Pumpkin Seeds and Chicken Treats

“So… since it’s October, does this mean I can start playing Christmas music?” 

There’s nothing better than the month of October and Halloween.  The crisp air that makes your eyes squint when you walk outdoors, the smell of firewood burning, the feeling of the holidays being right around the corner, college football and let’s not forget… pumpkin everything!

Pumpkin carving.

Pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin muffins.

Pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin spice lattes.

Pumpkin pancakes.

Pumpkin French toast.

You get the point!

Funny thing is, though… you know who also love pumpkin recipes? Our feathered babies! Yes! Chickens love pumpkin seeds and guts. 

Pumpkins seeds are rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids and Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and other nutrients. Because antioxidants are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, this means that this is a cheap and efficient way for you to ensure your birds have an extra layer of protection. In addition, Vitamin A, a common antioxidant, is often deficient in chickens’ diets, which can lead to dry eye, respiratory infections, blood spots in eggs, etc.

Aside from antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, pumpkin seeds have been known to be a natural dewormer. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that pumpkin seed extracts could “constitute novel candidates to become inexpensive sources of anthelmintic* compounds… these secondary metabolites might be perceived as alternatives to the currently applied medicines for the treatment of gastrointestinal nematodes in livestock animals and humans,” (2016).  So, in layman’s terms… pumpkins seeds could potentially be used as an antibiotic free source of the removal of parasitic worms! How cool?

During this Halloween season, if you notice your pumpkins aren’t looking too sharp, don’t throw them out. Give them to your chickens! Don’t worry about breaking the pumpkins a part or chopping up the seeds.  Your birds will be able to peck and eat at the entire thing.

Brown, Mary Jane. “Top 11 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 24 Sept. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds#section1.

Grzybek, Maciej, et al. “Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity and Composition of Pumpkin (Cucurbita Pepo L.) Seed Extracts—In Vitro and in Vivo Studies.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 17, no. 9, Jan. 2016, p. 1456. National Center for Biotechnology Information, doi:10.3390/ijms17091456.

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