Vegetables are great as an addition to a healthy diet and they come with many benefits but can chickens eat squash? Squash is a type of gourd that is grown specifically to be eaten and it is also known as curcubita.
Squash comes in a lot of forms and varieties and it has been present in the New World since the early ages of mankind. There are evidences that it was domesticated at least 8,000 years ago and today it is used in many recipes that range from soups to main meals or to desserts.
You can find pumpkin biscuits, bread, puddings or drinks and there are even festivals dedicated to this vegetable in many countries. Aside from food these plants are also important as oil sources and this explains why they were cultivated for such a long period of time.
Around 94% of a raw summer squash is water and the rest is carbohydrates (three percent), proteins (only one percent) and a bit of fat but in very low quantities. The calories provided by 100 grams of squash are only 16 so they are definitely not a vegetable that will make you or your chicken gain weight.
There are some vitamins in squash, the highest amount one being vitamin C and you also get vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and K. The important minerals are iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc and all of these will be beneficial for you and for your chicken.
Chickens will grow best and lay the best eggs when they have a varied diet so giving them everything in moderation is a good approach but there are some things you should keep away from them such as garlic, onions or green potatoes. Fortunately, squash isn’t on the forbidden list and thus they can eat this as a part of their menu.
The seeds contain vitamin E, crude protein, vitamins B (as with the pulp) and minerals but they also come with some saturated and unsaturated oils and fatty acids along with carotenoids. These aren’t in any way harmful for a chicken and they will know how to eat them without the threat of a choking hazard so feel free to leave them there when feeding your chickens.
Ways of Feeding
Try to cut the squash into pieces since the exterior is quite tough and might pose difficulties for a chicken. If you leave an entire squash next to them they will probably ignore it until it gets more tender but by then it will also be pretty degraded so it will give your pets an indigestion. You can avoid this by simply cutting it in two or into some smaller pieces if you have the time but you don’t have to remove the exterior, just wash it properly to remove anything they might have been sprayed with.
Pumpkins and Winter squash are best for your chicken during the cold seasons since they provide a lot of nutrition and they will also fortify their body’s immunity to endure the winter. You will probably notice that the egg yolk will get a deeper orange color when they eat this too.
Chickens can eat all the squash they want, there is no threat here but remember to add some variety to their diet.