As autumn approaches, on the farm, in grocery stores, and in the garden, pumpkins will start to appear. When the squash does appear, you may wonder if you can feed pumpkins to your chickens.
So, can chickens eat pumpkins? Yes, chickens can eat pumpkins, which include guts, seeds, flesh, skin, and leaves. You can either feed them raw or cooked pumpkins. Pumpkins are packed with nutrition that makes a great treat for your chickens.
Is It Safe For Your Chickens?
Pumpkins are safe for chickens to eat since it doesn’t contain any toxins.
The only thing you need to worry about is if there were any pesticides used to grow them. Pesticides contain chemicals that are harmful to the chickens.
To ensure the vegetable is safe for them to eat, wash it thoroughly before feeding them to your chickens.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Pumpkins?
Pumpkins are a good source of vitamins, minerals, calcium, protein, and antioxidants. All of these nutrients make pumpkin a healthy food for your chickens.
One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:
- Calories: 49
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Below are some health benefits of feeding pumpkins to your chickens:
Produce Quality Eggs
Pumpkins are a good source of calcium, which is important for hens to produce quality eggs. The eggshell is made entirely of calcium.
Also, calcium will help the hen remain strong during egg production.
Pumpkin is high in antioxidants, which are important in preventing illness and diseases.
The antioxidant is a compound that helps prevent cell damages from free radicals.
If there are too many free radicals in the body, the chicken is more prone to becoming ill and having diseases.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Pumpkins?
Baby chickens can eat pumpkin, but only when they are about 3 weeks old.
Under 3 weeks old, the chick’s digestive system has not developed properly. Feeding them pumpkins could cause crop impaction in chicks.
Instead, they should be fed a diet of starter feed. The feed contains all the nutrition that the baby chickens require to grow strong and healthy. Starter feed should be fed to them from the day they hatch until they are 8 weeks old.
Once the chicks are about 3 weeks old, you can start to introduce pumpkins to them. It’s best to cook the pumpkin first. This will make it soft and easy for the chicks to eat. Then either cut them into small pieces or mash them.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Leaves?
Pumpkin leaves are safe for your chickens to eat. It’s edible and full of nutrition. You can either feed them the leaves raw or cooked.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, chickens can eat pumpkin seeds. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Adult chickens will have no problem eating the seeds. They will eat and swallow it whole. It will get broken down when it’s in their crop.
As for chicks, it may cause them to choke on the pumpkin seed. If you want to feed them any, crush the seeds into small pieces.
How Do You Prepare Pumpkins For Your Chickens?
The great thing about pumpkin is that since all parts of the vegetable don’t contain any toxins, you can feed them the whole thing.
Cut the pumpkin in halves and place it onto the ground. The chickens will start to peck at the seeds, guts, and flesh of the pumpkin.
You can also cook the pumpkin as well. Just make sure to not add any seasonings to the vegetable. Seasoning like salt can be harmful to the chickens in large amounts.
How Many Pumpkins Should You Feed Your Chickens?
Give pumpkins to your chickens in small amounts. While the vegetable is nutritious, it doesn’t have all the nutrition that the chicken needs to stay healthy.
Feeding them too many pumpkins could cause them to become full. When they do, they will not want to eat chicken feed, which has all the nutrition that they need.
Therefore, for adult chickens, you can give them a large pumpkin to eat. It will be enough for the entire flock to enjoy. For baby chickens, just a small piece of pumpkin will be enough for them to enjoy.
How Often Should You Feed Pumpkins To Your Chickens?
Since pumpkins are available once a year, you may be tempted to feed them as much as you can. If you have a lot of pumpkins lying around, you can give them on a daily basis. If you do, make sure to only give them a small amount at each feeding.
Too much pumpkin can cause them to become full, which could prevent them from eating their main diet of chicken feed.
Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat
Kale is known as a superfood due to its abundance of nutrition. This includes calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Since kale is nutritious and low in calories, you can feed them every day.
Radishes are high in nutrition, yet low in calories and saturated fats. This makes radishes a good treat for chickens. Most chickens won’t eat raw radishes due to their bitter taste. To make it tasty for them, boil the radishes first. Also, radish greens have a lot of nutrition that you can feed your chickens as well.
Pumpkins are great for chickens since its full of nutrition. You can feed them cooked or raw pumpkins. All parts of the vegetable are safe for chickens to eat, so you can cut it in halves and toss it to them. For cooked pumpkins, ensure that no seasonings are used if you’re planning to feed them to your chickens.