I get it. Sometimes your garden and the chicken coop will be one and the same. Raising both chickens and pumpkins are a good possibility for me in the future, so I wanted to find out more about their compatibility. So, do chickens eat pumpkin plants?
Chickens will eat pumpkins, especially if the pumpkins have already been cut open. If you’re growing pumpkins, chickens are more likely to eat the leaves but can get into the fruit as well. To make sure your patch isn’t ruined, consider separating your chickens with a chicken-wire fence or chicken-tractors.
Setting the proper boundaries on your garden is important, as chickens will definitely take advantage of any openings they get. So what are some other ways we can prevent chickens from dining on our pumpkins?
How to Protect Your Pumpkin Plants From Chickens
If you’re worried about your chickens attacking your pumpkin plants, or, even worse–if they’re already damaging them, then you should consider trying some different methods to find what works for you, your chickens, and your homestead.
Here are some ways you can protect your pumpkins from chickens:
- Plant vegetables that chickens dislike near the pumpkin patch
- Sprinkle spices like cayenne, garlic, or cinnamon by the patch
- Use hedges
- Build a fence
- Use a chicken tractor
While all of these options can work, some work much better than others. Let me cut to the chase.
The best way to protect your pumpkins from chicken is to use a fence to separate your pumpkin patch from their free-range. You can also use chicken tractors and move the tractor around your property. Or, if you’d rather place the tractor over your pumpkin plants to protect them, you can (pictured below).
Although placing the tractor over the pumpkin plant can work, it can be difficult if you have large or several plants.
Pumpkin plants should be protected, especially if they’re still seedlings. Chickens can rip the seedlings out of the ground and easily dispose of them. Even if the pumpkin plants are mature and fruiting, it still won’t be long before your chickens can do some serious damage.
Some plants that chickens tend to stay away from are oregano, mint, thyme, lavender, lemon balm, and marigolds. Granted, if the chickens are still hungry, they might ignore their dislike for these plants and peck at them anyways.
It also might be worth considering to grow fodder in a separate area of your property and coax the chickens there. If you grow some of their favorite vegetables and plants away from the patch, they might ignore the pumpkins altogether.
If you’re looking for a quick way to keep chickens out of your pumpkin patch, try using this chicken wire from Amazon.
Is Pumpkin Good for Chicken?
In case your chickens do get in your pumpkin patch, or if you have a spare pumpkin or jack-o-lantern around, would it be safe to feed to your chickens?
Pumpkin is great for chickens due to the high levels of Vitamin A, potassium, beta-carotene, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Chickens can also eat raw pumpkin, but should not be fed moldy or rotten pumpkin.
So, if you don’t know what to do with your old jack-o-lantern, and it’s not moldy or rotten, consider giving it to your chickens to peck apart and turn it into natural fertilizer.
If you’d like to give your chickens raw pumpkin, consider splitting the pumpkin in half or quarters before giving it to them.
Other Livestock That Will Eat Pumpkin Plants
Chickens aren’t the only livestock to watch out for. Many animals on the homestead would love to get their paws or hooves on some pumpkin. If you’re wondering which to keep out and which to not worry about, here’s a list of farm animals that have been known to give pumpkin plants some trouble (basically, all of them).
Similar rules apply when you’re trying to keep other animals out of your pumpkin patch. Although, you might need to invest in better fencing than chicken-wire, as it might not deter horses or cows.
Chickens are pretty destructive little peckers, and they don’t have any sympathy for your pumpkin plants. Make sure you properly fence off either the chickens or the pumpkins for the best results. I personally like chicken tractors, but of course, the choice is up to you.
If you’re still not convinced chickens will eat your pumpkin plants, check out this video by ChurchFarm TV (warning: there’s a lot of pumpkin carnage).