It’s almost autumn, and shops will soon be flooding with pumpkins for sale. And while your chickens are passionate about eating, is it safe for them to eat all vegetables and fruits, particularly pumpkins? Can chickens eat pumpkins?
Can Chicken Eat Pumpkins?
When we ask questions like can chickens eat pumpkins, we are talking about the produce in general. Is it safe for chickens to eat pumpkin seeds, flesh, and peels?
The simple answer to whether it’s safe for fowls to eat pumpkins is yes. Pumpkin is an excellent treat to serve your chickens. Like most vegetables, it’s full of vital nutrients and minerals.
Moreover, your chickens love to eat pumpkins. You can serve the whole pumpkin to your chickens, and they will quickly devour it.
Will Chickens Eat Pumpkins?
When it’s your first time feeding the chickens pumpkins, they might be hesitant about it at first. But, once these birds begin pecking at the pumpkin, there’s no stopping them!
When chickens taste the pumpkin, they won’t be able to get enough of this vegetable. Chickens usually devour the whole pumpkin from the fibrous guts, seeds, flesh, and a few of its skin.
Are Pumpkins Bad For Your Chickens?
Any chicken treat is going to be harmful to your chickens if served disproportionately. Together with their regular balanced diet, serve pumpkins in moderation to your chickens.
It’s the same way humans take vitamins and supplements. Animals also take treats as a supplement to their usual feed.
Left-over pumpkins attract rodents, so make sure you take them out of the coop or run before nighttime. Rodents usually are on guard for an easy meal, and pumpkins are one of them. More so, left-over pumpkins become wet and moldy, and it’s going to be harmful to your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Flesh?
One cup of pumpkin flesh has many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals with only 49 calories. So, while other healthy treats sources are insufficient during the autumn and winter seasons, pumpkin makes the best low-fat treat to nourish chickens.
Pumpkin flesh has loads of powerful antioxidant beta-carotene that transforms to vitamin A in the body. When your chicken has enough vitamin A in its body, it strengthens its immune system and restores its cells.
The fact is, vitamin A often lacking in a chickens’ diet. Vitamin A deficiency cultivates a lack of mucus in the throat and eyes, thus prone to damaged tissues. Damaged tissues often lead to infections that cause respiratory problems and dry eye, such as the Infectious Coryza. Also, the deficiency of vitamin A can cause blood spots in eggs.
Also, pumpkins have a small amount of Vitamins B and C. These vitamins are responsible for advancing the growth of chickens plus easing stress with hatching chicks. Pumpkin also contains potassium essential in chick development as well as helps chickens manage intense heat. This vegetable is fantastic to cool chickens during hotter temperatures.
100g Pumpkin Nutrition
Before collecting the fertile eggs, feed your laying hens pumpkins for two weeks. This method is excellent when you are going to hatch your eggs. Plus, hens that consumed pumpkins have vibrant orange eggs.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Chickens need grit when breaking down pumpkin seeds. So, when you serve a lot of pumpkin seeds, give it to them with a lot of grit as well. More so, don’t serve them coated in seasonings or sugar because these substances are harmful to your poultry.
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds To Chickens
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is essential in the chickens’ immune system as it protects chickens from some diseases but does not cure them. Such diseases are bronchitis, coccidiosis, and e.coli. Vitamin E deficiency can cause a wry neck in chickens.
- Zinc – Don’t try to shell the seeds to your chickens as it has concentrated zinc that’s important to your birds’ growth and development. Lack of zinc can bring stunted growth and deformity to your poultry. When you plan to produce your chicks from your eggs, serve your laying hens treats with zinc two weeks before collecting the eggs to ensure healthy embryos.
- Potassium – Potassium is also vital to your chickens’ overall healthy growth and development.
Are Pumpkin Seeds A Natural Dewormer?
No research and study can prove the statement that pumpkin seeds are natural dewormers. Some studies support pumpkin seeds as dewormers on people, goats, and horses, but it doesn’t mean they can also be in poultry.
When you want to deworm your chickens, it is best to ask a veterinarian to consider treatment options. But, worms are not a problem for backyard chickens because they can disturb fowls raised in crowded environments.
So, in general, you can feed pumpkin seeds to your chickens. These seeds are a healthy supply of valuable nutrients. However, don’t anticipate the pumpkin seeds to get rid of chickens’ worms.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Skin?
You can serve a pumpkin but cut it in half with its skin. Some chickens eat the seeds, stringy guts, and flesh but leave the pumpkin skin. But many chickens devour everything, skin and all.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Leaves?
Is it safe to grow pumpkins in your yard when you also breed chickens? The answer is yes. Chickens, in general, adore the leaves of squashes, and that includes pumpkins as well.
You can cut the vines and leaves to feed them to your chickens. It’s best to keep our chickens out of the patch. Not because it’s harmful to the birds, but pumpkin vines are sensitive and quickly dies. When chickens begin eating the vines and leaves off, it can kill the pumpkin plant overall.
How To Feed Pumpkins To Your Chickens?
Cook And Raw
You can crush the seeds using a food processor if you think these are too big for chickens to eat. Yet, you can also serve the pumpkin seeds as they are to your birds. The fowls will eat them whole and won’t cause any health problems at all.
Other homestead breeders also cook pumpkins, like a poultry-friendly pumpkin pie, for their feathered pets. It’s important to remember that pumpkins are a whole meal in itself.
You can serve it to your flock in half and let them peck at it, seeds and all. It’s easy for the birds to eat the flesh and seeds, so no need to sort them out. Others like to sprinkle other chicken feed like chopped herbs or a few sunflower seeds in a cut pumpkin.
Serving Pumpkins: Whole or Half?
Don’t offer the entire pumpkin to your flock. Cut it in half and place the halves skin part down. When you serve the whole pumpkin, they’ll peck at the insides but will not be able to consume all of the pumpkins.
Fresh Or Frozen?
More so, you can store pumpkins so you can provide to your poultry all year round. Pumpkins can be expensive during other seasons of the year. The easiest way is to scoop the pumpkin’s flesh and seeds and make a puree or roast it before freezing it in smaller amounts.
You can defrost frozen pumpkin puree or roasted pumpkin one bag at a time. And feed it as it is to your chickens. But you can also add cooked rice or scrambled eggs in the wintertime because this is when your poultry requires a lot of vitamin boost.
What do you do with the remaining pumpkin shell? You can add it to the compost heap you’re making. A pumpkin is helpful in your poultry, without a doubt.
Forget about feeding your fowls with canned pumpkins or any other processed pumpkins. Syrups and sugars mixed in canned pumpkins are not suitable for your chickens. The best way to serve pumpkins is the fresh one for your birds.
How Many Pumpkins To Feed The Chicken?
It’s the same with the other chicken treats you provide to your poultry. You have to serve pumpkins in moderation to your chickens even when they are excellent for the birds’ health.
Excessive consumption of pumpkins can lead to an unbalanced chickens’ diet. The best is, to begin with, one pumpkin and cut and serve it in half. Remove the leftovers before nighttime to prevent rodents from coming to the coop and running.
Alongside pumpkins or other treats, your chicken should consume a balanced feed. Pumpkins should never be their main staple but only as a supplement or as a treat.
|Size/Breed of Chicken||Daily Pumpkin Amount|
|Bantam Breeds||10 – 20 grams|
|Small Breeds (like Silkies)||20 – 40 grams|
|Medium Breeds (like Leghorns)||40 – 60 grams|
|Large Breeds (like Rhode Island Reds)||60 – 100 grams|
Other Uses Of Pumpkins For Your Chickens
Chickens can get bored before and during winter periods. Free-range chickens are more prone to get bored because there won’t be enough to explore to keep them amused. Treats with tough skin like pumpkins can encourage pecking, and these birds need to bite at anything.
When boredom hits chickens, as mentioned in previous articles, they can begin pecking at each other, leading to injuries. Pumpkins have the perfect textures in skin and flesh to entertain chickens and keep them nibbling for hours.
The answer is yes, chickens can eat pumpkins as it’s an excellent treat for them. But, even when chickens find pumpkins super tasty, you should feed them in moderation for a nutritious and well-balanced diet for your pets.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.