Are you a chicken lover looking to expand your fowl’s diet? Or perhaps you want to spoil them with some fresh vegetables? If so, squash may be the answer.
Yes, chickens can eat squash – as long as it is given in moderation. And, yes, all types of squash are okay, too. But what parts of the squash are edible for chickens? And are there any health benefits to including this vegetable in their diet?
In this blog post, we’ll unpack why and how squashes, along with beets and other things like carrots, can be a great addition to your feathered friends’ regular food. Let’s get started!
Chickens & Squash Are A Good Combination
Squash comes with many benefits for chickens, whether it is ripe or unripe. Not only is it a great source of vitamins and minerals which chickens need to stay healthy, but they also enjoy the change of pace in their diet (I think!).
However, you must be careful with overripe squash as anything too ripe poses the danger of going rotten, which could potentially be dangerous for chickens (and humans).
As well, throw away any moldy squash since mold can be hazardous for chickens to consume.
Lastly, just like cornmeal, both cooked and uncooked squash are safe for chickens – whatever you choose to give them! This is great news if you have a surplus of squash from your garden or farm, as you will have many happy customers on-site. Happy chickens are peaceful chickens and ones that won’t fight each other.
Chicks Can Eat Squash Too
Though giving chicks squash as a treat is beneficial, care must be taken before offering it to them. It is important to make sure the food has been cooked and mashed well before serving; adding some grit can offer extra protection against choking hazards.
Giving your young feathered friends treats doesn’t have to bring risks along with the reward – it just takes a little extra effort.
What Parts Of The Squash Do Chickens Eat?
Chickens can eat other parts of the squash besides just the flesh.
Chickens are quite voracious eaters and can consume the entire fruit, including the skin, leaves, and seeds of the squash.
With regards to the squash skin, chickens should be able to chew it, but that is dependent on how tough it is. Leaves are something chickens could like eating as long as they are tender and young. Cooking might soften them enough that they are easier for them to consume.
The seeds of the squash are also edible, and chickens will enjoy munching on these as a treat or snack. In fact, seeds may be their favorite part of the plant.
Chickens can enjoy all parts of a squash, and it can be a regular part of their diet, too. Try adding a little chopped fennel sometimes just to mix things up.
How Do We Know If Chickens Like Squash?
Chickens have a variety of preferences when it comes to flavors and treats — like crackers. Some chickens may have different opinions on the squash, though generally, chickens like this sweet and zesty fruit.
To make sure that your chickens enjoy this treat, it is best to try a slice with them first. If they peck at the squash and give their tell-tale sign of disagreement — by keeping their beaks up – then cross that variety of squash off their treat list!
However, even if they don’t like that variety, they may like another. For instance, if they don’t care for acorn squash, they still might like butternut.
Experimentation is the name of the game when it comes to offering chickens new foods.
Related: Can Chickens Eat Parakeet Food?
Squash and Related Foods As Chicken Dewormers
Chickens are susceptible to a variety of parasites, but luckily squash and cucumber work quite well as natural dewormers. They contain high levels of fiber that act as an effective parasite expulsion agent.
Watermelons and melons also serve as helpful dewormers for chickens, containing vitamins and micro-nutrients that parasites find unfavorable.
If chickens are showing signs of infection or disquiet, introducing these vegetables into their diet can help them experience relief. With the right amount of supplementation with squash and the like, chickens can achieve optimal health without the need for chemical remedies.
So, chickens have no problem eating squash, and in fact, it can even help with deworming. Chickens can eat all parts of the squash though they will prefer the seeds. All in all, gourd family vegetables are a great way to give your chickens a healthy treat and change from their ordinary diet.
Photo credit: Image by Monika from Pixabay