed is also useful for...
  • FINCH FEEDERS: Ideal for use in Finch feeders which have smaller holes and tiny perches...

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.

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:

Calories515
Fat39g
Sodium0mg
Potassium0mg
Sugar0g
Fiber11g
Protein24g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
Calcium300%
Iron57%

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

Please get in touch in the comments if you have seen anything else having a nibble.

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.

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