Pumpkin Seed Chicken Dewormer

If you’ve spent any time at all on the Backyard Chickens forums, or any other number of chicken forums, you’ve undoubtedly heard that pumpkin seeds are a natural dewormer. I’ve done a lot of reading on this subject, and although I’ve never found anything that proves this conclusively, I will tell you that I’ve learned pumpkin seeds have been used for hundreds of years a natural dewormer for all types of pets and livestock. From dogs to horses, and even for humans. And with interest in natural products rising, there are even research grants available concerning the use of pumpkin seeds as a dewormer.

Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid known as cucurbitin. Cucurbitin is inside the seed, and it paralyzes tapeworms and roundworms, and aids in eliminating them from the body. Some believe it takes very large quantities of pumpkin seeds to work effectively, and some do not believe it works at all,

Whether you believe in using pumpkin seeds as a dewormer for your chickens or not, one thing is for certain – they won’t hurt your chickens, and your chickens will probably love eating them! If you want to use the seeds as a dewormer, remember that the cucurbitin is inside the seed, and chickens can’t chew. You’ll want to make sure you chop the seeds a bit in a food processor, or blender, to expose the pulp of the seeds.

My chickens love a little pumpkin seed smoothie in the fall. I cut pumpkins in half, remove the seeds and put them in a food processor, along with a little buttermilk, milk, or plain yogurt, and whirl it all around until the seeds are a little chopped. Then I use the pumpkin halves as bowls, and pour a little of the smoothy in each of them.

Chickens and Pumpkins

Lordy, they do love a little pumpkin smoothie in the morning.

Chickens and Pumpkins

And when all that delicious smoothie is finished? They eat the bowl!

Chickens and Pumpkins

Remember those eggs I got from a neighbor and let my hens hatch out the end of August? Well, they are about 2 1/2 months old now and I still have no clue what breed they are. I’m certain they are mixed, but I’m just not sure what they are a mix of! And three of the six are HUGE. They also have well defined combs and waddles. I worry they are cockerels. With my original flock, I can typically sex them within 3 – 4 weeks. And some of the pullets, like the White Faced Black Spanish, do have large combs and waddles relatively early. But these three have me a little concerned. Take a look at the two large white ones in these pictures, and keep in mind they are only about 2 1/2 months old:

Chickens and Pumpkins

Chickens and Pumpkins

What do you think?

I’m certain this one’s mother is the only Barred Rock my neighbor has, and I have no idea about the father:

Chickens and Pumpkins

Cockerel or Pullet? I think they are some pretty chickens and I am just praying they are pullets. They’re friendly little things. So are the other three. The other three are smaller and I am 99.99% certain they are pullets. But these three……..

OK, the chickens have enjoyed their morning smoothie and I’ve got to get busy around here. No rest for the weary on this homestead.

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14 Responses to “Pumpkin Seed Chicken Dewormer”

  1. lisa says:

    Hey there Penny,

    I am glad you talked about the pumpkin seed as a dewormer. I have been giving them pumpkin for awhile now unfortunately I didn’t know that the benefits of the seed was inside the seed. oh well they still love the pumpkin and from now on I will crack them up a bit to give to them. Thanks for the great tip….

    from what I can see for your white chickens they look like they are Delawares ( I have 4 or 5 and we ordered one roo) and they look like my pullets. I have 2 larger girls and one smaller girl. My roo is Jack and they are all sweet chickens. 2 of the girls are super friendly and will jump in our laps but the other 2 are little skittish. I am going to try to send you some pictures of the Delawares so you can compare them to what you have and maybe it will help to see what they are. They really look like my and they haven’t been mixed I bought them in March.

    and is that Barred Rock in the picture with the other chickens yours of your neighbors. That is a pure one cause they look like mine that I have. They are very sweet and gentle chickens and the one in the picture looks like a pullet (at least I hope so, but mine grew pretty fast also, but even if it is a roo they are very very gentle and not aggressive towards people or the ladies.

    I really will send pictures this time, (finally finished my research paper, now just have to meet with my professor and have him proof it and then I can rest a little easier until next semester.) been a tough semester but glad I am doing it.

  2. Trixi says:

    I have not heard of pumpkin as a dewormer. I just gave a small pie pumpkin to the horses today. I will have to give another one to the chickens. As for your babies, I am just not sure if they are cockrels or not but am interested to find out.
    Have a great week.

  3. Cotton Lady says:

    Who would athunk it about pumpkin seeds?! I will put this in my file for when we get chickens in a couple of years. My daughter and family are moving onto the farm then, so I can downsize. They are all excited about having chickens, a couple of goats, and a couple of calves to raise.

  4. basicliving says:

    Lisa – I got the pictures you sent, and I am certain you are correct. The two big white ones look just like your Delawares, and the speckled one looks just like your Barred Rock. I’ve seen my neighbor’s Barred Rock – but he only has one and it is a hen. I’ll have to look more closely at his flock – I’ve never seen a Delaware down there – but they free range, so I may just be missing them. Thanks so much for all the pictures and info!

    Trixi – My chickens like pumpkins ok, but they go crazy for the seeds chopped and mixed with buttermilk, milk, or yogurt. I do believe the seeds act as a dewormer, but I do not think they will replace treatment for all types of worms, or if there is a serious infestation.

    Cotton Lady – It will be wonderful to have some farm hands around! I’ve been working on Bernie and I do believe he’s agreed to build a shelter and add fencing so I can get a couple of goats and some turkeys next year! I’ve been wearing him down on the subject over the past couple of years and last week when I mentioned I knew the perfect spot for the goat/turkey shelter, he said “Well, you need to show me where you want it so I can get it built.” I almost pooped an egg! It wasn’t a straight out agreement, but it’s close enough and I’m moving forward on it ;-)

  5. Julie says:

    Forth try….
    The barred rock looks like a pullet, the white one to the left in the next to the last pic looks like a cockerel, can’t see the other white one good enough….when they grow up they will be the size of mine. I hope this goes through this time! The first three attempts I wrote a book but I won’t this time;)
    About grinding up the seeds….it may not be necessary because of their gizzard. When we put ours in the freezer a few weeks back a neighbor wanted the gizzards so I cleaned them for him and found ground up sunflower seeds. The gizzard is full of small gravel, sand that grinds seeds and other things because chickens can’t chew and they don’t have the ability to break seeds open like birds do. I thought this was fascinating, because I always knew that’s what the gizzard is for but just always wondered how in the world they could eat those hard sunflower seeds without doing damage to their insides.
    You are an amazing chicken Mom Penny! You definitely have made a great homesteader! And about pooping an egg……well, you may just become very famous! lol! Love ya!

  6. Julie says:

    Just a quick note….what I wrote about the seeds (grinding them up may not be necessary) that’s just an observation about the sunflower seeds not pumpkin and it was mainly for me because I’m way to lazy to mix mine up a smoothie let alone grind them seeds.lol Some chickens have super mommies and get pampered like that.:0) I’m glad chickens can’t read or telecommunicate! lol I’d have mutiny on my hands…. Have you ever seen the movie “Chicken Run” ? Too cute!

  7. basicliving says:

    Hey Julie – I hope you’re right about the barred rock, and I’m afraid you’re right about the white ones. They look identical…. I am just hoping against hope that they are pullets! They are really pretty and docile chickens…..

    You may be right about the gizzard grinding up the seeds. I think if you nick or chop the seeds before feeding them, it releases the cucurbitin in whatever you’re mixing them with. But what do I know – I’m not even sure if it really works! I just know I’ve never had an issue with my chickens being wormy and they get lots of pumpkin smoothies in the fall. Who knows if THAT’S why they’re not wormy – but I’m too afraid to quit!

    And get ready for me to be famous Cuz! I am certain I will poop an egg if Bernie actually builds the shelter and pens and I end up with goats and turkeys in the spring!!

  8. basicliving says:

    Julie – I have not seen Chicken Run, but I keep hearing it’s a cute movie. I may just have to buy that for an early Christmas gift to myself!

  9. Julie says:

    Penny, I’ve also read that apple cider vinegar mixed with their drinking water is a dewormer. I use it during the summer months. Of all the years I’ve had chickens I’ve never had any that were wormy…..that I know of….how would you tell??
    Chicken Run was the best, I need to order it too. After We watched it I really saw my chickens in a different way….they are smarter than we give them credit for. Did you notice a reaction in your chickens on “freezer camp” day?? I do…it’s sad….but what else can you do when you are over run with roos and you can’t even GIVE them away! Enough about chickens now….I’ve got tons to do. Talk to ya soon!

  10. Kitaye says:

    Morning Penny. The Barred Rock in the last picture is a hen. The cocks have a much finer detailing in their feater colours. Also, the white ones look just like my Columbia Rocks. Yes, they have huge combs but they are hens.

  11. charlotte says:

    Penny, don’t buy Chicken run yet. I have it will send it with B. next time he comes out. That way you can watch it to make shore you want to buy it . I watched it last night, you will love it I shore did.

  12. BethieofVA says:

    Hi there, I found you when I was searching for the pumpkin dewormer info! :) What a nice blog. Do you know if pumpkin is the only seed that works for the chicks? I only have four, but completely new at it and gathering all info I can.

    Love looking around your site. Do you mind me asking what state you are in?

    Beth-Yorktown, VA

  13. Betty Haynes says:

    Hey, long time no see! I was surprised to wind up on your blog when I was doing research on Pumpkin Seeds as a dewormer. I am doing some experiments. I have been feeding them to the dogs to see what types of results I get. As an extra benefit I think they are pretty darn tasty myself. That is a neat idea you have came up with to dose your chickens.

    How have Dolly and Diesel been doing?

  14. basicliving says:

    Hi Betty!!! So nice to get a note from you. Diesel and Dolly are doing awesome! I am going to send you a quick email update.

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