Chickens love treats and they go nuts when anything tasty is tossed to them. These feathered friends are not choosy and will eat almost anything including chicken. So, can chickens eat pumpkin?
Treats are good and help supplement the diet of your flock or other farm animals with extra nutrients. Some chicken hobbyists use them as a way of enticing their birds.
Your feathered friends will always return to their coop on time to roost if they are sure they will get something tasty for their stomachs.
So, let’s talk about chickens and pumpkins. This will help you filter out any doubts you may have regarding feeding chickens with pumpkin.
Do chickens like pumpkin?
Yes! Pumpkins are good and tasty for chickens. They are filled with Vitamins, minerals and some powerful antioxidants which are beneficial for chicken’s health.
This yummy vegetable is also rich in moisture making it a good snack for your red hens on a hot summer day.
At first, chickens might be hesitant especially if it is their first encounter. When they get used to it, they will devour on it all from the seeds, flesh and the fibrous guts.
How much pumpkin can chickens eat?
Pumpkins are treats and are meant to supplement chickens diet. They should be served in moderation alongside their main diet of commercial chicken feeds.
Never do away with the main chicken diet just because you found out that your chickens are eating pumpkins pretty well.
As the general rule of thumb, all treats should only account for not more than 10% of the chicken’s diet. This tells that they are to be fed sparingly once in a while.
Give your chickens a frozen piece of pumpkin on a hot summer day. This will help cool their fluffy bodies and also keep them well hydrated.
What parts of pumpkins can chickens eat?
The whole pumpkin is very edible for chickens. It might pose a challenge for the birds to break and tear inside the tough skin.
This may require your help to break and expose the inner fleshy part of this tasty treat. Pumpkin seeds, flesh and skin are good for chickens.
Some chickens will also eat the leaves just like they eat squash plants. Chickens will also eat up calabash plants, seeds and the flowers if they get a chance to sneak in your vegetable garden.
My Hampshire Red chickens do not spare the fibrous guts either. They will much on everything and are the worst animal pests in my garden.
I sometimes thought that my chickens could not eat pumpkin seeds but I was surprised to see that they could eat the seeds before the flesh.
Although it is not scientifically proven, there are those who believe that pumpkins are a good natural dewormer for chickens.
How to serve pumpkins to chickens
Pumpkins do not need a lot of preparations especially if you want to serve them raw. Choose a good pumpkin from a familiar source.
Avoid pumpkin treats for chickens that are grown in green houses. This is because some farmers rely on pesticides, fungicides and other farm chemicals to control pests and diseases.
Such pumpkins are not good and may contain chemical residues in them that may cause ill health.
Cooking will make pumpkins soft and easy for some types of poultry like ducks to eat. If you cook, don’t use any butter and salt.
Chickens digestive systems do not require any salt or butter. Remove any uneaten pumpkins from the chicken coop.
These leftovers might attract rodents and other vermin that will come for free meals. They may in turn bring diseases or other predators like snakes in the coop.
In addition to this, uneaten pumpkins may get bad and turn rotten. Rotten foods are not good for your chickens just as they are to you.
What of canned pumpkin?
Those canned pumpkins are not the best for your chickens. They contain sugars and other additives added in them which are not good for chickens to eat.
Remember that too much sugar will make your birds obese. Overweight chickens are prone to joint and back problems.
Chopping pumpkins and storing them in a refrigerator is a good way to preserve these treats. When feeding, defrost only enough for your hens to eat.
Scoop the pumpkin flesh and seeds to make a puree. Roast it and then freeze it in small amounts for your favorite girls.
The tough rind can be used to make compost that will enrich your pumpkin garden together with chicken poop.
What are the health benefits of feeding pumpkins to chickens?
As I said earlier, pumpkins are loaded with many beneficial vitamins and minerals for the health of your chickens.
To help you understand this better, study the table below.
100g Pumpkin Nutrition
Vitamin C 9mg
Vitamin K 1.1ug
Pumpkins for chickens are a good way to ensure that your birds get enough Vitamin A. When laying hens lack this vital vitamin, they will lay eggs with blood spots on them.
This tasty treats also contains a lot of vitamin B and C. These vitamins helps promote growth, relieve stress and with chick hatching.
Tossing a pumpkin head is a good way to ensure that your chickens are kept busy. It will act as a boredom buster and keep the birds occupied instead of feather picking and bullying.
Pumpkins are a great treat for your birds during fall and winter. At this time, there is no much for your birds to forage on because of snow.
Pumpkin seed nutrients
Pumpkin seeds are healthy, nutritious and good for chickens to eat just like the flesh is. They are rich in vitamin E which helps keep the body healthy and free from bronchitis.
These seeds are also very rich in potassium. This vital mineral helps in healthy growth and development of baby chickens.
Another vital mineral in these seeds is zinc. Zinc is very important for healthy growth and development of chickens.
Zinc deficiency will lead to stunted growth and weak bones in the body. Always make sure your hens get enough of this mineral be feeding them pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas. It is common to find people ask whether chickens can eat pepitas. The answer is yes! Pumkin seeds or pepitas are healthy for chickens to eat.
Can chickens eat pumpkin Final Thoughts
However, just like other treats, feed pumpkins to chickens in moderation. This is only meant to supplement their diet.
Do not do away with the staple diet of pellets and crumbles just because you have plenty of pumpkins for chickens.