There are a number of reasons why you should feed your livestock and farm animals pumpkins. First things first, well all love pumpkins. When October is all things pumpkin spice, farmers and livestock reap the benefits of this endless opportunity of feed come November 1st.
Find Free Pumpkins for your farm animals
There are endless opportunities to get your hands on pumpkins this time of year, especially right after Halloween. Invite friends and family to drop off their jackolanterns to your homestead. They will be happy to do so, or offer a sign up for free pick up. Seems a bit much, but it’s a much needed and appreciated service. We have a pumpkin rescue program in our city where you can register to donate, volunteer to salvage pumpkins for human consumption and do preserving or sign up for free livestock feed.
Contact your local pumpkin patches and grocery stores to see if they might have leftovers they’d be willing to part with.
Why feed farm animals pumpkins?
Yes it’s free feed for your animals, but pumpkins why feed farm animals pumpkins? Pumpkins provide great benefits to your livestock and farm animals. The most important benefit is they are a natural dewormer.
Feed your livestock and farm animals pumpkins along with squash, melons, and gourds etc. These plants are all part of the cucurbita family. The seeds of these vegetables are covered in curbitacin- a natural dewormer. It simply paralyzes the worms.
Deworming your farm animals is an important part of the livestocks’ health routine. Deworming products remove worms from animals. These products aren’t the easiest to apply to the animals so feeding pumpkins is a great natural alternative. It’s important to deworm your animals so that they can reap the full nutritional value of food, gain weight and reach their full weight potential.
Some sources recommend feeding these seeds to chickens free choice for a week at least twice yearly as a natural dewormer.
Plus my favourite added benefit to feeding livestock pumpkins is it’s great entertainment to watch them all enjoy their pumpkin feast!
How to feed farm animals pumpkins
Simply make the pumpkins available in the field or yard for the animals to eat. Break open ripe pumpkins so that they can get a good handle on them. Chickens will peck the shell clean. Cows will push the pumpkins around if not pre cut or soft.
Feeding pumpkins straight from the patch is a great idea because the weather often goes from freezing to wet this time of year making the pumpkins soft and edible. The cows have no problem breaking them open. They also have no aversion to eating them spoiled or rotten.
A lot of pumpkin patches are located next to a cornfield. There’s a good reason for this. After corn is harvested, farmers will let the cows graze left over stalks and residue. If the cows also have access to the left over pumpkins, it’s a win-win for both pumpkin farmer and bovine. So plant a little corn maze and pumpkin patch for both you and your livestock to enjoy next fall!