Feeding pumpkin to chickens

Carving Pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns is the sure sign that Halloween is here! I had great fun carving a chicken into mine this year. (ok, I do that every year! lol) We cleaned and roasted the seeds for snacking, but what to do with all that orange goo that's left over? Feed it to the chickens of course! 

Black chicken with pumpkins

The best part about feeding fresh pumpkin to chickens is that you don't have to cook it or even carve it really. In fact, if you use real pumpkins for Halloween decorations your chickens may have already taken a few bites out of them! If you want though you can cut the pumpkin up for the chickens. You can also puree it, but that takes more work.

Why feed chickens pumpkin?

Well,why let it go to waste, right? Besides, pumpkin is one of the healthiest treats you can give chickens! 

Pumpkin is high in Vitamin A which is an essential vitamin for chickens. Vitamin A deficiency in chickens can cause pale combs and wattles, nasal discharge, poor growth and poor feathering among other problems. Pumpkin also contains vitamins B, C and zinc which can benefit chickens. Pumpkin seeds contain vitamin E.

Pumpkin is often fed to pets to regulate the digestive system. Pureed pumpkin has the unique ability to help with both constipation and diarrhea in cats and dogs. There is no reason why it wouldn't also regulate  the digestive systems of chickens. Plus they really love it and others squash type vegetables.

Feeding whole pumpkin can keep the chickens busy for hours! I like to chunk the pumpkins up a bit, but giving them to the chickens rind and all requires the chicken to do a little more work. This can keep the chickens busy on days they can't go out and play. 

pumpkins for chicken feed

How to feed pumpkin to chickens

Pumpkins that are left whole after the season can be chunked up and thrown to the chickens or frozen for winter use. I split them with a pickaxe or shovel.....be careful!!!

To freeze whole pumpkins outside: get a free pallet from the feed store, hardware store....etc. Put pumpkins on pallet and cover with a tarp. They should freeze solid in winter. This works best in areas that get below freezing and stays there for awhile. Don't place in direct sun or they will start to warm up on sunny days and could go bad. 

When you're ready to feed a frozen pumpkin to the chickens, just bring it into the garage and let sit about a day. Split it open and serve! I try to cut it into fairly small pieces. When they have to reach into the pumpkin to reach the 'meat' they tend to get pumpkin goo all over their face and make a mess!

free chicken feed - leftover pumpkin

If you want to puree the pumpkin to freeze for winter use, it's easy to bake, peel and put into freezer bags and store in the freezer. You can actually skip the blending step if you want since the chickens probably prefer it chunky. I use pumpkin puree in my recipe Christmas treat cake for chickens instead of butter to make it healthier!

If you're carving a pumpkin, you might want to get a special tool set to get the best results. I had ordered a pumpkin carving kit last year  and it came with the shovel shaped scraper tool in the picture above. This tool is awesome for scraping the inside clean. I take it 1 step further though and scrape inside the entire pumpkin until it's only about 1/4" thick. 

Using a scraper tool I can get an entire bowl full of pumpkin goo from an average sized pumpkin. I like the way this tool breaks the pumpkin up into little shreds. This is one of my favorite treats to give to baby chicks and adult chickens alike. 

Want to learn more about free feed sources and how to feed your chickens practically for free? Click here for all my information on free and cheap chicken feed.

If you wandered over here from my article on Backyard Poultry magazines website...Welcome! I hope you'll stay awhile!


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  1. I love it! waste not want not, and who doesn't like free food?

    1. Exactly! I am always looking for ways to feed chickens for free or cheap!