Now is the time to get pumpkins for chickens. Scoop up all the left over, cheap pumpkins you can find from the grocery stores and farmers markets. They should be cheap now, or perhaps even free!
Chickens just love them and they are a nutritional powerhouse for our fine feathered flockers. Pumpkins are loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and don't forget the B, C and calcium. All of these offer chickens the same benefits as they offer us humankind.
Pumpkins for Chickens (and people, too)
Vitamin A, which abounds in pumpkins, is needed in chickens for good vision, growth, and bone development. Also, it is called the "anti-infection" vitamin because it helps to maintain the immune system. In addition the linings of the digestive, reproductive, and respiratory tracts all derive benefit in maintaining a healthy status. A deficiency in Vitamin A can cause blood spots in eggs, upper respiratory symptoms called nutritional roup, that resembles bronchitis or infectious coryza and even cause blisters that look like fowl pox. Once these delicate tissues are damaged it opens the door for bacterial or viral infections. A little pumpkin is a wonderful thing when you think about it.
Vitamin K aids in blood clotting and any chicken who dares to show a little blood is going to be in trouble with the flock, so clotting is a must. In addition to wanting the blood to clot quickly you might also want to have a bottle of Blu-Kote wound dressing on hand, because that is one product that can help save a chicken from flock picking.
In addition, the B and C vitamins that are contained in pumpkin relieve stress and promote growth and hatchability.
When I have pumpkin around, it goes without saying I like to make pumpkin pie. No recipe here: I just cut it in half and---after giving the insides to the chickens---bake it in the oven. I place the pumpkin, cut side down, on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees till it softens. Then I scoop it out and put it in the mixer bowl till it is about 1/2 full. Add 2 eggs. Brown sugar to taste (1/3 cup?) and a small can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz) along with a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. I mix it a couple of minutes at medium speed and pour it into a pie crust. It will be kind of thick, not runny like canned pumpkin. Then I bake it, using a tin foil over the pie crust edge in the beginning. I probably bake it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes and uncover it the last 10 minutes.
Bake as many pumpkins as you have and after scooping the pumpkin out put it in plastic bags and freeze it. The chickens will love to eat plain = baked pumpkin all winter long, after you defrost it... and the family will love to eat those pies it takes you two minutes to throw together---so full of good vitamins, minerals and eggs!
Do you get pumpkins for your chickens? Do they like it as much as mine do?