Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Jerseyjack, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. Jerseyjack

    Jerseyjack In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2011
    I have been gathering pumpkins from friends and family now that everyone is breaking down their Halloween decorations. Today, I whacked one up into 16 pieces and took it out to the hens, they didn't want anything to do with it! I also took the guts and seeds out to them, they did pick away at the stuff, but didn't seem too thrilled about it either.

    After giving them a chance to give it another try (a few hours), still they wouldn't touch it. I brought all the pieces back in the house and steamed them for about 12-15 minutes, softening up the flesh a bit. Still don't want it! Any advice to MAKE them want to eat it? Anyone have a simple recipe, mixing the pumpkin with feed or something similar to make some sort of suet cake? I could whip up a nice batch of cakes and freeze them in a matter of just an hour or two, and give as treats over the winter. I've read lots of chickens eat pumpkin and would hate to let all these go to waste

    Advice, thoughts please, Thanks

  2. Avonlea22

    Avonlea22 Jessamine Cottage

    Aug 27, 2011
    I just gave my 6 week old chicks pumpkin for the first time a few days ago. I bought one of the small pie pumpkins. After about 8 hours there was nothing left but the outer skin.

    I'm guessing some birds just don't like them. Have they eaten them before?
  3. SueBaby

    SueBaby Songster

    Feb 14, 2011
    Oceanside, CA
    Sorry to hear that you've got girls that don't seem to like pumpkin. I've been doing the same as you, collecting them from friends. Mine will eat it all, save the very outer shell. They even manage the big ol' seeds! I wonder if you just split them into big sections (halves or quarters) and then sprinkled them with scratch if they would get some pumpkin with their scratch and then give them more of a chance? Not sure what else you could try. [​IMG]
  4. Jerseyjack

    Jerseyjack In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2011
    Yeah, seems they all have a sweet beak, they decimated all the watermelon and cantelopes they were given over the summer, from the garden. Loved the tomatoes and just about everything else put out for them too. My hens are 8 months now, this is their first taste of pumpkin. They free range from dawn to dusk, I suspect as the bugs get thinner with the colder weather coming, they'll give the pumpkin a second chance. I just need to doctor it up a bit before freezing into cakes
  5. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    Mine were not sold on pumkin for a little bit too. I stood and waited and got bored and went in. The next day when I checked on them, they were chowing down. The seeds were too big so they did not eat them but devoured the flesh, uncooked and hard. I think they just need time to get used to it and bored enough to try it. now they LOVE pumpkin!

  6. Jerseyjack

    Jerseyjack In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2011
    Quote:Thanks for that reply, I'll cut up another one tomorrow and see what happens during the course of the day. I just assumed they would tear into the first offering, like they do with just about everything else. I'll post back either way, just to update what happens, we'll see if they acquire a taste for it
  7. CheekyMare

    CheekyMare Songster

    They're understandably unwilling to eat something unfamiliar. That's how wild birds survive. They don't eat stuff they think might kill them. Give it time. (Or throw one chicken in there that likes it and all the rest will dive in to keep that one from getting any)
  8. sacrifice

    sacrifice Songster

    Mar 29, 2010
    Caldwell, ID
    My chickens do not eat pumpkins for some reason - have tried giving several types of pumpkin and they have not eaten any of them. But, they really liked the grain and pumplin puree from the pumpkin ale I made.
  9. Jerseyjack

    Jerseyjack In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2011
    This may sound like a PIA, but was really simple to make, took about 30 minutes. Earlier in the day, I tried feeding the girls some pumpkin. After seeing they wanted nothing to do with it, I took it in and steamed it to soften the flesh a bit, still wouldn't eat it. Since I had a whole pumpkin already prepped, I took the flesh, 2 cups of oatmeal (cooked), and 3 cups of their daily feed and puree'd it all in the food processor (2 processor batches). I scooped it into empty meow mix cups and froze it. It made 28 cupcake size suet type cakes. I'm hoping to give them a taste of pumpkin and prime them for the raw pumpkins I have left. I managed to gather over 20 pumpkins from friends and family, if it turns out they really like it and still won't eat the raw pumpkin, I'll make the whole lot of pumpkins into suet for the winter months. Of course, I'll try to figure out a better recipe balancing protein, carbs and unsaturated fats

    I just read an article in the Dec./Jan. Issue of Backyard poultry titled Herbal Suet: A Winter energy source for poultry. Pretty interesting!
    The article states: "protein is used for body growth and the production of eggs. But energy is needed for physical activity and to help regulate body temperature. If you want to add high energy to the diet (largely desirable during cold weather), you will want to turn to fat as an alternative to protein, and even carbohydrates. That is because protein and carbohydrates yield only about four calories of energy per gram, whereas fat yields about 9 calories per gram. This makes it a nutrient dense energy because it takes less of it to produce as much or more energy compared to the other nutrients. When it is cold outside, poultry burn a lot more energy to stay warm, so it makes sense to offer them supplemental fats to burn"

    I'm not plugging the magazine, in fact this is a free issue that was sent to me (SIL signed me up) as a preview copy, trying to get me to sign on for a years subscription. First glance looks like mostly advertising though

    I'd be interested in what all you experienced chicken keepers think of this statement
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011

  10. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    mine don't like the pumpkin if it is too hard... pumpkins that are starting to mush or break down, they eat down to the outer peel. if I open one that's too hard, I just leave it out and as it starts to mush, they'll get to it.

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