Look no further! I’ve worked out an easy pumpkin pie and pumpkin cookie recipe for you – tried and tested on my own flock!
Pumpkin and squashes are excellent nutritionally for chickens, particularly at times their immune system is in need of a boost – around moulting, for example, or when dealing with extreme cold.
For more detailed information about the health benefits of pumpkins, and why there’s no evidence that their seeds are a natural de-wormer, take a look at my article about feeding chickens pumpkins.
Want to go straight to my pumpkin pie recipe? Click here.
For the cookie recipe, click here.
Can chickens eat gourds?
Pumpkins and gourds, and other fruits (yes, they’re all designated as fruit) such as squashes, cucumbers, courgettes (zucchini), melon and watermelon, are members of the same family: the Cucurbitaceae.
All are good for poultry to eat (in moderation, as with all treats).
You’ll see some gourds marked “inedible” or “decorative”. That doesn’t mean they’re poisonous.
It’s simply that, depending on type, gourds can be very bitter to taste.
Your chickens will quickly let you know - they’ll simply refuse to eat the more bitter varieties.
Basically, if you see gourds displayed for sale on the vegetable counter in your supermarket, they should be fine to eat. Try to find younger, smaller plants which tend to be less bitter.
Both these treats are high in fat, and should be fed only in moderation and after the chickens have had access to their own feed.
What’s “moderation”? Times when the flock needs help, such as moulting, during cold weather to at other times of stress such as after a predator attack.
Treating your chickens at occasional holidays like Hallowe’en or Thanksgiving is fine.
The ingredients for both these recipes are enough to feed a flock of ten. Both are freezable if you have a smaller number, or to batch bake and save for when you don’t have time to make more.
I cut the pumpkin pie into small pieces, freeze, and then put the pieces into a freezer bag. This allows the pie to be spread around so everyone gets a chance to eat!
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Poultry Pumpkin Pie is easy to make. It's just a question of mixing together different things you probably have in your pantry which are good for chickens to eat.
Here's what I do:
Scoop out the flesh and seeds from one whole pumpkin, gourd or squash. Put the shell to one side - it will become the serving dish.
Blitz the flesh in a food processor and put into a large mixing bowl.
Yes, if it’s pumpkin purée - use 1 can. Don’t use the canned pumpkin you’d put in a pie - it has added sugar which isn’t good for chickens.
Beware of claims to be “100% pure pumpkin”. Always check the ingredients for added sugars and, as far as possible, buy organic and non-GMO, or make your own.
It's very easy to make your own – and you'll be sure it has no unhealthy additives.
Simply cut your pumpkin or gourd in two, brush the flesh and seeds lightly with oil, place with the flesh side down on a baking tray and bake in an oven at 175ºC (350ºF; gas mark 4) for about 30 minutes – longer if it’s very large.
Turn the flesh and seeds into a bowl and mash with a fork. Once cooled, it's ready to use.
The shell will be too soft to use as a serving bowl, so you'll need to use another platter.
In the photo below, the pumpkin purée is in the middle at the back.
To the pumpkin, add some or all of the following...
This recipe can also use canned purée if you don’t want to use fresh pumpkin, but of course it makes it more expensive.
Or make your own in minutes!
If you have pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute all the spices below with 1.5 teaspoons. Make sure it has no added sugar or other sweeteners.
This recipe does not use the pumpkin shell. Add it to your compost heap to avoid waste.
We’ll be using cookie cutters instead. I have a special Hallowe’en version - I’m sure my chickens appreciate the effort!