Pumpkins For Chickens

Pumpkins were on sale at the supermarket, so I bought two for the girls. I’ve read that pumpkins are a natural wormer but I’ve yet to see evidence. I’ve read the claims, but no one has done a fecal test on a flock with roundworms, fed pumpkin, and then done another fecal to prove that it works. (If you can point me to research, please do!) But pumpkins are plenty good for your hens, anyway. The carotenoids in the squash are as nutritionally important for the chickens as they are for us. When the hens eat pumpkin their yolks turn a deep dark orange, quite in the Halloween spirit! But the best part about feeding pumpkins is the entertainment that it provides for your flock and for you.

The Gems were immediately interested in this big orange thing in their midst.

They soon began pecking a hole in the hard shell. This keeps them busy and out of trouble. It’s always a good thing when Agatha has something to keep her occupied. This is the best type of treat for your flock – one that’s stimulating and long-lasting.

I put a pumpkin in with the retired girls. Candy likes gnawing on the shell.

But the old hens were nonplussed. Tina walked right by.

Edwina kept on sunbathing. She knows that pecking a pumpkin is hard work.

So I got out a cookie cutter and my rubber mallet,

and made an opening for the hens.

Edwina said that it was now worth getting up for. I do spoil the old hens.


  1. The picture of Candy is so cute and I love your cookie cutter. I’ve been collecting chicken stuff for over 30 years but I don’t have a chicken cookie cutter. One more thing to add to my wish list. I live in Western Ma and it rained here most of the week so the run was full of mud. So yesterday I gave them a pumpkin to occupy their time. I too have read that the seeds are a natural wormer. Although there is no proof of that I figure it can’t hurt and they do love the pumpkins. I didn’t know that eating pumpkins turns the yolks orange. Good healthy treat for the chickens and a bonus for us.

  2. Aha! It must have been Edwina my son and I were watching… she looked as though she were loading her solar panels, hoping to store some heat for the coming months! What a dear.
    My girls go mad for watermelon, but haven’t gone for pumpkin… good thing since they free range in our pumpkin patch!

    • Watch out, once they learn that they can peck a hole in the pumpkins, you’ll have Jack o Lanterns carved by chickens! But, right now I bet your hens help to keep the borer worms away.

  3. My girls love pumpkins as well. I chopped mine in half and they went to town, lol! I read that the seeds are what help with deworming but they need to be ground up first….needless to say I didn’t take the time to do that but maybe next time I will. Not sure if it actually works but I’m willing to give it a try since we always end up roasting some seeds anyways.

  4. How cute! If I had a beak I would get out there with them and peck peck peck. :-) There is something so desirable about a fat orange pumpkin. Actually they remeind me of orange wax harmonicas we used to get at the store during Halloween. You could blow a tune and chew a wad of tastey wax at the same time. Ah, those were the days! Are you all expecting snow this weekend and early next week?

  5. When I saw the pumpkin in the run I was hoping you would write about it! I have been cutting the small ones in half. The girls eat the filling but ignore the flesh. If I cook pumpkin or winter squashes in their morning mash they gobble it up. Oh well, they are still young and can hopefully learn. BTW I have made pumpkin seed mash (with connecting fibers) for parasite control in cats and dogs. Never read a study, just the advice of old timers.

  6. I’m surprised the older hens weren’t surrounding it to get first dibs. Now that it’s been pecked on it won’t be long before it’s gone. I remember the one in there last year, which went pretty quick. They really went at it. I like pumpkins so I enjoy this time of year and all the autumn festivities.

  7. I have been waiting for fall just to give a pumpkin to my pullets & see what happens. In the meantime, my daughter & I raked up a big pile of leaves & put that in the run. That was a hoot to watch! Leaving flying and lots of satisifed mutterings to be heard as everybody went at it.

    Happy Fall!

  8. What fun!! I’m definitely going to buy a pumpkin for the chickens!!

  9. Wonderful Post! Loved the photo of Edwina soaking in the sunshine. No pumpkin for the goat boys? Again, thank you for the wonderful photos Terry!

      • Oh YES! Thank you Terry, Sugar Maple leaves sounds like it would be very yummy for the goat boys, better than pumpkin. Good luck with the grape jelly project, did you harvest your own Concord Grapes?

        • One of the goat boys is standing at the fence, gazing longingly at what’s left of the pumpkin. The grass is always greener . . .

  10. Love this blog! And the photo of all the hens surrounding the pumpkin is glorious! V. kind of you to get the old girls started on their treat. And I’m glad to know you made the chicken design yourself with a cookie cutter. Art is probably still out of the chickens’ reach.

  11. I thought I spied a chicken “cut-out” on the pumpkin yesterday. My husband and I just love your website here on Long Island, NY! We check for activity daily, both at home and at work. Quite relaxing and entertaining Terry! I wish we could have chickens! Thanks for sharing your wonderful farm with us. By the way, I’m expecting my first grandchild in January and will be buying “Tillie lays an Egg” for future reading.

  12. Love the first pic! I can hear the curiosity…Whaaaaaat??? Whaaaaat??? Definitely getting one for my girls today!

  13. I always have to start the pumpkin off … a few thin wedges cut from the sides … I love seeing their heads buried up to the neck inside!

    • There are wild Concord grapes right across the street, but the Girl Scouts always harvest them before me (they make jelly and sell it as a fundraiser.) So, I had to buy. But, this year I planted grape vines, so next year, hopefully, I’ll have my own.

  14. watching the hen cam now ….and clearly candy is very fond of pumpkin. especially the stem! so cute!