Soon enough, pumpkins will be hitting the market places and local picking patches near you. Did you know that feeding pumpkins and their seeds to your flock is not just a wonderful way to entertain them? It also has added health benefits as well.
Pumpkins are a yummy snack and they last for days. After placing a pumpkin in the run, you may discover at first that your flock thinks it’s an alien life form that they should fear for their lives. They may leave it alone for days on end. If that happens, make a starter hole for them. With a screwdriver, a kitchen knife or even a cookie cutter, start a hole in the side of the pumpkin. That is all it takes. Once a curious member of your flock takes the first peck, the others will quickly join in.
|Our local pumpkin patch|
Fall is a wonderful time for chickens. Cooler temperatures have arrived and most chickens begin their annual molt. I know my flock always looks forward to having a pumpkin put in their run. It provides them hours of entertainment! It is a great way for them to feed their natural desire to peck and get a bit of exercise.
|Feathers, a Silkie Bantam, peers into the depths of the pumpkin.|
A Natural Wormer
Medical studies done over the past 50 years in livestock and people have shown that pumpkin seeds act as a natural wormer. Pumpkin seeds and seeds found in other varieties of squashes are rich in the amino acid- cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacin is a paralytic agent to various worms found in the digestive tract such as tapeworms and round worms. The worms are paralyzed and then passed in the droppings. Cucurbitacin is also found in cucumbers and cantalopes too. So be sure to share their seeds and guts with your flock too. Read more about other natural wormers and learn what you can feed your chickens from your kitchen.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Pumpkins are a great source of Vit A, Vit E, Vit C, anitoxidants, lutein and betacarotene.
Be sure to have a good supply of grit available to your flock to help them properly digest the pumpkin and its seeds and promote crop health. Lastly, If you have issues with rodents or scavengers near your coop take the pumpkin out of the run in the evening and return it in the daytime. Also, check the pumpkin each day for signs of spoilage including mold, odor or sogginess and discard it at first signs-that is if your pumpkins even last that long!
|Commercial blends of treats such as
Garden Delight and Treats for Chickens Pumpkins Seed Snacks (shown)
contain pumpkins seeds for year round benefits.
Delaware State University: http://www.desu.edu/sites/default/files/Pumpkin%20Seeds-Worms_DJO.pdf
Rybaltovskii OV. 1966. On the discovery of cucurbitin—a component of pumpkin seed with anthelmintic action. Med Parazitol (Mosk) 35:487–8
Plotnikov AA et. al. 1972. Clinical trial or cucurbin (a preparation from pumpkin seeds) in cestadiasis. Med Parazitol (Mosk) 41(4): 407-411.
Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest and Treats for Chickens. All photos are copyrighted/rights reserved.
Both Manna Pro and Treats for Chickens are both sponsors over on my blog, I have not been compensated in any way by either company to share their products on this post.