Squash is one of the most common vegetables out there. Many farmers and gardeners have this fruit on their land. If you happen to be one of those farmers or gardeners, then you might be asking, “Can chickens eat squash?”
No need to wonder any longer. Today’s focus is entirely on chickens and their interaction with squash.
Can Chickens Eat Squash?
If you look at the nutritional value of the squash, you will see that it does not have toxins and poisons. It is safe for them as much as it is safe for us. Your chickens can peck away without you worrying!
There are many types of squash, but you do not have to worry. Each one is safe for your chickens.
However, that is not the only thing to be concerned about when it comes to treats.
The tomato showed us that some treats are safer when ripe. Additionally, green beans have taught us some treats are safer when cooked. Lastly, the apple has educated us that not all parts of a treat are always safe to eat. Let us talk about these concerns next.
Ripe VS Unripe Squash
Whether it is ripe or unripe, the different types of squash are safe for the chooks.
On the other hand, you need to be careful with an overripe squash. An overripe squash in itself is not harmful, but it is about to go rotten. Like with us humans, rotten fruits or vegetables can be dangerous to chickens.
Cooked vs. uncooked Squash
It is also safe to give cooked or uncooked squash to your birds. But as you will see later, there are some instances where it might be better to provide cooked squash.
When feeding cooked squash, it’s best to omit any seasonings. They can’t enjoy seasonings as much as humans do, and it’s also not healthy anyway.
Can Chickens Eat Squash Skin
The squash skin? Safe for the chooks. You do not have to worry if they take a peck at it. That is if they would be able to peck at it in the first place.
The skin of raw squash can be tough. Your chickens could try to peck at it and hurt their beaks. Your chickens could end up with a broken beak, or this instance might cause them to ignore squash in the future.
Want the chickens to devour the whole squash? Cook the! It will soften the skin up, making it easier for chickens to peck away at it.
If you want to feed them raw squash, it’s recommended to cut it into smaller pieces. This way, they will be able to eat the insides with ease. Do not forget that, in this case, they would most likely leave the skin alone. Don’t forget to clean up once they’re done with their squash halves or slices!
Do you use pesticides in your garden? Did you buy the squash from the store? If so, make sure you thoroughly clean the skin before giving it to the chooks! The skin is not bad for these birds, but that kind of chemical is.
Yes, your chooks can also eat squash seeds! It is safe for them, and it seems to be a flock favorite. There is a big possibility that your chickens would eat all of it first before they start pecking at the other parts.
You can also give squash leaves to your chickens. However, they might not eat it. We could assume leaves, in general, are not tasty for chickens.
If you use pesticides in your garden or if the squash is store-bought, we suggest you skip giving them the leaves. With the texture of leaves, it could be hard to get rid of the chemicals that touched them.
Do Chickens Like Squash?
Now, let us discuss how the squash ranks in the chicken treats list.
Chickens generally like squash. This fruit is not high up the chicken treats list, but they still like it.
Still, chickens have different preferences. Some of your chooks might like squash, while your other chooks might not. Just take these chickens in the video, for example. Some seem to be having the time of their lives. On the other hand, the others do not seem to be that thrilled.
It is always a good idea to check if your flock likes a new treat before fully introducing it. It lessens the mess on the run!
You can offer your chickens a slice to see their reactions. If they peck at it and put their beaks up, then it’s safe to assume they don’t like squash. Cross out squash from your chicken treat list.
Is the Squash Good for Chickens?
Yes, it is. Like other fruits and vegetables, squash has many good things, such as a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. However, that is not the only thing squash sports.
|100g Squash Nutrition|
|Calories||20 kcal||Ideal for healthy weight|
|Carbohydrates||4.7 g||Energy for daily activities|
|Dietary Fiber||1.5 g||Helps in digestive health|
|Sugars||2.2 g||Appeals to chickens’ taste|
|Protein||1.2 g||Essential for feather growth|
|Fat||0.2 g||Healthy, minimal fat content|
|Vitamin A||222 IU||Supports vision, feather health|
|Vitamin C||12 mg||Boosts immunity, reduces stress|
|Calcium||15 mg||Strengthens bones, aids eggshell formation|
|Iron||0.3 mg||Important for blood health|
|Magnesium||17 mg||Supports bone health|
|Phosphorus||29 mg||Vital for bone health, egg production|
|Potassium||262 mg||Necessary for muscle function|
|Sodium||2 mg||Balances fluids, overall health|
|Zinc||0.2 mg||Aids in feather regrowth|
|Copper||0.1 mg||Supports red blood cell formation|
|Manganese||0.20 mg||Bone development and eggshell quality|
In this portion, we want to highlight what sets squash apart from other fruits and vegetables.
The belief is, the squash is a dewormer.
The squash is part of the gourd family. Many believe that the members of this plant family are natural dewormers.
This characteristic of the squash is not yet fully confirmed, but there are numerous accounts where members of the gourd family have helped with the parasitic problems in other animals.
One problem many chicken handlers have faced is the resistance of parasitic worms to commercial dewormers. That is why many advise against using those kinds of dewormers indiscriminately.
With that said, many chicken handlers are willing to take a chance with the squash. You can read more about this matter here.
Overall, squash is a healthy treat. Also, there is a possibility of it being a dewormer. For that, it could be a great treat. However, it doesn’t have all the things that your chickens would need. It cannot be part of their staple diet.
Can Chicks Eat Squash?
We haven’t forgotten about the chicks!
Yes, chicks can also eat squash. However, it is advisable to cook and mash the squash to ensure it’s easy for them to eat and digest. This extra effort is to ensure that they will be able to properly digest the squash. You may want to add some grit in there if you want to be extra safe.
At times, chicken handlers avoid giving chicks certain treats due to the risk of choking, rather than the contents of the treats themselves.
Gourd Family Treats
Since the belief is that the gourd family are natural dewormer, you might be interested in adding a few of its members to your chicken treats!
- Cucumbers– The cucumber is one of my favorite treats for chickens. (See the nutrients of the cucumber here.) It has many good things while barely having any of the bad stuff for chickens. Additionally, a large part of it is water making it a great summer treat. Now, it might also be a natural dewormer!
- Watermelon– On the other hand, watermelon is not commonly known for being a natural dewormer. However, it still has a lot of health benefits and goodness to offer! (See the nutrients of the watermelon here.)
- Melons– If we’re talking about watermelons, then we can’t forget about melons. It is also a healthy treat! It is part of the gourd family. But like watermelon, it is not that famous as a natural dewormer. We still think it’s worth a shot!
All these treats are safe for chickens. You can check their contents on the USDA pages we provided above.
Can chickens eat squash? Yes, they can!
It’s one of the best treats to offer to your chicken. It can be ripe or unripe and cooked or uncooked. It will be safe whichever way! Additionally, you can let your chickens feast on the different parts of the squash. They could eat the flesh, the skin, the seed, as well as the leaves!
Also, the squash has many good things to offer. In addition to having an array of vitamins and minerals, the belief is it is also a natural dewormer.
So, you don’t have to worry about giving squash to your chickens anymore. Do you have some squash now? Go ahead and give them some!
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 The Foundry.