So, Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin?

If you live in North America, every autumn you’ll soon have more pumpkins around than you know what to do with.

two hens eating a treat made from pumpkin and pumpkin seeds

They’ll be at every grocery store, every one of your neighbors will have them you’ll probably even have some of your own.

What to do with all these pumpkins? How about feeding them to your chickens? Can chickens eat pumpkins?

Yes, chickens can safely eat every part of a pumpkin. Pumpkins have vitamins A, B, C, as well as calcium and protein, making them highly beneficial for chickens – so long as they are given to them in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet.

That’s good to know, and though you would need a frankly gargantuan flock of chickens to go through even a fraction of the pumpkins that you probably have on hand at this time of year, it is nice to know you can give your birds a treat and boost their nutrition at the same time.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about serving pumpkin to your chickens.

Nutritional Profile of Pumpkin

Everyone loves pumpkins for their festive holiday connotations and as part of a delicious pumpkin pie, but few are the people who know how healthy pumpkins really are.

Pumpkins are jam-packed with good nutrition, vitamins, and minerals alike.

Pumpkins contain a massive amount of vitamin A and beta carotene and every single B vitamin, including folate, is strongly represented. A big dose of vitamin C and a little bit of vitamins e and k are also present.

100g PumpkinAmount
Water91.6 g
Calories26 kcal
Protein1 g
Total lipid (fat)0.1 g
Ash0.8 g
Carbohydrate, by difference6.5 g
– Fiber, total dietary0.5 g
– Sugars, total including NLEA2.76 g
Calcium, Ca21 mg
Iron, Fe0.8 mg
Magnesium, Mg12 mg
Phosphorus, P44 mg
Potassium, K340 mg
Sodium, Na1 mg
Zinc, Zn0.32 mg
Copper, Cu0.127 mg
Manganese, Mn0.125 mg
Selenium, Se0.3 µg
Vitamin C9 mg
Thiamin0.05 mg
Riboflavin0.11 mg
Niacin0.6 mg
Pantothenic acid0.298 mg
Vitamin B-60.061 mg
Folate, total16 µg
Choline, total8.2 mg
Vitamin A, RAE426 µg
Vitamin A, IU8510 IU
Vitamin E1.06 mg
Vitamin K1.1 µg
Fatty acids, total saturated0.052 g
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

There’s more good news concerning the minerals contained in pumpkin, too. Calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese are all present, as is phosphorus potassium, and zinc.

Pumpkins, like most fruits and vegetables, or mostly water, with over 91% of a pumpkin being H2O by weight.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Chickens

Chickens need a variety of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, and pumpkins can be an excellent source of these nutrients.

Pumpkin flesh is high in vitamin A, beta carotene, and all of the B vitamins, which are essential for good vision, metabolism, and cell growth.

Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of folate, which helps to prevent birth defects, and vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting.

In addition, pumpkins contain calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc, all of which are vital for strong bones, healthy blood cells, and a robust immune system.

So if you’re looking for a way to boost their health, adding pumpkins to a chicken’s diet is a great place to start.

Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Raw?

Yes, chickens may eat pumpkin raw, and this is the very best way that you can serve it to them as it will maximize its nutritional value.

Don’t worry, most chickens seem to instinctively love pumpkin and the ones that are hesitant will quickly become fans after they have a bite or two.

Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

They sure can. Happily, pumpkin seeds are one that chickens will enjoy and they contain absolutely nothing harmful, just more of the same nutritious vitamins and minerals present in the other parts of the pumpkin.

Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin “Guts”?

The stringy, slimy guts of a pumpkin are the first thing that come out when you want to prepare pumpkin pie or carve up an award-winning jack-o’-lantern, but you don’t have to discard them if you are feeding a pumpkin to your chickens.

They can eat the guts if they want to, and they are healthy.

Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Rind?

Yes they can. Although the rind of a pumpkin can prove to be quite tough, most chickens are capable of breaking it down by pecking it.

However, this is a part of the pumpkin that some chickens just don’t like, so you need not force them to eat it but if they want to you can let them.

Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Cooked?

Yes, chickens may have cooked pumpkin, although as mentioned above cooking pumpkin will significantly reduce the content of its vitamins and minerals.

It will still be quite healthy, so no need to worry about that, and cooking might be a good way to encourage picky chickens to eat pumpkin in the first place.

Never Feed Pumpkin to Chickens that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients

On the subject of cooking up pumpkins, you must never, ever give any part of a pumpkin to your chickens that has been prepared with or as an ingredient in another harmful food that they shouldn’t have.

This is particularly prevalent in the case of desserts like pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread and also the seasoning or sweetening of seeds as a fall treat.

Salt, sugar, butter, oils, and all the assorted ingredients are nothing but bad for chickens.

At best, they will make your birds get fat and have an upset stomach, but at worst they could make your birds deathly ill or even kill them.

Don’t risk it! Stick with plain, cooked pumpkin only!

Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Pumpkin

It is also worth mentioning that any pumpkin that purchased at the grocery store is likely to have been treated significantly with pesticides prior to sale.

Although they should be washed before being sold for human consumption, you can always count on this and you must take it upon yourself to thoroughly wash any pumpkin to remove pesticide residues before serving it to your chickens.

If in doubt, look for organic pumpkins or just grow your own!

How Often Can Chickens Have Pumpkin?

Well, pumpkins are surprisingly nutritious and your chickens will definitely think they are delicious, so why wouldn’t you feed them to them all the time when they are in season?

Sadly, despite how tasty they are pumpkins are not nutritionally complete, and your chickens should only have them in moderated quantities.

Served to them once or twice a week as a treat item is the way to go here.

Fully 90% of your chickens’ calorie intake should be made up of a nutritionally complete chicken feed, with the remainder being comprised of supplemental or treat items, including pumpkin.

Preparing Pumpkin for Your Flock

You have a lot of options for preparing pumpkins for your chickens. One way is to simply smash it or cut it into portions and then set it out for your chickens to Peck at.

It won’t take long before they reduce it to the rind alone, if they leave that behind!

Another option is to cut the flesh into cubes or smaller pieces and serve it to them in bowls.

Just as a reminder, chickens may safely eat every part of a pumpkin, so you should pay attention to smaller birds and make sure they don’t choke on the seeds.

Can Baby Chicks Have Pumpkin, Too?

Yes, baby chicks can have pumpkin starting at around 3 weeks of age.

Note that you should only give them the tiniest little portion of pumpkin as a rare treat considering that their systems are so delicate at this stage of life.

Also, be constantly on the lookout for signs of crop impaction or diarrhea in chicks after you serve them a treat of pumpkin. Either can quickly spell death for a chick.

If you are in doubt, hold off on the pumpkins until your chicks are older.

Make Sure to Clean Up after Serving Pumpkin to your Flock

I will go on and bet you now that your flock will absolutely love pumpkins, and totally pig out on them, but that means you’ll need to be prepared for a major cleanup operation.

Leftover pumpkin guts, rind, and various bits of pumpkin flesh will rapidly rot and then attract pests.

You definitely don’t want insects or rodents setting up shop near your chickens, but you also don’t want your chickens to come back around and try to nibble on pumpkin that has begun to spoil. That could make them sick.

Let your chickens get their fill of the pumpkin and then promptly clean it up when they are done.

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