Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin?

Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Featured Image
Chickens can eat both pumpkins and pumpkin seeds, and will often enjoy this healthy treat. Most store-bought canned pumpkin should be avoided as they often contain excessive salt, sugar and additives. 

Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy eating this fleshy gourd – chickens adore pumpkin and luckily, it is good for them to eat as part of a balanced diet!

Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Pumpkins?

Chickens can safely eat the entire pumpkin including pumpkin flesh, pumpkin guts, pumpkin rind, and treats made with fresh pumpkins. However, they will often leave the skin of the pumpkin behind in favor of the pumpkin flesh.

Free-range chickens may find pumpkin an excellent supplement as foraging during colder months often doesn’t yield a lot of nutritious food.

group of chickens eating pumpkin
Pumpkin is a healthy treat when incorporated in small amounts into a chicken’s diet.

Chicken owners can feed pumpkin to their chickens year-round alongside their chicken feed, as pumpkin can be blended into pumpkin puree with a food processor and frozen.

Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

Pumpkin seeds can be fed to chickens as a chicken treat either on their own or inside of a whole pumpkin! Chickens enjoy pecking at pumpkins and love pumpkin seeds in particular, so don’t throw those seeds away!

Pumpkin seeds are also wonderful for chick development because of the high potassium that they have. Foods like pumpkin seeds and bananas go a long way in helping your chicks grow strong.

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One note of caution about pumpkin seeds – if they were incorrectly handled and left out too long, e.coli can grow on them. For this reason, it’s best that you source your pumpkin seeds from the actual pumpkin rather than buying them commercially.

Can Chickens Eat Canned Pumpkin?

Chickens can eat both raw pumpkin, and canned pumpkin as long as the canned pumpkin doesn’t have unhealthy ingredients added (unfortunately most do). Look at the label to determine what it contains and if it has extra salt or sugar, omit any brands that have additives.

A better idea would be to make your own canned pumpkin from fresh pumpkins. If you isolate the flesh of the pumpkin, boil it to cook it, and then blend it, you have canned pumpkin! Just can it using proper canning methods, or freeze immediately so it doesn’t go bad.

What Health Benefits do Chickens Get from Eating Pumpkin?

There are many health benefits of pumpkin which make it such a good choice for chickens. Pumpkin is low in calories and fat, and high in nutrients and fiber!

Pumpkin also contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals that will help your chicken’s health including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B
  • Beta-carotene
  • Antioxidants
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

Feeding pumpkin to your chickens promotes overall good health and can assist with:

  • Immune system functioning
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Healthy skin
  • Egg production in laying hens
  • Muscular function
  • Nerve Function
  • Fighting free-radicals

One note to add about vitamin A deficiency – if you see blood spots inside your chicken’s eggs, this is a tell-tale sign they have it. If you do see it, be sure to include lots of foods that are high in vitamin A and Vitamin E such as pumpkin seeds to help your chickens rebound from the deficiency.

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1 chicken eating pumpkin up close
Chickens will enjoy eating the seeds as much as the pumpkin itself, but will discard the shell

Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds can also be used as supplements in treating wry neck in chickens!

Pumpkin is a wonderful choice that offers many natural boosts to your chicken’s health and providing it in small quantities (1/4 cup per chicken) once a week will ensure your chickens get all of those benefits.

Does Eating Pumpkin Treat Worm Infestation in Chickens?

Pumpkin is known as a natural dewormer and while it may help in mild cases, it doesn’t substitute for medicine. There are no definitive studies that show the efficacy of pumpkins in treating worms in chickens.

If you see that your chickens have worms, take a sample to a vet to determine the kind of worm it is, and treat it with the medicine your veterinarian prescribes.

Any pumpkin leftovers in the chicken coop should always be cleaned up at the end of the day to prevent disease from developing or attracting unwanted rodents. Also, ensure that you thoroughly wash any pumpkins that you didn’t grow yourself to rid them of any hidden pesticides that may reside on their skin, or better yet, buy organic!

Christina

A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina recently moved across the globe to Austria, where she bought land specifically to build a small house with room for a backyard chicken coop. Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for a flock of hens owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of chickens, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Chicken Care Taker in 2022.

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