Pumpkin Treats for Chickens
Treating my chickens to fun, healthy snacks is one of my favorite things about having a flock. They get so excited and treats are probably the reason they love me so much! Now, I’ve told you before that watermelon and mealworms are their favorite, but not too far behind those two are pumpkins!
Pumpkins are nutritious and delicious for your feathered friends. They are high in fiber and the seeds are high in good fats. Pumpkins are high in calcium, niacin, iron, magnesium, potassium and beta-carotene. The beta-carotene also gives your yolks a nice rich orange color. Pumpkins also have vitamins A, B, C and E. With all this nutrition, we all should be eating more pumpkin!
Although, I’m pretty sure pumpkin spice lattes don't count, but if we’re being honest, that’s MY favorite pumpkin treat! Haha!
Your chickens can eat the pumpkins raw or cooked. They won’t mind either way. I will usually cut (or break) my pumpkin in half. When I first started, I just set a pumpkin out in the run and waited for them to dive in. They didn’t understand the concept until I started poking some holes for them to peck at. Which brings me to the fact that pumpkins are good to prevent boredom in your flock. Chickens love to peck, scratch and explore new things. Pumpkins provide some great entertainment for them.
Pumpkin seeds are great for your chickens! There is some debate out there on whether pumpkin seeds are a good dewormer for your chickens. While it would take quite a bit of pumpkin seeds fed to your chickens to accomplish this, the coating on the seeds is what paralyzes the parasites/worms. No matter what school of thought you have on this, feeding pumpkins and their seeds to your chickens will not hurt them. And, because they’re high in fiber, pumpkins are a great treat for their gut health.
Some people go to great lengths to puree their pumpkin insides for their chickens. I haven’t needed to do that. I do cook up a lot of butternut squash in the fall. In fact, I have some in the oven right now. After it’s baked, I scoop out the insides and give to my chickens. They go crazy for it. It’s a nice warm treat for them on these colder days.
Whatever your feelings are on everything pumpkin spice this time of year, don’t withhold pumpkins from your flock! It’s a healthy and nutritious treat. The only caution I have on this is to make sure your pumpkins aren’t rotten when you give them to your flock. My rule of thumb as far as scraps, leftovers, produce, etc. is this: If I will eat it, they can eat it. If it’s moldy or rotten, I won’t eat it and neither will they!
Have a happy fall!
--The Wing Lady