The Problem With Pumpkin Seeds - By Andy Schneider, aka The Chicken Whisperer

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by casportpony, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. casportpony

    casportpony Enlightened

    Jun 24, 2012
    chickens eating pumpkin_1.jpg

    The Problem With Pumpkin Seeds

    When wisdom may be wrong
    By Andy Schneider, aka The Chicken Whisperer
    Every fall, chicken blogs and forums are flooded with posts about pumpkin seeds being an all-natural dewormer for chickens. You don’t see the posts as much the rest of the year, but because pumpkins are so readily available during the holiday season, the posts become almost viral. The only problem is that there are no studies to support this information.
    The issue is not about giving pumpkin flesh or pumpkin seeds to your chickens—they will likely enjoy the seasonal treat—but instead that readers will take this information as proven fact and think they are actually deworming their flock, when in fact, they aren't.

    When the treatment doesn't treat

    Whenever a chicken keeper posts “How do I deworm my chickens?” or “Should I deworm my chickens?” on a blog or forum, you can almost predict the coming comments from other chicken keepers. Inevitably, someone will post that pumpkin seeds are an all-natural dewormer as if it’s proven scientific fact. When questioned and asked for some kind of proof, nine times out of ten their answer is, “I give pumpkin seeds to my flock and they don’t have worms.”
    The usual follow-up question is "Have you ever had your chickens tested to prove it?" That typically places them on the defensive—and the name-calling begins—when all I have requested is some proof to support their statement. Soon after, they rush to Google to search for a study they can find that may prove their point. The giveaway is that the first study they often refer to is a well-known Delaware State University study about goats and other ruminants. It’s apparent that they haven't read the complete study because they would have found that, while the goats did actually expel some worms during the study, they still had worms after treatment. Not to mention—at least the last time I checked—chickens are not goats or ruminants.

    Proving a point

    At a minimum, In order to prove that pumpkin seeds are in fact an all-natural dewormer, you need to show that you started with chickens that are indeed infested, the types of worm (or worms) infecting the chickens, the variety and amount of pumpkin seeds used, how long they were administered, the method used to ensure that each chicken received the same dose, and, finally, a test demonstrating that the chickens are worm-free.
    While there may be a study in the back of a file cabinet in some university somewhere that proves that pumpkin seeds are an effective all-natural dewormer for chickens, these studies first need to see the light of day, and then be replicated by other, independent studies before the information can be accepted as true.

    Additional misinformation

    Another frequently-found piece of deworming misinformation found online concerns the egg withdrawal period for popular retail dewormer Wazine. The common response is this withdrawal period is two weeks. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. Yes, the withdrawal period for meat consumption after using Wazine is two weeks, but there is no official egg withdrawal time for the consumption of eggs.
    For the past decade I have been sharing this information, and even stating that if you actually call the company that manufactures Wazine and ask them what the official egg withdrawal is for their product, they will tell you that there is no official egg withdrawal time, and that you should never again eat eggs from your laying hens that you have treated using Wazine. In fact, I called them again recently to verify this information for this article.
    Their main concern is that drug residues that may be found inside eggs from chickens that have been treated with Wazine. If you personally make the decision to still eat the eggs, that’s on you. But you are taking a risk if you give away, barter, or sell your eggs from chickens you have treated with Wazine—especially is someone has a reaction to the drug residues found in the eggs they received from you.

    About the author

    Andy Schneider, aka The Chicken Whisperer, hosts the popular podcast Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer and has authored The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens. Andy is also the national spokesperson for the USDA-APHIS Biosecurity for Birds program.

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Thank you for a timely reminder.

    I am giving my gals a few small pie pumpkins today that I a fun treat/bordom buster. :D
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I still feed them pumpkinseeds.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
  5. Criticalicious

    Criticalicious Crowing

    Feb 25, 2017
    New Market, VA
    Thank you for sharing. What's the date on this article? Because I believe Wazine is no longer being manufactured.
    Texas Kiki, casportpony and penny1960 like this.
  6. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

    Apr 9, 2014
    N. California
    This actually is no longer true. In April 2019 a study done in Turkey studied the effect of feeding chickens pumpkin seeds, and found some effect in reducing worm loads. The Abstract reads:

    "The present study was conducted to evaluate the in vivo e cacy of pumpkin seeds as an alternative natural anthelmintic for chickens. Ninety Philippine Jolo native chickens of mixed sexes, aged 4–5 months and weighing 1–2 kg, were randomly distributed into three treatment groups with 30 chickens per group. Control group A was fed basic mash feed, group B received feed mixed with ground pumpkin seeds (2 g/bird per day), and group C received mebendazole-medicated feed (30 mg/kg body weight). Fi een randomly selected chickens from each group were euthanized and necropsied before treatment, and the remaining een in each group were euthanized and necropsied at 3 days a er the end of the treatment. Gastrointestinal worm and fecal egg counts were determined. ree genera of helminths were identi ed from necropsy: Ascaridia spp., Heterakis spp., and Raillietina spp. Results indicate that compared to mebendazole, pumpkin seed was moderately e ective in reducing worm counts of Ascaridia spp. and Raillietina spp., marginally active in reducing worm counts of Heterakis spp., and moderately e ective in reducing egg output of the worms. e results suggest that pumpkin seed has the potential to be used as an alternative anthelmintic for chickens."

    True, it is just one study with a small number of chickens. And, it did not eliminate 100% of the worms. I'm hoping this study gets replicated on a larger scale, with different "dosing" amounts of seeds used.
    Ghosty, Trevorusn, Texas Kiki and 6 others like this.
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    That is a sound approach. I would love to try similar with free-range chickens where feces can be collected without stressing birds.
  8. penny1960

    penny1960 Yippy Do Da, Yipptye Ay!

    Dec 29, 2015
    Mossyrock, WA
    I bake the seeds for us birds get the meat here that is just how I do it no study if I want to worm use a chicken wormer
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Note that the study in Turkey talked a bout 'moderately' and 'marginally' effective in reducing some worm burden in these birds. That covers a lot of territory! As I recall, the birds given the fenbendazole analog had zero worms left after treatment. I'll go with the more effective treatment myself.
    There was no attempt to quantify the actual dose/kg. body weight, and at home, planning on each bird to eat x amount of seeds (what variety of pumpkin?) isn't reliable either.
    Partial worm load reductions are nice, but then do you feed pumpkin seeds all year, and develop worms resistant to them? Again, not the best plan.
    Only by running fecals do you really know what's present, and how treatment works in your flock.
    dawg53, 007Sean, sourland and 11 others like this.
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    As people keep using the de-worming agents, the worms are developing immunity to them. Several straight up chemicals that used to be effective at controlling worms may now be no better than the pumpkinseeds we like to belittle. Those parties using only the more aggressive dewormers, especially when doing it propholactically, are on a course where they will have no effective de-worming agents. People like myself will not be impacted by that eventuality as their are other options to controlling impacts stemming from parasitic worm burdens.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: