Nobody likes eating the same food every day, and this is true for our pets too. Chickens need a wide variety of food and treats to maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Because of this, chicken keepers are always looking for healthy foods they can feed to their flock. What about yellow squash? The gourds are good for us, so are they suitable for our chickens too?
Can Chickens Eat Squash
Yes, chickens can eat yellow squash. Yellow squash contains numerous health benefits and is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, folate and other essential minerals. The seeds may help prevent internal parasites.
Chickens enjoy eating squash, and when fed in moderation, it has many health benefits. Here’s a video of a chicken of preparing yellow squash and zucchini for their backyard chickens.
Is Yellow Squash Healthy For Chickens
Yellow squash is part of the gourd family and contain many vitamins and minerals that are great for your chickens, making it a very healthy treat. All parts of the squash are beneficial for your chicken, including the skin and seeds.
Squashes contain so many good things for your chickens, including iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine, vitamins, copper, manganese, and potassium, all of which have their own individual health benefits. Squashes are also really high in dietary fiber, promoting healthy digestive tracts and gastrointestinal systems in your flock.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits your chickens will get when eating yellow squash.
Like us, chickens require specific vitamins that are essential for their health and growth. Vitamin deficiency can lead to issues such as:
- Decreased egg production
- Thin shelled eggs
- Retarded growth
- Reduced egg production
Minerals are an essential part of the well-being of your poultry. A lack of essential nutrients such as; copper, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, etc. can result in the following:
- Poor feathering
- Slow growth
- Poor eggshell quality
- Reduced hatchability
Backyard flocks require an adequate high-quality feed that will provide them with their bodies’ vitamins and minerals.
If you feel your chickens are suffering from a vitamin or mineral deficiency, contact your vet immediately.
There is also evidence to suggest that squash can be used as a natural de-wormer. Hobby Farms claims that squash seeds have been used for centuries as a natural de-wormer in humans and their livestock. Chicken keepers will recommend feeding gourd seeds for one full week every fall and spring to lower internal parasite loads.
Although there is little research to prove this theory, research supports that pumpkin seeds reduce worm loads in goats. The scientific theory is the same for chickens, although there isn’t much push for extra confirmation.
There are many different types of squash, and the vitamins can vary from each one, but all of them contain vital nutrients and minerals that will improve your chicken’s health and quality of life.
Yellow Squash Nutritional Information
One cup raw summer squash with skin contains the following nutrients.
|Vitamin A||248 IU|
|Vitamin C||21.1 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin K||5.3 mcg|
|Dietary Fiber||1.4 grams|
|Total Omega-3 fatty acids||58.3 mg|
|Total Omega-6 fatty acids||34.7 mg|
How Often Can Chickens Eat Yellow Squash
At least 90% of your flock’s diet should be their daily feed. Their food should contain carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, and your flock really shouldn’t need any more food than that.
However, we would get tired of eating the same thing every day, and so do your chickens. That’s why it’s nice to give them treats.
Your chicken’s diet should be, at most, 10% treats. Any more than this risks your flock not getting the proper nutrients they need daily. As long as your chickens are eating correctly, squash can be fed very often, even up to a few times a week.
How To Prepare And Store Squash
Chickens can eat squash, both raw and cooked. Some squash can be pretty rough to eat when raw, so it might be easier for your chickens to eat if you roast it.
When preparing squash for your chickens, avoid using any seasonings such as salt, butter, pepper, garlic, etc. Some seasonings can be toxic to animals and will do better with bland foods.
When feeding them raw squash, ensure you cut it up into smaller pieces to make it easier for your chickens to consume. Chickens won’t be able to eat a whole squash because the skins are too tough.
Even if you don’t feed your chickens the entire squash, you should remove the seeds and feed them to your chickens.
Squashes are easy to obtain and store very well. If you’re planning on feeding your flock lots of squash, you should stock up in the fall when there’s an abundance. For the most extended shelf life, store your squash in cool temperatures around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit (10-12.78 degrees Celsius).
Feed your chickens any squash that have marks first, as these will be the ones to go bad the fastest. Once your squashes get squishy or smell, they are rotten and added to your compost pile or thrown away.
When feeding them in the chicken run, pick up any uneaten portions and throw them away. It will ensure you don’t attract any bears, skunks, raccoons, and other predators to your chicken coop.
Other Vegetables Chickens Can Eat
If your chickens love squash, consider feeding them other healthy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, beets, and cabbage. They can also eat other types of squash such as butternut, acorn, zucchini, and spaghetti squash.
As a chicken owner, it’s vital to find out which human foods are safe for consumption and which ones to avoid.
Chickens love to eat squash and other gourds. They have many vitamins, minerals, and health benefits for your flock, making them a very healthy and great treat. It is even theorized that squash can be used as a natural de-wormer.
Squash can be stored for many seasons and make a quick and easy treat that your chickens will love pecking at all day. Squash can be given to your chickens very often, even up to a few times a week.
The easiest way to serve squash to your chickens is just by cutting it in half, which your flock will love to peck at all day. You can also gather the seeds and scatter them in your yard, allowing your chickens to scavenge around for them.