Monday, April 9, 2012

Pumpkin Soup, Garlic & Nasturtium - Natural Wormers


I have never wormed my chickens with any kind of commercial wormer.  Many experts recommend 'proactive' worming with a wormer twice a year, but I don't believe in administering any medications unless absolutely necessary. Instead I rely on holistic preventatives. I have never had any trouble with worms in my flock, and have had our vet take fecal samples and no sign of worms have ever been found.




I use pumpkin and squash seeds (fall),  nasturtium (spring/summer), watermelon and cucumbers (summer) and garlic and DE (year round) to combat worms because all are perfectly healthy and natural, with no withdrawal period during which you can't eat the eggs.

PUMPKINS & OTHER SQUASH/MELONS

There are varying opinions on this subject and not much study has been done, but raw ground pumpkin seeds are thought to be a natural dewormer, not only for chickens and ducks but for sheep and goats as well. Twice a year, spring and fall, it is suggested that you feed your girls ground raw pumpkin seeds free-choice for a week.


The pumpkin seeds (as well as the seeds of other members of the cucurbitaceae family such as winter, summer, zucchini and crookneck squash, gourds, cucumbers, cantaloupe and watermelon) are coated with a substance called cucurbitacin that paralyzes the worms.  The larger fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of cucurbitacin, while the smaller cucumber contains far less.

Since pumpkins are plentiful and inexpensive in the fall, that is what I use for my fall worming. You can merely cut a fresh pumpkin in half and feed it to your chickens, but I take it one step further and make them a Pumpkin Soup. I add some yogurt and molasses to cause a bit of diarrhea and help flush the paralyzed worms out of the chickens' systems.  Dandelion greens also serve as a natural diuretic and are included in most natural livestock wormer 'recipes', plus the chickens and ducks love them!


In the fall I save our Halloween pumpkins and grind up the seeds and pulp. In the spring I buy a bag of hulled plain pumpkin seeds and a can of pureed pumpkin and grind them up in my coffee grinder. Then I make the 'pumpkin soup'.


Pumpkin Soup 
(serves 8-10 hens)

One entire bulb crushed fresh garlic
Dandelion greens
2 cups raw oatmeal
One shredded carrot
8 Tablespoons ground raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses
Pumpkin pulp in the fall from two small pumpkins (or one can of pumpkin puree in the spring)

Blend all the ingredients in your food processor and add enough plain unflavored yogurt to achieve a 'soupy' consistency.Then pour some soup into each pumpkin half (or a bowl if you are using the puree), garnish it with shredded carrot and serve it up !


The girls clearly love it !  And when they are done, they will eat the bowl too!

GARLIC

I add garlic powder to my chickens' daily feed mix every day. Every couple of weeks I mince up a whole bulb, mixed with some chopped fresh mint, and feed it to the chickens free-choice and they seem to love it. Garlic, especially in conjunction with mint and wormwood (artemesia) is a wonderful year-round natural wormer.


NASTURTIUM

Nasturtium is a wonderful addition to any garden. It is not only pretty and easy to grow, it repels insects, the chickens love to eat the leaves and blossoms, and it also acts as a natural wormer, as well as a laying stimulant, antiseptic and antibiotic.


The chicken can (and will) eat the nasturtium leaves, flowers and seeds.



I plant some in my garden each spring and am thinking of planting some right in the run this year for the chickens to eat at will.


The common weed plantain also has natural worming properties. I pick and feed it to my chickens all summer long as another layer of parasite protection.



DE (food-grade diatomaceous earth) is also thought to combat worms and I add it to my chickens' daily feed.

Although there isn't too much information or scientific evidence out there to prove or disprove the ability of these holistic preventatives to combat intestinal worms, there have been a few studies done that point to their effectiveness.  Regardless, the girls love the pumpkin soup and its nutritious if nothing else.  Pumpkins contain antioxidants, as well as high levels of Vitamin A, both of which strengthen immune systems and help them better combat illness.


The beta carotene in the pumpkins contributes to vibrant orange egg yolks as well as bright orange bills and feet on our ducks.  Another substance in the pumpkin, phytosterol, is thought to lower cholesterol, so I believe it probably makes our eggs lower in cholesterol as well.


Bottom line, the pumpkin and garlic, as well as other types of squash and melons and the nasturtium, are nutritious, so I figure there's no harm....and besides, we've never had any problem with any kind of intestinal worms - so I'm a believer.




BECAUSE LIFE IS JUST BETTER WITH CHICKENS!

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47 comments:

  1. thanks for the information! Wrote it down and will pick up. I was wondering if i could just add the seeds(ground) to cooked oatmeal and serve.

    June Gibbs

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    1. Sure you could June. You can even just grind up the seeds and give them a bowl of them. They would love them in oatmeal tho.

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    2. since I have only 4 RIR's how much should i give in the seeds? Figure a tablespoon each? :) Where did you find the hulled plain pumpkins seeds at? I am so very limited in store selection here.

      June Gibbs

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    3. Thanks! I'm so happy to read that I haven't been negligent because I didn't want to give chemical drugs to my chickens. I'll be sure to add some of these items to their diet. Since they pretty much eat everything that goes in our compost pile, they're probably in the clear.

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  2. I think your results speak for themselves!
    Thanks for sharing this with us. :o)

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  3. I agree with Linda, your results speak for themselves. :-)

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  4. We always grow nasturtiums for ourselves. They are wonderful in salads. We will have to grow even more this year for our girls!!

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  5. Do you think that squash seeds would work as well as pumpkin seeds? I don't grow pumpkins, but grow both summer and winter squash, so I have an abundance of squash seeds!

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  6. This is so good to know. I have nasturtiums all over my yard so I think I will put some in the coop too. Great idea.

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  7. Okay I tried both and granted the chicks are only six weeks old but they didn't eat either the seeds or the nasturtiums. I will keep trying though.

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  8. Thanks for the info and the recipe!!! I can't say I've ever fed my chickens pumpkin seeds, but they get garlic and apple cider vinegar in their water all the time, which is supposed to be good for worms.

    ~Lynn

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    1. I do both also and I agree. And at the very least its great for their immune systems.

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    2. How much apple cider vinegar do you add to your water? I have heard all the good it does for people, would love to give it to the girls....should you wait till they are a certain age?

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing this informative post on Simple & Sweet Fridays. I love your blog. New Follower.

    Jody

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  10. We have both ducks and chickens together. Are these things all safe for our ducks too? If so, how much should I alot for each of them?

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    1. yes, we have ducks and chickens together as well. Nothing will hurt the ducks - I just make up enough to account for the ducks also.

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  11. Can I just throw out all the seeds and pulp whole when doing my pumpkins or must the seeds be ground?

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    1. Sure you can. They will still eat the seeds. I think ground they are getting a bit more nutrition since then they are sure to digest the seeds - not have them pass through their system whole.

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  12. That pumpkin soup looks good enough to eat - myself! Great idea on de-worming.

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    1. Thanks for linking up this week at the Backyard Farming Connection Hop - hope to see you next week :)

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  13. mmmmmmmm. my groceery list just got LARGER! I've got to have my green thumb redied and start growing some of this next summer. thanxxxxxxxx

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  14. Hi there. Food on Friday is all about soup! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

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  15. Does it work the same to just give them a raw whole pumpkin?

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    1. Sure you can. Just cut it in half and give it to them. The yogurt and molasses are just thought to help the worms pass easily out. But sure, just cut up a pumpkin.

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  17. Thanks for the info! I always thought cattle wormer sounded a bit crazy and it's definitely easier to serve them some pumpkin instead of stressing them out trying to force wormer down their throats. Not to mention the chemicals in livestock wormers, not something I want in my eggs! I've always been a fan of more holistic medicines anyways.

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    1. I agree, I don't like using chemicals anyway, but certainly not ones not specifically formulated for the particular animal. I believe that by following a holistic regiment you can certainly have healthy hens.

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  18. Hi!
    Minus the garlic, what are your thoughts on the efficacy of this delightful concoction on dogs?
    Thank you!

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  19. I always heard that if you feed your chickens garlic it will make their eggs taste like garlic. Do you find this to be true? Thanks!

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    1. Not at all. Our chickens have been eating garlic and garlic powder for years and our eggs don't taste like garlic..and I bake alot so I would definitely notice.

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  20. Is there a specific age the chickens should be before beginning this? Also, I'm curious how you get the nasturtiums to grow in the run without the chickens pulling up the plant.

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    1. As soon as they are outside, they are susceptible to worms..so any time after they go outside, you can start with this. It's all natural so no worries. If you plant anything inside the run they will pull it up, I'm thinking of planting the seeds just outside the run fencing and then pulling the plants through the fence and caging them until they are blooming and then letting the chickens have at them.

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  21. Never get tired of reading your information.

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  22. thank you!! I moved in to my parent's old dairy farm 2 years ago after their deaths. I have been wondering what this one plant was in the front yard, thanks to you I discovered it is Wormwood herb. Ran out to the chicken coop and gave some to my flock. I am having a blast getting the family farm back to what it was 30 years ago!

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    1. Oh how fun! I think that's awesome and what a tribute to their lives!

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  23. Your blog is super amazing! I am new from southern charm! I would love for you to check out my blog and hopefully follow me back! Nicole

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    1. Thank you and welcome! I for sure will check you out!

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  24. Thank You so much for all this information!!! I love using natural stuff. I am learning so much from all my new back yard chickens raisers. So I hope I raise mine good and healthy!

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  25. if you use this as a true deworming treatment, do you repeat or just feed them this whenever you want?

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    1. Spring and fall for sure and whenever I have nasturtium, they get the garlic year round etc...

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. Do you feed your chickens organic food?? I am trying to raise mine organic,what else would you suggest??? Thank You

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    1. If you're going organic then yes you would need organic feed -check out NaturesBestOrgsnics or Scratch&PeckFeeds. I have bunches of articles on natural care so check out the Chuckens+Ducks tab at the top.

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  28. Sounds like something that dogs and cats would love too!

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