What Hens Are Good For

By December, pumpkins purchased in October to decorate the front porch have been through several cycles of freezing



and thawing. They’re sagging and dripping.



I almost left them too long. One more day and they would have fallen apart at my touch. So, yesterday afternoon I gently, gingerly, set them into the wheelbarrow to dispose of them.



A few years ago there were too many pumpkins to put into the compost bin, and I thought that they were too close to rotten for the hens, so I decided that it was best to dump them into the woods, which is where Lily found and ate them. Then she came inside and threw up all over the house. It cost several hundred dollars to have a professional carpet cleaner remove the damage.

I no longer worry about feeding the flock softened pumpkins. They happily eat them. The hens don’t care if the squash are squishy. In fact, the Girls think that  age improves the flavor.



They rather like it when the stem falls off, leaving a gaping hole.



It’s winter and the hens rarely lay, but still, they are good for something. In a roundabout way I rather like to think of the chickens as inexpensive carpet cleaners.



  1. But the occasional egg they present you must have a fantastic colored yoke! Love watching the girls enjoy their pumpkins.

  2. LoL! I just took my half frozen squishy pumpkin out of the chicken run to dispose of. I’m going to put it right back in. Thanks Terry!

  3. Oh how I wish my chickens and ducks liked pumpkin! They just don’t know what they’re missing! I really love that chicken decoration that’s holding one of the pumpkins! Very cute!

  4. Maybe Owly is trying on her Halloween costume for next year. Buffy approves. <3

    • That’s not Owly! Must be Jasper…oh well, I was hoping for a Buffy sighting too much and saw what I wanted to see.

      • I cut a large pumpkin in half, that had not been frozen, and my 2 goats ate all day on half of it, and the next day on the other half! They have orange noses and mouths! They ate the insides and left a thin bowl of the outside! My chickens and Indian Runner ducks, only seem to eat them after they have frozen and thawed! I guess it is softer and easier for them to eat!

  5. Ah, the feathers. This is one of the many things I love about all birds. The feather patterns, perfectly arranged in layer after layer. So beautiful.

  6. I agree Terry the mushier they get the better the hens like them. My hens will not touch them is they are still hard.

  7. Love the photo of Owly with her head in the pumpkin lol. I have found the my girls prefer the older pumpkins to the brand spanking new ones as well. I m not going to buy New one for my girls next year . Just wait and give them the older ones. Not rotten just aged. I did notice my girls seem to prefer the Cinderellas etc. the ones with the really orange dark flesh. I had an assortment as when I am finished using for decoration I like to cook them. Then I had a neighbor give hers to me to donate to the girls. So we are swimming in pumpkins.

  8. Love the pictures of your hens loving their pumpkin treats. My five hens just didn’t have any interests at all. Cut out a 3-inch hole at the top, they checked them out and poked a little, and finally the two pumpkins just turned mushy, had to dump them in the garden waste.

  9. This time of year, with lots of organically grown pumpkins left, I bring in 2 at a time, and cut them in half, stick them in the oven until they are soft, then while warm, drizzle a little molasses over them…..chickens get warm pumpkin with a little molasses treat. They eat all but the outside skin.