Blogger Shelby DeVore shares information about pumpkins, which are full of vitamins and other nutrients that your chickens and other poultry will love.
When my husband and I bought our house several years ago, someone told us that we needed to put out horse apples or hedge apples (fruit of the Osage-orange tree, Maclura pomifera) to keep bugs away. We asked a few other people and they all agreed that horse apples have been used for centuries to keep bugs away. So, we collected a ton of them that fall and put them all around our house. I didn’t really notice them doing anything, so I researched it. Come to find out, there was a chemical in the apples that kept bugs away, but the chemical was only found in minuscule amounts. Not enough to repel bugs. In fact, the bugs had to come to the apple and eat it before it was even effective. It sounded like we were attracting more bugs than we were repelling them.
I tell you this story because it reminds me of what I read online about chickens and pumpkins. There are a bunch of people that claim to use pumpkins to de-worm their chickens, so I had to figure out if this was effective or if it was just another horse apple case.
Feeding Pumpkins to Chickens
It’s no secret that you can feed pumpkins to chickens. In fact, they love pumpkin, and they’ll eat the fleshy part, the whole seed, the stringy guts, and even thin layers of skin on some pumpkin varieties.
Pumpkins are really good for chickens as well (which is probably why they like them so much!). They are full of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese and riboflavin that chickens need.
Chickens and Worms
I’ve owned chickens for 20+ years and I’ve never had chickens that showed signs of worms. Chickens have a strong natural resistance to internal parasites. If you’re concerned that your chickens might have worms, check them for these symptoms:
Signs your chicken may have worms:
- visible worms in the feces
- worms in eggs
- dirty feathers around the vent
- pale egg yolks
- weight loss despite increased appetite
- pale comb and wattles
If your chickens show signs of worms, you’ll need to take a fecal sample to your local veterinarian. They can recommend the best treatment methods for your flock.
Is pumpkin a de-wormer for chickens?
If you’ve read about feeding pumpkins to chickens, then you’ve probably read that it’s a natural de-wormer for them as well. There has been research done with pumpkins and using them as a form of natural parasite control for many livestock species, including chickens.
Pumpkin seeds contain a chemical called cucurbitacin which is also found in other squashes and cumcumbers. Pumpkin seed extract has been proven to be an effective treatment for internal worms. However, pumpkins contain a tiny, tiny, tiny amount of cucurbitacin. In order for the pumpkin seeds to actually worm your chickens, you would have to extract the cucurbitacin from the seeds and give it in a concentrated form.
The amount of seeds that your chickens would have to consume to de-worm them just from eating seeds is unrealistic. So technically, pumpkin seeds do contain a natural de-wormer. Is it enough to matter? No. But don’t stop feeding pumpkin to your chickens just because it’s not an effective wormer. It’s still a really healthy treat for your flock.
Pumpkins aren’t a natural de-wormer in the way that some people claim. It does have a tiny amount of a chemical that is known to get rid of internal parasites. It’s also a super healthy treat for your flock, even if it’s not going to worm your chickens.
You probably won’t have problems with worms in your flock anyways. Keep feeding your chickens pumpkin because it’s a healthy, nutritious snack for them.
Shelby DeVore is a livestock expert with experience teaching high school agriculture and multiple poultry science teams. Shelby has over 20 years of experience raising poultry for show, meat and eggs. She lives on a farm in west Tennessee with her husband and two children along with too many chickens to count. You can catch up with her on her homesteading blog, Farminence.