Fall marks the season when fresh pumpkins are available in stores all across America. These delicacies can and will be used in tonnes of foods in the everyday kitchen, with their leftovers often being fed to flocks of chickens as a healthy table scrap.
But what if you’re cooking with pumpkins when they aren’t in season, using some quality canned pumpkin in its place?
This may have led you to think, can chickens eat canned pumpkin?
Well, here we go through if chickens can eat canned pumpkin, what benefits it has, and what you need to be aware of when feeding it to your flock.
Can Chickens Eat Canned Pumpkin?
You may be aware already, but pumpkin is a safe and healthy treat you can feed your chickens semi-regularly, having many nutritional benefits.
However, when fruits and vegetables go from fresh to canned they are often mixed with other additives, preservatives, and often come in a syrup. So is this the same when it comes to canned pumpkin?
Think again. Although some canned pumpkin can come with additives, you can also find many available brands that are 100% pumpkin, which almost have no difference in nutritional content than fresh pumpkin.
So, chickens can eat canned pumpkin and if it’s 100% pumpkin then it’s actually still considered very healthy for your chickens. The only thing your chickens will miss is eating it right out of the pumpkin!
Are Canned Pumpkins As Good As Fresh Pumpkins For Chickens?
Although pumpkins themselves are quite healthy and can be considered a nice nutritional supplement for a backyard chicken, not all canned pumpkins are necessarily the same.
However, the problem here isn’t the pumpkin content in the cans but the other additives that are combined with the slices or puree of pumpkin.
Canned pumpkin can quite often come with extra sugar and although chickens can have sugar it should be kept to a minimum. Furthermore, anything processed should be avoided where possible in a chicken’s diet, as it normally contains less nutritional value than its unprocessed counterpart.
So, without getting too technical and comparing the exact nutritional contents of each, you can safely say that fresh pumpkin is always better than canned pumpkin when it comes to chicken nutrition.
But, if you have leftover canned pumpkin it’s still entirely OK to feed it to your chickens, so long as it’s only in small, normal amounts. You can even feed your chickens spiced pumpkin as chickens don’t experience spice as we do. Chickens can safely eat clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg which are common in spiced pumpkin.
Nutritional Benefits Of Canned Pumpkin For Chickens?
Canned pumpkin will contain a variety of nutritional benefits for your chickens, albeit, not quite as much as a raw, fresh pumpkin.
This is because during the processing of the pumpkin it will naturally lose some of its goodness.
Nonetheless, canned pumpkin still contains real pumpkin, particularly if you look for brands that promise 100% pure pumpkin contents. If you do, your chickens will be thanking you, this type of canned pumpkin is rich in:
- Vitamin A, which is excellent for vision and prevents tissue damage and blood spots found in eggs.
- Potassium, which is ideal for heat exhaustion and embryo development.
- Vitamin E, which enhances the immune system of the chicken.
- Fiber, which helps with regular digestion in your chickens.
Additionally, some vets recommend feeding pumpkin seeds to your chickens to help expel worms.
What To Be Aware Of When Feeding Canned Pumpkins To Chickens
Although canned pumpkin can be almost as nutritious as fresh pumpkin, there are a few things to note before giving it to your chickens to devour:
- Chickens actually prefer fresh pumpkin, as they enjoy the activity of picking it apart from the rind to the seeds.
- If your canned pumpkin comes in pieces and syrup, always drain all the syrup before feeding it to your chickens as it’s too high in sugar.
- Canned pumpkin is simply not as healthy as a raw fresh pumpkin for chickens, as it’s gone through a process and usually has additives or preservatives.
- Only feed your chickens canned pumpkin as a treat, and not as a replacement for their normal formulated layer feed – whether it’s layer pellets or a seed mix.
So, the good news is, even if it isn’t pumpkin season, both you AND your chickens can enjoy canned pumpkin. You should always get 100% pure pumpkin, however, as this is the closest thing to real fresh pumpkin you can find and is completely safe and healthy for your chickens to eat!
If you have pumpkin pieces in syrup, best to ditch all the syrup before giving any to chickens. Plus, even without the syrup, the pumpkin has likely absorbed a lot of the sugary syrup, so you should be extra cautious when feeding it to your chickens. Although it’s still considered safe, it’s not considered healthy.