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Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin? What You Need to Know!
During the fall time, it’s not difficult to find an assortment of pumpkin delicacies, and that includes treats for your flock. Fresh pumpkin is a great treat to feed your chickens because it is nutritious and tasty. Although you should not feed your chickens canned pumpkin, fresh pumpkin certainly is a great snack option.
To find out more about incorporating pumpkins into your chickens’ diet, keep reading. You can think of this article as a general guide to feeding pumpkins to your flock. Let’s get started.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin? Yes!
Pumpkin is a great treat to feed your chickens. It is a vegetable loaded with key nutrients and minerals. Plus, chickens love to eat it! In fact, you can put the entire pumpkin in with the flock, and they are sure to eat it very quickly.
Forget About Canned Pumpkin
With that being said, you should not feed your chickens canned pumpkin or any other form of processed pumpkin. Canned pumpkin typically contains added syrups and sugars, which are unhealthy for chickens. Instead, only feed your chickens fresh pumpkin.
How to Serve Pumpkin to Your Chickens
One of the great parts about serving pumpkin to your chickens is that it requires almost no preparation. Many people think that they need to cut up their pumpkin since it is so large. Although this certainly is an option, it is unnecessary because chickens love picking apart at the pumpkin themselves.
To serve pumpkins to your chicken, cut the pumpkin in half, and place the halves in with the flock. Chickens can eat the fleshy inside and seeds, so there is no need to sort out the parts. After the chickens are done eating, all you will have left is the skin of the pumpkin.
Pumpkin Nutrient Facts
Not only do chickens find pumpkin tasty, but it is an incredibly nutritious snack to feed your flock. Both the pumpkin flesh and pumpkin seeds are high sources of necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. At the same time, pumpkins are relatively low in saturated fats and calories.
As a result, pumpkins are a great treat to feed your chickens, especially in the fall and winter. During these seasons, your chickens have more difficulty foraging for healthy food. That makes pumpkin a great item to supplement into their diet for their necessary vitamins and minerals.
Pumpkin Flesh Nutrients
The flesh of the pumpkin contains quite a few vitamins that are great for chickens. Most importantly, pumpkin is an excellent source of beta carotene. Whenever the chicken consumes beta carotene, it is converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A boosts the immune system and regenerates cells, but many chickens are deficient.
Because vitamin A deficiency is common in chickens, many chickens experience blood clotting, blood spots on eggs, tissue damage, and more. Feeding your chickens pumpkins is a way to ensure they get enough vitamin A during the harsher seasons.
Pumpkins are also a natural source of potassium. Potassium is necessary for chick development and heat exhaustion. Giving your chickens pumpkins if you want to hatch your own eggs is an especially great idea.
Pumpkin Seed Nutrients
In addition to the pumpkin flesh being nutritious, so too are the pumpkin seeds. Like the pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seeds are high in potassium, which is once again necessary for healthy development in chicks and chickens.
More so, pumpkin seeds are high in vitamin E, which enhances the chicken’s immune system. This vitamin helps to protect against common diseases, such as E. coli and bronchitis. The lack of vitamin E can cause distressing conditions in chickens, making it an imperative vitamin to incorporate into their diet.
A third key nutrient found in pumpkin seeds is zinc. Zinc is also critical for your chickens’ development, and it can lead to bone deformity or stunted growth if the chicken does not have enough.
How Many Pumpkins Should I Feed My Chickens?
Even though pumpkins are great for your chickens’ health, you need to serve them in moderation. Feeding them too many pumpkins can easily lead to an unbalanced diet. It’s a great idea to start out with one pumpkin and cut it in half. Allow your chickens to eat away at it, but remove the remnants once dusk sets in.
Make sure to feed your chickens their usual balanced feed alongside the pumpkin. Pumpkin should not be their sole form of food, but it should be viewed as a treat or supplement.
Can Pumpkin Serve as a Wormer?
If you read other articles about feeding pumpkins to your chicken, you might come across the idea that pumpkin seeds act as a natural wormer. Although many people claim that pumpkins act as a natural wormer, there is no evidence to support this fact.
Since there is no science to support the claim that pumpkin serves as a natural wormer, you need to talk to your vet about treatment options that have been confirmed. With this in mind, it’s perfectly fine to feed your chickens pumpkins, but do not rely on them to act as your chickens’ sole wormer.
Pumpkin is a great treat to feed your chickens, but it is only in season during the fall. If you want to feed your flock pumpkins year-round, it’s best to store the pumpkin so that you don’t have to buy it at a later point. Buying pumpkins outside of fall can be expensive.
The best way to store pumpkin is to scoop the flesh and seeds out of the shell. Then, puree and freeze the contents in small quantities. When it’s time to feed the pumpkin to your flock, defrost one bag at a time. Compost the shell that remains.
Pumpkin is a great treat to feed your flock. Chickens find it super tasty, and it is great for their health. Although you should feed it to them in moderation, it certainly is a treat that can ensure a healthy and well-balanced diet for your chickens.
Once again, pumpkin is a tasty and nutritious treat for your chickens, but you should not use it as a natural wormer. This can be dangerous and put your flock at risk. Feed your chickens pumpkin as usual and get worming medication from your vet.
Featured Image Credit: Marius Ciocirlan, Unsplash
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.