When you have a pet, you always need to make sure that you are taking care of it to the best of your abilities. This includes ensuring a proper comfort, nurture, health, development and food. Having pet chickens can be confusing, especially when it comes to their diet. What can chickens eat? What is not recommended? Can chickens eat pumpkin? Today we will try to answer some of these questions.
What do I Need to Know About Chickens’ Diet?
Surprisingly, chickens will eat more things than you can think of. First of all, what you need to feed them depends on what you are growing them for. Their nutritional needs will be different if you’re raising them for meat, for eggs, or simply as cute regular pets. Generally, their dietary needs will be the same but you do need to keep in mind that laying chickens need a lot of calcium, while non-laying ones benefit from less.
All chickens need grain. The store-bought variety will have all the necessary nutrients for your poultry. Should you wish to raise organic chickens or simply grow your own food, for economic or self-sufficiency purposes, that is certainly a valid option, as well. All you need to do is keep in mind the nutritional needs of your chickens, which are carbohydrates, grit, calcium, protein and minerals.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin? How Much?
Yes, chickens can definitely eat pumpkin! Not only that, but they greatly enjoy it, as well. Many people who own chickens know that the birds go crazy over pumpkin and you will rarely find one who is not willing to eat it. If you have several chickens, all you need to do is cut a pumpkin open and let them hollow it out. Of course, when introducing any new kind of food to your birds, it is always advisable to take it slowly and give them one small piece at a time. Observe whether they like it or not. If they’ll eat it or fight over it and if they get sick from it.
The Benefits of Pumpkin for Chickens
Why are pumpkins so great? Because they have tremendous nutritional value, not only for humans but also for your chickens. Pumpkins contains vitamin A, B, C and K, which are all valuable and beneficial for your birds. They will be aided in bone development, growth and good vision by vitamin A. It also helps with their respiratory system, digestive system, and reproductive system. Vitamins C and B encourage hatchability and growth, in addition to acting as natural stress relievers. As for vitamin K, this one is essential in blood clotting. This is important because as any chicken owner will know, a bird who presents blood will be pecked to death by the flock, so blood clotting is vital.
Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, they can. In addition to the benefits of the pumpkin itself, there is actually another hidden benefit of feeding pumpkin to your chickens – the seeds act as an excellent natural worming agent. In order to keep them healthy and avoid unnecessary medication or trips to the doctor, you just need to make sure they have a regular intake of pumpkin seeds to keep the worms away.
What Else Should I Feed my Chickens?
In addition to their usual grain, you can definitely add some other elements as treats from time to time. Fruit, such as apples, cherries or pears, seedless grapes, cooked grits, melon, lettuce, cereal, cucumbers, crickets, cheese, cooked beans, cabbage, carrots and plenty of other foods.
What Should Chickens Not Eat?
As for what you should avoid giving your chickens, remember that you should never feed them anything excessively salty, as this can lead to salt poisoning. Also, you can’t give them eggs because they will start eating the ones in the nest boxes. Citrus fruits are still debatable but many believe that these should to be avoided, as well as anything sugary. Avocado skin and raw green potato peels are toxic as well, so be sure to never give your birds access to them.
All in all, as you can see, pumpkin is not only something that your chickens can eat but it’s something they should eat if you want them to grow happy, healthy and strong. Far from being harmful to their development, pumpkin has many benefits for poultry and should not be omitted from their diet. While their diet mainly consists of grains, chickens also need a little variety, which you can introduce via a selection of different foods, including leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, beans, certain kinds of meat, seeds, cereal and others. Just like humans, they have a series of nutritional needs that have to be covered in order for them to grow up to be strong, healthy, and beautiful hens.