Good Lawdy! We have all this build up for Halloween and Thanksgiving, then POOF, it’s over! So, what the heck do you do with all those pumpkins you have sitting on your porch?
“All” those pumpkins, you ask?! But, of course! Out in the country, we go big or don’t bother showing up! So, yes, we have about 10 pumpkins sitting on our stoop. There’s no such thing as too much holiday enthusiasm!
Pumpkin is a powerhouse of nutrients and health benefits! It is a wonderful source of vitamins A, C, E, K, beta carotene, lutein, and antioxidants, as well as an excellent source of protein.
Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin, which is thought to be (but never proven as) a natural dewormer in animals. There has been very research conducted on pumpkin seeds as anthelmintics, particularly because it is an alternative treatment and there is generally a lack of funding for this particular research.
Dickinson College conducted a research study entitled Alternative Treatments for Haemonchus Contortus in Sheep: Testing of a Natural Dewormer and Literature Review of Management Methods written by Emily Ann Bowie. Regarding the use of pumpkin seeds as a dewormer, it states:
“Some natural dewormers, like chemical anthelmintics, target and kill the parasite. These natural anthelmintics have the potential to decrease parasite resistance because they likely use non-specific mechanisms to kill the worms (Mali and Mehta, 2008). A study by Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) tested pumpkin seeds, garlic, ginger and papaya seeds for anthelmintic properties. Papaya did not show signs of anthelmintic properties. Though garlic and ginger showed traces of success, the data was ultimately inconclusive. Pumpkin seeds were the most promising anthelmintic, especially when administered as a drench – an oral liquid medication (Jackson-O’Brien, 2012). There is little to no scientific data on and investigation into the mechanisms of these natural anthelmintics, especially as they pertain to parasitic nematodes in sheep.” 1
Regardless, the chickens seem to love it!
We all know what happens when chickens get bored! They’re nothing but trouble, people! Alas! Another benefit of pumpkin for our feathered friends is that it is a fantastic distraction from boredom! Plop a fat juicy pumpkin down in front of ’em, and they’re good for hours!
So, before you toss those pumpkins in your compost pile or (gasp!) in the garbage, treat your girls to this healthy snack! They will love it!
1 Bowie, Emily Ann, “Alternative Treatments For Haemonchus Contortus in Sheep: Testing of a Natural Dewormer and Literature Review of Management Methods” (2014). Dickinson College Honors Theses. Paper 163.
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