Did you know that there are many pumpkin treats chickens will love to eat during the cooler weather? As summer turns to fall, it’s a great time to store up a few extra pumpkins. Set these aside in a cool, dry location and you will be able to make some pumpkin treats chickens will love and go crazy over, as the weather turns chilly.
Chickens Love Treats!
If you have a flock of chickens, you understand how happy they are when you bring treats. Treats are fun for us too. We can watch their antics as they devour the special delicacy. When we use this opportunity to bring a nutrient-rich food, it makes us feel like we are creating an even healthier life for our chickens.
It’s fun to be creative in the kitchen. Taking scraps of leftovers, bits of herbs and produce from the garden, and combining it with the normal grains or layer ration is creative. I enjoy putting together a large pan of treats based on what we have in the refrigerator, garden, or kitchen compost pail.
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Gardening provides us with many treats for the flock. As the season winds down, or when you shop the farmers market, be on the lookout for a good price on small pumpkins. Pumpkins store easily in a cool, dry space and provide great nutrition for the flock during the winter months. Adding extras to the pumpkin puree brings the treat to a new level of chicken treat!
Pumpkin Treats Chickens Will Love for Cold Weather
Cold weather is the appropriate time for feeding extra energy foods like corn, winter squash, and pumpkins. Corn is easy to obtain and mix into any combination of foods that are safe for chickens to eat. Pumpkins are another valuable food for cold weather. High in vitamins and nutrition, putting away a few pumpkins when they are in season keeps this nutrient-rich food available through the winter.
My new book, 50 Do it Yourself Projects for Keeping Chickens, Skyhorse Publishing 2018, has quite a few recipes that will make your flock extra happy. Below is one of the pumpkin recipes from the book.
Easy Pumpkin Storage
Pumpkins will last a long time in a cool, dry environment such as a root cellar. You can try some of the ways to mimic a root cellar’s conditions using items such as buried trash cans or coolers. Or, you can cook the pumpkin and store the flesh in the freezer until you need it. Even the guts and seeds from the pumpkin can be stored in the freezer. Here’s how:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
Line a baking sheet with foil
Slice the pumpkin in half (Scoop out all the guts and seeds and store separately in the freezer or feed to the flock now)
Place the two sides, cut side down, on the foil covered pan
Roast the pumpkin in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a fork into the rind. If the fork penetrates into the flesh easily, the pumpkin is cooked.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool
Once you can touch it safely, remove the outer skin. Cut up the pumpkin flesh and store in the freezer in containers or freezer bags.
Now to make the pumpkin treats chickens will love!
1 medium-sized pumpkin, cut in half
16 oz. cooked pumpkin purée from another pumpkin (or one can of pumpkin purée — not pie filling)
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup mealworms
¼ cup flax seed
¼ cup sunflower seeds
Handful of fresh herbs, chopped — reserve a few sprigs for garnish if desired
You can also add raisins and any other dry treats to the mix.
Scoop out the guts and some of the pumpkin flesh. Save the pumpkin shells. Cut up the long strings of guts. Place the goop on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour/scoop into the hollowed out pumpkin halves.
Serve to your flock! Let me know in the comments if this is a recipe for pumpkin treats that your chickens love.