When raising backyard chickens, it’s important to understand what to feed chickens to keep them healthy on a daily basis. But they absolutely love pumpkin, which is loaded with so many great nutrients. Pumpkins contain many different vitamins: A, B and C, as well as zinc. The seeds are loaded with vitamin E. Here’s a tip: If you’ve been wondering how to deworm chickens, many chicken keepers believe that pumpkin (especially ground pumpkin seeds) is a natural dewormer.
When carving your pumpkin, keep everything from the inside of the pumpkin: the stringy parts, the seeds, the scrapings from the sides, even the cutouts from the face! The chickens can eat all of this.
Use the jack-o’-lantern as usual, but after Halloween, you’ll need to take another look. If the pumpkin is moldy or rotted, just throw it out or cut off the bad parts if they are small. The parts that are still in good shape can be broken into chunks and fed to the chickens. They will peck at it until there is nothing left but a thin skin. This is why you need to break it up. You can give it to them whole, but it might end up curling in on itself and they won’t be able to get to some of it. My chickens love the pumpkin, and the neighbors will even drop off their jack-o’-lanterns and small decorative pumpkins after the holidays.
Talking about free feed sources, you already invested in buying or growing pumpkins, right? They are full of seeds, why not keep a few for next year? If you have a spot to plant them, you can grow pounds and pounds of pumpkins to use for feed. Plus, you won’t have to buy jack-o’-lanterns next year! Your chickens, and your wallet, will love you for it!
What can chickens eat? is a common question from Backyard Poultry readers. Questions like can chickens eat bananas? Can chickens eat grapes? And even, can chickens eat cucumbers? prompted us to create this guide to feeding chickens scraps safely.
What treats do your chickens enjoy?
Originally published in 2014 and regularly vetted for accuracy.